Saturday, August 25, 2012

#28: Do the Couch to 5k to prepare for run with Kurtis

So those that know me really well know that I have absolutely zero interest in working out.  I'm one of the lucky ones that doesn't have to work to fit into my clothes.  I've been the same size since high school with no effort on my part to stay that way. (Yes, I'm knocking on wood so that won't change!)  By no means do I live an inactive lifestyle... I just don't work out in any formal since of the word.  Well on my last 101 in 1001 list, I put down that I wanted to do a charity run/walk to give back to the Ronald McDonald House at Texas Children's Hospital.  When my youngest son was born, he had complications with his breathing, and to put it plainly, it turned out he had two holes on his lungs.  He was transferred two days after his birth from the hospital he was delivered at to the NICU at Texas Children's Hospital.  He was born on Dec. 22 which meant a lot of crazy scheduling and driving over the Christmas holidays.  It was a very stressful time for me and my husband, but the people at the Ronald McDonald House at TCH made it all a bit better.  Their kindness and generosity to us was so unexpected and appreciated.  They had gifts on Christmas day for all our boys, a bed at night for my husband to stay at the hospital with our son, meals for him to eat, and so many other things that made that time easier to focus on our son.  I will forever be grateful to the doctors and nurses at TCH for their care and patience during that time.  The least I could do was give back to them so they can keep doing what they do best.

So why not a charity run?  Sounds like a great idea!  Until it's race day and you haven't prepared for a single inch of the race, let alone a whole 5k's worth of inches.  I did complete the race, which was great and all...but I definitely had enough time during the race to think of a million other things I could do to give back to the RMH at TCH that didn't involve running.  I swore I'd never do another one... Until I got back around to my family who had been at the finish line cheering me on.  There was Kurtis, all smiles and so excited.  "Sarah, Sarah!  I wanna do this race with you next year!" he tells me.  I'm thinking, "Nuh-uh.  Ain't happening."  But Kurtis is a bit persuasive, and maybe my mind forgot a bit of the misery I inflicted on myself that day... I finally agreed to do the race with him this year.

So, now I'm in a pickle.  Kurtis is my "bounce off the wall" kid with tons of energy.  I now have to keep up with him during this race.  I can't just run awhile and then walk a longer while at my own leisure.  No, I'll have to actually keep his pace.  And yes, I am saying he could run faster than me.  There is no doubt in my mind he could run the whole thing and never look back (or hurt the next day either!)  It became very clear to me that I wasn't going to be able to to do this race without some sort of preparation for it.  How can I let an 11-year-old smoke me in a race?  I'd never live it down.

And so begins day one of the Couch to 5k for me.  I downloaded the app on my phone.  Crawled out of bed. Got dressed.  Put on my awesome new running shoes.  And did day 1.

WU505 yards
1167 yards
1R173 yards
2182 yards
2R160 yards
3183 yards
3R154 yards
4155 yards
4R162 yards
5165 yards
5R155 yards
6166 yards
6R160 yards
7162 yards
7R155 yards
8166 yards
CD497 yards
Total1.40 miles18:3013:09
inc WU/CD1.98 miles28:3014:24

To all my fellow friends that are runners...feel free to giggle now. :o)

I hated every minute of it.  I will continue to hate every minute of it.  I've tried being positive, but am finding nothing positive about the situation other than I WILL be able to keep up with my son on race day. Period.  The rest sucks.  That said, I hate reading other people's negative posts on the internet, and I strive not to post complaints myself.  So that's the last you'll hear about my Couch to 5k training until I get to week 9 and run a whole 5k without stopping.  I'll have nothing positive to say about this subject until then, so I just won't say anything about it at all! :o)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

101 in 1001 {take 2}

So, here is my second 101 in 1001 list!  :o)
My first 101 list taught me quite a bit.  There's just something about a list that calls for completion.  So all those things I said I'd get to "one day soon...when I have the time" went on the list.  While I didn't complete my whole list, I sure did have a ton of fun checking off the activities I did get to do.  It's all about living a life you want to live and having fun while doing it....and if you can make a difference in someone's life along the way, it's all the better.  So bring on the big things, the little things, the fun things, and best of all the 101st check mark saying I did them all! 

