Category Archives: Adventures

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Oktoberfest!

I didn’t miss the entry today, I promise! I just had to leave my house at 5am to get to a 5:30am run. A run that was EXACTLY what I needed, by the way. Cool…Beautiful…Great company…It was the perfect reminder that I needed to tell me WHY I RUN.

And then? Then we went to Oktoberfest! And this year it was GENIUS because Donnie and I sat under a giant tent and drank German beer while the kids rode the rides around the tent. We rode some of the rides with them too, of course, we didn’t just abandon them while we drank. But we did enjoy a nice quiet beer in the shade while they played and it was FANTASTIC.

It also gave us a teaser for how much fun the kids are going to have at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the Spring.

SO! Sorry I didn’t post this morning, and sorry I’m not posting much now, but know we had a wonderful day in the gorgeous end-of-summer weather. Chili in the morning, but hot in the afternoon. Bring on Autumn!

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My Town Knows How To Rock A Thursday.

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Huntsville has just gotten so much more awesome the last two or three years. The proof was how much was going on on a Thursday night downtown.

First – We had our Greene Street Farmer’s Market which happens every Thursday during the warm months of the year. And it’s more than just produce, there are also booths that sell handmade/environmentally friendly laundry detergent, or homemade breads. There’s also music there every week AND there are about 10 green bicycles you can borrow (rent?) for free to ride around the area during the length of the market. It’s always a fun outing every Thursday. Sometimes the kids just get homemade fruit popsicles and I get tea, other times we come home with an arm-load of peaches and tomatoes. It’s always great.

THEN! We walked from the farmer’s market to the Food Truck Rally which they’ve been doing once a month. Usually it’s on a Friday but because of the weather predicted for tonight, they moved it to Thursday. On the way there, we passed the newest addition to the downtown square: Art Benches! I’m not sure if that’s the “official” name of them, but it’s some sort of project where they commissioned artists to make interesting benches for seating around the square. The kids checked out two of them on our walk to the rally.

At the Food Truck Rally we spread out a blanket and watch this great cover band Denim Jawbones play while we all bought our dinner from different food trucks. I bet there were 15-20 trucks plus a bunch of tables and tents from local eateries as well. It was even more awesome because a local blogger had done a write-up telling me what I could eat at the rally so I had plenty to choose from! I think we bought food for the family from at least five different food trucks.

AND FINALLY! We detoured on our way back to our car and walked through the Downtown Art Stroll which happens on Thursday a month all summer. Tons of local artists set up and sell their wares there and it’s fantastic. There was also belly dancing (which Wesley LOVED) and bands playing and it was a great bookend to the evening.

Basically, my kids and I parked our car on the outskirts of downtown around 4pm and didn’t get back to our car until 7pm. They didn’t whine (much) even though they had walked probably 2 miles during our exploration. They got good food that we purchased from other citizens of our city, so we could feel good knowing the money we spent stayed in the area. (We are on a BIG “Shop Local!” kick lately.) They were entertained by great music and dancing and they were able to see some beautiful art and handmade items and it was just a lovely way to spend a Thursday evening downtown.

Thank you, Huntsville…for being the Rocket City That Rocks My Socks.

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The One Where I Say “Yo” Three Times Because I Woke Up Too Early To Speak English Coherently.

I woke up at 1:30am as I’ve been doing almost every night for months now. Some nights I can go back to sleep, but lately I’ve decided to give it 30 minutes to an hour and then if I’m still not asleep, I just get up. I’ve decided it does more harm than good on my day if I just stay in bed tossing and turning and playing on my phone. If I’m going to be exhausted? I’d at least like to show something for it. So, at 2:30am I got up and started cleaning. It is now 3am and I’ve already done dishes, a load of laundry, cleaned some countertops and tables, put on a bra, and spilled coffee on my desk.

Full day in 30 minutes, yo!

Huntsville has been SO full of stuff to do lately, it’s not even funny. Last night alone I had FOUR things I wanted to do:

1) Greene Street Market: Our weekly farmer’s market where my favorite Tea People show up and there’s music and produce and local artisans…it’s GREAT.
2) Fleet Feet Fun Runs: Every Thursday this summer there are group runs from Fleet Feet. 3 or 5 miles. Nyoka and I have gone to many of them
3) Slow Cycle Group: A new bike group I found where they go SLOW and just ride through nice areas around downtown. People ride cruisers and have baskets and meet for beer after.
4) RCBConnect: A one time event sponsored by Rocket City Bloggers.

We know which one I went to because it was a one-time deal and all the others will happen next week too. HOWEVER, what does it say about the awesomeness of my city that I had FOUR open-to-anyone events I could have joined on a THURSDAY.

