Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween! (aka Chocolate Sugar Cookies)

Check out the cute cookies we made yesterday!

We made regular sugar cookies a few weeks ago and tried to use these cookie cutters, but the dough was too gooey and just stuck to the cookie cutters. We were very sad, and just ended up doing circles. But this recipe makes much stiffer dough and it worked perfectly with our fun cookie cutters!

I had originally planned on putting orange frosting on these, but couldn't bare to cover up the cute faces so I just sprinkled them with sugar. After the first batch, I realized that I had to sprinkle the sugar before cutting them or it would obscure the faces. I don't know if it really even needed this, though.

Not only are these cookies cute, they are also really good! They aren't too sweet, and feel really holliday-ish. I found they are perfect with the pumpkin ice cream I had that was (almost) too sweet to eat by itself.

I'm dreaming of a pumpkin ice cream pie with a chocolate cookie crust for Thanksgiving...

Anyway, here's the recipe (Slightly altered from Southern Living here):

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups whole white wheat flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg, beating until blended.
2. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended.
3. Divide dough into 2 equal portions; flatten each portion into a disk. Cover and chill 10 minutes.
4. Place 1 portion of dough on a lightly floured surface, and roll to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with a 3- or 4 1/2-inch butterfly-shaped cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Repeat procedure with remaining dough portion.
5. Bake, in batches, at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes (for 3-inch cookies) and 15 to 17 minutes (for 4 1/2-inch cookies) or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets 5 minutes; remove to wire racks, and let cool 30 minutes or until completely cool. Decorate baked cookies as desired.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hello Again, Avenues My Friends (8 miles)

Today I ran 8 miles.

It felt so good!

Most of it was up The Avenues which is one of my favorite places to go, but I haven't done it for a long time.

I had just dropped the Jeep off to get the breaks checked (they were making a terrible grinding noise!) so I just ran from there. I really liked doing that. It made me feel so flexible and adventurous - even though it was only a mile from my house. :)

Starting out I was a little cold, and my calf was still feeling pretty stiff from the hard track workout I did Thursday morning at the gym, but it warmed up after a few miles. It was kind of hard running up those hills too, but I really just felt so happy to be running and to be able to do that at all - even though it wasn't super fast. I did let myself run pretty fast on the downhills, though. That's so fun!

When I got closer to home, I was trying to decide if I should just go home or check in on the Jeep. Then I saw that a train was going across the street I'd take to go home. No problem. I just went down a few more blocks to the street that goes over the tracks and got to do one more "hill." This was also the street where the Jeep was so I just stopped in to see how much longer it had. He said it would be about 45 minutes so I just decided to run home and figure out how to pick it up later. Doing that extra mile made my run a little more than 8 miles (maybe 8.2? I don't know for sure because it was a cloudy day and it took the Garmin forever to locate the satellite). I had planned on doing closer to 7, but I felt good so it was fine.

I felt really good for the whole run, other than my knee hurting a little at a few points. I realized after I got home that I ran for 1:28 without any fuel or even water. And I felt fine. If I knew I was going to be out there for an hour and a half, I would have probably brought something, but it ended up being just fine. It was actually really nice to just run and not worry about anything like that! It probably helped that I had a peanut butter and banana toast right before I left, and that it was a cool day.

I've been doing pretty good with running 4 times a week. Tuesday at running group, I didn't do any extra so I just did 2.29 miles. I usually want to do 4-5 miles on that day so I'll make sure to do that next time. It's always just so fun to hang out with everyone afterwards, it's hard to just run away. I've really loved my running group! Making some new friends and having more of a social life (if you could call it that, but it was pretty much non-exsistent before this) has been really, really good for me! I've just felt so happy lately, so thank you to all you girls who humor me and come run on Tuesdays! :)

Other than the running, I haven't been doing great. I know I need to do cross training to avoid injury and I really want to do other things, but it just keeps not working out and I have nothing (read: no race) compelling me to do it. I'm trying not to worry about it too much, though, and just enjoy my off-season. I am so excited about snowboarding, I can hardly stand it! And I also want to get back into climbing so we'll see what I can start fitting in.

Monday, October 24, 2011

There's A Light At The End of The Tunnel!

I've spent this last either week being sick or taking care of a sick baby so I haven't had time to write.

