Tag Archives: Family

Happy Easter!


photo credit to Mom

Happy Easter! May your day be filled with love, family, sunshine and…

tulips! Have a good one! ūüôā¬†

One Step

I was never the natural athlete in the family. That was Tyler’s role. Blessed with the ability to master any sport that involved a ball, he was naturally ready to test his skills at t-ball at the young age of five. At the time, I was much more content with keeping my nose in a book and catching the latest cartoons on the Disney Channel.

So when my parents went to the local youth league to sign Tyler up for t-ball, I tagged along. Ty was ready to play but was shy and nervous to try out alone. Being the protective older sister, I reluctantly signed up with him so that we could try out together. That same day my parents bought me a glove, and with no skills whatsoever I walked out onto the field with my brother. Yes, I was the kid on the field with a stiff glove and jean shorts.

Despite my less than steller performance, I was placed on a team with Ty and we learned the game of t-ball together. Day after day, mom would sit and chat with the other moms in the bleachers and dad would hang out and help with the other coaches. Every time it was my turn to practice hitting, I would give mighty swing after swing and come up with nothing but air.

I still remember the frustration as I whiffed at each pitch thrown by our coach. But as the time went on, I got the hang of it. And by the end of the season, I was the only girl selected for the All Star team.

One step was all it took. One decision to stick by my brother. And the rest is history. We both developed a love and passion for the game.

Supporting Ty during his second season with the Cubs. I had already moved onto softball by then.

Season after season, dad would work us until we perfected our skills. Ball became our lives. Hot Florida sun or freezing Virginia temperatures, we were out on that field. During  high school we were lucky enough to live right next to a little league field. Weekends consisted of shagging grounders and pop flies. Dad would pitch us buckets and buckets of balls. And when it was too cold to practice outside, we would go to our high school gym and field grounders off of the basketball court.

Ball¬†may not have been my number one choice at the age of seven but as my love for the game grew I always had one thing¬†– the unwavering support of my parents and the constant companionship of my brother. It’s weird to think¬†that one random spring day of t-ball tryouts in Florida shaped my whole life. One step. One decision was all it took.

After I stopped playing softball during my Sophomore year of college, I had a huge void in my life. For 14 years, softball was my focus and driving force. The competitor in me knew something was missing. I was finished with softball. What was I supposed to do with myself?

After a few years of not having any fitness or athletic goals,¬†I finally found it…running. I was not a natural runner…not in the least. In college, the idea of running a mere mile before practice would cause nervous butterflies in my stomach. But one day I was motivated. One day I was pushed.¬†¬†And that push came from no other than my brother.

From shy five year old, to Marine in training, Ty underwent his first session of OCS in the summer of 2009. As the weeks passed, I became inspired by his dedication and success while he was there. His letters would detail the crucial drills, the long PTs, the endless nights of studying, and sweltering humps in the July sun. I had run out of excuses. I needed something to be drive me again. And just like that, I started running.

One step on the track led to one lap. One lap led to one mile. One mile led to three. And as summer went on, I became a runner. After I ran my first half marathon in May of 2010 I became addicted. Running meant more to me than exercise. Running became a way to achieve goals, a way to stay in shape, a way to improve and push myself further than I ever thought possible. Running became my new driving force.

All it took was one step. One step day after day. One step further than the day before. This morning, the last thing I wanted to do was layer up and go running. I was so warm and sleeping hard with Bill curled up on my legs. But I took that step to get out of bed, then one more step to my closet to change, and finally that one step to begin my run. Now, my run for the day is finished and I am one step closer to my goals and dreams of becoming a better runner.

So what’s the point of all of this? To illustrate that one small step is all it takes to change everything. Whether it’s taking the step to better health, signing up for a gym membership, registering for a 5k, or doing your first triathlon…all you need to do is take that first step.

No goal or dream is too big. It just takes one step.

Christmas Roundup

Christmas is officially over and I’m back at work. Total bummer. I always enjoy the days leading up to Christmas more than the actual day. Once the day comes, it’s all kind of sad because it means it’s almost all over. But what a good day it was!

Marcus and I opened up our presents on Christmas Eve afternoon. Obviously, we still have that child-like excitement when it comes to gifts. We just couldn’t wait.

My big present to Marcus was an iPad 2. I’ve had it on layaway since October. I took every ounce of control I had to keep this gift a secret. He was so happy with it. I am too. We’ve both been playing with it non-stop.

His big present to me were my personalized Nike Frees. I needed new ones for my 2012 races. And he went a step further and designed and personalized them! How awesome are these babies?!

He also made sure to get me lots of running gear to match, all Under Armour. I am going to be one¬†bright runner this season! ūüôā

After Christmas movies and a relaxing night, we woke up Christmas morning and headed to my parents house. Over there, we had breakfast and MORE presents.

We had a ton of fun going around and opening up our gifts one by one. I think everyone was happy with what they got, but more than that we had some quality some together.

After a few hours over there, we had to switch gears and get ready for Christmas number two!

