Thursday, March 29, 2012

Creepy Red-Eye Man

In case you needed fresh proof that the human race is indeed getting stranger (not to mention sketchier), I ask you to gaze on this little sign that I found taped up at the bus stop as I waited to take the shuttle up to campus.

I sincerely hope with everything in me that it is some kind of creepy inside joke.

Oh, and by the way, I started to get pretty freaked out as the bus was taking its sweet little time because of course I happened to be there right at 3:50...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Tell-All

*Have I mentioned before how Matt is growing an avocado plant from an avocado that I bought last summer? It's kind of a funny story, actually---he had started growing an avocado plant on his mission and has just always wanted to grow another one, so he started dropping not-so-subtle hints soon after we got married that I should start buying avocados. Last summer, he tried planting 3 different avocado plants and, after months of waiting, had pretty much given up hope. But then, one fateful day as we were coming back from the Christmas holidays, one of the pits started to break open, and voila--his own little avocado plant. Can I just say how cute the way he fawns over it is? SO cute.

*So I went to the Teacher Fair last week, and I interviewed with the school district that's about a 25-minute drive from my house. I was pretty hopeful about the whole situation right after because the superintendent (who interviewed me) said I had done an excellent job on my interview and that I should get a call back should any positions open up in English. My elation, however, has faded a bit because there are still no job openings in sight for any of the closest school districts (at least not any closer than Ogden, that is). I am trying SO hard not to stress out about it, but I can't help myself--I just really don't want to go back to an office job after teaching. That would be miserable.

*Today must just be a let's-stress-out-about-the-future day because I started researching some grad schools for Matt (because he'll be graduating in a year and a half, and I figure we should know what's required), and don't even get me started about how that affected my heart rate...

*I finished reading Freak the Mighty with my students today, and I cried (yes, actually CRIED) during first hour while I was reading the end. I was so emotional about it that I had to have two students read the last two chapters aloud to the class because I just wasn't going to make it. I was kind of horrified about the whole thing, but I couldn't help myself--that book's a tearjerker! We're going to watch the movie that was adapted from the book tomorrow, and I'm sure I'll cry again during that. Ridiculous.

*Matt and I have both started listening faithfully to Dave Ramsey (okay, semi-faithfully) while we drive to/from work, and let me tell you what--I am hooked. Last weekend, on Matt's and my "date" to Hastings (the only bookstore left in Logan), I pulled out one of his books and probably read about a third of it right in the store. (Side note: this is one of our favorite free dates--go to the bookstore and just read all night long for free). I was especially gratified to learn that Matt and I are already on Baby Step 3 (have 3-6 months' worth of expenses in savings), which is way ahead of where most people start. Of course, after researching grad school...yeah.... Have any of you gotten bit by the Dave bug?

*Speaking of Dave, I put a quote I really love by him here.

*K, I'm still playing Angry Birds. What is WRONG with me? Except now, it's gotten so bad that I actually have to go back and try to beat all of Matt's scores every time I play. Ridiculous.

*Yesterday, after playing Angry Birds for far too long, I felt guilty for being so idle and unproductive that I went on Family Search and did a bunch of indexing. What's funny is that every single time I do indexing, I always think to myself how much I enjoy it and how I really should do it more often, yet I still don't do it all that often. I really must resolve to change that.

*I'm still feeling a little sore in my hips after my 20-miler (and I'm still kinda walking like a pregnant lady), so I'm *gasp!* not going to do my run today. I feel super guilty about it (although I shouldn't), but I AM going to go take out Matt's bike for a little spin (the first time I will have done so since fall). Exciting!

*For our assembly at the middle school today, we watched part of the little musical that they're going to be putting on this week. I'll just say this--there is a vast difference between a musical done by 7th-graders and a musical done by 12th-graders. Young boys' changing vocal chords, for one...

*Our apartment is really still quite clean from the Big Cleaning Party we had to prepare ourselves for a little dinner party we had on Sunday with another couple in our ward. It's a spring cleaning miracle.

*Getting ready for graduation (especially when you're going into teaching) is such a pain. That's all.

What are you up to this week? Goodness knows I need some funny stuff to get my mind off of grad school and future job hunting...and not running...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Here's What's Cooking...Creamy White Chicken Chili

Okay, so I know I already did a white chicken chili recipe on here. But this new recipe that I got from a friend at church is just WAAAY too amazing not to share. Seriously, I just made this recipe last week, and I'm already itching to make it again. The best part? It's much quicker than the other white chili recipe I posted (although not quite as healthy. So if you're going for healthy but still delicious, check out the other one). Did I already say how amazing this chili is? Oh, and I can't forget to mention that she won our church's chili cookoff with this recipe :)

Creamy White Chili (c/o of Jackie Auman)
Serves 8

1 medium onion, diced
1-1/2 tsp. fresh, minced garlic
1 tbs. vegetable oil
2 cups cut-up, cooked chicken
14.5 oz chicken broth
(2) 15.5 oz cans great northern white beans, drained & rinsed
4 oz can chopped mild chilies
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

Heat up oil in a skillet and saute garlic and onion until softened. Add chicken, chicken broth, beans, chilies, salt, both peppers, oregano, and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and whipping cream. Serve immediately. (Reheats great, too!)

