5K on the Runway

When an opportunity strikes, you need to recognize it and jump on it. And sometimes beg others to help you make it happen. And stress a little when you realize it might not happen. And take a leap of faith and start whatever is necessary to make it happen, even knowing full well that it may not. And if everything works out, you say a prayer of praise and thanks to God because after all that, it happened.

At least, that’s the backstory of the coolest run I’ve ever done.

IMG_5869Early in February I noticed on Facebook that a friend had registered for a “5K on the Runway” with her running group. I dug a little deeper, and I discovered that our local airport was holding the event on a newly built runway before it was finally opened to regular air traffic. I immediately knew that I had to be a part of it, but I didn’t see how it was going to happen because it fell on the same day Jay was going to be out of town. Go figure. A couple of friends offered to help me make it happen, but in the end my sweet mother-in-law stepped in and took the girls – which made for a bizarre night of loneliness – but also meant that I could do my run! :)

The race was to start at 7a, and everyone was required to be parked by 6a because the airport had strict restrictions on when the event had to be finished and everyone had to be off the runway. It was my understanding that the first plane would land on the new runway within a few hours of the event’s completion.

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We had to wait outside the gates for a while until the airport was ready to let us all on the runway. Once they did, the huge mass of participants flooded through and headed to the start line, a bit of a walk from the gates. Unfortunately, due to the lack of parking, the walk from the parking areas to the gates, and then the walk from the gates to the starting line, the race was a little delayed as the event organizers waited for the last stragglers to get there. It’s a little hard to explain, but to get to the start line we had to walk some of the actual 3.1 mile course where the race would finish, so they couldn’t start the run until everyone made it to the front.

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It didn’t take too long though, and then we were off! It was pretty insane being on the runway. We weren’t all that close to the planes or airport buildings, but seriously, it was still super cool being able to take pictures like this:

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And while we were running we could see planes taking off, which was also really incredible.

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The course looped back on itself a couple of times. We started out heading west, then made a U-turn and headed east for a while before making another u-turn and heading back towards the finish line to the west. I always enjoy places in these runs that give me a good perspective of just how many people are a part of it – like reaching the top of a hill and being able to look down at all the runners in front of me – and the last u-turn was definitely good for that!

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The weather was looking a bit gloomy, which motivated us to get to the finish line a little quicker. Just as we crossed the finish line the rain started to fall, but after a hot run it was a welcome shower. :) I was fortunate enough to get a picture of myself crossing the finish line, but only because I ran into a sweet friend while on the course (the girl in black) and when a friend of hers took her picture she noticed I was in the shot too and sent it to me.

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I ran the race with my friend Jen again (she’s run a few other races with me), and also met up with another sweet friend and my former college roommate, Christine. These runs can be fun even if you’re alone, but I highly recommend meeting up with friends if you can – it’s so much more fun!

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 8.17.10 PMIt was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime run, one I’ll never forget. Anytime I pass by the airport I think to myself, “I ran 3.1 miles down there!” I loved every minute of it, and it was totally worth all the trouble we went through to get there. Actually, the only thing I didn’t like was the free t-shirt. Doesn’t it look like the plane is about to land and everyone is running from it out of fear? :D :D :D

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Another Slurpee Holiday!

Somehow I almost totally missed this, but thankfully I have a few friends out there who posted this amazing info to my Facebook page, and now I’m sharing it with you!

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Tomorrow is “Bring Your Own Cup Day” at 7-Eleven!!!

Here’s how it works:
Between 11am and 7pm you can bring any container to your local 7-11 and fill it up with your favorite Slurpee flavor – and it will only cost $1.49 (the average price of a medium Slurpee). How awesome is THAT?

Just be sure that your container isn’t too large – it will need to fit through a 10-inch cutout located in the store. Be sure that it’s clean and won’t leak, and that it has a “definite shape,” which I’m assuming means that you shouldn’t try to fill a balloon with Slurpee deliciousness. Although, now that I think about it, a Slurpee balloon fight sounds kinda heavenly… maybe something to add to this summer’s bucket list? :D

Looking for some creative container suggestions? How about a…

  • teapot
  • favorite cup
  • empty 1/2 gallon milk jug
  • carafe
  • mason jar
  • vase
  • beach pail
  • flowerpot
  • wine glass

Again, be sure that whatever you bring is CLEAN (especially if you’re thinking out-of-the box with something like a bucket). :)

As for me, I haven’t quite decided what to bring yet – but I’m leaning towards filling this huge Thermos and sticking 3 straws in it for the girls and me to share!

