Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Favorites

Good morning!

I woke up this morning with a complete sense of “calm.”  The weekend is here and it is looking particularly relaxing.  On the agenda - tonight: veg.  Tomorrow: Color Run 5K in the morning [has anyone run this with a baby - advice?] and a relaxing (child-less) pool / grill date with some friends in the evening.  Sunday: church then veg.  Sense a theme?

I am hoping to get some food prep done for the week ahead on Sunday, but don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. Ha!  

This week’s Friday Favorites post is short, but sweet.  I was so busy I didn’t have time to find much I liked.  

- Mennonite store finds

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On the way home from camping on Monday, we took the advice of family and stopped by the Mennonite store.  I walked in there and felt like I hit the jackpot.  Spices and pantry staples for a fraction of the price that we buy things in the city.  I bought that coconut oil for $6, that huge bag of nutritional yeast was $5, and I have never seen dried chickpeas before.   I see many nights of popcorn in my future.  If you happen to find a Mennonite store on a road trip, do yourself a favor and go inside.  You are welcome.

- Lunch al Desko: upgrade your mid-day meal.  I LOVE this advice on how to have a better lunch at your desk.  This weekend I am going to stock up on stuff for my desk “pantry” and I have no idea why I have never thought of keeping a small cutting board and knife at my desk.  Pure genius.  

- Cooking with Ina  

I feel like this deserves an entire post of its own, because her involvement in meal making is constantly evolving, but lately I have been giving her a bowl of water, a whisk, and a measuring cup and let her go to town while I cook dinner.  She thinks she is doing some pretty important work and will not rest until every drop of water is wisked to the ground.  Any other advice for entertaining a toddler while making dinner?  

- Pineapple mint popsicles - happening tonight 

- HIIT scorcher

Have 20 minutes and a body that needs to move?  Do this workout.  I did it yesterday over lunch and was dripping (but awkwardly smiling) at the end.  

I think that is all I have for today.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  See you on Sunday with my food / fitness plant for the week!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for Thursdays.  The beginning of the week is complete craziness, but by the time Thursdays roll around, everything has calmed down and the weekend is in sight.  This might have something to do with the fact that my in-laws stayed the night last night and Ina slept in the basement with them.  Maybe.

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I am thankful for my mom who ventured to my house yesterday at 6 AM to watch Ina because I had a phone presentation.  to India / UK / South Africa.  I agreed to the time a few months ago when Ina was consistently sleeping until 8.  However, these days, any time is game.  5 am?  Why not?  Something tells me the people on the call wouldn’t have thought Ina using my phone and computer to call Mickey was near as cute as I do. 

I am thankful for my outdoor blue lounge chair, that I am lounging in right now, and I lounged in yesterday after a HOT 3.5 mile run while Ina played in her pool. I almost felt like I was at the beach.  Almost.

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I am thankful for all of our working appliances.  Yesterday we found out that the AC at our rental house needs to be replaced and a few hours later our lawn mower broke down.  So, instead of being upset about that I am going to be thankful for everything that is still kickin’.

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I am thankful for Ina’s curls.  You can’t really tell from the pictures today, but the back of her hair has started to form ringlets.  I don’t think they are permanent curls, just the long-baby hair type curl, so I want to acknowledge their cuteness while they are still around.  Her hair is also getting blonder because she is outside a lot, and although I didn’t think it was possible, she gets cuter every day.  

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Summer Bucket List [2014]

Yay!  Summer is finally here!  I feel like I have been waiting for this season extra long this year.  To ensure it doesn’t come and go without a trace, I have a little checklist of things I want to do before Labor Day.  