Oh man, in between the drizzle outside and my goal to index 30 more names before Matt gets home from school, I am just craving this like crazy now. Good thing I have an awesome chicken and rice dish baking in the oven, otherwise I'd be running to the store like a madwoman for some more chicken and whipping cream, and stat!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Marathon Training, Week Twelve

This is about how I felt on Mile 17 of Saturday's long run--in need of a solid bathroom break and with no finish line in sight. But I did it! I really did it! I ran 20 miles straight without having to stop to walk once! I'm still kind of in disbelief, actually. As a matter of fact, the only thing that makes me believe that I actually did it is the fact that my hip hurts so bad that I've been waddling like I'm 8-months pregnant ever since. Matt's been about to ask me multiple times today why I'm walking so slow all the time, but then he'll laugh as soon as he remembers. Mean.

So we are now officially less than one month away from Marathon Day, and after being able to successfully complete this first 20-miler (trust me, I was nervous before--I wasn't sure I could do it), I'm finally feeling confident that I can really do this whole marathon thing. And major bonus: lately I have started to notice some serious changes in my body. I mean, for the first time ever, I can really feel some abs coming through, and my legs have some serious definition coming into them. I didn't start all this training to lose weight or anything and I was actually pretty happy with where my body was before all this, but marathon training has made me start to discover what my body is really capable of. And I'm loving it--every day as I'm out running, I send a prayer of gratitude up to my Father in Heaven for the blessing of having a strong, energetic body that is capable of such a heavy load. I can't believe how quickly my body has been able to adapt to the increased mileage, and it makes me want to try out all sorts of new things when the marathon is all said and done just to see what I'm capable of. I can't wait!

High Point: Getting past the 18-mile mark on my 20-miler; I was so nervous to do another really long run just because my 18-mile run a few weeks ago had not gone over well at all--I felt broken and beaten at the end of it, and I was seriously doubting whether I would be ready for a full marathon. But on this last run, I was able to get past all that fear; I knew I was going to be fine when I was still feeling pretty good around Mile 17 (on the last 18-miler, I was losing it around Mile 14). And even though I didn't run it as fast as I would have liked, I sure am proud of myself for doing it!

Low Point: My Thursday run. I was supposed to do 8 miles, but I had to cut it short after 4.5 because I felt so sick and in dire need of a bathroom. I'll have to watch my diet very, very closely right before the marathon so that I don't run into that problem again. If any of you have any good suggestions of things that have sat well with you before a big race, let me know!

# of Miles Run: 29

Avg. Time Per Mile: If you go by my 20-mile average time, about 11 minutes/mile. I know that's quite a bit slower than normal, but hopefully if I can pick up the pace slightly, I'll be able to do the marathon in just over 4.5 hours.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday Tell-All


*I am probably a little obsessed about the color combination of blue and grey. I think I wear it at least three times a week. But how can I help it, when it's just so darn easy?

*America's Next Top Model started three weeks ago. How is it that I just found out about it this last weekend? COME ON, PEOPLE!

*Speaking of ANTM though, I'm a little disappointed with the whole theme running behind this season. I think they must be losing fans or something because all of this stuff they keep changing (first the petite season, then the All-Star season, and now this Yanks vs. Brits thing). I think it's just dragging the whole thing down. Why can't good things just always stay the same?

*Although I know I'm abnormal when it comes to my freakish love of books, I think I still try and give the average human being the benefit of the doubt when it comes to recognition of classic literature. However, lately my faith has been growing dimmer and dimmer, as evidenced by the following two examples:
-The other day I was at the plasma center, deeply engrossed in reading Great Expectations (side note: this is about the fifth time I've tried to take this sucker on. It's my mom's favorite book of all time, so I know it must be amazing, but I just have never been able to make it through it. But I think this time's the winner). My phlebotomist came over to me and started trying to distract me while he was getting ready to yank the needle out of my arm. He casually asked me what I was reading. After I replied, he looked at the book blankly and said, "Oh. Never heard of it." Obviously I must be no good at hiding any sort of emotion because he could definitely tell that I was surprised. Then he tried to recover by saying something like, "Well who's it by?" After I replied, "Charles Dickens--the same guy who wrote A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities," he just gave an awkward laugh and then hastily moved on to the next patient. The incident bugged me for the rest of the evening. Actually, let's be honest--it's still bugging me today.
-The other week I went to the job fair on campus, just to have a gander at all the different careers that I am not educated for and have no chance of getting into. Since there didn't seem to be many booths that offered anything that even remotely could coincide with my degree, I decided to go stop at the State of Utah's booth to see what was available as far as education went. One of the ladies kindly offered me the names of some contacts I could get in touch with for more information. One of the last names was "Fitzgerald," and I casually asked, "Oh, like the author? [meaning the spelling]." She gave me a puzzled look and asked, "What author?" To which I replied, "F. Scott Fitzgerald." She shrugged. When I then offered, "He was the one who wrote The Great Gatsby," she gave an uncomfortable laugh that gave herself away, and I walked away feeling morose, all faith lost in the average American.

