29 October, 2011

Too Early!

There was a very unwelcome sight outside this morning when I took Champ out. Chunks of ice in the grass!  I know it's nearly the end of October, but I'm not ready for this cold weather!

24 October, 2011

Happenings and Friend Makin' Monday

I feel like I have so many things to write about, but not enough time to write about them all!  I do have a bunch of posts that are half-written, so I'll get them posted eventually, but it might be all old news by then! :)  So let me give you a quick run-down of what's been going on in our lives:

*Champ is growing by leaps and bounds!  I weighed him last Monday and he was 26 pounds.  I weighed him this morning and he was 30.8 pounds!  Wowza....he still has tons of energy of course!  He runs circles around our house and it's hilarious to watch.  He's pretty much housetrained (except for when new people come over and he gets excited, or when he drinks a ton and we don't let him out right away!)  I have some pictures I'll be posting at some point!

*The 7th was the last day I worked at WSCS (the men's counseling office).  For years, the 2 businesses (WSCS and EC) have shared a building.  Since both of agencies are growing, WSCS decided to find a new location.  This meant that since I worked for both agencies, I needed to travel between buildings.  Not a big deal, but still....  Well, a few weeks ago, EC asked if I would work for them full time.  I asked for some time to think about it and talk it over with Mike.  I felt like it was a big decision since when I started 2 years ago, I was working primarily for WSCS and over the past year I have transitioned to doing more for EC.  After a week of praying and talking about it, Mike and I decided it was in our best interest for me to accept the offer.  I now work Mon-Thurs all day at EC, and I have Fridays off.  So far, it's going great and I love it!

*I signed up for a 5k with a group of ladies from church on November 12th.  After not running for nearly 5 weeks, I feel like I'm completely starting over again!  I certainly have my work cut out for me over the next 3 weeks, however, I have told myself that I don't have to PR at this race!

*Mike and I went to see Courageous on Saturday.  If you haven't seen it, we highly recommend it!  It was such a great movie and we both got choked up a few times.  We have the other 3 movies from Sherwood Pictures, so we'll definitely be adding this one to our collection!

*Youth group started last month, I have an incredible group of 10th and 11th grade girls.  They love to talk, and when we can keep them on topic, they have so many great things to say.  I can't wait to see where God continues to lead us this year!

I know I can come up with more to share, but that's what my next posts are for!  Now it's time for this week's edition of Friend Makin' Monday!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers.  The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Recipe Exchange

Let’s share one or two of our favorite Fall recipes this week! It’s always fun to mix things up in the kitchen!

If you've taken a look at my food blog recently, you know it's full of fall inspired apple and pumpkin recipes.  I love fall baking, and I've been able to spend more time in the kitchen now since I have Fridays off!  One of my favorite recipes is this one from Mike's mom:  Ma's Apple Crisp!

19 October, 2011

Chicago--First Anniversary

Mike and I celebrated our first anniversary with a weekend trip to Chicago.  We booked our hotel through Priceline and snagged a great deal!  We decided to take the train in from Michigan City so we wouldn't have to pay for parking.  Our hotel was about a 15 minute walk from the train station, and about 15 minutes from the beginning of the Magnificent Mile.  We were within walking distance of everything we wanted to do, so we didn't even have to pay for a taxi! 

We had an awesome went by way too quickly, but we really enjoyed our time away with no set schedule or anything we had to do!  I have a ton of pictures to share, so I hope you enjoy them all!
Our hotel room was huge!  I have to tell you about the you see that little green thing around the pillow?  They actually have a "pillow menu" so you can choose a pillow to fit your needs (soft, firm, etc).  The green tags tell you what kind of pillow you have!  The bathroom was quite large, and I was impressed by their Bath and Body Works shampoos, conditioners, and lotions! 
Our room was on the 20th floor of the hotel, and we had an incredible view of the city! 
For dinner on Friday night, we went to the famous Ed Debevic's.  Mike had eaten here once before and he really wanted me to experience it.  Mike ordered a chili was over a foot long and more a sausage than a hot dog!  I had a buffalo chicken sandwhich which was super spicy, but tasty!
The food was good, but the atmosphere is what really made the night. The restaurant is set up like a 50's diner, and the waitstaff tries to dress the part.  If you didn't know what to expect before you went, you'd think the waitstaff was incredibly rude; however, that's the point.  For instance, after we were seated, our waiter (the male in the picture), threw paper hats at us and told us to put our thinking caps on and order!  He mocked Mike for eating slowly and spilled my drink all over when he brought a refill.  It's all part of the exprience.  And of course, we can't forget the waitstaff dancing on the counters!

