On the fourth "date" of Christmas....

And the 12 Dates of Christmas continue....

I think we are at Date 4 - which would be 4 calling birds according to the song. Thank goodness we didn't get calling birds - I'm not much of a bird fan. 

Date 4: We spent the weekend in the mountains! Like Courtney said, what better excuse do we need to go snowboarding - especially when the mountains got up to 2 feet of snow in one week! Talk about fresh powder! Woot-woot!

Date 5: A trip to my favorite part of Vail - this one is a secret - only for Seth and I to know. But it was GREAT! I don't know why we took a picture in front of the Vail Kids sign - but we sure thought it was funny!

Date 6: We splurged and went out to dinner at Outback - Seth of course had a HUGE dinner while I just had a nice steak and baked potatoe. Yum!

Date 7: Movie Night on the cough - we watched the Dark Knight, the new Batman movie. Or I watched the movie, and Seth watched the last 1/2 as he fell asleep on the couch for the first 1/2! If anyone knows his dad, I think this is a fair indication of things to come - falling asleep in any situation! 

As I just realized that Christmas is only a week away, we will be doing some "Christmasy" dates in the next week. We have a double date planned with some good friends that should be lots of fun!  


When your life turns into a bowl of smashed lemons, have a glass of lemonade with a friend. 

I have a friend who recently went through a really difficult time in her life that told me that she hoped that God would somehow be able to use this situation for the good. That the experience of this horrific situation would somehow allow her to help others. 

Honestly, when she told me that I secretly rolled my eyes and thought she was crazy. Crazy for several reasons - One: she was still in the midst of this huge life trial, with no forseeable way to get out of the situation and return to a normal life. It was an ordeal that was going to (and still to this day) take a lot of time, love and healing. Two: I had been so unimpressed with how others had responded to her situation (especially those who call themselves "Christians") that I couldn't understand how she could see beyond the present to how these occurrences could be a blessing. Talk about a wise woman!

The reason that I bring this up is that I too have been through some "learning experiences" in my life. I think that many people have, but few are able to talk openly about some things that may be viewed negatively by others. Well, NEWS FLASH people, we are not all perfect! Actually, none of us is perfect no matter how hard we try to be. And I've accepted that about myself -in fact, I tend to broadcast my imperfection for the world to see. 

I've recently been approached by several individuals who wanted to share their own "learning experiences" with me. It seems we are all out there searching for someone to share with, seeking understanding and guidance, not judgement. And I think because of my own openness and ability to share and reflect on my own life, others feel comfortable talking with me. And for that, I am thankful and honored. 

My only real thought here is this - we are all human, we all make mistakes, we all need each other. So why can't we be more Christ-like in the way that we treat and love each other: unconditionally and with grace. 


Third Date of Christmas

On the third date of Christmas, my true love gave to me....or I gave to him - an evening of chili, football championship games and quality couch time!

Yup - you heard right! Our date tonight consisted of some of Seth's favorites. So today when he got home form work I had chili cooking in a big pot and the couch ready for him to get comfortable and watch some football. Too bad he passed out in the first 5 minutes of sitting own! Typical - but endearing. He woke up, though, to taste test the chili and watch the 1st quarter of the Big XII Championship game. 

Seth's prediction: Oklahoma is gonna win - if they play to their potential, then they will win big. I guess we will know in a few hours.


The Twelve Dates of Christmas

With Christmas now just right around the corner and the holiday stress overtaking us with every day, Seth and I decided to do something very different for the holidays. Instead of buying gifts for each other and in an attempt to spend more quality time together and alleviate the stress of the season, we will be having the Twelve Dates of Christmas! 

I got the idea from a friend to have 12 inexpensive or free "dates" that we can do together to remember the value of each other and provide some stress free entertainment to the month. 

Our first date was this week - we went to Keystone (where we got engaged three years ago) and snowboarded on fresh powder. It had been snowing almost for the last week so there was lots of fresh snow and there was never a line for the gondola as there were very few people out skiing. It was a great first day of our ski season and a great first date. Seth actually mentioned how great it is that we enjoy so many of the same activities. And snowboarding is definitely one of those! 

This season Seth and I are learning to jump. Well, Seth might be learning on his own! In my old age I have a fear of falling and breaking or tearing something. And with three marathons planned for next summer, an injury is not in my plans for right now! 