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past – frequently simple goals such as New Year’s resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

June 6, 2012
1001 Days
March 4, 2015

Items in Italics are in progress.  
Items in Bold are complete.
  1. Finish all the unfinished goals of list #1 by December 31, 2012.
  2. Do the 365 day photo challenge starting on my 30th birthday.
  3. Make a digital album of those photos.
  4. Start a community vegetable garden in the Houston area.
  5. Start a community vegetable garden in the Dominican Republic.
  6. Go to every Buc-ees in one weekend.
  7. Go on at least 3 photography road trips.
  8. Be the cause in 10 of my close friends and family doing the Landmark Forum. (1/10)
  9. Organize my closet like S.L.R. would.
  10. Enjoy a bottle of Cristal champagne with friends on a joyous occasion.
  11. Finish Christian’s baby book/ convert it to a digital album.
  12. Make my own jam.
  13. Try 5 new artistic photography techniques in my photos.
  14. Learn how to paint a picture.
  15. Paint the picture I have in my head onto canvas.
  16. Do something I’m scared of doing.
  17. Make a Family Digital Album from mom’s side.
  18. Make a Family Digital Album from dad’s side.
  19. Make a Family Digital Album from my side.
  20. Cook a steak for Erik.
  21. Cook a hamburger for Erik.
  22. Organize my photos into one location.
  23. Make a “Best of” folder for my photos for easy reference.
  24. Print our family portrait onto a large canvas.
  25. Teach Westin to tie his shoes.
  26. Teach Christian and Zack how to take pictures.
  27. “Run” a 5k with Kurtis.
  28. Do the couch to 5k to prepare for said run.
  29. Do an art project with Beau. {thinking maybe a really hard origami project.}
  30. Make a piece of jewelry with one of Grandma’s spoons.
  31. Write an E-book.
  32. Read 25 books.
  33. Go to the Chihluly exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
  34. Go to one of Chris’ dog competitions.
  35. Buy a house.
  36. Catch a fish from the pond at the farm.
  37. Do 5 Pinterest projects.
  38. Enter 5 photography contests. (1/5)
  39. Submit a photo every month to the National Geographic "Your Shot" contest.
  40. Dye my hair chocolate brown.
  41. Teach Westin to write his name.
  42. Organize my music into one location on Amazon Cloud.
  43. Photograph 10 species of birds in nature.
  44. Teach the boys how to wash their own laundry.
  45. Take the boys to see “Rount Mushmore” :o)
  46. Take the boys to see the Badlands.
  47. Fly my Cat kite.
  48. Do charity portrait photography for families in the Dominican.
  49. Make a difference in someone’s nutrition by teaching them to grow food.
  50. Iron all of my outfits for a week...Even if it doesn't matter!
  51. Use my phone as just a phone for a week.
  52. Plant a willow tree by the pond at the farm.
  53. Write at least one blog entry a month.
  54. Keep a gratitude journal.
  55. See Hayes Carll in concert.
  56. Shoot something and eat it.
  57. Go on one of Erik’s adventures.
  58. Put all of these goals onto my calendar so they get done in a timely manner.
  59. Play and beat a Final Fantasy game with Erik.
  60. Go to an Astro’s game every season.
  61. Teach Zack and Christian how to drive.
  62. Read 5 books from Erik’s library that he recommends to me. (2/5)
  63. Learn 3 new 30 minute meals.
  64. Learn 3 new crock pot recipes.
  65. Buy myself a handgun.
  66. Get my CHL.
  67. Do an art welding project.
  68. Complete a Bible study on 5 books of the Bible.
  69. Surprise Erik with 3 sweet nothings a month.
  70. Go to the Alamo.
  71. Go on 15 kid-less date nights.
  72. Buy new living room furniture.
  73. Spend a whole day being lazy with Erik and the boys.
  74. {personal goal with the Hubby} /grins! :o) {0/10}
  75. Identify and find 10 Texas native plants in the wild that are edible.
  76. Identify and find 10 Texas native plants in the wild that are medicinal.
  77. Learn the proper fishing knot to string my own fishing pole.
  78. Buy me a new Canon 580EX II flash.
  79. Make 5 new dessert recipes.
  80. Take the boys to the drag races.
  81. Donate my time/skills to the Ronald McDonald House at TCH.
  82. Take a nap in a hammock.
  83. Buy a pair of boots.
  84. Stay at a bed and breakfast in the Hill Country.
  85. Catch a really big fish.
  86. Make a quilt for my bed.
  87. See Cirque du Soleil “O”
  88. Make my own laundry detergent.
  89. Go play Bingo.
  90. Buy me a new Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L lens.
  91. Contribute $10 to a vacation account for every accomplished task {and make Erik do it too.}
  92. Become a PPA member.
  93. Go a whole week without spending any money.
  94. Shoot a target Annie Oakley style: backwards with a mirror. 
  95. Take the boys to a Six Flags theme park.
  96. Build a really awesome sand castle with the boys.
  97. Decorate a Christmas tree and deliver it to a family who is at TCH over the holidays.
  98. Pay for a strangers coffee at Starbucks.
  99. Take the boys on the behind the scenes tour at Sea World.
  100. Teach the boys how to identify 5 constellations... {and how to see satellites going by}
  101. Participate in 100 snapshots project.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