After dinner we ventured out to find Trader Joe's.  I was super excited when I heard there are multiple TJ's in Chicago and I told Mike we had to go to one!  I could have bought so much more but since we had to carry our items on the train, I restrained myself.  I wish there was a TJ's in Michigan!  We also made a stop at the 8 story Sports Authority (I found another favorite store!) before heading back to our hotel room (the view was even more spectacular at night!)
Saturday morning, we went to Eggsperience for breakfast.  Wow was it ever good!  I saw Nutella crepes on the menu and I knew I had to have them.  I also had a mango smoothie and I left completely satisfied and overly stuffed!  Mike ordered an omelet, expecting just an omelet.  You should have seen his face when he received an omelet the size of his plate, with a side of hash browns and 2 pancakes!  Food might not be cheap in Chicago, but you certainly get what you pay for!
After breakfast, we ventured down to the Magnificent Mile--we had to burn off all we ate of course!  We passed a huge mob outside the Apple store.  We stopped to see what the fuss was about and saw hundreds of sticky notes on the front windows with flowers, apples, pictures, and notes, all in memory of Steve Jobs who had passed just days before.
We saw this in the Water Tower Place--would you have guessed that it's made out of Legos?  By this point in the day we were both getting tired of walking, and my stomach was really hurting (I probably ate more at breakfast than I had eaten in the previous 2 days!) so we headed back to the hotel.  We ended up taking a 2 hour nap, and we were still so full from breakfast that neither of us minded skipping lunch.  (I was disappointed that it was one less restaurant I'd get to try, but I didn't want to not be hungry for supper!)
After a relaxing afternoon, we ventured out again to the Magnificent Mile.  We still had a few stores that we wanted to visit.  One of those stores was H&M, we were right across from it earlier in the day but we didn't see it!  I went in and found a shirt that I liked; I asked Mike if he wanted to look in the men's area.  He said he didn't need anything, but let's look anyway.  We ended up buying him 4 new shirts!  So much for not needing anything...  For dinner, we went to Cheesecake Factory!  I started with a salad and Mike ordered some sliders.  We split a bbq chicken pizza for our main course.  And of course, we took a piece of strawberry cheesecake back to our hotel room!
Sunday morning we woke up and looked out the window.  This is what we saw!  Runners!  We had no idea that we were in Chicago for the Chicago Marathon until someone asked us about it at the train station Friday.  I was so excited when I heard we'd get to watch!  We didn't know that the race went right past our hotel so that was so neat!
This picture was taken about 30 minutes after the previous picture.  When we first got up, I thought we were just seeing the stragglers in the back of the pack since there were so few runners.  I was wrong though, and they were the leaders!
After breakfast (at the hotel's restaurant), we ventured outside to see the race up close.  We found out that we were seeing the runners just past the 12-mile marker.  I commented to Mike about a very pregnant lady we saw running and we're fairly certain she's the one who gave birth shortly after finishing!
Our hotel was in the same building as the Art Institute, so we saw some really neat structures outside.  This one reminded me of a similar colored one in Grand Rapids.
This was the view from our floor on the hotel. You can see the restaurant in the back and some cozy sitting areas in front of them.  It was a very modern feeling hotel!
Here we are on the train heading back home!  We had such a great weekend--lots of good food, good shopping, and awesome company!

16 October, 2011

Overcoming frustration

I ran on Wednesday, pain free, for the first time in nearly 5 weeks.  This was a huge moment of pride and accomplishment for me. 

You see, 2 days after I ran over 6 miles, I injured my foot.

