Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day – VeggieTales Style

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We did it.

We ran 13.1 miles. In Austin, TX. Up SO.MANY.HILLS.

It’s crazy that we trained for so long, and now the race is over. It feels exactly like I would feel after Quest was over at Crown – exhilarating, but now I keep wondering what is next.

I would seriously encourage everyone to do a race sometime – a 5K, a 10K, or, if running isn’t your thing, a walk of some kind with a big group. It’s that morning of that is so exciting, that gets your heart pumping before you even cross the starting line. So many folks doing the same thing you’re doing; so many people who have been training for this exact same moment in other places around the country. It’s cool to feel a part of something so big.

Not cool: having your leg cramp up on the flight home 6 hours after you finish the race. 🙁

But, despite the leg cramp and ridiculous amount of hills, I am researching what I want to run next. 🙂 And doing a 10K in April!

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Gold Rush

About a year or so ago, Nathan and I discovered Geocaching. Geocaching is basically treasure hunting with a GPS. We created an account at the free website, and started using the app to find local caches, no matter where we were.

Then, this past spring, I happened upon an event taking place in Balboa Park called the Diamond Dash. It was a large scale scavenger hunt, sponsored by a jeweler and a new app called SCVNGR. The goal was to solve challenges at certain locations throughout Balboa Park using the SCVNGR app, as many as you could in a certain amount of time, and the team of 2 that got the most points in 2 hours of time won the grand prize, which was a pretty large diamond ring.

I was intrigued, so I sent in my “Application” for Nate and I to get a spot in the Dash, and we did!!!!! (Along with about 1000 other people). We did the Diamond Dash, and it was fun, but we didn’t win anything…didn’t even make the top 10.

Then, two weeks ago, I got an email about another one of these “dashes”, again sponsored by a jeweler (Gems and Gold) and run by SCVNGR. This one was the Gold Rush. One Grand Prize winner would get $5,000 worth of gold, and the next 5 placing teams would win $1000 worth of gold. It was set in Oceanside in North San Diego County. Again, I was intrigued, Nate agreed, and so I applied and got a spot for the 2 of us.

We headed up to Oceanside Saturday morning. As we drove up there, we realized that neither of us had ever spent any time in Oceanside EVER. I wondered if we would be at a disadvantage, but Nate reminded me that the SCVNGR app had a map that plotted the locations of the challenges, so we should be in good shape.

Photos courtesy of jenrobinsonphotography.com

We got to the Oceanside City Center Plaza, registered, got our bright gold tshirts, and waited for the start of the Gold Rush. This one didn’t seem to draw quite as many people; I think there were 300 in all that came out.

Well, the horn sounded, and we were off. Nate pulled up the app and the map of the challenges. We quickly plotted a path as we headed to the first challenge. The challenges all involve finding the answer to a question at the location and sending the answer through the app to get the points. As we neared the first challenge, we got the answer and quickly moved on. And by quickly, I mean we ran.

We’ve been training for a 1/2 marathon, and when Nate asked “Do you want to run?” as we started off, it was a no brainer. We could totally jog this thing for 2 hours. So we did.

We ran around Oceanside, Nate navigating and reading aloud the challenge, me finding the answer. We were doing WAY better than we had done at the Diamond Dash, and were feeling really great. We were communicating well, we had our roles to play, and I didn’t even take it personally when Nate snapped at me for a moment while he was trying to add up the puzzle to one challenge. Best marital therapy ever!

We were checking off challenges one by one, and got to our final few on the map. We missed one (couldn’t find the answer for the life of us), but moved on…and then, before we knew it, 2 hours were up and the hunt was over.

We made our way to the after party, feeling proud of ourselves. We had so much fun and did really well. We grabbed some water and started munching on free appetizers while chatting with other teams around us. After talking to other teams, we weren’t real sure how well we actually had done, as a few teams said they had completed all the challenges.

The host of the Gold Rush hushed everyone and started calling the winners. “Sixth Place!” he shouted as he dialed the number. Suddenly, someone in the crowd would squeal and go collect their prize. This continued through 5th, 4th, 3rd…

“Okay, now we’re going to call the 2nd Place team!” he shouted. At this point, I had decided we weren’t going to place, but was okay with that. It had been a great day with Nate, much more fun than the previous one we had done, and I had no regrets. I looked down at Nate’s phone…and it was ringing…

“Uh, Nate?? Your phone…”


Photos courtesy of jenrobinsonphotography.com

Nate picked up, and sure enough, we had won 2nd place in the Gold Rush! Unbelievable!!!