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Have a great day tomorrow, everyone! :)

Book List Update

Yay! It’s finally time to update my book list again!

Back in December I decided to start tracking what I’m reading, partly because people are always looking for something new to read and partly because I can never remember what I’ve read. ;) It’s fun to look back and see what I’ve checked off my list, and it’s also fun to create new reading goals for myself.

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Here’s what I read – again, in no particular order:

  • Insurgent
  • Daddy’s Gone a Hunting
  • Sharp Objects
  • Mean Streak
  • Rules of Civility: A Novel
  • Wild
  • Gone
  • Big Little Lies
  • Just Take my Heart
  • Shopaholic & Baby (audiobook)

It would be impossible to pick a favorite out of this bunch – the writing styles in these books ranges everywhere from mysteries (Daddy’s Gone a Hunting; Just Take My Heart; Mean Streak) to period pieces (Rules of Civility: A Novel). The topics covered self-reflection (Wild) to dysfunctional dystopian societies (Insurgent; Gone) to bubbly, self-indulgent women (Shopaholic & Baby). Gillian Flynn’s murder mystery was creepy, moody, foul, and dark, while Liane Moriarty’s murder mystery had a much more lighthearted, feel-good vibe to it.

And, just as a side note, I wanted to re-read Insurgent before seeing the movie next weekend (which is why it appears on the last book list as well), and Shopaholic & Baby was what I listened to during my last half-marathon (the Shopaholic series is a fun read, but I’ve found that I prefer to listen to them on audiobook instead. I like the narrator’s accent :) ).

I also read a few books geared for younger audiences:

  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
  • The Neverending Story
  • Sideways Stories from Wayside School
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Every so often Emily will read a book and repeatedly insist that I read it as well once she’s finished with it. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library was one of those books, and I was reluctant after some of her previous recommendations, but it was actually pretty fun. It’s a great book if you’re trying to get your child to break out of a “series rut,” which was what I was trying to do for Emily when I got it for her. We also finally finished The Neverending Story, which I described a bit more in this post. After that book I thought it might be good to read something more lighthearted and non-committal, so we went to the library and pulled out another favorite from my childhood: Sideways Stories from Wayside School. There were definitely quite a few giggles with that one! :D

As I neared the end of my book list, I realized I’d better get started on building a new one – especially since I’ve developed the habit of starting a new book almost as soon as I finish one. After reading some reviews on Amazon (and taking advantage of a couple of Kindle freebies that sounded good), getting recommendations from others, and learning which authors I’m growing fond of, I’ve built my new reading list! :)

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  • What Alice Forgot
  • The Dead Key
  • Wreckage
  • Where the Suckers Moon: The Life and Death of an Advertising Campaign
  • The Husband’s Secret
  • Dark Places
  • Oh Yeah, Audrey!
  • Allegiant (reread)
  • The Girl on the Train

I’ve also got the next books I’d like to read to Emily all lined up:

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  • Holes
  • The Phantom Tollbooth

I’m eager to attack my new list – let me know if you’ve read anything good that you think I should add to it! :)

Rules for Living with a Princess

A while back I wrote the Rules for Living with an Entomologist, focusing on our older daughter Emily’s ongoing love of insects. It seems only fair that I write one that focuses on our younger daughter Julia’s ongoing love: princess dresses.

IMG_4340_2When Julia was 2 and a half, she received her first princess dress, Merida (from Disney’s Brave). She had received a gift card from a friend, and when we went to the store so she could spend her money she was dead set on getting that dress. We bought it, took it home, she wore it once, and then refused to wear it again. That is, until 6 months later when she received a Rapunzel dress for her birthday. That was the day Julia came out of the closet – literally – and has worn a princess dress almost every day since. As Emily hated costumes of any kind (we had to force her to dress up for Halloween), this was new territory for me. But I’ve learned a lot over the past year, and I’ve made careful notes for anyone else out there with a princess-in-training. :)

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RULE #1 – THE DRESSES ARE NOT COSTUMES
I cannot stress this enough. They are clothes. You will never convince your dress-loving child that there is any difference between something you would wear on Easter Sunday and her Elsa gown (complete with sparkling, glittering snowflakes, lace trim, and train). However, she will somehow still recognize that the cute bunny ears you want her to wear for the Easter photo are, in fact, not a headband, no matter how much you try to convince her otherwise. No, these dresses are perfectly acceptable attire for any occasion, including the beach, weddings, funerals, and going to the dentist. And, of course, playing outside.

