Saturday, January 24, 2015

2015 Louisiana Marathon

I have always had the desire to run or become a "runner". People who classify themselves as "runners" always seem to be happy, healthy, and oddly super pumped about running.  Clearly I must be missing out on something for all these people to willingly and excitedly run miles and miles and miles and miles...for fun. With the purest of intentions, I placed "running" on my bucket list...and so it remained...year after year. My biggest reasoning for never starting to run was the easily blamed "time". But really...I can't possibly wake up any earlier and running in the dark after the kids go to bed just seems like the beginning scene of a "Law and Order: SVU" episode. I continued to look upon the social media statuses of my adventure-loving friends with jealousy as they posted running times, post-race photos with awesome medals, and, of course, their hot and healthy bods!

This past December something clicked and I just got a "bee in my bonnet.". Like my boy Forest, I just started running. I ran on the weekends and every day during the Christmas break. It was fantastic and oddly satisfying. I followed along with the Couch to 5K app but instead of dedicating three days a week, I just picked it up when I could. I recognize this isn't the best approach to training for anything...but whatever, it's not like I'm actually training for a race! That would be ludicrous...

Two days later, as if blinded by a moment of sheer endorphin takeover, I signed up for the Louisiana Marathon: 5K...which was taking place in two weeks. Keep in this point, I hadn't actually run, jogged, or even walked the distance of a 5K! What was I thinking???? 

The weekend before the race, I thought "hey, maybe you should see what that distance feels like, dummy!". So off I went through the neighborhood...I jogged the first mile, walked the second, and jogged the remaining. I survived and it only took me 43 minutes. After a quick Google search, I discovered that though this wasn't the best or even average time...whew, I wouldn't completely embarrass myself. 

Because the race was on my birthday weekend, my wonderful sister volunteered to run with me to motivate and cheer me on...even when I had to walk...which I honestly anticipated to be a majority of the distance. I didn't have a ton of faith in myself and I think she would admit, she didn't have a ton of faith in me either!

Race morning arrived and I was stoked beyond imagine! My entire family was there and Sarah had brought me a new running outfit! Until the day before I had no idea it was taboo to wear the race's shirt to the glad Sarah set me straight and outfitted me properly for the event! Everyone cheered Sarah and I on as we drove away to tackle our first 5K! How cute were we...

We arrived downtown and it felt as if the entire city was there as well. It was packed! There was an excitement in the air that I just can't adequately describe. Excitement mixed with nervousness and we had 30 minutes to naturally, we took photos of ourselves.

As 7:30am approached, we made our way to the starting line. We placed ourselves smack in the middle of the crowd. The music was going, the crowd was pumped, and before we knew it...the cannon sound and OFF WE WENT!

I'm not sure if it was the high of race day, the sheer amount of people, or the extensive training (ha!), but I was loving every minute of it! When we hit mile one, my plan of walking the middle portion wasn't necessary...we kept going! Before I knew it, we were approaching mile two and still hadn't slowed to a walk! The only hiccup was when we started going back over the bridge on the path...which was uphill. We walked for about 30 seconds and picked it back up when going down hill and kept that pace for the remainder of the race.

As we approached the finish line, we found ourselves swept up in the music and an enthusiastic crowd cheering on all the runners...and before we knew it...we crossed over! 38 minutes and 13 seconds...perfectly mediocre and average! 

Honestly, this was a huge cross off the bucket list and I'm genuinely proud of myself for completing my first race! I'm actually looking for another one in the near future AND have already signed up for the 2016 Louisiana Marathon 5K! I totally get the hype of running and can say that I'm officially hooked!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

DIY Dog Ear Infection Cleaner

Our poor Oliver has had some nasty bouts with ear infections....we are talking ridiculously disgusting! That is the downside to those adorable cocker spaniel ears...too much moisture and not enough ventilation. After crazy vet visits with the same antibiotics and poignant smelling ear wash, I thought taking things into may own hands couldn't make it any worse. So I did a little research and came across an ear wash recipe from Zim Family Cockers, a site for cocker spaniel fanatics. I got all the ingredients and waited for the signs of the next nasty ear gunk....and what do you know...the red coloring and funky smells showed up...

Poor Oliver! Thankfully the coloring on this picture is much worse than it looked in reality...but it was still pretty bad. So I went to work...


2 ounces White Vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Powdered Boric Acid
6 ounces Isopropyl Alcohol
1 teaspoon Betadine Antiseptic Solution
A few drops Lavender Essential Oil
Empty Bottle

First, I cleaned out an old bottle of our ear wash from the vet and poored the ingredients through a typical funnel. One of the warnings on the original recipe was to add the ingredients in this specific order to ensure everything dissolves properly. So...begin with your alcohol and then dump in your boric acid.

Give the bottle a little shake to make sure the acid dissolves. Next add your vinegar...shake a little more...add your Betadine...shake a little more...and then top off with your essential oil. I added the lavender to have a touch of soothing and calming smell...for me and Oliver!