*Matt somehow convinced me to start playing Angry Birds on Facebook. Although I think the game is absolute rubbish (and quite possibly the most ridiculous time-waster known to man), I somehow find myself coming back and playing it over and over again...can they put drugs into computer games?

*Tomorrow is this big Teacher Fair thing on campus where all the school districts from all over the state come and do interviews and do networking among the students at  USU. Can I just be bluntly honest and say that I am scared to death? I want a teaching job SOOO bad after I graduate (just because I think it would kill me to have experienced a job that I love so very much only to have to go back and work in an office), and tomorrow is kind of a big deal. I have been stressing over it all week, even though in all reality, it probably won't inhibit or increase my chances very much of getting a job here in Cache Valley. But you never know. Which is why I am going tomorrow, armed and dangerous with my three letters of recommendation and updated resume, fully prepared to expect nothing yet hope for a miracle. Yikes.

*Our friend Kayla is coming to stay with us tonight, since she is also coming to the Teacher Fair tomorrow. You know what this means...CATAN!!

*I currently have 3 full-size candy bars in my purse and a 4.5-mile run to complete. Do you think they'll balance each other out?

*We finally busted out the Kitchen-Aid my sister gave us for our wedding, and can I just say that I don't think I've ever really baked before this moment? This machine is amazing, and it makes me want to cook from dawn until dusk. (And I would, too, if it wasn't for the stupid clean-up...).

*I didn't win the writing contest that I entered a couple months ago. Although I'm trying not to get bummed out over it, I am. I was going to use the million billion dollars I would have gotten to go towards a new camera. Oh well. The show must go on.

*Today I moved this girl from where she had been sitting next to her very-recently-dubbed boyfriend to a table all by herself in the classroom (since I was sorely tempted to kick them both out of class if they wouldn't be quiet and work already). From the furious reaction I got from the students, you'd think I would have ripped a family apart or something. It reminded me of that line in Dan in Real Life: "You're a murderer of LOVE!" And so there you go, folks--that's me: Mrs. Murderer-of-Love herself.

*I went to the caucus meetings last Thursday, just like I said I would. And you know what? I'm really glad I did. I firmly resolve from this time forward to be much more involved in my community than I have hitherto been. My only complaint? Someone totally should have brought cupcakes.

*Well, I have been putting off my run far too long as it is. Best get up and go at 'em. Right after I snarf down one of these candy bars...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fresh-Made Salsa and New Bangs

We acquired a lot of produce over the weekend thanks to another Bountiful Basket from my mom, so we figured what better way to start using it all than by making homemade salsa?
 I used to work in a Mexican food booth on campus for a couple years, and while there, I learned how to make a simple (but delicious!) basic pico de gallo salsa that is now my go-to recipe.

Basically all you do is mix a favorable blend of fresh tomatoes, red onions, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and freshly-squeezed lime until you reach your desired spiciness level.

Apparently our spicy level is sore-throat-inducing hot, because that's what I woke up to the next morning.

It was totally worth it.

I also had fun trying out new hairstyles on the new 'do, and I think I like it best when my bangs are full-on blunt and not sideswept.

What do you think?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Hair, New Woman

Don't you just love how a new haircut/color can just make you feel like reborn?

With this new 'do, I'm feeling a bit maybe I'll go to bed at 11 instead of 10:30 tonight.

Rebellion, here I come!

And just in case you were wondering what I'd look like with black teeth, here you go:

Marathon Training, Week Eleven

Remember when I said that my motivation was directly proportional to the temperature outside?

Well, apparently my suffering is also directly proportional to the temperature outside.

If the temperatures are bitterly cold, I have no motivation, but at least the run itself is pretty easy.

If the temperature outside is a beautiful, sunny 60-degrees or higher, I have all the motivation in the world to go out in it. But then I must endure the most miserable runs of my life, as my body struggles to understand how to run long distances in heat (which I am obviously not used to doing).

Needless to say, my two shorter runs this week were actually pretty difficult, considering the soaring temperatures and the beating sun. (I will interject here that I LOVE the springlike weather we're having...when I'm not running, that is.)

I am happy to report though that our long run yesterday was fabulous; we had perfect, overcast weather (50 degrees with a slight breeze) and my body felt like it could fly, I had so much energy. Basically, it was night and day different than my 18-mile run last Saturday, which left me feeling defeated and broken.