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  • Make popsicles 
  • Teach Ina to catch lightening bugs
  • Complete an open water swim workout (scary)
  • Enroll Ina in swim lessons
  • Can something from my garden - likely tomatoes
  • Go to the farmer’s market
  • Take Ina down a water slide
  • Enjoy a cocktail with my girlfriends on a patio somewhere (sans Ina)
  • Take Ina to a Royals game at home (I am ashamed to admit this hasn’t happened yet)
  • Go on a picnic date with Dan
  • Read a book - this is laughable because I haven’t read a book since Ina was born, but a girl can dream, right?
  • Take Ina to the Kansas City zoo - there are so many more animal sounds to learn!
  • Go to a drive-in movie
  • Play frisbee with Dan
  • Clean out the garage.  OK, let’s be real - clean out a wall of the garage
  • Go fishing - let Ina hold a worm 

Am I missing anything important?  What’s on your list? 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Just Around the River Bend: Memorial Weekend 2014

Whenever I step into a river two things happen: 

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1. Memories of my teenage years flood back to me.  My family and my friends’ families used to meet every year for an annual float trip.  Some of the best memories of my life are on the river.  

2. The Pocahontas song Just Around the River Bend is in my head for the next week.  

What I love most about rivers is you never step in the same river twice...

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Whenever Ina steps in the river one thing happens - she keeps stepping until she is neck deep in water.  

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We had a wonderful weekend camping with Dan’s family who were absolutely wonderful hosts.  We slept in a bed and ate like kings.  We also rented a raft to go on a short float.

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The “short” 3 hour float somehow morphed into a 9 hour float.  I am very thankful for Ina’s ability to sleep on the floor of a raft.  

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A long day on the river left me so completely exhausted that apparently I flung Ina off the bed in the middle of the night, picked her up, put her back to sleep, and have absolutely no memory of it happening.  

Despite the trauma, I am very well rested today.  

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I hope you had a fantastic weekend and have a blessed short week!

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Food and Fitness Plan #37

Good morning!

I hope you all are having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Our’s started out wonderfully by spending Friday evening with part of my family.

We are still camping, but I will be back tomorrow to recap all the action.  Here is an abbreviated plan for an abbreviated week.




Running with Racheal

What are you up to this week?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Funny: Toddler Toys

Before I was a parent, child birthday parties greatly intimidated me.  Even though I absolutely loved kids, I never knew what to buy them. The day before the party I always found myself Googling “one year old birthday presents” and wondering if it was socially acceptable to just donate money to the kid’s college fund.  

Now that I am a parent, I have a little better grasp on what a kids likes/needs.  (I am also wondering if it is socially acceptable to ask for college fund donations instead of toys.  Likely not.)  

However, I still am always in search for that perfect gift.  So, for my niece Hallaway’s birthday, I felt like I hit the jackpot when I found the bilibo on Amazon.

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What is it?  What isn’t it would be the better question.  

It brings out a kid’s creative side.  It can be anything a child wants it to be. - I told everyone at the birthday party as Hallaway was opening it.  

Someone answered - so does a trash can lid.  


Still, I didn’t give up on it and tried to explain some things I read in the reviews. It can be a seat!  It can be a shell!  It can float on water!  You can stack two together!

No one seemed to be buying it.  

However, a few days later, when I was in particular need of a pick me up, I started getting picture texts from my sister.  

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The first one was funny

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and I thought that there would only be one or two

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but they just kept getting better.

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They found more uses it for it than the website has!

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I seriously could not stop laughing.

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When they started dressing up, I knew I had bought the perfect gift.  

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I don’t care if they ever use it again - I will always have these pictures.

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What do you buy kids for their birthdays?  I have started asking parents what kids are asking for now, and that seems to help. 

A book is always a good idea!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  We are going camping and floating on a river, so please pray for us!  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Good morning!

I woke up late this morning with a frozen computer (I really, really need to delete some of the pictures of Ina off of this thing), but I didn’t even care because I had the best night of sleep I have had in years.  

I seriously feel like a new woman.

So a short Thankful Thursday for you: 

I am thankful for this sunset over the lake

which I saw on my late run last night.

I ran late because I ate too much candy while watching The Big Bang Theory episodes after I got home from work and had to wait for it to digest.