At Marcus’ mom’s house we had Christmas dinner with his whole family. Lots of people, lots of food, lots of fun. Marcus has a big family, so it’s always great to get together and just laugh and play games. It’s one of my favorite things about the holidays.

After all the food, presents, and excitement, I turned in early and slept in late. Every attempt I made at working out was halted by the idea of more sleep and more time to relax. Initially, I felt guilty but I figured one day of extreme laziness wouldn’t kill me. Marcus’ nephews spent the night and all four of us spent pretty much the whole day watching movies, eating and napping.

It was definitely a day of recharging and relaxing, which was much needed. But I have to admit, I was really happy to drink a protein shake this morning, pack a big salad for lunch and plan for a run today. Being back in the routine feels good!

And more than anything, I am just so happy and blessed to have such a wonderful family (x2) and fiance. I don’t know what I did to deserve these amazing people in my life, but I’m sure glad I have them. ‚̧

Have a fab one! ūüôā

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas, friends! I hope your day was filled with presents, cats (or dogs, birds, fish), family and tons of food. Thanks for reading. I love you all! ‚̧

Holiday Traditions

I didn’t blog yesterday. I kept meaning to, but just got lazy. Eh, it happens. To make up for my lack of posting, I am here to deliver a steller¬†holiday survey. Because I know all of you out there are Nosey Nellies and love reading people’s responses to mundane questions. Wait, is that just me?

Ah well, here are my awesome holiday traditions given to you MySpace survey style:

Eggnog or hot chocolate?

I like both, but don’t HAVE to have either. I much prefer Starbucks’ seasonal coffee.

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Santa always left our presents unwrapped beside the tree. Tyler had a massive pile and I had a massive pile. After digging through our stockings, we would check out what Santa left us and THEN open up all the wrapped gifts. The whole process took about an hour. That’s one hour of unwrapping gift after gift. Christmas was awesome when we were kids!

Colored lights on tree/house or white?

We’re not much of a white light family. The more color and flash, the better. So we go with colored lights inside and outside.

Do you hang mistletoe?

Nope, never have. But I think it’s cute. I should get some next year!

When do you hang your decorations up?

In October….no just kidding. Usually Thanksgiving weekend although this year they went up the week¬†of Thanksgiving. I just couldn’t wait.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Every Christmas morning my mom makes biscuits¬†and gravy. After unwrapping presents, mom gets to work on Christmas breakfast. It’s definitely my favorite meal of the day.

Favorite holiday memory as a child?

When we were younger, Ty and I used to sleep together in the den on Christmas Eve and count down the hours until we could wake up mom and dad. We would watch A Christmas Story (because it plays repeatedly on Christmas Eve/day). We were always too excited for presents to sleep.

This is not us sleeping on Christmas Eve. This is me choking a kitten and Tyler’s big, bald, baby dome.

What is on your Christmas wish list?

The main thing I asked for this year was running stuff. I need new shoes for the 2012 season. I never spend money on running gear, so I’m excited to see what I get!

Buy me more of these!

Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve?

As kids, we opened our Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve. Then we took our annual picture in front of the tree with one of the pets if we were able to wrangle them long enough for a pic.

Since living together, Marcus and I have opened our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve because we always go to my parents house early Christmas morning.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

My family’s tree is¬†decorated with colored lights, annual ornaments and lots of other random ornaments and crafts from our childhood.¬†Mine and Marcus’ tree is pretty similar except with a lot more glitter and metallic colors. ¬†

Snow? Love it or dread it?

I like it, ok. I think it’s really pretty when falling. I like to play in it for about 30 minutes, but it’s a real pain in the butt when you have to get out and drive in it. Mainly because snow in the DC area = the end of the world and 1,000,000 accidents.

Real tree or fake tree?

Real all the way. I don’t think I will ever get a fake tree.¬†¬†

Dad and I on our annual tree shopping trip.

Do you remember your favorite gift?

One year, Santa brought Ty and I a hockey net, roller blades and street hockey equipment. It was so awesome. Since we lived in Florida, it was warm enough to strap on our roller blades and play hockey all day. 

The only bad part¬†was Santa¬†left a note on the hockey goal that said, “For Taylor and Tyler.” The note was written in mom’s handwriting. And that’s how I knew mom and dad were really Santa.¬†¬†It’s ok though. Santa still left really great presents up until I left for college. Thanks Santa! ūüôā

What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?

Being with Marcus, my family and his family

You can tell a lot about us by our snuggie patterns.

What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Everything my mom makes – peanut butter blossoms, peanut butter and jelly squares, pie, cookies…it’s all good!

What is your favorite tradition?

Driving around looking at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music. Marcus and I have exciting plans to go check out lights on Saturday.

What tops your tree?

A star

Do you prefer giving or receiving?

I really think I like giving more. I am always so excited to give my gifts and seeing how my family reacts to them. I take gift buying very seriously.

What is your favorite Christmas song?

Sleigh Ride…this version because I love the horse at the end. It’s just such a classic.