It's funny how three miles can make such a difference.

High of the Week: Coming off of my 15-mile run and discovering that I'd run the entire thing at a faster pace than normal (I always just shoot to finish the long runs without stopping--I don't even focus on speed). Oh, and catching up to Matt during the long run yesterday at Mile 10. That felt pretty amazing (of course, he'd stopped at the gas station to take a bathroom break, which bought me a few minutes). I've discovered that I definitely have good days and bad days for running, and I am just praying that marathon day will catch me on a good day.

Low of the Week: Running in the sun was so difficult for me to get used to--I was constantly thirsty, and I felt like my body weighed 300 pounds. Of course, that fact might also have been due to my body still recovering from last Saturday's 18-miler, but still...

# of Miles Run: 25 

Avg. Time Per Mile: 9 minutes, 45 seconds

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quick Chicken Linguine

I am constantly on the lookout for recipes that are quick, simple, and relatively low-calorie (not to mention delicious, duh). I've been trying out tons of new recipes lately, and almost all of them have just knocked our socks off (or at least made us loosen our belts so we could go back for seconds and thirds!). The picture above is the only picture I was able to get of this tasty dish because it was promptly snarfed up as soon as it was finished. Sorry!

Quick Chicken Linguine (adapted from the "Turkey Linguine" recipe in Taste of Home's Prize Winning Recipes 2007--have you noticed yet how I couldn't live without this magazine?!)

Estimated Cooking/Prep Time: About 30 minutes

1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil OR 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon OR 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme OR 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
8 ounces linguine or pasta of your choice, cooked
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet or wok, stir-fry chicken in oil for 2 minutes. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir for one minute. Add broccoli, carrots, basil, tarragon, thyme, and pepper; stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender (I don't like my vegetables real crisp, so I actually cooked them for a bit longer, like 7-8 minutes).

Combine cornstarch and broth until smooth; add to chicken mixture. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a boil; cook 2 minutes longer. Serve over linguine; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Yield: 4 servings

Hope you have a delicious weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Colored Pants: Yes or No?

 I have a dilemma, folks:

To buy colored pants, or not to buy colored pants?

I have seemingly seen colored pants cropping up everywhere, like on blogs and on Pinterest and all around our little ol' town of Logan.

I think I like the idea of them, and I've been toying around with the thought of actually buying some for myself.

But what if I look back in fifteen years and think, "What on earth was I thinking?"    

To buy or not to buy, that is the question...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book #5: Crossed

Title: Crossed
Author: Ally Condie
# of Pages: 367
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Series

I seem to be finishing the majority of my books at the plasma center must be because I have nothing else to distract me, like our laptop or Matt. I debated whether I should put off reading Crossed until the release date for the third book in the trilogy was closer (it won't be out until later this year), but I just couldn't wait.

When you gotta know, you gotta know.

Crossed continues to follow the story of Cassia from where she left off in Matched (see my review for that first book in the trilogy here), and I'm kind of wondering how much to tell of the plot since I don't want to spoil anything for anyone. Let's just say this--after her twisted love triangle thing finally leads Cassia to realize that the society in which she lives is, well, awful, she decides to go out and take her chances and try to find the gathering rebellion group (otherwise known as The Rising). Her divided feelings of love become less complicated in this second novel, but she also discovers that loving one person can be complicated enough.

Condie makes a pretty significant change in this second book because she goes from just narrating the story from Cassia's point of view to narrating it from both Cassia's AND Ky's point of view (Ky is the one who Cassia was accidentally "matched" with from the first book---kinda). The double narration at times made the plot seem a little more choppy and confusing, but it also gave the story more depth than before, probably because Ky's character is more complex than Cassia's. While parts of this book seemed a little slow, I'm interested to see how Condie is going to handle wrapping everything up in the final book, and it was overall a fun read.

I'm curious to see if this trilogy will take off like The Hunger Games did, since they both play on the dystopian society/love triangle thing. Except this one has less violence in it. Mostly, anyway. I think if they did a movie of this series, they could probably mush all the books together into one long film. Of course, I think that's what should have been done with Hunger Games (considering that it's basically the same story written 3 times), but I digress.

Anyhow, this series is fun and engaging, and I'm excited for the last book to come out. If you have read this series, I'd love to know what you think.

Now comes the waiting...

My Rating: 4 Stars

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Tell-All

*Daylight savings has just been killing me lately--you know it's bad when one of your students notices how snippety you seem and asks, "Are you really tired today, Mrs. Meidell? You don't look so good." Well said.

*Speaking of not feeling good, Matt's been feeling pretty weird since our long run--like having vertigo and feeling nauseated. I would much rather have me be sick than him any day. Although it was pretty great that we both conked out at about 9:30 last night due to it.