I was out running, just a quick 1.5 mile loop, and I felt a sharp pain in my foot.  First I thought it was just a cramp so I figured I'd run it out.  When it was still hurting a few minutes later, I thought I better give up, and so I limped home. 

I spent the next few days limping around.  5 days later, I decided it was time to go to Urgent Care and get it checked out (I'd had many people tell me to do that!)  Basically that visit didn't do me any good.  The PA said he thought it was probably a stress fracture, but the chances that an X-ray or bone scan could show that were quite slim.  Since we haven't met our insanely high deductible yet, Mike and I opted out of the X-rays and figured I would just treat it as a stress fracture.  The PA gave me a perscription for an anti-inflamitory and sent me on my way. 

Since then, I'd been sticking with lower impact workouts, like the elliptical and cross trainer, and focusing on some more strength training.  I tried to run one day and my foot felt ok as I was running but as soon as I stopped, the pain was back.

I was just so frustrated!  I love running and I felt like I wasn't getting a good enough workout on the elliptical.  My goal had been to complete a 10k race in October and I was right on track for that...and then BAM--an injury. 

So now I finally feel like I'm back on track again.  I ran a 5k on Wednesday and had absolutely no pain (well, except for my toenail cutting my toe and making a bloody mess in my shoes but that's another story!)  I'm half tempted to go back into training full-force, but I'm sure that would only end in disaster.  For now, I'm going to listen to my body...I'll probably run 2 or 3 times a week until I'm sure I'm painfree. 

I just signed up for a 5k with some friends from church for November 12.  It's been a while since I've done a race...since June (!!!), so I'm really excited for this one.  And, I found a great training program to start gearing up for a half-marathon next spring.  Now I just have to choose one to do!

13 October, 2011

Apple Picking

It's fall in Michigan--do you know what that means?  Apple picking season!  Mike and I have a yearly tradition of visiting an orchard for their cider and donuts, but this was the first time we've picked apples.  Our friends Alecia and Ovi joined us, and we all had a great time!

I love this picture! 

Mike and I picked about 20 pounds of apples--we picked Jonagolds for baking with, Pioneer Macintosh for applesauce, and Fuji for eating.  We had so much fun and we're all already planning to return next fall!

11 October, 2011


This painting really is beautiful, isn't it?  But did you know it holds a secret?  Come on, take a closer look!

The grass and sand dunes are made up of people and things!  The people and things that have shaped America!

Mr. Potato Head!

R2-D2 and lyrics from a popular Post-9/11 song

A multitude of iconic people, and the Twin Towers

Martin Luther King Junior, Uncle Sam


Santa Clause

250 people/things were painted into this painting!  Now do you see why it's our favorite?

10 October, 2011

Art Prize

We live about 30 minutes away from Grand Rapids, which hosts one of the largest (if not the largest) art shows in the world!  Art Prize hosts 1,582 artists from all over the world display their work in 164 venues in Grand Rapids.  Then, people can vote on their favorite piece!

This was the first time Mike and I have gone down to Art Prize and it certainly didn't disappoint!
Grizzlies on the Ford is one of the top 10 pieces and it looks so neat to see bears in the fountain!

This piece depicts a timeline from Creation, to the Crucifixion, to the Resurrection

Mike and I were both quite intrigued by this painting.  There's just something about the colors and the people, erie as they are, that grabbed us!

These flowers are made from water bottles!

We thought Rusty the dog was pretty cute!

Finally!  A chair fit for Mike! :)

We loved the monkeys hanging from the was so whimsical, we couldn't help but smile!

This may look like chalk art, but it's really colored sand!  Each day, the artist creates a new work!

Men at Work was so neat!  2 of these men are real, and 1 is a statue...can you guess who the statue is?

This piece was our favorite!  Come back soon and I'll show you why!

09 October, 2011

One year ago today...

...I married my best friend.

Two simple words that changed our lives forever.  I do.

We spoke our vows, and there was no looking back.  We were bound forever in holy matrimony.

One year ago today.

I can't believe it's been a year already!  Yet, I can't believe it's been only a year.

For better, or for worse.

For ever and for always.

I love you, Michael, and I'm proud to be called your wife.
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