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RULE #2 – YOU ARE NOW THE ROYAL LAUNDERER
Ok, so I know you’ve already been doing the laundry for your household, but get ready to kick it up a notch. Princess dresses are, shall we say, delicately made. Washing these dresses in the same load as anything with a button or zipper or embellishment on it – no matter how small – is likely to rip your dress to shreds. Not to mention you’ll find glitter on absolutely every single piece of clothing that was washed in the same load as the dress, even if it never had glitter on it before (sorry about the socks, Jay). You’ll soon discover that in order to save alligator tears (yours), you’ll be much better off washing all those dresses in a load of their own. Yup, you heard me. One extra load of laundry. PS – a tip from an expert: putting them in the dryer sometimes makes them warp funny, which is why my laundry area looks like this each week:

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RULE #3 – YOU ARE ALSO THE ROYAL TAILOR
Now, logic would have it that if your kid is a princess then you must be the king or queen. And while this is true, this does not necessarily mean that you’ve got the finances to back up the title – which is the situation Jay and I find ourselves in. To avoid going completely broke, you’ll need to do a dress inspection after every laundry cycle. Look for rips, tears, places where the dress makes her look more like a pauper than a princess. Sometimes that means cutting off trim entirely (notice the gold trim at the bottom of Merida’s dress has been removed in the photo below), sometimes that means busting out a needle & thread and stitching it back together. Thank goodness for the car line.

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RULE #4 – YOU WILL TALK TO STRANGERS MORE THAN YOU THINK
If you are shy or introverted, get ready for your worst nightmare to come true, because everyone you encounter while in the company of your princess will want to talk to her (and by default, you) about her gown. Sometimes you’ll get off lucky with a sweet smile or a quick comment, but more often than not strangers will want to have full-blown conversations about the crazy things their kids used to wear, how expensive the dresses are and how poorly they are made (see RULE #3), and/or how they just bought the exact same dress for their granddaughter. But my favorite is when they’ll try to show off how much they know about the princess who made the dress famous and are completely wrong. Know your princesses, people – just because the dress is blue doesn’t mean it’s Elsa (does anyone remember a gal named Cinderella?), and you’re sending me home with a grumpy princess who can’t understand why everyone has been calling her Elsa all day.

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RULE #5 – YOU WILL NEED YOUR CAMERA ALL THE TIME
Yeah, pretty much everything looks adorable if it’s done in a princess dress. Your kid spills their Cheerios all over the floor in their jammies and you get frustrated. Your kid spills their Cheerios in a princess gown, and you get the camera. Not only that, but your kid knows they are “so beautiful” and will demand that you take pictures of them doing the most ordinary things. Sure, I don’t mind taking another picture of you standing in the grass in your Anna gown, Julia. I only have 3,458 already.

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So there you have it. But before I sign off, let me leave you with one last word of advice: don’t think for one minute that dressing like a princess will make your child act like a princess. I honestly still can’t figure out how I ended up with such a girly little brute. But I will say, she certainly has perfected that sweet princess smile ! :D

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Be Real

Sometimes I feel like I am drowning. I’m frantically trying to keep my head above the water, but it’s just too hard. There are worries tied to my ankles; insecurities that make it impossible for me to stay afloat for long. My girls are nearby – watching everything I do – so I try to stay strong and put on a brave face for them so they won’t see me struggle. I know they would help if they could, but they are just too little and have no experience in matters of the heart. Dry land is just too far away to reach by myself. I need help, and quickly.

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When I start to go under, I do three things: I wallow in self-pity and misery (obviously a really dumb first step), I find a friend to confide in, and then I pray.

As a believer in Christ, I know that the prayer should come first. But to be completely open and honest, I don’t always feel like I deserve God’s help. I feel alone in the world, and it’s difficult to imagine that God wants anything to do with me when I’m moping about. And I don’t always know how to go about it either – it just feels selfish to ask God to do anything for me, especially when I have so successfully convinced myself that I deserve whatever trial I’m going through at the moment.

That’s when I know I’ve hit bottom, and I need to talk to someone. But talking to someone requires being real. It means opening up and risking being “that friend” that always seems to be unhappy about life. It means moving into a glass house, where all of my problems are laid out plain as day. It means risking judgement and pity… and it also means giving up my pride. But it also means that I might start healing. I might find out that someone shares my pain. I might learn ways to get past it. I might start to tread water more easily.