Now...for the hard part. Oliver HATES getting his ears cleaned! The goal is to squirt the solution inside the ear canal. Let the solution sit in the ear canal, fold down the ear over the canal, and gently massage the ear to make sure the solution really sloshes around nicely. Another option is to soak a cottonball and place it near the ear canal, flop that floppy ear back over, and massage the ear to make sure the cottonball releases as much solution into the ear as possible. This is the method Oliver typically allows because he hates the solution just being squirted in his ear!

Even after the first cleaning we saw a huge difference. We did this daily for a week and are now doing weekly cleanings with his bath.

His ears are still a little sad and I'm thinking our next step is to get rid of some of the hair around his ear canal to help keep them dryer longer. While I would like to leave this task to a professional... Chris saw a video online of an at-home ear hair plucking with a special we'll see...

A note to keep in mind about this solution: the betadine is an orange tint and can easily stain clothes, furniture, be careful!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Snowman Munch Gifts

Before "school" let out for Christmas, Chris made these adorable little gifts for Lily and Harrison's teachers. Yes, you read that right...CHRIS made these adorable little gifts. I barely had anything to do with it! 

First, he made the goodness that filled these mason jars! He melted white Almond Bark over a mixture of pretzels, Cheerios, Chex Mix, Graham Cracker Crunch, and M&Ms. You can also add a variety of nuts but since these were being brought into the day care, we stayed clear for nut allergies.

Once the goodness hardened, he broke it up and placed it in the mason jars. Next, he hot glued little black buttons onto the mason jars. *Note: these eventually fell off so we suggest more heavy duty glue!

Lastly, and this is where I finally came in to help, I tied a little red ribbon around the neck of the jar to look like a little scarf!

These little gifts were a huge hit and so super easy! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Investing in 2015

Happy New Year!!! 

Chris and I had the best NYE! We watched Guardian of the Galaxy while we ate Butterbeer about sinfully delicious! After that we sat in bed and chatted while occasionally cursing the youngins that were blowing up our neighborhood with fireworks. Never have I felt such like an old lady...but our animals were terrified and our kiddos tossed and turned. It's crazy how being a mommy to little ones changes perspective. But we survived and everyone snoozed through it all...thank goodness!

We welcomed 2015 with one of the best days. Chris made black eyed peas and cabbage...and I just about ate my weight in both for lunch and dinner. Delicious! Other than stuffing our faces, we simply enjoyed some quality time together. Sizzer came over to play and we just had the best day.

Really, each day this break has been just that...good, quality time which was exactly what I needed. 2014 was busy and just plain hard. I was blessed beyond measure with a sweet baby, new job, and 23 weddings...but it was all just too much. Which leads me to my goals and resolutions for 2015...

This year I want to focus on the word "invest". I want to invest my time, energy, and resources into myself, my marriage, my family, and my home. Here is what I'm thinking...

Invest in ME: I want to establish a healthier lifestyle, strengthen my spirituality, beef up my wardrobe, read 10 books (eek!), and strike a firmer balance between family, work, and Truly Haute. The main goal is to stop feeling guilty if I need to take 30 minutes for a quick run or drop some dollars on a new outfit...just because I'm a mom doesn't mean I can't be an attractive mom! ;) I've been running over the break and I hope to keep that streak going once the break is over...fingers crossed because it's been really fun!

Invest in my MARRIAGE: The fact that Chris and I haven't been on a real date since Harrison was born is flat out ridiculous. So, this year I would like to change all that and have a couple serious date nights! We have regular home dates...and while cuddling on the couch watching Netflix is amazing...leaving the house on a Saturday night wouldn't kill us. Whether he even realizes it or not, Chris sacrifices a great deal so I can do weddings/events on some evenings and weekends, so I want to make sure he gets more "him" time to recharge his batteries. He probably wouldn't complain if he got a night off in the kitchen as well! ;)

Invest in my FAMILY: These past few days have been phenomenal and I would love for our upcoming weekends to mimic this fantastic quality time. Whether it's playing at home or taking advantage of the many exciting things BR has to offer, I just want us to make some fun memories! I'm also looking forward to our first real family vacation! It has just never worked out that we were able to get away we are going to make sure it happens this summer. I also want to learn more about photography so we can take more photos of our fun! Family doesn't just mean the fab four...I also want to have some fun with our extended family, our precious furbabies, and our friends that are basically family. In 2014, I was a pretty bad friend but I hope to turn that around in 2015!

Invest in my HOME: As I said last year, I love my home. There are just a few little projects I'd like to tackle this year to take that love to the next level. Our backyard, bedrooms, garage, and some of our furniture need a little DIY/Pinterest love and organization. I'd also like to take my love for essential oils a little further by making more cleaning products and aromatherapy goodness. Basically, I would like to actually tackle some of the projects I've been pinning!

2015...the year of investing in my true priorities! I'm so excited about the possibilities!. With a little focus and commitment, I'm confident that at the end of 2015, we'll be saying goodbye to another great year! Now let's get started! ;)