After hitting the slopes for a few hours we went into Silverthorne to check out the outlet mall - Nike for me, Polo for Seth and Banana Republic for the both of us! 

Then it was off to our Second Date of Christmas - making homemade pizza at home! It was Seth's idea - and a darn good one! We decided on BBQ Chicken pizza - something that we had never attempted before. And guess what?! It turned out BETTER than any other BBQ chicken pizza we've EVER had! Yeah for us! 

Stay tuned for the remaining 10 dates of Christmas! I'm trying to convince Seth to go to the Parade of Lights downtown tomorrow. We will see how good of a negotiator I am!


A Sign of the End Times

Have you seen that Visa commercial yet? You know, the one where the dude (my word of the day!) tries to pay with cash and he screws up the "flow" of the crowd all making purchases via check card? Yeah, well, that was me today. I left my wallet in my other bag (a semi-frequent occurrence for any of those that know me!) and so when we went to lunch today I wrote a check. And I specifically started filling out the check while in line so as not to cause a significant back up of pedestrian traffic at the register and thus incur the nasty and sideways glances of discontented patrons of the fine establishment. 

And then the lovely employee of this fine establishment totaled up my purchases and kindly told me the amount of money that I owed for my fine lunch that I was about to partake in. And she continued to multi-task as a well trained worker is often trained to do when given moments to utilize time to its fullest efficiency. I quickly completed the two lines necessary and handed the check to her. She took it. And then....

She told me that the wonderful chain organization that she is employed with at which location I was attempting to fuel my body during a mid day break from a tedious and often excrutiating job DOES NOT TAKE CHECKS!

Can this be? 
Have we entered into the era where checks are no longer viewed as relative monetary payment for goods and services?
Is the bank promise of payment via watermarked and numbered paper with the words "pay to the order of" no longer relevant?

Put a fork in her- She's Ready!

Will This Week Ever End?

Ugh...It's only Wednesday and it's only still morning....
I am so excited for Thanksgiving, I just want to go home NOW! I want to see my family, I want to see my friends and their new babies, I want to eat my mom's amazing Thanksgiving dinner. I just want this week to be over.....


Honey - sweet honey

For a few years in junior high and high school, I used to keep a journal. One that chronicled the ins and outs of my days navigating the seas of homework, parental issues and relationships. After my diary was read inappropriately I didn't feel safe writing down my thoughts and feelings anymore for fear that they would be found out and used against me again in some hurtful way. I think that journaling is an important means of therapy - to cleanse our mental banks of the days occurrences and to filter through frustrations and again celebrate life's small joys. As I have been moving and subsequently cleaning out a lot of items from my collection, I have come across a few of these old journals. And to read them now after so many years gives me new insight into who I am, and how I became this person. There are things written in the journals that are trivial and nonsensical. But there are also slight glimpses into a struggling soul that was seeking guidance and answers. 

Just today I was perusing through the folders of an old email account that I used back in college. And there tucked away in a message folder entitled "old stuff" I found love letters from a past boyfriend. For anonymity's sake, we will call him Dan. Dan and I had a long distance relationship for about a year when we first started dating. I remember that summer with butterflies in my stomach. It was a summer that I will never forget - for many reasons, one of which is Dan. Ours was a relationship that bloomed unexpectedly to everyone except maybe his dad who had been pushing us towards each other for many years. And then that summer came - the summer that Dan graduated from UNL and took a job in a city almost 600 miles away. After a few weeks of uncertainty, awkwardness and butterflies between us we finally began "dating." And within two weeks, Dan had moved away. 

We continued with a non-committed long distance relationship that quickly blossomed into a full fledged courtship via email, phone calls and the occasional weekend visit. Looking through these emails that I recently discovered in an old email account gave me a new appreciation for the simple things in life - love letters, communication of life goals, wants and desires, allowing another person to enter into the deepest parts of your soul through the written words of your heart.

The communication of that relationship seemed to come so naturally for me back then - and was welcomed and reciprocated with Dan's love and openness to share. And yet, I feel as if I have lost sight of how to communicate at that level and to feel heard. Am I still capable of expressing my thoughts and feelings so openly with another without fear of hurt and pain? Have we become so complacent in our existing relationships that we no longer feel the need to connect in this way anymore?