I watched The Big Bang Theory on the couch because I had a huge headache since lunch.

I had a huge headache because my allergies and new contacts do not agree with each other.

BUT, that headache led to the sunset, so I am thankful for the headache, and everything in between.

I hope you have a blessed day!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Small Group at the Park

Last night we mixed things up with small group and met at the park.

We grilled dinner.

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We slid down slides (by we, I mean Ina, who climbed the stairs and slid down enough times for our entire family).

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We had great fellowship discussing the book of Job.  

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All in all, it was a success, and I think we will continue to meet there during the summer as long as the weather is nice.  We were hoping to recruit some park patrons for the discussion, but I think we ran everyone off, as we had the park entirely to ourselves.  Oh well, there is always next week.

A few other notable things from yesterday: 

- I made quinoa pancakes for breakfast - very tasting and kept me going until lunch.

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- I completed a quick and extremely effective lunchtime “blast and burn” circuit workout that left me super sweaty.  

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I had to default to pony-tail hair for the rest of the day.  This was my first time attempting a dead lift and those are no-joke.  My back is pretty sore today.  

Ina is spending the evening at her grandparents’ house tonight, so I am hoping to do something at the gym after work.    Maybe Zumba?  

I hope you have a wonderful day!  


If you have time to comment:

If you heard some people discussing God / the bible at the park, how would you react?  Would you be curious or offended?  What could they do to make you feel more welcome and park of the conversation?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Disappointing Group Fitness Class

Yesterday I went to a new group fitness class and it was a major let down.

It was an interval training class, and because I love HIIT so much (<— sarcasm), I thought I would give it a try.  I walked in and the instructor was chatting with someone and didn’t even acknowledge me, when I was the only other person in the room.

Right before the class started, I introduced myself and told her that it was my first time in the class and she responsed with, “Oh, you’ll be fine.”  

Thanks, I already knew that. A “hello, nice to meet you” would have been nice.  She started the “class” while continuing to chat with her friends and only stopped to change the timer.

We did 40 seconds on / 10 seconds rest of the following 5 exercises:

  1. squat jumps
  2. plank jacks
  3. burpee / reverse crunch
  4. pike / push up
  5. superman planks

We repeated it 4 times.  She did give a few form ques, but most of the time she was just chatting.

I drove 20 minutes for this? I could have looked this up on the internet and found more motivation and encouragement doing it in front of Ina.    

The workout was tough, but I still felt like it was a complete waste of time and left there with a not-so great feeling.  

Sorry to be such a bummer, but I have usually had really great experiences with group fitness classes and this one was disappointing.  I think I will stick to spin.  

Ina knows how to do a perfect pike.

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We played outside for about an hour yesterday before she threw a fit that stemmed from wanting to see Mickey on my phone and not putting her boots on.

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She wanted the boots on, then she didn’t want them on, then she wanted them on.  Life comes with some pretty tough choices, kid.  

I made chicken curry (<— used this recipe and replaced ground beef with chicken - I like the beef version better) for dinner and served it with salad (lettuce from our CSA!) and homemade ranch dressing (<— make some now).

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Chicken curry tastes magically better with homemade ranch on top. 

I hope you have a fantastic day!

Have you ever had a disappointing group fitness class?  

What is your favorite salad dressing?  Mine is ranch, but Champagne is a close second.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Two Birthday Parties

Yesterday was a whirlwind of a day.

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I blogged, went to church 3 times (once for the service, and two more times for small group recruitment), went to 2 restaurants, went grocery shopping, saw multiple family members, and topped everything off with 2 birthday parties.

We all know how much I love birthday parties.

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Ina loves them too.

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The first was a family friend - Avery, who turned 2. The second was my niece Jayelin, who turned 6.  They are just getting too big.

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Yesterday I did not run or do any food prep, but I also did not sit on the couch, so I am not really all the upset with myself. 

