Autumn

Favorite posts of 2013

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Another year is coming to an end… As I look through posts from this past year, it’s amazing how much has happened, how much was accomplished. Running, weight loss, personal growth, and more…. My blog has turned out to be the best form of a scrapbook I have ever done. And now it’s time for me to share my favorite posts of 2013. Since I just shared all my race recaps for 2013 yesterday, I did not include those in this list…

 

 

I have so much to look forward to in 2014 and continuing my blog is one of them. I hope you’ll stay with me and follow along!

 

Have a safe and Happy New Year! I hope you have a wonderful 2014!

Autumn turns 6!!

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Time is literally flying by. It seems like I blink, and another year has passed. Every time I see Autumn, I wonder how it’s possible that she is getting to be such a big girl. On Sunday, she turned 6!

This kiddo is the best niece ever. I know, I know, I’m a little bit biased. But she is so fabulous, I can’t get enough of her. Her and I have a great bond. Since she was a little tiny baby and I would babysit her or pick her up from daycare, she has always been a joy to watch and spend time with.

 

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And  now, all of a sudden, she is this big girl, in Kindergarten, has a booster seat in the car, spends weekends at our house, and has the funniest conversations with us. She is incredibly smart and has the ability to make me laugh like there isn’t a care in the world.

 

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Autumn had a super fun birthday party at the bowling alley on Saturday. Her and a bunch of her cute little friends. Watching little kiddos bowl is too fun. It was a great day!

 

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It’s hard to believe she’s 6 years old… I am so excited to se her grow up and become the amazing young lady I know she will be. But for now, can we slow the clock down a little?!

 

Happy Birthday Autumn! We love you so much!

An Orlando getaway with Autumn!

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We have had the pleasure of having our niece Autumn stay over at our house several times in the last couple of years. She is so comfortable at our house, calls the second bedroom “her room”, and loves going to the park across the street, and more. Recently, we decided that she could stay over once a month. Autumn loves it, we love it, and her mom and dad could have a night out once a month. It works for everyone.

This Saturday was going to be our weekend to have her over. Last week, hubby found out he was going to work a live broadcast at SeaWorld on Sunday and we were going to go up after we took Autumn home on Sunday morning. Then we found out that we would have the chance to stay over Saturday night and we decided to make a weekend of it, and had the grand idea to take Autumn with us.

I have to say that we are so blessed to be able to take Autumn out of town with us. Having her stay over at our house is one thing, but to be able to take her on a little road trip was great. I very much value the fact that my brother and sister-in-law trust us with the care of their amazing little girl.

 

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After hitting the road around 1 on Saturday, we headed straight for Downtown Disney for our first stop, the Christmas store. It is an annual tradition for hubby and I to buy a new Christmas ornament each year and it was fun to include Autumn in this. I was also very excited to see that Downtown Disney had their fall decorations out and Autumn and I fond the perfect spot for a photo just minutes after arriving. Who else thinks the sign should say “Autumn at Downtown Disney”?

 

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We went in many shops, played with Legos, and watched a quick show at Downtown Disney before heading to dinner. Not surprising that we ended up at a Hooters near our hotel. Like us, Autumn loves wings. There was more silliness during dinner…

 

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After dinner, we checked into our hotel. Since Autumn had just been on a Disney vacation (complete with a pirate bed!!) with her mom and dad, she was curious as to what kind of bed she would have. There was a little bit of disappointment when it was just a plain bed, but the view from the 6th floor window made up for it. Autumn is very much related to me in that she loves a colorful sky and we were lucky to see this beautiful sunset.

 

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Autumn and I did some exploring around the hotel and she was fascinated by the different color lights in the fountain by the pool. It really was a beautiful property. We stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld.