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My faith in Christ is what gives me the strength to fight the weights that are pulling me under, and, if I let it, my faith is what unties the knots on those weights. And my friends – all of whom I consider to be a blessing in my life and a gift from God – are my life preservers. They listen to me, love me, encourage me, and set me straight. They aren’t afraid to tell me what might hurt, and always do it offering their full support when I need it. They tell me when I’m wrong. They tell me when I need to let it go. And sometimes they even offer to watch the girls for a few hours, just to give me the space I need to feel however I need to feel… to cry as hard as I want to… to pray in peace.

But the trick is to be real with them. I’ve learned that giving fragmented information in an effort to save myself from embarrassment doesn’t result in the same level of advice, support, or compassion from my friends. They’ve all got their own insecurities, their own struggles. They understand, because there is no “perfect.”

But the key to true healing is to pray. Pray and pray and pray some more. Anytime I feel like I’m going under again, I need to pray. Anytime that drowning sensation begins to return, I need to pray. When I feel my burdens are impacting my daughters and my husband and the people around me, I need to pray. When I don’t think I need to pray, I need to pray.

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Things will get better, I know they will. I know that being a believer doesn’t mean that I won’t struggle or have difficulties in life. But hiding behind my problems or putting on a smile to help me pretend they don’t exist won’t make anything any better. Being real and prayer – LOTS of prayer – will. <3

Showcase of Citrus

If you find yourself driving through Central Florida and you’re looking for something tourist-y that has nothing to do with theme parks, roller coasters, or life-sized costumed characters, you might want to consider stopping by Showcase of Citrus. :)

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Located just south of Clermont (which is west of Orlando), Showcase of Citrus is a you-pick-it citrus grove. And boy, do they really have just about every variety of citrus – they have limes, lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, and pomelos. And they also have blackberries! All you have to do is choose from a few different bag sizes and head out to the groves, filling your bag with any mix of citrus you like.

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IMG_3117In addition to the produce, there’s also a small petting zoo, a play area for kids, picnic areas, 4×4 Eco tours, fishing, and the cutest little farm store ever. We didn’t have a chance to take one of the 4×4 tours, but it’s definitely something we’d do the next time we visit. (I advise looking ahead at tour times and plan your trip accordingly.)

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IMG_3092The farm store was fun, lots of jams, jellies, and spices, and all full of local home-grown flavors. Jay is a spice guy, so naturally we went home with a few of those. :D The girls had their eye on some flavored popcorn, and I just wanted to try one of their “famous” orange slushies. Turns out that the slushie was nowhere near as good as a frozen coke (in my opinion), but Julia absolutely loved it. :)

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We ended up at Showcase of Citrus because we were looking for some unique things to do for my birthday weekend, and this totally fit the bill. It was a wonderful way to spend some outdoor time together, and I have no doubt we’ll be back again!

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PS – I was neither paid nor perked to write this post. All opinions are my own. :)
PSS – Thanks for the recommendation, Sanne! <3

A Run Full of Love

I’m a bit behind on posting my races! I just completed my 5th run since the half marathon I did at the end of January, and while I’ve had a blast at each one I’m a little happy that I can take a break… at least until my next run in May. :) Hopefully by then I’ll be caught up on posting the last few I’ve done!

I was super excited to learn that there was a local 5K happening on Valentine’s Day, and a few friends and I decided to sign up – especially when we learned there was going to be a medal (I <3 medals!). A few of the gals I’d signed up with hadn’t been a part of any races that offered them, and they happy to finally have the chance to earn one.

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Usually I don’t ask Jay and the girls to come to my races to cheer me on. These events are always early in the morning, and he’d have to get himself and the girls ready and out the door, drive to the race, find a place to park, and do all of that while hoping he makes it to the finish line before I cross it. But he’s come with the girls to both of my half marathons, and I loved it so much that I thought I would milk Valentine’s Day for everything I could and ask him if he could come to this race. Hee hee. ;) <3

The shirts for this event were by far the best shirts I’ve received at any of my runs. I loved the V-neck fitted style, and the logo for the event on the front of the shirt was super cute. Usually, although I might dress to go with the theme of the event, I won’t wear the event shirt during my run, but this was definitely an exception!

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It was a bit chilly that morning – the high 30s if I remember correctly, which is why we were all wearing jackets. It was kinda a bummer to have to cover up the cute shirts (I think Erin had the right idea to wear long sleeves underneath), but I’m hoping more races start carrying shirts like these!