So, Its Been Awhile...

This poor little blog has been put on my back burner for a long time.  I'm hoping to start writing on a more regular basis.  As one of my dear friends has said to me before, "If you don't feed your blog, it will die."  I don't want that to happen!

In the time from my last post, I have been a very busy lady.  I started a photography company: Monarch Digital Photography.  I have put a lot of my time in getting the website set up, and it still needs even more attention since I have more photos to add to its collections.  Time, time, and more time is all I need!

I'm really excited about this new endeavor.  I am a person who thrives on creativity.  For a long time, I've felt like I haven't had an outlet for that to shine.  And when my creativity doesn't shine, I don't shine!  I felt like I had exhausted my floral design ideas, and nothing I created was fun for me anymore.  I felt like I had seen it all, done it all, and was SO over it!  Don't get me wrong, I'll still design for my friends and families weddings and events, but it's not a creative high for me anymore.

Then, with my job, I get to design landscapes.  A ton of fun, even now.  But, with the economy and time of year, we are slow right now.  So, that creative release I need has to just stay couped up inside me...pouting.

All that creative need led me to my love of photography.  It just seemed like a natural next step for me to master.  By no means do I think I know it all, but I know enough to get me started.  I'm sure I'll make mistakes, but I will learn from them and never make them again.  And when I do, I have an amazing mentor/friend that I can go to with questions when I need answers.  I've shot back-up for her at several weddings and even tagged along for a couple of portrait sessions.  I felt confident that I could charge for my services and also get that creativeness flowing again! So, I saved up my money for 5 months and bought a new Canon 7D! (I am REALLY excited about that!)  My hope is to start out in the lower price range for wedding photography, and then gradually work my way up from there.

So, now that I got my creative muse satisfied, I feel like I need to carry on with a few of the things I originally started this blog for.  The first being my love of gardening.  Since it's January, there isn't too much excitement going on there.  Plenty I could write about, but not too much excitement.

The second thing is my 101 in 1001 list.  I also put this on my back burner.  I had a friend of mine (who also has her own 101 in 1001 list) ask me this week how that was going, and I was kinda bummed that I hadn't crossed anything off on it in awhile.  I thanked her for "kicking me in the butt" to get me going again.  I decided I'd try and cross something off this weekend to jump start  me again.  Not too sure what that'll be yet, but I'm going to do something and post about it!

Anywho, I'm excited to get back in the saddle again!  I've missed it! :o)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Flora of The Dominican

As I posted my 7 days of events in the Dominican, it just killed me to not include the beautiful plants, flowers, and foliage I came across.  The plants were one of the first things that excited me on the island.  We got into a bus that carried us to the hotel from the airport, and the whole way I was shouting with excitement as I saw all the beautiful diversity of plants along the roadside.  The hotel held even more of that excitement!  So without further ado, here are my favorite photos from my Dominican trip!

Plants Around the Hotel

Plants From the Rain Forest

As we left the hotel for our camp sites, I was very thrilled that my site was held on the very edge of the rain forest.  From the time I was in elementary, I have loved the rain forest and all the beauty it holds.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to take more photos of the plants here.

These girls showed me around their school grounds that held a wide array of plants and flowers.  I never would have found half of the plants that they showed me!