 

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Probably the funniest moment of the weekend was when Autumn’s mom and dad called to say goodnight. Autumn was all curled up in her very own queen size bed watching TV and when I handed her the phone, she rolled her eyes like a teenager. After saying hi to her dad, she said “Daddy, we’re on a vacation and I’m trying to watch TV.” If only I had it on video…

On the ironic side, I brought my current read with me to enjoy all curled up in the big comfy hotel bed while I was falling asleep. My current read is The Shining and you can bet that I ended up dreaming about it that night. A dream about a horror story that takes place in a hotel while staying in a hotel? Now it’s amusing…. When you wake up from dreaming about it at 3:30 in the morning, not so much…. I probably should have stuck to the Weight Watchers Magazine…

 

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Sunday morning, we slept until about 7:15 which is so late for me. It was heavenly. We took our time getting ready and went downstairs for a fantastic breakfast buffet. I didn’t take a single picture of this but I had a delicious omelet with tomato, peppers, and onion (no cheese), grits, bacon, and sweet plantains. I really wanted pancakes, but I skipped those in favor of the plantains. So so good.

 

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After breakfast, we loaded up the car and then walked to SeaWorld. The hotel is literally right next door. Ten minutes later we were there and the real fun began. Autumn was a little afraid of SeaWorld because of the commercials where the audience gets splashed during the Shamu show. We explained to her that we would not get wet if she didn’t want to. I don’t think she mentioned it once after we got in the park… We had so much fun watching the dolphins (my absolute favorite!), she got to feed a bird, touch a snake, and touch a stingray. It was a great day!

 

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Remember how I said hubby was there for work? SeaWorld was having their Halloween Spooktacular for the kids. This was such a neat idea! They had a whole are for the kids to trick or treat and even gave out bags. They could wear costumes too! There were games and coloring stations and more. Autumn really enjoyed it. She told me it was okay that she didn’t have a costume on because she was dressed as a school girl. Such a smart girl.

 

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Since hubby was engineering a live broadcast, we also got to sit in the broadcast area. Jayde with Hot 101.5 was there and she had her adorable daughter Stella there who was dressed like a little ladybug. Stella really liked Autumn. And, Jayde let Autumn wear the headphones for a bit and listen in. Perhaps we have a future broadcaster in the family? Thank you Jayde for being so sweet to Autumn!

 

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My favorite part of the day? When Autumn told me that “SeaWorld wasn’t as watery as she thought it would be”. Which of course means that she had a great time and loved it. And the smile – and silliness – on her face are proof… She had fun and that makes me so happy!

 

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Cutie-pie Autumn fell asleep on the drive home… Even more proof of a great time. I look forward to more fun weekends with her. I adore this kiddo so much!

 

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Have you been to SeaWorld lately? What is your favorite part of the park?

Pottery painting fun!

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Last Friday, I received a text from my sister-in-law Jenna asking if I wanted to go pottery painting with them. Never mind that I am not creative in the painting department, I knew it would be fun and of course I said yes. That plan turned into a girls’ day on Sunday for myself, Jenna, and Autumn. What a fun afternoon it was.

We met for lunch at Panera Bread and then headed over to the pottery studio just before they opened. We actually went to their old location, but fortunately they had just moved up the road. It was a good thing we arrived for their opening at 1pm because they filled up fast.

Jenna had done pottery painting before, out in Seattle, and she assumed this studio would be similar. It’s a pretty neat concept. You pick out your pottery from a large assortment of mugs, dishes, figurines, ornaments, and more. Jenna and I both share a love for owls and picked the same owl mug. This isn’t surprising, of course, since Jenna and I are so alike.

 

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Autumn picked a dog figurine, also not surprising because she loves dogs so much. Before it was even painted, she knew she would name it Spot!

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After you pick your pottery, you select your colors from the samples on the wall. You can select as many colors as you want and you ask for them as you need them. They actually have examples of what one coat, two coats, and three coats will look like and they recommend three coats for a nice, vibrant look.

 

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Even though Jenna and I picked the same owl mug, we both chose very different colors. I chose darker colors and she chose lighter colors. Jenna is amazingly artistic so I knew my owl would be nothing like hers. However, I was pretty proud of myself and the painting skills I didn’t even I know I had. We were there for almost 4 hours and the time just flew by. It was so relaxing and we got to chit chat and Autumn kept us entertained as well. Autumn takes after her mom and is artistic as well. She knew exactly what she wanted and ended up doing not only the dog, but two smaller pieces. She finished before us and was so patient and good while we finished up.