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The race took us through the downtown part of the city, along the same general route as a few other events I’ve participated in. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of running through the city though. There’s just something about running on empty, blocked-off streets that are normally jam-packed with cars. Sometimes people stand on the side of the road or on the balconies of their condos to cheer us on, nearby vehicles honk their support, and you just kinda feel privileged to be a part of it all.

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Of course, themed runs are always magnets for the extreme costume-loving crowd…

IMG_5526Because of a knee injury, I’d walked most of a 5K I participated in the week before so that I could run the whole 3.1 miles at this one. I was ecstatic that my knees held up the whole time, and my friend Jen (who also had messed up knees) and I pushed ourselves a bit even though we both had to ice our knees when we got home. We finished the race in just over 34 minutes, averaging about 11 minutes a mile. (That’s us in the middle of the picture.) :)

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One of the best tips I can give you for joining a race like this is to find a great group of friends to do it with. Even if you don’t all run the whole course together, having someone to hang out with before you start and after you finish makes such a huge difference!

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But there is nothing that beats having your family there. I’m so thankful that these 3 crazies endured all the madness to come see me finish! <3
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Words from my Daughter

I was looking through my photos and I kept coming across pictures I’d taken of things Emily’s written. Little notes, messages, and bits from her homework assignments that made me smile (or laugh my tushie off). Emily has been into books since she was able to crawl herself to the bookshelf, and all those years of reading (and reading to her) have given her a great appreciation for the power behind the written word. She is an excellent writer – from about ages 4-7 she wanted to be an author – and she never ceases to surprise me with the things she comes up with. But instead of keeping her talents to myself, I thought I’d share them here. Enjoy! :)

I spent about an hour one Friday night trying to fix a tangled slinky. When I came downstairs Saturday morning I found this note:

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Another weekend morning Jay and I woke up to find these on the floor outside our bedroom door. I love that she took money from her piggy bank. :D

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Then was this little message she wrote for me on her church sticker (the half we use to “claim” our kids after the service). <3

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A homework assignment… you can skip to number 9, it’s my favorite. :D

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Sometimes it’s her favorite way to let me know what Julia’s been up to…

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Here’s another homework assignment, this time she had to write a comic strip, and she used some food stickers as inspiration for her storyline. You have to read it to learn why the apple is crying. :D

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This is part of yet another homework assignment. She had to write a story using spelling words (circled). Her use of the word “joint” cracks me up every time, even though I know she has no idea what that meaning is! :D

IMG_3759_2And finally, my absolute favorite. It is really hard for Emily to open up about her feelings. It’s taken years – YEARS – to get her to open up about the smallest things without an hour of prodding and tears from both her and me. She would spend half the time refusing to talk and, after telling me what was bothering her, she’d spend the rest of the time telling me that she really hated talking about her feelings. This note means the world to me, and gives me hope that all those gentle nudges towards opening up to me are actually working. <3
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Art on a Date Night

It’s been a while since I’ve written about a date night, honestly because it’s been a while since we’ve had one. It stinks how busy we get, and before we know it we’re falling into the same patterns again. This means the conversations become more mundane, the kisses are less passionate, and the hugs just don’t seem to last as long. Which is usually when we look at the calendar and see a ridiculous amount of things written on there – Jay’s travels, my planned events, Julia’s playdates, Emily’s school events, and all the other family things we are invited to. What we don’t see: a scheduled date night.

Date NightWe’ve learned that planning something specific to talk about is a huge factor in a date night’s success. As it turned out, there was a huge art festival going on just a street away from Jay’s office building. Early in our relationship we were in the habit of visiting art festivals whenever one crossed our path, but it had been a while since we’d visited one. It was the perfect way to get out of the house and spend some time together sans kiddos, and we knew the art would provide tons of conversation starters.

If you’ve never been to an art festival, let me draw a picture for you. Food trucks. Funky sculptures. Live music. Paintings. Beer. Unusual people. Photographs. Ice cream. Metalwork. Jewelry. We absolutely love it.

IMG_5625We walk down the rows of booths, laughing at the things we find ridiculous: sculptures of human figures hanging from ropes so that they appear to be scaling the wall (who wants to look up at a blue derrière above their heads?); beautifully painted puppies with feathers glued on their bodies where the fur should be; photographs of topless women in bizarre places – a swamp, up a tree, on a barbed-wire fence. We share an ice cream cone. We chat with the artists. Sometimes we run into someone we know. We repeatedly fall in love with an artist’s style, only to look closer and see that we can’t afford anything we like – which isn’t a problem since we aren’t really there to shop.