It was so weird because as soon as we got home from the 5k on Saturday, Pete and I both started sniffing, and by the time we went to bed, we were both full-on sick. I took Sunday and Monday off to recover. It was weird because it was my abs and back sore. I don't know if that was from the cold or from the race...

Tuesday I walked/ran 2 miles with the stroller running group (We started our couch to 5k plan over since we got a new girl who had just had a baby 6 weeks ago), then I ran 3 more with one of the girls to make a total of 5 miles. It was funny because everyone else was still there when we got back so we still got to sit, stretch and chat with them which is the best part of having a running group!

Wednesday, the kids were home from school for Fall Break, and I was going to go swimming. Pete was home so I just put George down for a nap, then waited for him to go to sleep, but he just wouldn't stop crying. I don't know how long he cried, but it seemed like a long time to me so I went in to check on him and he had thrown up in his crib. I picked him up, but I couldn't get him to stop crying. Finally he threw up again, all over me, and Pete came and put him in the tub. That calmed him down a little, but he was still so sad! Well, swimming was out. I couldn't even put the poor baby down. After holding him while he cried for a while, I decided to try taking him for a walk and that calmed him right down! Whew. The kids came with me and we went to the park.

Thursday George was still really super sad, but I remembered my trick from the day before, put him in the stroller and headed out for a run. He slept the whole time. The kids came with me again, this time on their bikes, and we went to the park with the track around it so I could run around with the stroller while they played. This works out so well, I love that we have this park a mile from our house! I did 30 second on/off bursts of speed trying to go as fast as I could (usually in the 7:00-7:30 pace range) then recover. This is such a hard workout, especially with the stroller! I wanted to do it for 15 minutes, but only really managed 12 or 13. Still good, though.

Friday I was so proud of myself because, despite George not sleeping well, I got up and got to the pool by 6:30. I really want to get better about going swimming! It was so good, and I'm so glad I went. I was able to get a pretty good workout in and still be home by 7:30, and George woke up right when I got home so it worked out perfectly! Again, I love where I live because we have a pool half a mile from the house! After everyone got up and ready, I put George down for his nap and left him with Pete so we could go to the clothing swap Mindy's ballet studio was doing as a fund raiser. It was pretty cool, we left with a bag full of stuff. I got several new shirts which is nice because I've been needing new clothes, but don't have the money to spend on it right now! We also went to Costco. Fun fun!

Feeling exhausted from George being sick and so needy, I thought I'd go to bed early that night, but every time I try to go to bed early I jinx myself and end up having a terrible night! This was no exception. George hardly slept at all. He seemed to be feeling better during the day and we'd get glimpses of our little happy guy back every once and a while, but he woke up every few hours during the night and one time he was up for about an hour just crying and he threw up again. It was so sad.

Saturday morning I wanted to do my long run, and I really didn't want to take the stroller, but I knew it would make George feel better so I took him. It wasn't that long of a run, and having the stroller was probably good because it helped me not worry about going fast. I ran 6.5 miles and it took me 1:10, but it was good because George slept so peacefully the entire time, and at least half an hour more after we got home. He really needed that! During his afternoon nap, Pete kept the kids downstairs and took care of George when he woke up so I was actually able to take a 3-hour nap. I needed that! :) We both felt much better after that. We still kept George home from church on Sunday, but last night he went to bed like a little angel and he has been so happy today! Yay! I was beginning to worry that he would never be as happy as he used to be again. That would be so sad.

Now, to get to the title of my post! Hahaha

I got up early today and was going to go run on the track at the gym, but I didn't end up getting out in time and the kids wanted me around while they got ready for school so I waited. They rode their bikes to school and I ran with them. George was still asleep so I left him with Pete (who was also still sleeping) and I felt like I was flying without the stroller! It was fun! Mondays are my 400 meter (.25 mile) interval workouts and this is what my intervals were today:
  1. 1:57.2 - 8:00.5 pace (this one was a tad short....)
  2. 3:36.1 - 8:42.6 pace (umm, accidentally didn't push lap so this one includes recovery)
  3. 1:59.2 - 7:56.2 pace
  4. 1:54.2 - 7:33.5 pace!
  5. 1:49.8 - That's 7:22.4 pace!! (WHAT!?)