Or are we having the same conversations and level of communication as I was with Dan, but just expressing it in a different way? I don't vividly remember the feelings and closeness that I apparently had with Dan. Is it possible that I do not see those same things in my current relationship because we are being drowned out by the surrounding white noise of life, career, commitments and concerns?


Go Army-Be All That You Can Be

I had a recent conversation with my mom about "be all that you can be" - very Go Army style! This got me thinking - what exactly is it that I want from my life? Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? And who do I want to share my life with?

It may seem funny that at the ripe old age of 28 I am having a sudden and transitory identity crisis about who I am. Isn't this what everyone else did during college? What was I doing that I missed out on this "rite of passage" journey towards self discovery? And how come no one ever told me that college was more about self discovery than getting an A in economics? 

Granted, if one would look at the past few years of my life they would probably all agree in true life-coaching style that it is indeed time for renewal of self. A time for me to redefine my life goals, ambitions and aspirations. I am recently emerging from an extremely painful and personally challenging two years of my life. Now that I am feeling more whole - it probably is about time for me to focus on becoming a better version of my lovely self. 

People who know me on a surface level - we'll call them acquaintances - would say that I already have a good sense of self, and a healthy dose of esteem. Those closer to me - that have experienced my juvenile sense of humor - would say that the healthy dose of self esteem has been grossly underestimated as I tend to compliment myself on jobs well done, situations handled well or stand in awe at my own beauty and fabulous sense of humor! But the truth is -and only two people probably know the true me -that I have a deep seated need to be liked. I seek approval above all else. In true Leo style, I seek the spotlight of love and adoration from everyone that may wander into my circle of existence. 

If my circle of friends - although a variety of friendship depth levels - have no idea who I am at any given moment, how do I take the first steps to make the "me" that I am a better me, if I have no idea who that real me is in the first place? Sometimes I feel as if the real me changes day to day, or from one situation or experience to another. There are so many similar versions of me, that I don't know which one I want to actually BE. 

I know I want to be happy - don't we all?! But what is it that brings true happiness to my heart? Sometimes I think about the things that used to bring that happiness - like singing, or cheerleading, or a sorority house full of girls. But, those are not the things that I think would bring the same happiness at this juncture of my life. Can you imagine me happy in a sorority house full of crazy girls? No. I have a newly developed sense of privacy and anonymity that I truly love that comes with living along - sans roommates! 

So...this is my mission - to "become the best me that I can be." How I'm going to do that, I'm still not exactly sure. But, I suppose it will be quite an adventure! 



Somehow I've failed to mention in my blog that I recently accomplished my 3rd marathon of the year. The third weekend in October we traveled to San Francisco where I competed for the 2nd time in the Nike Women's Marathon. 

The Rocky Mountain Chapter of TNT took over 50 people to the event - so all my favorite ladies were there - including DONNA! We finally ran a marathon TOGETHER - the whole way! To mark the specialness of the day, we wore pink princess crowns too! We dressed alike in our green skirts, purple shirts and crowns and crossed the finish line like the fabulous ladies that we are!

At the finish line we were greeted by members of the fire department dressed in tuxedos and passing out our Tiffany necklaces on silver platters! It was a great experience and I was so happy to cross that finish line! 

I think it's time for some time off of running - and more time for relaxing and getting fat!


Do you ever have those days when you just don't feel like doing anything - including the laundry list of things that so desperately need your attention?! Yeah, that's me today. No motivation to do too much. No real sense of urgency - even though I have mounting in-box and a long list of menial tasks to accomplish. 

But what would happen if I just didn't do anything on that list of things to do? Would I be a failure? Or classified as lazy? Or would some wise philosopher understand my deep yearning for something bigger, grander and more meaningful - to spend my day curious about the oddities of life, connecting with other individuals in a true and meaningful way, or simply appreciate the vast beauty and breathtaking surroundings of my everyday life that go unnoticed and unappreciated on a daily basis?

All I want to do is curl up with my journal, a book or a cup of coffee (especially the coffee!) and a friends under one of the amazing trees filled with vibrant fall colors of red, orange and yellow leaves and enjoy the afternoon. Ahhh....if only I were independently wealthy. 


Ack - What happened to your hair!