Plants from the Village

The village day was an incredibly humbling experience for me.  I walked the dirt roads of the village and was humbled by the people and their living conditions.  One thing I quickly found out though is they are very proud of their flower gardens that grow beside their houses and along the fence lines of the roads.  I had so much joy walking up to people to ask if I could take a picture of their plant, and then see the pride in their face as they said yes.  They would give me a cutting of the flowers, or a seed pod to take with me.  I kept thinking to myself, that at least in all the poverty they were surrounded in, they got to experience a little bit of joy and beauty with their gardens!

This is a tree called The Forest Flame.  It is covered in these beautiful red-orange flowers that are simply stunning!

He climbed up to get me a couple of seed pods from the tree!

And he kept on helping me find other seed pods!

And he helped me take photos.  He held the grass back so I could get a photo of the Maidenhair Fern!  So sweet!

These plants made my trip an exciting adventure.  I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

AIM Dominican Mission Trip: Day 7

So it's been almost two weeks since we got back from the Dominican, and I still haven't posted the last days' events.  As much as I don't want them to, the minor details of the day are slipping further and further away, so I am forcing myself to sit down and finish these posts before it's too late!

Day 7 was the one and only day of true vacation included in our trip.  We could chose from several different activities to go on in a group, but the choice was all ours to make.  My mom and I really wanted to go to Puerta Plata and go shopping.  That group was also going to visit a rum factory and the Amber museum there.  I was all set to go, but Christian kept "complaining" that he wanted to go with the surfing group to the beach in Cabarete.  I finally had "heard" enough and gave in to the "requests" of Christian.  We both loaded up on the bus to Cabarete while mom went to Puerta Plata.

On the way to Cabarete, we ran out of gas but were lucky enough to get going again within 10-15 minutes.  We made it to the beautiful beach of Cabarete shortly after that.   We broke up into groups of people who wanted to take a surfing lesson from Orlando (the 7 time Dominican surfing champion!), people who just wanted to get a board and go on out, and the rest of us who just wanted to be beach bums for the day.  I just wanted to relax on the beach and enjoy the scenery, so Christian and I found a spot on the beach and laid our towel down.  The water was a gorgeous clear blue, and the sky was clear and beautiful! Christian jumped out into the water, and soon after started in on his "requests" to get me to let him try surfing.  I wasn't so sure about letting him, so I stuck to my guns and said no.

He had fun swimming with the rest of our group, but it wasn't long before the surfers were up and at 'em, having a blast!  It was very fun to sit back and laugh at our friends wipe-out on the waves.  I have loads of photos from them falling over!  It wasn't long before one of the kids Christian's age came back in because he was tired of trying to get up.  I think he had bumped his head one too many times and was going to sit the rest of the day out on the shore.  I finally gave in and let Christian go on out and give surfing a try on that board.

He paddled out to the waves, and on the very first try, he was up and surfing!  A natural born surfer...who'd-a-thunk!?

He had a blast out there and it was a lot of fun watching him.  We stayed at the beach for a couple of hours and then finally loaded back up onto the bus to head back to the hotel.

The surfing group.

We got back before Mom did, so I went up and took a nap in the room while Christian watched cartoons.  I was so exhausted from the week, I probably could have slept an entire week at that point.

Mom got back a couple of hours later, and we went shopping at the market down by the beach.  I purchased a beautiful painting of sugar cane which I knew would remind me of the Dominican.  Mom also bought its mate.  We both loved the colors in the painting, and they were both so different from all the other paintings on display in all the shops.  After that, we walked down to Patrick's Silversmith shop and we bought jewelry with Larimar and Amber in them.  Larimar is a stone that can only be found on the Dominican island, and is a very pretty blue color!

We went back to the hotel and started getting ready for dinner.  We we going to enjoy the evening with all the coaches and helpers that helped us while we were there.  I enjoyed this evening so much.  Alfre was there with his brother, along with all the other coaches from our site.  Many people took the opportunity to extend their thanks and gratitude to the people there.  We had interpreters helping everyone go back and forth in conversation.  It was such a fine evening to end our stay with!

Alfre thanking Fred.

The next day, we spent the day packing and getting ready for the flight home.  Mom, Christian and I all walked down to the beach one last time.  I really wanted to go snorkeling one last time, but the water was to cloudy to really see the beautiful colors of the fish.  I spent the rest of the time picking up pieces of broken coral, shells, and sea glass on the shore.  We walked the beach for awhile and then came back to the hotel to finish up the last bits of packing.  Mom and I decided to take one last shopping trip and made our way back to Patrick's silversmith shop.  We made our way back to the hotel, and then waited for the buses to arrive and take us to the airport.