These felt hard, but awesome at the same time! If that makes sense. I feel like this speed work I've been doing is actually working and I can very vaguely see the light at the end of the tunnel! I might actually be getting faster! I mean, I can hold a 7:22 pace for a quarter-mile at the end of an interval set! I can't believe some people can run a whole marathon at that pace (or faster)! I'm not going to focus on that, though, I'm going to focus on the fact that I've never been able to do this before and I'm happy.

When I was about half a block from home, I saw the guy Pete carpools with pulling up. I hurried home, thinking Pete would be waiting for me and wondering where I was. He came out by himself. A little confused, I asked him how George was and if he was still sleeping. He said, "I guess so. I was just going to leave, I thought he was with you." Yikes! I will never sneak out and leave George while Pete's still asleep again! I didn't have keys or my phone so it was really really lucky that I got home when I did because I would have been locked out and the baby would have been in. Crazy! I just thought George would wake up before Pete so not knowing he was there wouldn't be an issue! Anyway, everything turned out ok, and George even slept for another half hour, until 9:15! And he's been so happy today! YAY!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Awesome Saturday and Murray Moonlight Run 5k

Saturday was such a perfect day.

It started out with getting to sleep in a little bit and having a nice leisurely morning with pumpkin pancakes (recipe coming soon...).

In the afternoon, Pete and I took the kids on a little hike at that park we found this spring. It was really fun, and George fell asleep on Pete's back. It was so cute!

When we got back to the car, my dad called to tell me he was at our house. Fifteen minutes later we were home and the kids were all happy and climbing on their grandpa, like usual.

We all had ice cream cones.

Then I put the kids to work doing their chores while I worked on cleaning the kitchen and Pete and my dad worked on putting bead board up in the basement bathroom. I can't wait till it's finished, it's going to look so nice!

A quick dinner of Papa Murphy's pizza with Root Beer and peanut butter Checks mix. (Such a healthy day!) I actually just had 1 piece of pizza then had some oatmeal with peanut butter and bannana. It was weird preparing for a night race, and I felt like I should eat what I'm used to eating before I run.

I got George to bed, and Pete and I headed out for the Murray Moonlight Run. We picked up two of my friends from my little running group, and got there quite early.

Here we are before the race, trying to figure out what to do with our glow necklaces that didn't have clasps. I ended up putting mine through my sports bra in the back so you could see it through my shirt. I have no idea how it looked, but I figured that way at least no one would run into me!
(First pony tails since I cut my hair! Whoop!)

I kind of wanted to shoot for 27 minutes, but I didn't really know if that was possible since we were running in the dark. There were volunteers with flashlights at the turns and lights at a few places, but other than that it was pretty dark.

I didn't bring a light or anything, but my eyes adjusted pretty well and I felt fine running. It was just hard when I'd come upon someone with flashing lights on their costume, or a headlamp because then all could see was the light, and my eyes would have to adjust again after I passed them. This actually gave me more incentive to pass people though!

It was so fun being able to pass people the whole time! I'm really not used to being able to pass people, especially in a triathlon since running is my weakest of the 3 sports and everyone I get ahead of on the swim and bike pass me on the run. This time I'd see someone in front of me and work on getting past them. It was nice to be doing the passing for a change, it made me feel good!

The first mile was an out and back past the finish line so I got to see Pete again after just a few minutes. Then we went the other way and kind of looped around. It was all on trails by the river and it was a really cool place to run.

I tried to push myself, but it was hard not being able to see my Garmin to tell what my pace was to know if I should push it more or not. I just had fun with it, though and tried to go by feel. When I passed the volunteer at mile 2 I did a fist pump and wondered where that came from. Soon after that I started hurting a little. But I reminded myself that I only had a mile left so I tried to stay strong.

I finished in 28:23 which is faster than my last 5k which took me 29:09. So it wasn't 27, but I'm totally happy with it!

Afterwards, they had pumpkin pie for the runners, and it was really good! We sat in the grass and stretched while we ate it. Pete was so great to come with me, I know it wasn't that fun for him, and like he said, we spent more time waiting around and getting ready for the race then the actual race. That's the trouble with 5ks, but it was fun and I'm glad I got to be there for both of my friends' first race.

We're excited to do another 5k in the daylight to really see what we can do!

Does anyone know of any good Christmas/New Years 5ks around here?