I went to go get my annual cut and color for Fall - which usually means I get it colored just a shade darker than normal - to get rid of the icky summer bleaching. And this is what I came home with! Wow! Is it dark?

No worries - I go in later this week to get it lightened up just a bit. But, honestly, I think that some people - Seth included!- seem to like it. But it's just a tad too dark for my own taste. I mean, when your hair doesn't match your eyebrows - there's a problem.


The Relay

  Well, I finished it! The Colorado Relay almost did me in after the first leg of my relay was straight up a mountain! But I survived - and I conquered~

Here are a few photos from our amazing trip - I feel bad for the drivers who 'donated' the use of their cars for this trip - we were a smelly bunch of runners! We saw everything from rain, sleet and snow (they almost closed the race at Georgia Pass because of 6 inches of snow!) to beautiful full moon nights and sunny skies on finish day. 


Birthday Celebration

We had a nice little birthday celebration for a few of us with August birthdays at our house the weekend of my birthday. Kate made "Better than Sex" cake and Joely made Shoot the Root shots. What a nice relaxing night at home. 

This is a picture from when Dave came to town - and took a bunch of us out for my birthday. Dinner at a great Mexica fusion place and drinks at 24K. It's always good to see Dave - but also exhausting. The girls got a little taste of it this weekend! And they can't wait until he comes back to visit. Oh, Dave!


Colorado Relay - Preparation

It's September 3rd - and in true Colorado fashion we went from 90 degree days to a stark 20-30 degree difference following the Labor Day weekend. It's a brisk 65 degrees this mid-morning with hopes of only reaching 70 today. A welcome change for many, but the sign of the changing season - and the sign that the fall races are within sight.
Next weekend I will be running in the Colorado Relay - a 180 mile 10 person relay from Idaho Springs to Carbondale. I will be running 3 legs of the race as Philips Phools Racer #1. I have legs 1, 11 and 21. See the legs maps, mileage and elevation attached. Overall, I will be running 18.8 miles in a 24 hour period covering almost 2,500 feet in increased elevation. Two of my three runs are described as HARD - with only one being MODERATE. Sound scary? Yup, I am!

The race will start anywhere between 6 am and 11 am on Friday September 12th. Start times are staggered and based on anticipated finish time. So I will be running in the morning, early evening and possibly early morning on Saturday the 13th. My fellow runners will be running through the evening hours - in the pitch black in the presence of all the Colorado wildlife!

I'll try to post another update next week - and then of course the final version and the ending to this crazy journey!


Jazz in the Park

It's already August (one of my favorite months!) and I am already counting down the last days of summer fun! This Sunday a few friends and I went to City Park for the free jazz concert held each week. We had a picnic of cheese and crackers, snap peas and carrots, wine and bread! It was a great time - and something on my list of things to do this summer!

MUDD Volleyball

Not only do I support cancer research but I also support the March of Dimes - which provides education and services for women and children - the leading organization for pregnancy and baby health initiatives. 

On Sunday, a group of friends and I played in the MUDD Volleyball tournament to benefit the Rocky Mountain March of Dimes organization. We had a team of 10 that sacrificed sleeping in on Saturday to go out and get dirty! 

Here is a great shot of me and fellow Nebraskan, Steve Greco, showing off our Super Hero belts. We decided it was best to duct tape our shorts on so that we wouldn't loose them in the muddy waters!

And the tough girls of TNT - me, Sally and Nicole - ready to rumble on the courts!

Unfortunately, we didn't stay so clean! But we sure had fun!

Sporting the do-rag on my head! I needed a hat badly - so a hand towel and duct tape made a great solution!
I believe this shot was taken after we had hosed down - and we were still filthy!



Seth and I took an impromptu trip to New York City last week to see Yankee Stadium before it was torn down. We ended up having a "baseball vacation" as we went to 2 Yankees v. Twins games and 1 Mets v. Phillies game at Shea Stadium. 

We were very lucky and had great seats at all the games!

We ate lots of hot dogs and beer!

We stayed in a GREAT hotel just 2 blocks from Central Park, 2 blocks from Rockefeller Center and 5 blocks from Times Square. (Seth wanted to do A LOT of shopping in Times Square!)

And we had quite the adventure getting back to Denver! Don't think we will ever fly stand-by again - but it definitely made the trip memorable.