Alfre and his little brother came to see all of us off to the airport.  I gave his little brother a whole bag of Jolly Ranchers that I had left over in my bag.  He was all smiles!  I gave Alfre a few more photos of our group that I had printed for him and he was very thankful.  Our group was slowly making their way onto the buses, and Alfre joined us on the ride to the airport.  As a surprise, he jumped off the bus at a busy intersection to buy me and a couple of the others that were at the Bella Vista site a cup of ice cold sugar cane juice.  I tried the sweet drink and was instantly reminded of the days at the camp when we chewed on the canes for an afternoon treat.  It was good, and many of the others on the bus got to try the juice too.

We made it to the airport where we sent our checked luggage through the x-ray machine.  An hour or so later, and a couple of computer failures later, we were hugging Alfre goodbye with tears in our eyes.  I was ready to go home and see my family, but I was very sad that I had to leave my new friend behind.  I reminded him that we could talk by email or on Facebook, and he seemed to be a little comforted by that.

We boarded our plane with a few set backs in security, but it was all good.  I was very surprised when I was offered a first class seat on the way home for all the hard work I did that week.  I sat in the very first row and quickly nodded off for a nap!  We made it home to Houston, safe and sound with all our luggage in tow.

This mission trip not only changed my life, but my families life.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to have joined the AIM mission team on this adventure!  I met so many wonderful new friends, and am very happy to say that Google translate is working just fine to translate messages to and from Alfre in the Dominican.  We've corresponded back and forth a few times since I've been home, and he is still doing God's work in his community.  Many of my AIM friends have said they have messaged him too.  I'm so glad we all have a bond and can pray for one another's strifes and triumphs.  I can't wait for this coming year to fly by so we can repeat the whole week again in 2011!

Next blog post: All the plants I encountered that week!  I can't wait to share them all!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

AIM Dominican Mission Trip: Day 6

Day 6 of the AIM mission trip was our first non-camp day.  We finally had a chance to go out and explore the local area for ourselves without a schedule in the way.  We broke up into two groups and loaded up into buses to go out to the local villages and hand out candy to the children.  I had no idea how humbled I would walk away from this experience.  No amount of preparation could have prepared me for the next few hours I would experience.  It is something that is deeply ingrained in my mind, and it changed my heart forever.  I am only saddened that I didn't stop and take a few moments for myself to take it all in...and I mean really take in the scene around me.  I think I learned a lesson in photography:  Sometimes we can get so caught up in all the subjects around us, we can forget to appreciate the subjects.  I regret not taking a few minutes right there in the poorest of the poor places to thank God for all the blessings he's given me in my life.  With that said, I hope you will take the time to thank God for all the blessings in your life.  The following photos are just a very small fraction of the ones I took, but they are the ones that moved me the most.

This is the beginning of the village road, looking out into the mountains.

The kids were jumping onto our truck as we drove up the village roads.

Word quickly spread that the candy had arrived!

I'm giving away dum-dum's.  The look on their faces was unforgettable.

This is a mom giving her baby a bath.

The woman bending over is bathing in a 5-gallon bucket as well.

Most children under the age of three or four did not have any clothing on.  
Many over that age, including more than a few adults, were without shoes.

She was excited to see herself on my screen!

He is hiding his candy so he can get his "1" piece...again!

Yes, that is an infant sucking on a dum-dum.  No, we didn't give it to him/her!

Cock fighting is legal there, and is watched by many for entertainment on Sunday's.

This is a concrete wall with broken glass on the top for security.

Our medical team stopped into a few houses to tend to a few babies.  We each helped them carry a can of formula and a bottle to give away to moms with infants.  I have a couple of other stories to tell from this time in the village, but I'm saving it for my plant post.  We left the villages after a couple of hours and returned to the hotel to eat lunch and get ready for church that evening.

We all attended Pastor Rivas' church that night and had an awesome time doing so.  I find it incredible that you can feel God's mighty presence in the air even though you may not understand the language being spoken.  We all sang songs and listened to a sermon that was incredible (thank goodness we had a great translator!)  It was an awesome way to end such an incredibly moving day!  

When I'm feeling depressed or worried, or lose hope, or feel anxious, I hope I can remember this day and feel thankful instead!

Stay tuned for day 7 tomorrow...
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