 

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When we were all done, we put our initials on the bottom of our pieces and left them on the cart in the back. They will glaze them and call us when ready. I cannot wait to see how they come out.

 

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My owl is the one with brown, blue, and red. Jenna’s is the lighter one. I love how she did the eyes! And isn’t Spot the puppy adorable? Autumn did a great job.

It was such a fun time and we will definitely do it again!

 

Have you done pottery painting before? Did you enjoy it?

Holiday weekends rock!

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I am in denial that the holiday weekend is over. Honestly, I spent most of yesterday stressing over the fact that today was Monday and that would mean heading back to work. Boo. BOO! I am ready to win the lottery and give up this whole having to work for a living thing.

I thoroughly enjoyed having a short week last week. I left work early on Wednesday. I had big plans for the time off, as trivial as those plans may have been for my downtime, it was still my time.

Thursday morning, hubby and I went out for a short run. I love it when he runs with me and I think he like the spending time with me part, but he does not enjoy running like I do. I can understand that. Every one is different. After our run, we went to hot yoga class. Since it was a holiday, the yoga studio was offering a free class to a guest when you paid for yours. Perfect! They just had one class and I never expected it to be packed, but it was. So much sweat. It was awesome.

I was pretty proud of our activity that morning and I had no guilt whatsoever when we went to my brother and sister-in-laws for a 4th of July cookout. Chips, salsa, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken pasta salad, and beer. It was a fun afternoon, despite the little bit of rain we had. My other brother and his family came over so we got to see our cutie-pie nephews.

 

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Hubby headed home after we ate, so Blue and Ozzie would not be alone during the thunderstorms AND fireworks (hubby is such a good dad!) and we headed to Crystal Beach in hopes of the weather clearing in time for a sunset and possible fireworks. Neither happened, but it was important that I was there for the 4th, in memory of my dad. My mom and I haven’t missed a 4th yet. We did have some fun time with Autumn before the rain really kicked in, so that was nice.

 

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On Friday after my morning run, I “worked from home”. And by “work from home”, I mean I made 3 calls in the morning and one of our stops during the day was work-related. The rest was our time since hubby had the day off as well. This rarely happens where we both take time off. Workaholics don’t even begin to describe us. We bought new tires for my car (a highly irritating purchase but it worked out well), a trip to Parkesdale Market one of our favorite produce markets owned by my friend Xi and her family for fresh produce and delicious milkshakes, and then spent the afternoon at home. (Read Xi’s blog here.)

 

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Saturday, I had my WW meeting and then ran afterwards. Hubby played paintball, and I did some cleaning and laundry. I even went to Starbucks for about an hour and enjoyed a beverage and finished the book I was reading, Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. I picked up my niece afterwards for a sleepover so her mom and dad could have a night out to celebrate their 10th anniversary. When we were driving to our house, she told me she wanted to spend every Saturday night at our house and that she was going to talk to Mommy and Daddy about that. I love that she feels so comfortable at our house. She walks in like she owns the place, calls the guest room “her room”, and is a big helper with Blue and Ozzie and anything else I am doing. Needless to say, we had a great time as usual. Hubby and I took her to the the mall, ate dinner, played on the playground, and had ice cream. Our night ended at home watching The Princess Bride, her choice of movie to bring with her, and playing War. Seriously, she is one cool kid.

 

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Sunday morning we played Go Fish and went to the park. Autumn says I need to get a bike so I can ride with her when she comes over. She’s probably right, but I had fun walking and running to keep up with her too. It was great exercise. After a trip to Petco for puppy treats for Blue and Ozzie and her dog Scarlett, we took her home. Good times!

 

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A quick trip to the grocery store and then we were home the rest of the day for some laziness. I love to be lazy.

I’m already looking forward to our next long weekend, Labor Day.

 

How was your holiday weekend? How did you spend your time?

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