Huntsville rocks, yo.

photo (1)I have found more and more lately that – if you’re bored in Huntsville? It’s your own damn fault. I can not tell you how many things the kids and I have done this summer (for free!) but there’s way more we have NOT done. The thing I’ve had on my calendar since they announced it? “Frozen” in the Park! We are going to watch “Frozen” tonight on the side of the Huntsville Museum of Art and I am SO EXCITED! I wish it didn’t have to be dark before it could start because that means it’s going to be a late night…BUT STILL! Outdoor movies! For Free!

I’ve just been so very proud of my city lately. We had a great event recently called NASA on the SQUARE where all of our local offices who support NASA set up booths around our square downtown and had exhibits of sorts showing what they did and it was SOOOOO COOOL. So much cool stuff for the kids (and NASA stickers for me!) and it was all free! The kids got to wear REAL astronaut gear, some of which had been in SPACE.

There’s tons of other stuff all the time, especially in the warm weather, and I just can’t get over how awesome my little city has become. There’s outdoor concerts and food truck rallies and bike groups and art markets and all of it is FREE and open to whomever is connected enough to hear about it.

You expect this type of activity in bigger cities and I’m very proud Huntsville delivers the same amount of community events in an itty-bitty-living space.

(ALADIN FTW!)

Anyway…just taking a moment to lament being up at 2:30am pontificating about the awesomeness of my Rocket City. Here’s to getting a bunch of shit done today because y’all? I have an INSANE weekend ahead. Movie tonight, 3-hour run in the morning, short trip to Florence, AL tomorrow night for Donnie’s triathlon Sunday morning, rushed trip home on Sunday so Nikki and I can head to Atlanta Sunday night to go to a Chris Colfer book signing and then MONDAY IS MY BIRTHDAY, YO.

Enjoy your weekend.

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The “D” and the “F” Are Too Close On The Keypad When Chronicling A Duck Hunt

photo (5)This weekend was jam-packed, as usual. I’m starting to wonder how we ended up being the kind of people who intentionally pack our weekends as full as possible. For some reason, I feel like I’m failing if we are sitting around for too long doing nothing. Why do I feel this way? And can it be treated with medication?

Saturday morning I took Nikki to a 5K where we had a plan to get her a PR. I don’t know her exact best 5K time, but I knew it was slower than 33 minutes. She ran a mile in close to 9 minutes at a fun run recently, and she does the 1-mile loop on trails on Tuesday nights in under 11 minutes (and that’s on trails) so I felt very confident she could hold a sub-11:00 pace for the race and hopefully get us in under 33 minutes. She was up for the challenge (we only try to keep a certain pace once in awhile, it’s healthy to force yourself out of your comfort zone periodically) and she did GREAT. She held the pace strong and then kicked it in faster for the last mile when she started wanting to pass the girls ahead of her who might be in her age group. She ended up coming in about 31:45 and got second in her age group. I was so desperately proud of her. She’s been working so hard this summer! This last week she ran a total of 9 miles and biked a totally of 20. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? And she enjoys it all! (Mostly.)

Then we decided to finally do that Lucky Duck Scavenger Hunt around downtown Huntsville. There are twelve clues and you find these outdoor ducks around certain places. We thought it would take us an hour, to an hour-and-a-half and then we’d go home and grab some lunch. Well…FOUR HOURS LATER…we were done. It was fun but it was not easy by any means. And there was one clue in particular that we struggled with because it was leading you to a “rock with water coming out” (a fountain) and after an hour, and a lunch break, and a phone call for help (didn’t help) and asking a local business owner for help (kinda helped) we finally lucked out even though the FOUNTAIN WAS OFF. So, we basically spent over an hour looking for something that didn’t exist. But, still fun! Although, we were posting photos throughout our journey and THANK GOD I wasn’t too fast on the “submit” or else I would have captioned several of our photos as the “F*ck Hunt” thanks to the proximity of the “d” and the “f” on the keypad.

We got home and got the kids cleaned up and then they went to Kid’s Night at the YMCA while Donnie and I went to dinner and heard some music downtown. We were like real grown-ups! Who have lives and don’t go to bed at 8pm! It was awesome!

Anyway – busy Saturday but loads of fun. Sunday was busy in a different kind of way with Father’s Day stuff and boring domestic duties that I won’t narrate for you. (I did do a fun 10-mile run with a fun running group, but that’s not fun to narrate either.) Either way, when our weekends are that full I always wake up on Monday with a little bit of regret. Like, “Um…when did I rest? Or catch up on sleep?” Because I was up before the sun on both days and up past my bedtime both nights and I’m feeling a bit hungover today. Not from alcohol, but from LIFE. One of these weekends I’m going to force myself to just be lazy just so I can decide: Which is really better, a busy weekend or a relaxing weekend? Because somewhere along the way I decided busy weekends are better. And while they feel better while they’re happening? The make Mondays HURT SO BAD.