Next time we are in NYC, we will have to do a lot more sightseeing
-Empire State Building
-Statue of Liberty
-Stanten Island Ferry
-World Trade Center and the Financial District
-Tour the neighborhoods of Chelsea, Greenwich Village, China Town, etc
-and maybe even eat in some "new york" restaurants!



This past weekend, Seth and I spent Sunday in the mountains and had the opportunity to golf at Keystone Ranch Resort. It was a beautiful course, and a beautiful day. And although we didn't play as well as we did the weekend before, it was still a great way to spend some quality time together. Seth was hitting his driver and his 3 wood amazingly far and amazingly straight. He got on the green in 1 shot for almost half the holes - but ended up three putting many of the holes. All in all, not a bad way to spend a lazy weekend!


Good Ole Nebraska

I decided to go home for the weekend - Seth was already driving back for his friends wedding, so I figured, heck, why not split the gas money and take a trip home. After all, it's been a year and a half since I've been back! 

I had no idea what to expect on my little visit - I facebooked a few friends letting them know that I would be in town and wouldn't mind seeing them and meeting their little kiddos. Thanks to Regina! I went over to meet little Ethan, who is adorable, and already has a great pitching arm at the tender age of not yet 2! 

Later that night, Sarah (Bean) Coughlin and I met for drinks - something we have never done before! Yes, I am 27 years old and I have never indulged in an adult beverage with my good friend Sarah! So it was quite a good evening for some celebration! Later, Gina and Jason met us at The Dish on "O" Street. After a few drinks - fun fruity drinks for the girls, an iced tea for Gina who was "with child" and a Bud Light for Mr. Teague (ha!) we were off to meet up with some other friends in the Haymarket District. 

Here is a picture of the girls - me, Regina Teague, Sarah Coughlin and Tricia Sandy

I have to say, I did feel bad for the boys - Jason, Ryan Cole and his friend Robert - as most of the conversation revolved around things that probably didn't really interest them - kids, childbirth, stretch marks, etc

But, Sarah lightened the mood with her colorful gestures - which she shared often with Jason! And of course, humorous stories of raising two "little people" - Megan is 7 and Connor is 6. Yikes! The funniest stories included Megan tying Connor up with scotch tape, naked, like "the police officers do." And also figuring out what "bad words" the kids knew - so that Sarah and Brad knew what they could and couldn't say around the kids! 

I was so disappointed (and surprised at myself!) when our waitress came over and announced last call. We had been having so much fun (yes, my cheeks hurt badly and at times I thought I would pee my pants!) and time had slipped away. First of all, I couldn't believe that it was already 12:30 and that I was still awake and functioning and secondly I couldn't believe that it was so easy and fun to hang out with these amazing people that I have not seen or talked to in over 9 years! Why did the night have to come to an end already? It was like we were just getting warmed up!

I made it home by 2 am - after securing a safe ride for my drunk Korean friend! I had exactly 2 hours of sleep before I had to wake up to go to the Omaha Farmer's Market with my mom, the Lollipop Lady! Let me tell you, at one point, I was kinda wishing that I hadn't agreed to go. But in the end, I am glad I did, because it gave me and mom some time together - even if the majority of our conversation was consumed with lollipop and farmers market topics. 

Once I was back in Lincoln, I got a few messages inquiring about what we had planned for the evening. At this point I was shocked! It was not my initial intention to spend my weekend in Nebraska out downtown - but, if these crazy people wanted to do it again, then I was definitely game! This time we recruited Abbey Lowe to come with us! And what a great evening we had!

It was so good to have some of our old group back together again! Although it had been many years since we had seen or talked, and so much in our lives had changed, it was so easy to laugh with each other again like it was yesterday. 

I had such a good time in Lincoln - which is always a bit of surprise. But more importantly, it was great to reconnect with some amazing women who have touched my life and shaped me into who I was - and who I am. I cannot thank them enough for their unspoken love and support - and an environment free of judgement and shame, but filled with love, laughter and healing hugs! 

And Regina and I accomplished our mission of getting Seth and Jason back together. After a few years of not speaking to each other, it was time that these two long time best friends were reunited. It took some scheming on our part, but I finally got Seth to call Jason to meet us for lunch. And the boys are just as cute as ever!


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