Looking forward to a good workout today - trying out a new class at the gym!

Have a good one!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Weekly Food and Fitness Plan 36

Good morning! 

I just loved weekends spent doing weekend things.

We didn’t end up going to the Royals game on Friday.  Instead I stayed home and made my Instagram wall, made dinner, and after the game was over and the kids (yes I have two) were in bed, I caught up on Game of Thrones.  

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Yesterday was a productive day for our family.  We planted our garden,

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fixed our riding lawn mower (oh happy day), and SOLD OUR BOAT.

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Funny story.  Dan and I had casually talked about putting the boat up for sale, so on Friday, when I had some time, I listed it on Craig’s List, thinking I would tell Dan when he got home from work.  Imagine his surprise when he had more than 20 people texting him within an hour.  Oops. Um, honey, just so you know, the boat is for sale.  

Last night we went to my parents’ house to visit their brittany spaniel puppies. 

Ina was timid at first, 

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but then she decided she liked them and gave them LOTS of kisses.

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This week’s plan:


  • Sunday: birthday parties - I wonder if Dan will accept cake for dinner?
  • Monday: slow cooker chicken curry with brown rice and salad
  • Tuesday: small group - we are grilling at the park
  • Wednesday: grilled pork chops with roasted broccoli vegetable fried brown rice
  • Thursday: one pot chili cheese mac with roasted brussel sprouts
  • Friday: leftovers
  • Saturday - camping!
Also prepping a few things for the week - hummus and quinoa pancakes


  • Sunday: 4 mile run
  • Monday: extreme fit workout class
  • Tuesday: sprints + arms
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: YouTube video
  • Friday: 4 mile run
  • Saturday: rest

You will notice that there isn’t a long run on that schedule.  After a lot of thought, I have decided to not sign up for the half marathon in June.  I haven’t been able to find enough time in my schedule for long runs, and we all know that if you don’t make enough time for something, it isn’t really a priority.  I am still planning to run a half in October or November, but want to save most of the summer for quick, effective workouts.  I will talk more about this later, but running has become my “lazy” workout and I think I need to mix things up in order to get better.

Running with Racheal

What are you up to this week?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Favorites

Yay for Friday!

I am excited for this weekend - Royals game tonight, gardening / yard work tomorrow, and then church + TWO birthday parties on Sunday.  Hopefully there will be time to squeeze in a date with the couch too.

Here are a few of my favorite things from this week: 

-Sliced cucumbers

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My cousin had these for a snack a lot on vacation, and I found myself always wanting one.  I have already gone through 3 this week.  They are the most refreshing snack and I love anything with a crunch.  I enjoyed some yesterday while Ina took an unheard of afternoon nap.  

- My two souvenirs from San Diego: 

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I saw the spoon, fork, and knife necklace at a boutique in Coranado, and almost bought it.  A few days later, it magically ended up in my lap.  I am so spoiled.  Ina loves playing with it.  She used to sit on my lap and tell me which utensil was which.  Last night she took it a step further and tried “eating” from them. 

The one thing I bought at Disneyland was the coffee cup.  It was the most bang for my buck and Ina loves talking about all the characters with me.

- We had our first CSA delivery this week!  It was just a bunch of lettuce and a few radishes, but I was so excited!  I talked with the farmer for about 10 minutes about all the vegetables she is growing, and I am so looking forward to this summer’s cooking.  Ina was excited too -she gnawed on those spicy radishes all night long. 

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- My latest Stitch Fix (<--referral link).

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How cute are those lime green jeans?  I really liked everything from this month - jeans, two blouses (stripped and Chevron), a bright pink dress, and a cute pair of earrings.  How will I ever decide?  Eeenie, meenie….

- Kath’s guide to Lazy Guy Dinners - I am going to print this out and put it on my fridge.  I loves these ideas for last minute dinners using things I can keep on hand.  Genius.  