*Before the vertigo/sickness kicked in last night again though, we DID have a chance to go out and play tennis for about an hour in the glorious sunshine. I love these first few spring-like days--it's like feeling the sun for the first time ever on your skin, and you feel like you'll never take it for granted again. As far as the tennis goes, well...let's just say, I haven't played in a LONG time. Months. And it showed, considering that I lost almost every game. We still had a blast though.

*Yesterday, Matt made his first-ever new recipe from scratch on his very own, while I was at school (he's on spring break this week). It was this delicious creamy ham and pasta recipe, and it turned out fantastic. The man's a natural, I tell you what...

*After tennis last night, we snuggled up on the couch with cookies and cream ice cream and watched Matilda. What a perfect way to spend family night. And then I discovered that Matt hasn't read any books by Roald Dahl and I decided right then and there that I'll be reading them all aloud to him as we go on road trips later this year. I'm sure he's really thrilled. Because he should be.

*I wish the school day were over already so that I could go home and see how The Bachelor turns out. I'm pretty sure I can probably already guess, but I'm still excited.

*Since Matt's on spring break and I'm not (I have to have spring break when the middle school does, which isn't until April), we made up a bucket list of things we could do this week so that Matt will still feel like he was able to at least have some fun over his spring break. Among other things, we're hoping to go canoeing, treat ourselves to Texas Roadhouse, go to the library, give each other nice massages after our next long run, and go on a spring photo walk. Hopefully Matt feels better soon, so we can start having ourselves some spring break time!!

*I'm getting a free facial tomorrow night through a Mary Kay consultant who contacted me out of the blue. I hope it's a legit facial because I've never had one, and I'm excited! My face needs some lovin' after all the dirt and sweat and grime I put it through on my long runs.

*I had a kid the other day (one of my noisier students) who, in response to me threatening to keep the class after because they were being so loud, say, "Really? For how long?" To which I replied, "All day, if I want." And then he said, "Awesome! I love your class. That would be great!" Hmmm...guess I'll have to change my threatening tactics...

*I think I'm going to go to the caucus this week. Even though I hate politics, I see what's going on in education and know I have to stay involved, even though it's not generally my cup of tea. Guess we'll see how it goes. Are you planning on going to one?

*I finally set up a hair appointment for this Saturday. I figured after 6 months, it was probably time to go in again. Here are pictures of the color/cut that I'm going to bring to the stylist:

(my future hair color on the left, haircut on the right)

What do you think?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Triple Birthday Threat

March 11th is all excitement at our house, because we get to celebrate not just one, but THREE birthdays: my brother's, my stepdad's, and my grandma's.

It's awesome.

Since my grandma has been recovering from a serious ankle break, we had the entire extended family up to the rehabilitation center for Bingo ("Bloom") and cake and ice cream.

Even though Matt and I couldn't stay the whole time because we had to head back up to Logan before it got too late, we still had a great time spending time with family and getting competitive over the Bingo prizes (we had our eye on the Sunny Delight, but we ended up coming home with muffin mix--still a pretty great prize).

Below are the three beaming birthday people
(my brother turned EIGHTEEN, people--that is offically weird):

And, because you can't do a birthday post without the blowing-out-the-candles pic, here you all go:

Hope you three enjoyed your special day--we love you all!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Marathon Training, Week Ten

Besides these awesome "motivational posters" that I found this week on, it's been a tough week of training. First, we had the freak snowstorm at the beginning of the week, which prevented me from going out for any kind of run until Wednesday. And then, when Mr. Winter finally decided to cut me a break (and I went out on my run feeling all high and mighty and like ten miles wouldn't be an issue), I immediately got one of the worst sideaches of my life not even a quarter of a mile into the run, and I actually had to WALK when I hit mile two. People, I have not walked since the second week, I believe. And it stunk. I had been planning on doing ten miles that day, but because of the side stitch, I had to cut it down to a measly four. And then I ran nine miles the next day to make up for it.

Walking must have been the order of the week or something, because yesterday, when Matt and I attempted our first 18-miler, I had to take little ten-foot walking breaks every half-mile for the last six miles to drink my Powerade (since I'm not coordinated enough to drink and run at the same time, unless I want to look like a two-year-old just learning how to drink Kool-Aid). And let's face it--I needed to take the little 10-second walking breaks because I thought I was going to die.

I really did.

Saturday was the warmest day we've had yet on a run-day, and it was kind of awful. I'm used to running in 40-degree weather (or colder), so almost-70-degree weather was killer. I got thirsty MUCH quicker, and I felt out of gas MUCH sooner than normal. Usually, I wouldn't start to hit a wall until Mile 13 or 14 or so, but I was really feeling bad starting at Mile 10. And then the weirdest thing happened---during the last five miles or so, I started to get very emotional and had to keep distracting myself so I wouldn't cry (because then my throat started to tighten up and I couldn't breathe). I think it was because I started to get this thought in my head that I wasn't going to make it, and I've never hit against failure yet in my training---I've pretty much been able to do everything thrown at me. Long story short, Matt and I both were able to finish the 18-mile run, but both of our times were WAY slower than what we're used to. I mean, earlier this week, I'd shaved 21 seconds off of my time, but then on this last run, I was only doing my miles in just under 11 minutes. It was discouraging, to say the least, especially since I'd done the 16-mile run last week in pretty good time (and with way more energy).

