It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Anyone who knows me well, or really at all, knows that I.love.Christmas.   I could dedicate a whole slew of posts to various Christmas obsessions, but this one is about the cards.  There is something exciting and wonderful about walking out to the mailbox and seeing smiling faces of friends and family.  I remember growing up that mom would keep Christmas cards from years past, and I loved comparing the cards from year to year.  One family in particular added a child just about every year (at least, it seemed that way)!

Picking out a Christmas card is almost as difficult as taking the perfect picture.  My favorite site is shutterfly.com.  You can view their Christmas cards here.  If you sign up for their emails, you'll get lots of great offers throughout the year!

For our first Christmas, we forgot to take a picture!  At the last minute, we had to set up the camera on the table and take a self timer photo.  It was dreadfully difficult and took about 25 takes!

The next year, I made sure to have a friend come take a picture for us.  We added two furbabies, which quadrupled the number of photos we had to take to get a decent one.  Dogs just don't sit still for pictures.  The end.  Leo is totally hamming it up, but I'm having to hold Layla next to us!

When you fail to get a good shot, you always have the option to use a multi-shot photocard, like this one.  Year three was a smorgasbord of our travels and adventures from that year...New York City, Hackensack, Cloudland Canyon, Metropolis, and the Mississippi Headwaters.  I won't bore you with all those pictures!

Last year was probably my favorite card.  We spend Christmas in Germany, and I really wanted a picture from our trip for the card, so I held off until after we got back.  We got some great pictures of us in the Alps in Fussen, Germany that we used for our first New Year's card!  The link will take you to my favorite one from this season's selection (the one we used last year isn't up anymore).  Here's one of my favorite pics from that card:
It's not a perfect shot, but holy cow!  I'm in the Alps!  At the top of a mountain.  Amazing!

Caroline is going to take our pictures this year over Thanksgiving.  Hopefully it will be quick and painless.  Most of our cards in the past have been red or green, so I'm thinking of doing something a little different.  Here are a few options...one, two, and three!

If you've sent me a Christmas card since we've been married, it's hanging out in a basket by our Christmas tree.  I love to thumb through them and count the blessings of our friends and family!


Birthday month

I love birthdays, but I'm not one to celebrate a birthday month.  It's kinda silly.  But sure enough, as soon as I say I won't do something, I do.  Hence, this year is a birthday month celebration.  Here's why:

  • Half marathon completed
  • Cross the finish line and get tickets to see this guy

(This video, by the way, inspired my love for my special kids with designer genes.  But that's for another post)

  • Midnight show for Harry Potter
  • This brand new pack of Sharpie pens from Charlie (be still my heart!)

  • The presidential suite downtown
  • Celebrating birthdays and Thanksgiving with Charlie's mom and our family!!!



13.1 glorious miles.

 See our "13.1"?  :-)

I never in a million years thought I would utter those words.

 Pre-race...26 degrees
13.1 miles of freedom.  
Of thanking the volunteers.  
Of shaking hands with firemen.  
Of smiling while jamming out to Pink and Glee. 

I think this is the first marathoner

 Coming around the last turn...

 I'm near the sign now...

Post-race in the medic area after a little run-in with asthma

Crossing the finish line with a smile on my face.

It's hard to explain the feeling when you cross the finish line and know that you put in months of time and training and sweat and dedication.  Especially if you're not really good at sticking with something (that may or may not be me!).  I am so proud to have set a goal and completed it.  And I had SO MUCH FUN!!!  I was really able to enjoy the race because I wasn't trying to finish in a certain time.  I loved talking to other racers and the volunteers.  Indianapolis was a great place for my first half.  And have I mentioned that it's flat???  Practically unheard of in Atlanta.  I will definitely return to run this race again.  

Thanks to everyone who was so supportive and listened to me drone on about pacing and stingers and long runs and all that other race stuff. :-) 

Race Report for the running junkies:

The expo was smaller than expected but well organized.  Quick packet pick up and chip activation.  We had dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory and headed to bed early.  

 At the expo...poster with all runner's names

(Caroline in the pink shirt)
Saturday morning was absolutely freezing.  The temp at the start of the race was 26 degrees!!!  I lined up with the 13-15 minute group so that I would impede other runners.  It was definitely the right choice because I got to pass lots of people towards the end. :-)  There were aid stations at every mile along the course.  The volunteers were wonderful!  I enjoyed thanking them along the way.  The course was really pretty.  We ran through downtown, out to a residential area, and then back into town.  The Monumental Circle area was so pretty!  Coming around the last turn was a sweet relief.  

Monument Circle

I had three goals for the race. 
1.  Finish. 
2. Finish in under 3 hours. 
3. Finish in under 2:45. 

Official time: 2:39:46
10K split: 1:14:11 (4 minutes faster than the 10K I ran in September)  
Overall pace: 12:11

I used a run:walk method.  I am going to work on increasing my run:walk intervals over the spring and hopefully run another half in about 6 months.  I am hooked.  For now, I gave myself the week off and will pick back up on Monday!

 Ice party in the hotel

Dinner in the kitchen at Bucca di Beppo