Sunday, October 30, 2011

Highlights of Kauai

On our last day, we saw this.

I don't know where to START?

  1. 8 days and 7 nights in Kauai, HI
  2. Jake and I, plus 4 other couples
  3. NO KIDS! (Thanks, Jen!)
  4. 1 sunset cruise
  5. 20 dolphins swimming less than 10 feet away
  6. 7 waterfalls
  7. "supple skin" :)
  8. 2 bottles of sunblock
  9. my 1st snorkeling (with the Williams)
  10. shrimp tacos
  11. 2 snowballs (1 was cherry, the other was cherry/watermelon)
  12. 1 ukulele and a bamboo harmonica
  13. a bracelet made from shells
  14. hot tub
  15. 2 flower leis
  16. "painted abs" :)
  17. drove a Jeep
  18. a monk seal
  19. beautiful rainbow
  20. 5 gorgeous ladies in bikinis
  21. the perfect hat
  22. memories to last forever
We had SO MUCH fun! I'm so blessed. Friends, food and fun. When can we go back?

Friday, October 21, 2011


As many of you know, I have a dear friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2010. Unfortunately, I moved shortly after her news and missed being here for her during her surgeries, chemo, meds and doctor visits.

She isn't just an amazing woman. She's a wife, mother of 4 (under the age of 7), friend, PTO President (she still can't believe she signed up for that!), my swim partner and neighbor. Today I will add CANCER SURVIVOR to that honorable list. She had a series of tests that went on this week, to see if she is cancer free a year post op. SHE IS!!!! I almost choked and started crying when she sent me the text.


I am so blessed to have you in my life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Doggy Paddle... NO MORE!

Yeah, I know. I make this look SO COOL!

But let me tell you, I CAN SWIM! That's right! I'm 36 and I just recently started taking swim lessons. I knew how not to drown, but I never learned the proper strokes. Thanks to my friend, Kris, I started taking lessons about 6 weeks ago. She had asked me if I had an interest in learning and I thought it might be fun to learn. Plus, I was able to include a great workout during the end of my marathon training.

Now people keep asking me, "Are you going to do a triathlon?" NO!!! But I will continue to swim 2-3 days a week. I like it. It's actually very relaxing. (It might come in handy next week in Kauai!) I guess that saying is wrong. You CAN teach an "old" dog new tricks. :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wheatland Warrior Dash

Wheatland Elementary School had it's fall fundraiser today. They always have a jog-a-thon to raise money for various things to buy the school. Well, this year I was the chair person in charge of it. It was so in line with my interests, running and exercise. And since the president of PTO is a friend of mine, I thought I would tweak this year's jog-a-thon. I turned it into more of a "Warrior Dash". The kids had their lap of outside and lap in the gym where they ran. But while they were in the halls they had to perform challenges. They hopped, skipped, frog jumped, bear crawled, crab crawled, etc. from station to station. The parents I had volunteering, the staff that was helping and the students ALL told me it was a BLAST! I call that a success!!!!

Don't know this kid, but I like his style!

I know this one! ;)

Mrs. Unrein even got in on it with her class.

Owen and some kids crab crawling.

Some kids frog jumping.

Noah, FINALLY stopping for a snack.

Anna, very excited!

Some of Owen's class having their "pit stop" snack.

The rest of his class.

Gavin, Owen and Jake

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Hello, Dolly!"

Famous posed picture

Tonight was Owen's second grade music program. He even had a speaking part. It was very entertaining! The wide variety of songs they sang. The kids who really got into their songs. The kids who forgot their lines. It was an excellent way to spend the evening. Allie was even dancing in her row to the songs. (I think she was mad she didn't get to go on stage.)

Walking to the Andover High School

My crew hanging out before, playing on the iPad.

Allie sitting with her "girls".

Owen and Jake

Noah and Owen

The fans who came to watch.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicago Marathon 2011

Chicago Marathon 2011 (the uncensored review)

I apologize there won't be any pictures during this post. Not that I didn't take any! But I used a disposable camera and had to have the film developed and so I can't post them. :(