But there's always next time.

I will say this though--Matt's mom was waiting for us at the six-mile point on Saturday with orange slices and these little gooey squares (I forget what they're called), and let me tell you, those orange slices were the BEST thing that I have ever tasted.

Anyway, this next week, we're taking a little bit of a break and doing a 15-mile run on Saturday instead of kicking it up to 20 like we'd originally thought. I'll also be starting to go swimming on some of my cross-training days (hopefully), so that should help to keep me in top shape.

Only a month and a half until marathon day...

High Point: Easily completing my 9-mile run on Thursday, and then discovering that I'd run each mile 20 seconds faster than I normally do. Awesome!

Low Point: A toss-up between the sideache of death and the last six miles of Saturday's run---both just made me want to keel over and give up. Or die. One of the two.

# of Miles Run: 31

Avg. Time Per Mile: 9 mins, 39 seconds (for the mid-length run), a little under 11 for the long run.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Motivation for Marathon Runners

Since I had some free time during prep today at the school, I decided to check out the Runner's World website and read up on some marathon tips (which made me feel like I've been slacking way too much lately and need to get my butt into my running spandex, and stat!). While there, I found all these "motivational" posters, which just might be the funniest things I've experienced all week (and that's saying something, considering that I spend the majority of my day around 13-year-olds).

I am so ready to go out and run 10 miles today.



Get out there and run, already!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Family Night, Bieber Style

This is what we do for family night when Matt has a pending haircut the next day:

We turn him into Justin Bieber, of course.

Then we laugh and take pictures and say how weird it's going to be when he has short hair.

But when all is said and done, he's still the handsomest hubby no matter what!

Tuesday Tell-All

*Remember how a few weeks back, I asked for meatless recipes because we hadn't been buying meat cuz it was so expensive? Well, I have been completely overwhelmed by the generosity of so many to ensure that we don't accidentally go all vegetarian on everyone. Not only was there the random bag of meat put on our door, but we also received loads of meat from my mom this last weekend as well as even more meat today (about a quarter cow's worth) from one of our sisters-in-law. People are so good to us. We love you guys!

*I'm excited to show you all what we did for family night last night. Hopefully I'll be able to get that post up shortly after this :)

*K, our tax return? AWESOME. It turned out that we're getting WAY more back than we thought we were thanks to the education credit, and it's looking like all systems are go for us going on this cruise to Alaska in August. Woo hoo!

*I finally bought a swimsuit that I can actually go lap swimming in. It makes me look chest-less and squeezed-in everywhere, but it will be perfect for slicing through the water like a shark when I start lap swimming later this week (hopefully).

*I've been having an in-depth discussion for the past two days with my students about bullying (because it's a subject that comes up a lot in the book we're about to start reading together), and let me just say, I am so glad that I am out of middle school. Some of the stories they shared with me are just heartbreaking.

*I finally got a chance to start the second book in the Matched series. It shouldn't be too long before I'm done with it. I know this though---I like it so far!

*K, The Bachelor Tell-All episode last night (that we watched today)? Hmmm...

*I didn't go running today because of the snow and I feel a little terrible about it. I'd best make it up tomorrow, or Saturday is going to be even harder than usual...

*This has been an excellent week for me as far as teaching goes. I mean, I usually have pretty good weeks anyway, but this week has been very validating for me--I got an incredible evaluation yesterday from my university supervisor, my students have really been opening up with me and providing valuable insight the past couple days, and I feel like I'm just starting to really fit in over there at the middle school. Love that!

*I think I need to get better at re-mixing my clothes, because I'm starting to get REALLY sick of all the "professional" clothes that I wear to the school. Anyone got any suggestions on how I can spice it up?

*I may or may not have bought the movie Matilda with my recently-acquired plasma money. It was in the $5 bin, all right?

*My parents sent us home on Sunday with a big block of Tillamook extra-sharp cheddar cheese. It is now  half gone. As are our salt crackers.

*I tried this recipe last night for a fast and easy dinner for us both. So good!

*Speaking of dinner, I'd best go get it started. What are you up to today?

Monday, March 5, 2012


All right, I've been tagged. I guess I'll play along, in the spirit of procrastination that I'm in :)
Game rules:
1. post these rules.
2. post a photo of yourself and 11 random things.
3. answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
5. go to their blog/twitter and tell them you've tagged them.