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Here’s My Short/Non-Spoilery TFIOS Review with Bonus Tangent-That-Isn’t-Really-A-Tangent

We took a picture of our #TFIOS tattoos before the movie last night because we are dorks.
We took a picture of our #TFIOS tattoos before the movie last night because we are dorks.

We went to “The Night Before Our Stars” last night, a special event with a simulcast of the movie and some adorable interviews (Can I admit I don’t know who Alton Brown is? Is that something I should hide? I haven’t even googled him yet to find out, but I had no idea who he was.) and some great music. My quick non-spoiler review: I LOVED IT. I tend to analyze movies from books while I watch them, remembering what was left out, what was put in…thinking about the choice of actors and music and everything. I can’t help it, I just do. Well, last night, with the first scene in the doctor’s office where Shailene Woodley basically became Hazel Grace in my heart forever? I stopped thinking about the book. I mean, I knew what was coming but I was soooo absorbed into the movie that it was the MOVIE that I was there to see…and the movie was epic and beautiful and heartwrenching and simply perfect in every way. I adored it. I have one teeny tiny complaint about one line that was left out but – you know – it was a VERY long movie. There were scenes I was afraid they’d cut for time, and the did not. They cut the stuff I expected. I cried, oh man did I cry. Hell – Shailene Woodley was crying in the post-movie shenanigans and I started crying THEN. It was basically the giant gorgeous sobfest I hoped it would be.

Now…on to another thing…that will be connected to TFiOS full circle in the end…IF YOU ARE PATIENT.

(You will have to be REALLY patient, this is going to seem like a HUGE tangent.)

ANYWAY…

My old posts here on this blog rarely get comments anymore. Sometimes one will become spam target for whatever reason and I’ll turn off the comments on that entry, but mostly no entries every get comments and when they do – they’re spam. I did write one funny entry once about how Sugar Free cough drops have a laxative effect (there’s a warning on the bag! read it!) and periodically some poor soul who has googled “sugar free cough drops laxative” will show up at my blog with a comment like, “OH MY GOD. I AM MISERABLE.” Heee. But that’s about the only entry that randomly gets non-spam comments.

BUT! A week or so ago (May 28th if the date is to be trusted) someone came to my entry defending people who sometimes forget to send Thank You cards. Actually – I guess it was more of a criticism of people who hold on to the list of people who didn’t thank them in some sort of mental Burn Book FOREVER. Anyway – someone left an aggressive comment basically saying that people who get angry about NOT getting Thank You cards are awful people. It was kinda funny because the comment came out of the blue but it was SO FORCEFUL.

So, I have NO idea what happened to make that entry pop up as “active” again but THREE MORE people have randomly popped by to comment. And the last two people are angry “How dare you forget to send Thank You cards!” type of people. AND IT IS CRACKING ME UP. This old entry is suddenly getting traction and I’m assuming it’s because someone linked to it in some sort of forum about etiquette or something. I have no idea. I did a quick look at my stats, nothing jumped out at me, but I hate looking at my stats so I decided to just wonder and imagine that somewhere there’s a threaded comment section under a link to my entry where someone says, “CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS GIRL IS EXCUSING SUCH RUDENESS?” I think that would actually make me proud. Because, in a weird way they’re kinda adding “proof” – examples of the kind of people that motivated me to write the entry to begin with. People who say things like, “Maybe I won’t give a gift next time!”

Anyway…I woke up this morning and had that comment in my email and it made me laugh. It made me happy that I’m the kind of person that let’s go of things so easily so that I can still love the people in my life even if they don’t thank me for gifts. It made me happy that most of the people I surround myself with are the kind of people who would rather dump love and awesome into the world instead of negativity and bitterness. But most of all, it made me happy that I saw a beautiful movie last night that reminded me about the true importance of life. And yes, I still yell at my kids about their dirty socks, and I still mumble over my coffee about annoying Facebook game invites, but overall? Life is simultaneously bigger and smaller than all of that. Life is bigger in that – to the people we encounter daily – our attitude can make or break someone’s day. One small gesture from me can have a big impact on the life of someone near me. But life is smaller than that because – in a million years? None of it matters. And I find both concepts very beautiful and motivating. I will continue to try to create more ripples of awesome in my pond of life, than ripples of suck. Because that’s what I want to spread out from my little tiny pebble that get’s thrown into the water. I want the ripples to be those of life and love and kindness and joy, even if – eventually – all ripples fade.

I’m going to go make some more coffee now. Hug yourself today, I think you’re pretty awesome.

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