Favorite Christmas movie?

Home Alone 1 and 2, although I like 2 better. We’re watching it tonight!

What do you leave for Santa?

Cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.

Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?

As kids, we woke our parents up at like 5am to see what Santa brought us. It took a long time before they were able to convince us to sleep later. Then we would run into the living room and geek out over our gifts. When it came time to unwrap presents, we¬†went order oldest to youngest, one at a time¬†– dad, mom, me, Ty. If someone had more, sometimes they got two turns. We still unwrap presents like this, except now Marcus is included in the rotation. Haha, we’re so weird.

Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall?

I usually prefer to shop at the mall because I love the decorations, but I am sad to say that I have not gone to a mall at all this season. Online shopping is just so much more convenient.

Christmas letter or Christmas card?

I like receiving them, but I don’t send any out. Mom does sometimes but I am way too lazy to do it myself. Maybe once we have a kid I will. But for now I’ll just say it like this…

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Lay it on me….what are some of your Christmas traditions? I love how every family is different! Happy Friday! ūüôā

A Family Tradition

Every year, dad and I pick out the family Christmas tree. It’s our tradition. Years ago, Tyler used to be part of the outing, but I think he lost interest. So it became a task that dad and I tackled on our own.

Last year, we let mom come along to observe only

We go to the same tree lot at a church by my old high school. Then we slowly walk up and down the aisles until a tree “speaks to us.” We never disagree on the tree. We always find the right one for us. Then we carry it to the trimming station, cut off any unnecessary branches and take it to his pickup truck to bring home. It’s a funny tradition, but one I enjoy. Dad and I our serious about our trees.

Even though I live in my own house now, we still go to the tree lot together. We just pick out and buy two trees instead of one. And because my dad is awesome, he buys my tree too. ūüôā

Once we get the tree home, it sits in the stand for a few days until the limbs settle. Then it’s time to decorate. In the meantime, mom stays busy by turning the house into a¬†Christmas wonderland. As a kid, one of my favorite things was to come home from school and see the house magically transformed. It instantly filled me with Christmas spirit.

Mom’s nutcrackers are some of my favorite decorations


Oh look, more nutcrackers…including the one I brought her back from Germany

As I mentioned before, every year Tyler and I get a new ornament to add to the tree. As a result, our tree is a big collection of random Рold elementary school picture ornaments, broken ornaments from our childhood that we are too sentimental to let go, ornaments from our travels, and of course our ornaments from mom.

Our dog, Angel got a hold of this one


Pets get ornaments too

Nice bowl haircut

25 year anniversary ornament

Ornament from Neuschwanstein castle in Germany

Last year, I got a stand mixer ornament because I was finally getting interested in cooking and baking. The year before, I got a pirate ship decorated with Christmas lights that my mom bought in San Diego.

Tyler and I are responsible for hanging out ornaments. Mom and dad hang the ones they have gotten each other over the years as well as any that we have acquired along the way. Pretty much every ornament comes with a story or good memory.

Decorating the tree as a family is always fun. It’s a tradition that I hope we can carry on for years no matter where we are in our lives. This is why I’ll never have a matchy¬†matchy¬†tree. I love the look of our hodge¬†podge, colorful tree. It’s like a scrapbook…in tree form. ūüôā

Weekend Roundup

Whew! This weekend was a busy one! It was hard to come back to work. Even though I worked half a day Friday, it still feels like I had a four day weekend.

Yes, yes I do have a case of the Mondays. Side note, I’m glad I don’t work with anyone who talks like that. I’d have to karate chop them in the face.¬†

¬†And in no particular order…here is a photo recap of my weekend. Cue music…

 Bill scoped out my tacky Christmas decorations from Five Below. He was not impressed.

¬†Marcus’ nieces, nephews and brother spent the weekend with us. We went bowling.

These two were home from college. What happened to when they looked like this? ūüė¶

Mom and I went to see Jersey Boys.

 First, we saw some people occupying DC.

Jersey Boys was amazing! I thank my mom for exposing me to the music growing up. It really made me enjoy the show because I was able to sing along.

The guy who played Frankie Valli had the most perfect, amazing voice. He sounded identical to the real Frankie Valli. I was SO impressed. 
 

And now I want to see it again!

 I made Marcus a Paleo-friendly burrito bowl Рcrock pot taco chicken, sautéed mushrooms, onions and peppers, spinach, salsa and guacamole. He loved it.

 And Bill loved the Christmas tree. He decided to sleep under it all night.

¬†I’ve been fighting a losing battle with him because he likes to bunch up the tree skirt into a bed and lay on it. So approximately every 15 minutes I straighten it out. Good thing I love him. ūüėČ

I have a race on Saturday. It’s 15k…which is a little more than 9 miles. It will be the shortest distance I’ve raced, so I’m going to try hard to really push myself and see what kind of time I can get. Go hard or go home, right?


Really?! You call that fast?

It’s a gorgeous day out.¬†Is it really almost December? Crazy Virginia weather!

Have a fab one!