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Week In Pictures

I need to get to bed so I'm going to do a quick (maybe) update!

Last Friday I chose sleep over swimming again. I wonder if I'll ever get back to a place where I feel like it's worth it to go swim in the morning again. I've only been swimming once this week, and the only bike I've been on is my cruiser with the kids. Maybe once I'm training for something again...

Anyway, I went and gave blood at 9 so the rest of my day was pretty much shot for working out, but I was ok with that.

It took a really long time (like 40 minutes!) for some reason, but at least I had this beautiful view to look at while I waited for my blood to drip into the bag. Snow, glorious snow! I am SO excited for snowboarding this year!!

Elle came with me and was just so sweet and good. She had a grand old time watching 2 movies and helping herself to way more cookies than I would have let her have had I been close enough. Luckily George was able to stay home with Pete so I was really able to just relax.

I got started on Ethan's new quilt over the weekend. This is my plan for what it will look like, only twin sized. I'm excited for it! I'm also doing some curtains to match.

Sunday the kids were being cute and having fun being all matchy-matchy.

I had a really hard run on Monday. I did speed work with the stroller, but it wasn't really speedy at all. I don't know what it was, but I just didn't have my heart in it or something. But at least I had a really cute running partner!

George learned how to color the other day. It was such a beautiful day, I took him outside to play with sidewalk chalk with Elle. He actually colored with it too! It was so cute!

This chalk must have tasted pretty good because he kept biting off chunks. Mmmm.

Tonight we took the kids to Witches Night Out at Gardner Village. We had two cute little witches and (dum dum dum dumdumdum) Darth Vader! And a baby. It was fun to just walk around and see all the witch costumes. There were so many people there, and a lot of them really went all out for this, it was cool! Afterwards we got ice cream at Cold Stone because we didn't want to wait any any of the huge lines for food there.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Conference Weekend

George is just getting so big! In the last week or so he's started full-on crawling with his hands and knees, and it is just so cute! (He's been doing kind of an army crawl for a couple months.) He doesn't crawl too much, though. He'd much rather have someone help him walk around and he pulls himself up to standing any chance he gets.

He also has really started to enjoy food. I've found that basically, he just wants to feed himself so I just give him things that we're having that I think he can handle. He's getting pretty good at it, though he hasn't quite figured out bowls yet. He tries to just eat right out of them which is funny! The other night I made brown rice in the rice cooker, and it made it totally soggy (I haven't quite figured that thing out yet.). I was disappointed at first, but then realized it was just perfect for George, and he loved it!

This weekend was the semi-anual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is held at the Conference Center downtown on Saturday and Sunday, but we don't usually go there since we've got the kids and all, but that doesn't mean we have to miss it. They broadcast it on our local TV and radio stations, as well as stream it live over the internet so there are a lot of ways to be able to hear The Prophet's voice.

Here's George riding his pony while we watch. (notice our beautiful new blue wall? I LOVE it!)

We had two family get-togethers during Conference weekend. On Saturday, our sister-in-law was in town from Nashville for the very purpose of going to Conference so she came over for a while and so did our other sister and brother-in-law so we got to see their cute little baby!

Sunday we drove up to Logan for our nephew's birthday party, and just had so much fun seeing all of them!

George, Grandpa, and the birthday boy.

Aaaaand.... here's a sneak peak of our little Curious George's Halloween costume!

I also ran 8 miles in-between sessions of Conference on Saturday, and I guess that was a little far. I hadn't done a long run (more than 5 miles) since Utah half, over a month ago! I thought a nice, easy, flat 8 miles would be fine. And really, it was fine while I was running. I felt great and had a really good run (!!), but afterwards my calf was really really sore. I skipped my run yesterday (Monday) because it was still hurting really bad, and Pete spent half an hour working it last night, almost making me cry. I wore compression socks to bed, and it did feel better this morning, but it's still a little sore.

We had our second run with our stroller running group this morning which was really fun even though we got rained on a little. We had one new girl, but we were also missing a few people. One was sick, one was out of town and the last one still did the run on her own so I'm not too worried about losing people yet. They all seem interested and excited still, and so am I!

A few of us will be running the Murray Moonlight Run on October 15th. It's a 5k or 1 mile walk/run. It's at 9pm and there will be black lights set up a long the course so it should be really cool! I just need to find something fun to wear that will glow good...