- On Gathering Around the Table - I used to be think so much like this too - that I couldn’t invite people over because my house wasn’t clean.  Small group has greatly helped me with that - they are coming over regardless, so I might as well make the most of it. Now I am a little too comfortable with the mess people see.  Ha!

That is all for now.  I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Back in Action

Good morning!  

A piece of advice for anyone who is interested -it isn’t the best idea to go out of town for 3 weekends in a row.  This week has been a whirlwind of beastly tall grass, exploding suitcases, misplaced toiletries, and one shoe.  Why can I always only find one shoe?  

I always say this, but this time, I mean it.  If I go out of town for the weekend, I am going to take the next day off from work.  Gone are the days when I could fly into Kansas City at midnight and arrive to work at 8 am bright and chipper.  

So, today, I am thankful for all of my suitcases being unpacked and put away.  FINALLY.

I am thankful for my mid-week grocery shopping trip that brought me all the vegetables. 

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[Recipes for: lemon kale saladhummus, and microwave banana oatmeal.]

I am thankful for my dinner I ate by myself last night.  Dan and Ina went to visit his grandma in the hospital (she had a successful surgery!) so I was solo for the night.  Fish it is. (If you are looking for a fish recipe that doesn’t really taste like fish, this it it.  You also need to like green olives.)

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I am thankful for planks.

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Well, not really. Maybe I should say I am thankful for the muscles that (mostly) hold me in that position.  I am also thankful for free, effective, and short YouTube workout videos.  

I am thankful for Ina’s laugh.  Last week was a doozie in the Ina’s mood department and while a smile was rare, a laugh was almost unheard of.  Last night it was like a switch flipped.  She was running from person to person, giving us hugs and kisses, and twirling and summersaulting like a crazy (but happy) child.  

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Favorite Moments from San Diego 2014 Part 2

Part 1 here.

- San Diego Zoo: this place lived up to the hype. 

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[Please ignore my almost closed eyes in all of these pictures.  I hurt my eye at the baseball game the night before and have not been able to tolerate contacts since.]

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Although it covered a large area, there was an animal everywhere I turned. My favorite animals were the bears - panda and brown bear.

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I also really loved the imax 4D movies - they were a perfect break for the kids.

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While we were there, Ina learned to say, elephant, lion, monkey, and snake, and she learned the sounds they make.  It took a while for her to get it down, but now when she sees an elephant she screams, “Elephant!” and makes the cutest spitting sound. 

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- Disneyland

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I love Disney for many reasons, but it was so awesome to see the faces of the kids whose dreams were coming to life.  The girl in front of us waiting in line to meet Mickey was in total awe.  I loved it.  

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Ina liked looking at the characters from afar - really far.

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When we got up close she started shaking.

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So, we stopped at two.  

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My nephew Kauffman was a champ!

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She also was so-so about the rides, but in general liked seeing the characters.  She now LOVES Micky and “calls” him at least once an hour.  

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When I go back, I will be sure to have at least 3 days to explore - so many things to do!

- World of Color

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This was in Disneyland but deserves its own shout out.  If you go, you must do this.  

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It was one of the coolest things I have seen in my life.  It is had to explain, but it pretty much a water/light/movie musical.  

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When it started Ina looked at me and said, “WHOA.”  

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- The food (my most favorite part!)

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We ate most breakfasts and lunches at the hotel, and grilled a few times.  Here were some of my favorite restaurants.

I ate gluten free the entire trip (minus two bites of a smokes cake I couldn’t say no to) and it was pretty easy.  

- Exercising with my sister

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I started running with my sister years ago, and now that we live far apart, we rarely exercise together.  

She is still doing T25, so we did a few of those videos - killed me.  We also had a few short runs.  

- Being with my family.  The best part of all. 

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We are all so busy that sometimes it takes a vacation to have concentrated time together.  I love them to pieces.  

A few other pictures that didn’t fit above:

Ina getting ready with Aunt Char-Char.

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Tea party

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Prom picture

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It was a great trip.

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