First, I would like to thank all of the people who were standing along the course cheering total strangers on. It was AWESOME! I want to take a brief moment to share with you some of the memorable posters/signs that I got to read as I ran all 26.2 miles.
  1. "This is the WORST parade EVER!"
  2. "Odoyle RULES!"
  3. "Honey badger DOESN'T give a shit!"
  4. "Don't stop now! Millions of people are watching!"
  5. "The pain is temporary. Quitting is FOREVER!"
  6. "Because 26.3 would be just CRAZY!"
Those were just a small sample of what I saw. There were bands and dj's playing music along the course as well. Several songs I caught myself singing to were...
  1. "Run The World (Girls)"
  2. "We Are The Champions"
  3. some Lady Gaga song, I can't think of right now
  4. some Elvis song, I can't think of right now either
Now for the highlights. (In some-what sequential order as they happened.)
  1. The 40-something male partners at the warm up area. They were hilarious, from Florida and wanted to pay Jake $10 for his Mylar blanket he brought. Lucky for me, a woman gave me an extra trash bag she had so I could stay warm.
  2. Jake smacking my butt for "good luck".
  3. Running under a wide bridge seeing several male runners just stop and pee on the wall.
  4. Seeing the Chicago Theater.
  5. Having a runner come up to me and wish me well on my first marathon. I had made a running shirt that on the back said, "My First Marathon".
  6. Stopping to take a potty break.
  7. Seeing 2 men wearing nude leotards covered in clear, empty water bottles, go-go boots, white wigs and big sunglasses dancing and singing on a stage to some Lady Ga-Ga song. (the reason I can't remember the song, they were stealing the show)
  8. Another runner came up to me and tell me good luck on my first marathon.
  9. Ran past a guy running in Crocs and had a propeller on his hat with a shirt that said, "HI GUY". I took his pic and Jake gave him props on his style.
  10. ELVIS! There was a guy on a stage singing and dressed like Elvis. I took his pick and Jake gave him a "high five". (the reason I can't remember the song... it was ELVIS!)
  11. Realizing for Chicago being called the "windy city", it wasn't windy AT ALL!
  12. Another runner came up to me and said, "Happy First Marathon!"
  13. Jake thinking he is funny and running ahead of me for about 20 feet, with his butt showing above his shorts. (FUNNY?)
  14. Seeing 2 runners ahead of me, one wearing a shirt that said "I'm the DAD" (a man in his late 50's) and the other said "I'm the SON"(a man in his 20's).
  15. Jake picking me up an orange wedge and handing it to me to eat. Then taking my picture with "orange peel smile".
  16. Stopping for Jake to take a potty break.
  17. Jake telling me to watch up ahead on the left as he runs up to a group of girls by the road. He then tells them my name and says, "On the count of 3, say 'GO, CARRIE'. 1. 2. 3. (everyone yells) GO, CARRIE!"
  18. Thinking of everyone I knew, who knew I was running this marathon and feeling very LOVED! (I have an AMAZING support group.)
  19. Running through Chinatown. I saw 2 of those Chinese dragons (people in the big costume ones).
  20. One more runner telling me, "You are doing great for your first marathon. You've obviously trained for this."
  21. Seeing a group of 5 runners all wearing a shirt that said "Abuelo" all were in their 30's but one. He was in his 70's. And his shirt said below Abuelo, "Pushing Abuelo to 26.2". (FYI-they finished right before us. ALL of them.)
  22. We walked through all the aid stations drinking water, but the last one. We wanted to finish strong and steady. By that point my legs were hurting a little when I would go from walking to running. So I figured, let's just run the rest of the way. This was after mile 24.
  23. I was eating Gu Chomps at every mile from mile 4-21. Then from 21-24, I ate a half of a banana that they were giving at aid stations.
  24. I crossed the finish line at 5:26:35. Jake crossed the finish line at 5:26:36. He wanted me to cross first.
  25. Feeling AMAZING! No tears. Just a TON of relief to have actually finished it.
  26. Walking back to the hotel and throwing up in the bathroom. (Remember those 4 half bananas I ate?)
If you ask me today, I would tell you I don't have any desire to run another marathon. I really love the idea of half marathons.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekend in Chicago

A good friend sent me a video clip on Friday from a favorite classic movie of mine and Jake. It was from "Blues Brothers". It's the scene where they get in there car and HIT IT... to Chicago. Well, that's what Jake and I did this weekend. WE HIT IT! I took a bunch of pics so I'll just fill in the blanks with captions.

What we saw at the baggage claim.

View from the cab heading into Chicago.

We got to Chicago on Friday, so after checking in we went for a walk.

Where we decided (on Friday) we would start.

This was near where we wanted to start.

View of the city from the fountain.

We then walked along Lake Michigan.

Jake enjoying the view and his Dunkin' Donuts coffee.

We were feeling a little tired, so we went to the movies. We saw "Moneyball". It was a good. Then we walked down Michigan Ave. to the hotel, but we stopped and did a little shopping.

I discovered this wonderful chocolate place and made my own box.

We woke up Saturday and walked to the Expo. It was a little walk, but very scenic.

Soldier Field. "Da Bears"

Then we got to the Expo. A runner's heaven.

I'm a little excited.

The forecast was sunny and warm.

We met Ultra-runner, Scott Jurek.

A cool wall that went through the Expo.
There were names of all the runners in the red and blue boxes.

Look who I found?

The finish line as we were taking the shuttle back to the hotel.

A cool model of the city.

Where we ate our pre-race pasta dinner.
(My friend, Kim, suggested it.)

Sign outside the restaurant.

After dinner we thought we could walk back to Michigan Ave. to buy the kids some gifts. We ended up walking 4 miles. But it was a fun walk.

The window of the Apple store.

Sunday, we ran. (That's a whole different post!) Then we went to The Peninsula Hotel Spa for 60 minute Swedish massages. (I recommend this for ALL marathoners!) Walking as new humans, we met a friend of ours for dinner at Gino's East. It was good to see him and meet his family. His girls are so cute!

Sanjeev and Divya and their daughter.

After dinner, we walked to the hotel. I stopped at Niketown and picked up my commemorative jacket that I had personalized (for free). I was tired, but very happy. This weekend was amazing!

One Happy Girl

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


While we were living in Cambridge, we loved the plants. This made us think about our home. The backyard was basically a huge grass field with a playground in the middle. So we have begun the transformation of our landscape. We have a BIG plan for the backyard, but it needs to be done in phases. Phase 1, plant some PLANTS! Yesterday that was done! Check out the pics.

before: well

after: well
(Can you see it?)

before: guest room

after: guest room



We added some garden around the edge.

More green around our tree.

Some gone, more added.

Looking good!