11 Random Things That You Probably Could Have Gone Without Knowing

1. As if the picture above isn't obvious proof, I am very awkward the second you put me in front of a camera. I would much rather be the one behind the lens than the one in front of it. The weird thing is that I secretly (or I guess not so secretly now) would love to be more photogenic and natural in front of cameras. Of course, that would involve being in front of cameras more, which would just make me feel awkward. The cycle is vicious, people.

2. I have real issues with how full I like my glasses of milk. I am psychologically incapable of drinking a full glass of milk. I can drink two half glasses, but not a full glass. When Matt pours me a full glass, I just make him finish it.

3. If our room is too hot at night, I start having strange, repetitive dreams that usually involve me obsessively repeating some hated task over and over again. As a result, I make Matt turn down the heat every night before bed (or I do it myself, on the rare night I remember before I'm upstairs).

4. I hated cheesecake for about 3 years after I worked at a reception center for my first job. I have since gotten over that hurtle in life.

5. I was in a musical once in high school, and I loved it. I have wanted to be in another musical ever since.

6. I am dreading the day when Matt and I have the inevitable fight over whether or not we will ever get a dog (I say absolutely not, Matt says absolutely).

7. In 2 days, Matt and I will have been married ten months, and we've never had a fight.

8. So that dog fight should be pretty interesting.

9. I think I'm the only student teacher in the history of the world who will be sad to see my student teaching experience end. The only thing that would make it less sad is if I get hired as a teacher right away and then actually get PAID for what I love doing. Wouldn't that be amazing?

10. I just bought a big ol' gallon of cookies and cream ice cream that I'm seriously considering having for dinner.

11. I hate Walmart. I can go months and months without stepping foot in it. (I say this because I actually went there today. Miserable place.)

11 Questions From Petrice

1. What is one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for you?

Well, this is hard to narrow down, but five years ago, my almost 3-year-old nephew passed away unexpectedly, and I was overwhelmed at all the acts of kindness (big and small) that were offered to me and my family. One of my best friends made the drive home to Bountiful with me just so that I wouldn't have to go alone, my Relief Society president brought me dinner every night for a week, my roommates got me flowers and listened and comforted me for hours and was actually one of the times in my life when I have felt the very most loved.

2. When has a stranger impacted your life for good?

I have been able to go to college debt-free thanks to the kindness of many, many strangers who had the generosity and goodwill to "give back" to the same university that they themselves had graduated from or worked at. I will forever be grateful to their sacrifices, and plan to give back myself to the university someday.

3. What is something nice a family member has done for you?

I have an aunt that used to take us out for lunch on every single one of our birthdays all the years that we were growing up. That time with her meant so much to me, and I have many fond memories of her telling me about her travels around the world and her encouragement for me to go after my dreams.

4. What is one of the nicest things one of your parents has ever done for you?

Well, this is impossible to narrow down, so I'll just name the first one that came to mind. While I was on my mission, my mom literally wrote me a tangible letter (snail mail!) every single week I was out (PLUS she always wrote me an email). At a time when I was hundreds and hundreds of miles away from my family, those letters meant EVERYTHING to me. But my mom does awesome things for me all the time, like buying me a Bountiful Basket this last week and sending me flowers at work when she knew I was having a hard day.

5. What is one of the nicest things one of your parents has ever done for you?

I couldn't very well leave my dad out of the equation, so I'll just list a couple of the first things that came to mind for him. On my mission, my dad also wrote me letters and emails frequently--I loved that he included excerpts from his own mission journals when he wrote me. That was an amazing experience for me to read what he himself had written as a missionary 30 or so years ago. Just a couple weeks ago, my dad designed book covers for each one of my 7th grade classes so that they could make a class "book" of their personal narratives, even though he was swamped with his own work. My parents have always been the best examples to me of sacrifice, generosity, and kindness.

6. What teacher has had the greatest impact on your life?

There's many, many teachers that have had a lifelong influence on me, but two come to mind immediately: my high school creative writing teacher and my high school AP Literature teacher. My writing teacher fanned my passion for creative writing (I honestly don't know if I would have had the same passion for it if I wouldn't have taken her class), and my AP Lit teacher made me want to become a teacher myself (and she helped me to really understand how to fully appreciate classic literature). I only hope that someday I can have the same kind of effect on some student that those teachers had on me.

7. Who is someone you look up to? Why?

Actually, Petrice (the friend who tagged me), is someone I very much look up to. She is one of the kindest, most intuitive paople I have ever met--she always has a kind word for me, and she can literally make anything beautiful. She is a patient, loving, strong mother of two, and she has so much faith. I admire her greatly, and hope that I can be as in tune with spiritual things as she is one day.

8, 9, 10, 11. In what ways has someone else influenced your life for good with their talents, kindness, or love?

My stepdad is one of the greatest men I know--he is ALWAYS going out of his way to serve Matt and me and help us out in whatever way he can. And he's not just like that with family--he's like that with everyone. Just this last weekend, he took my car, changed the oil, fixed the windshield wiper, and filled it with gas (all as a gift). He has bailed me out numerous times when I've been lost or had car troubles, and I love talking to him. He also has some of the most impressive social gifts that I've ever seen--he can make friends anywhere, and remember them for years.