We couldn’t stop laughing the entire time. We’re still a little in shock.

Photos courtesy of jenrobinsonphotography.com


Photos courtesy of jenrobinsonphotography.com

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Is Believing Enough?

I ran across this article today from Relevant magazine. I am still processing it a bit.

What do you think?


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Christmas Season

I really love the Christmas Season. But even more, I love Advent.

I love having a time to reflect, ponder, and prepare. I love Advent carols, especially O Come O Come Emmanuel. Last night at church, our pastor, Steven, gave some context regarding where Israel was at during the time the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. They were occupied by Rome, had a bad economy, and heavily taxed. They were far away from God, but a movement was springing up, hopeful that the Messiah, their King, would come and free them from Rome.

Knowing this context brings even more meaning to my favorite Advent song. It gives me more to ponder about the reason I celebrate Christmas.

This Advent, I pray that God gives you things to stop and ponder about Himself as well.

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Welcome to the new blog! Pretty snazzy, I must say. Nathan does good work. 🙂

I’m hoping that this new, personalized site will give me the desire to blog more often. I’ve got a lot brewing in my head, but never enough time to write it down.

First things first…I will explain the tagline in the upper right hand corner. I will also post pictures of Pie Night. But at a later time.

I’m such a tease.

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Bookworm Post

A friend posted this on Facebook, and I said to myself, “Self, let’s do this for fun!”

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions:  Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read an excerpt.
Also amend this with an asterix if you’ve seen the movie/tv version.

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen *

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien *

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (all) *

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee*

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa May Alcott *

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier*

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien*

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19 The Time Travellers Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath –  John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll*

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame*

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis*

34 Emma – Jane Austen *

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis*

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere*

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – William Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne*

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabrial Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery*

47 Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaids Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martell

52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen*

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60 Love in the time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas*

66 On the Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding *

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens*

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson

74 Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal – Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens*

82 Cloud Atlas – Charles Mitchell

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White *

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare*

99 Charlie & the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl *

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo *

I think this will be my reading list for a while…

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Pie in my Eye

Next Wednesday is Pie Night, an evening dedicated to nothing but pie…well, and a ham cooked in Coke. But it’s really about the pies.

Pie Night is a Thanksgiving family tradition for our friends, the Kirklands, and they have established their own tradition here in San Diego. Everyone brings a pie, they are labeled, and you get to graze all night…or at least until they kick you out.

I’m excited, but am having trouble deciding what pie to make this year.

So, if anyone actually reads this blog anymore, I’m taking a poll: what’s your favorite pie?

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What I Like About Cruises: A List

In no particular order:
1. Lounge Chairs
2. Waterslides
3. No need to get in a car, drive to the store, pick up groceries, bring them home, prep, cook, serve, do dishes…just go to the restaurant, look at the menu (with no prices!), and say, “I’ll have…this…”
4. Jacuzzi’s open until 12am
5. Karaoke
6. Speed Scrabble with friends to determine who will have to sing Karaoke
7. Felix Watch
8.Snorkeling in Catalina
9. Towel Animals
10. Time with Nathan
11. Time with friends
12. Lazy days in the sun
13. Soft serve ice cream 24/7
14. Mini-golf
15. Sunsets
16. Excuse to get a new bathing suit (that I LOVE)
17. Reading…a lot
18. Sleeping in, in a room that is cave-like so you never actually know what time it is.

For more pics of our Carnival Cruise, click here!
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Fall is upon us, which really doesn’t mean much in San Diego. Our fall has consisted of record high temps (113 degrees) and sudden drops into “chilly” weather – which means the low 60s. Low 60s in San Diego = gloves for many. My MN friends and family scoff…shoot, I scoff…

In order to make myself feel autumn-ish, I’ve been drinking a lot of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, gazing longingly at pictures of colored leaves from my mother and sister-in-law, and stocking up on canned pumpkin from Trader Joe’s. I have already made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies, and am hoping to attempt my first Pumpkin Bread soon. What other Pumpkin treats should I be making?

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