But on rare occasions we walk past a booth and stop – because one particular image has managed to catch our attention equally. On this particular trip it was a photographer’s impressionistic picture of trees, mounted on metal and floated in a black frame. It was stunning, and we both wanted it. After talking to the photographer for a few minutes we learned that the piece we fell in love with was actually his first attempt at an impressionistic photograph. It’s titled “Mustard Field,” and you can see the yellow of the mustard field along the bottom of the treeline. We loved the yellow mustard plants, we loved the black tree trunk jutting up vertically out of the mustard, and we loved the way the blue sky peeked from between the trees near the top. The photographer had the same image mounted or matted in different sizes using different methods (you can see them in the picture below), but we knew right where we wanted to hang this one, the price was right, and we bought it. :)

IMG_5631I think what I love most about this type of date night is how close it makes me feel to Jay. Walking, talking, holding hands. Sharing treats. Sharing opinions. We found our photograph as the festival was shutting down for the day, but even if we hadn’t found anything we liked we had the best time together – I dare say it was almost as if we were ten years younger and didn’t have two kids waiting for us back home. Afterward, we had dinner at a restaurant and hit Starbucks before heading home, talking all the way about what we’d seen and purchased.

It isn’t always in the budget – or our schedule’s best interest – to have date night outside of our home, but in my opinion this topped seeing a movie because it gave us time to talk and enjoy each other’s company. We connected. And whenever we look at the art we bought, I know this date will come to mind and that connection will be remembered – even if at that moment the hugs are temporarily shorter than usual. <3

PS – Check out more of the photographer’s work here. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated in any way for writing this post. This guy’s work is awesome, and we will very likely be making another purchase from his collection. :)

PSS – Read about our other date nights! The Newlywed Game, Bucket List, Stocking Stuffer, and Dream House. <3

It Still Counts!

People who love jigsaw puzzles frequently share their favorite completed puzzles with each other. Puzzles move from home to home, table to table, being reworked and enjoyed by more than their original owner. I love passing my completed (and dismantled) puzzles along, whether to a friend, family member, or someone who wants to purchase one (usually at a yard sale, although I’ve sold some via Craisglist as well). And, on occasion, I’m also the recipient of a previously-completed jigsaw.

Recently, my best friend’s mother-in-law, Margaret, passed along a puzzle she’d enjoyed years ago. She’d heard that I loved working on challenging puzzles, and thought that this one fit the bill:

IMG_5661She was not kidding! The puzzle was only 500 pieces, but the entire image was a close-up of grass. Thousands of blades of grass from one side to the other, top to bottom. On top of that challenging image, the puzzle was also cut in a circle, which made it extra difficult to distinguish which pieces would go together to form the outside border. The circular shape also meant that the interior pieces weren’t cut in traditional shapes, but instead each had unique bumps and grooves that fit together in unusual ways.

IMG_5660It definitely took a while to complete this puzzle – about a month from start to finish. As always, I worked while watching some of my favorite shows, this time completing the last season of Downton Abbey and a couple of seasons of Parks & Rec. :)

IMG_4924Because of the unique nature of this puzzle, the best way to approach it was from the outside to the inside – which is not my usual method (I prefer to start in the middle). Eventually I could see the light at the end of the tunnel as the unfinished portion in the center grew smaller, and there were only a handful of pieces left. And then…

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NOOOOOOOOO!

I was missing a piece! I immediately felt sick – firstly, I’d been dying to see the ridiculously repetitive image completed, and secondly, this was not even my puzzle. I had a flashback to when I was a kid, and I remember my mom had a ton of cool jigsaws stacked in a closet. Almost every time I asked her if I could work one the answer was no, mainly for fear that I’d lose a piece (or all of them). Unfortunately, since I was just a kid that was a huge possibility, and although I’ve never lost a piece as an adult I’ve grown to understand how upsetting it would be. Nevertheless, I fessed up to Margaret as soon as I had the chance, and she assured me that it was no big deal – the puzzle was pretty old and she wasn’t sure all the pieces had been there to begin with.

IMG_5450The ironic thing about this puzzle is that inside the box there’s a slip of paper telling you how you can receive a certificate of completion after submitting a photo of the completed puzzle. As frustrating as it was to not be able to fully complete it due to that lone missing piece, it kinda cracked me up thinking that despite all my efforts I might never have qualified for that certificate (not that I really would have sent it in).

IMG_5657As far as I’m concerned, I completed this puzzle. Missing piece or not, it still counts. Kinda makes you wonder where all the missing puzzle pieces could be though, right? Maybe they are in hiding with all those lost socks… :P