My best friend Kayla has been with me through thick and thin, and there has been numerous times that she has been my shoulder to cry on, my friend to laugh with, my go-to man to call when I'm in need. I couldn't have imagined my life without her.

Of course, this post couldn't be complete if I didn't thank my amazing hubby. Not a day goes by that I don't feel intense gratitude in my heart for all that he does for me and all that he is---that man still packs my lunch for me every day AND makes my breakfast every morning. He is pure love, and he treats me like a queen every day. Even when we weren't dating, he treated me that way. Even when I wrote him off, he stayed by my side. I have never once doubted that I can count on him for everything and anything. I fall more and more in love with him every day, and I'm so grateful that he was willing to wait all those years for me to grow up.

Oh man, there are so many people that inspire me every day that I could never have included them all. There are so many friends that I didn't mention here by name, but who have made such an impact on me; just know that I love you all and so appreciate everything you've done for me. And that goes for all those blogger friends out there who I have yet to meet in person--you all inspire me to be my most creative self, and to be more than who I am currently.

All right, if anyone has actually made it this far, kudos to you. You are diligent and kind and stalwart. I love you, too.

I'm tagging:


1. What is your dream job?
2. What is the most recent book you have read, and what did you think of it?
3. What was the best concert you've ever been to?
4. Did you have a list of qualities growing up that you wanted in a future spouse? Did the list change, or did your significant other have all the qualities listed already?
5. Greek yogurt: yes or no?
6. Would you rather have the capacity to fly or read minds?
7. What reality t.v. show would you want to be a part of?
8. What is your go-to meal when you have to fix something up really quick? (share the recipe!)
9. What is one of your life dreams that you see yourself accomplishing in the next year?
10. When have you been the most proud of yourself?
11. What kind thing has someone done for you this week?

Can't wait to read your responses :)

Marathon Training, Week Nine

Guess what?

I ran 16 miles on Saturday.


My mind is still blown. I still can hardly believe that I (yes, me, the girl who had always considered herself a non-runner) ran 16 miles in one go. Without walking. And with just one short water (and banana piece with peanut butter) break, too.

Needless to say, I'm proud of myself.

When Matt and I went back home to Bountiful this last weekend to visit with our families, my mom asked me why I'm putting myself through this. After telling her what training is like, she remarked, "That sounds just awful."

So why am I doing this?

I'm doing it to show myself that I can.

I'm doing it to fulfill a lifelong dream.

I'm doing it to get into better shape.

I'm doing it to push my own limits.

I'm doing it to challenge myself farther than what I think I can go.

I'm doing it because I only have one life to live, and I'm going to get the most out of it that I can.

SIXTEEN MILES. I'm still on a runner's high.

High Point: Do I really have to repeat it?

Low Point: Actually running the 16 miles, lol. It felt so good when I could say I did it, but it was actually rather difficult from Mile 10 and on--my body definitely is starting to fight back. But I still have yet to get blisters or injuries or strained muscles, so we are still good to go *knock on wood*.

# of Miles Run this Week: 28

Avg. Time Per Mile: About 9:50

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Book #4: Freak the Mighty

Title: Freak the Mighty
Author: Rodman Philbrick
Pages: 160

Even when you end up loving the books that you're assigned to read, there's just something about assigned reading that makes the task ridiculously more difficult than it should be. Such was the case with me and Freak the Mighty--I've known for weeks that I would be teaching this book to my students starting this coming Monday, and I just found every excuse in the book to keep putting it off. Of course, when I finally forced myself to get going already and just get it over with, it was over before I was ready for it to be. Ah, the sweet irony of loving a book that you didn't want to start in the first place.

Freak the Mighty is a story that will rip your heart right out in the best kind of way--it's about the unlikely friendship between a learning-disabled boy in this huge body (Max) and a fearless genius in a crippled body (Kevin, otherwise known as Freak). Both boys seem to have the one thing the other supposedly lacks (brains or brawn), and their friendship takes them on adventures they never could have dreamed of alone. But when Max's father unexpectedly gets out of prison and comes after Max, the story starts hurtling in directions you never suspected.

I absolutely flew through the last 75 pages of this book because I just had to know how it all ended. And let me tell you, there I was at the plasma center with my blood getting sucked out of me, fighting back tears and anger and nostalgia at the end of the book while the people in the beds around me gave me sympathetic looks like, "Yeah, this needle thing stinks. So what?"

This book has the simple magic that is contained in so many of my favorite books from childhood--although the story is simple, the feelings that it stirred up in me were powerful, and it reminded me to be thankful for the many beautiful friends who have been sent into my life who, in many ways, complete me.

I can't wait to see how my students respond to it.

My Rating: 5 Stars
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