Pink and silver cowboy hats

I like to keep my cowgirl adventures separate from the rest of my blog… it’s just more fun that way.

This week was pretty uneventful, as I had the kids on Monday but we didn’t get to do much.

I forgot to tell y’all (seeeeee that?? y’all) that I met A’s other two pigs. Remember Gibbs? He’s (she???) the one who’s black and white and cute all over. Well, the OTHER ones are named Peanut, which I think is the white one, and Achmed, which is a reddish color, I think. He named them after Jeff Dunham characters. Nice. You know what I’m thinking? That three pigs means a LOT of bacon. Like, a TON.

Yesterday H and I played Country Dance on the Wii. Now, for being a “city girl” (I swear, no matter how much I try to fit in, these kids will always dub me the city girl) I know my country music pretty well. At least the country music that’s sort of rock and pop, too. No super twangy stuff for me. My dad might disown me….. (Y’all, my concerts growing up were John Mellencamp, Def Leppard, Styx and REO Speedwagon.)

Anyway, we played Country Dance and I tell ya that that little girl beat my butt! She even let me wear her bright pink cowboy hat with silver trim… I felt so cowgirl badass.

Then A gave us his “guns” that he fashioned from narrow PVC pipes and camo duct tape. Yes, CAMO. We played “Army” and H and I were on a team and totally won, though A wouldn’t admit it. Silly boys. I did well, again, for a “city girl” who was never even allowed to play with water guns. (One time at my grandma’s, my cousin had rubber band guns and we played “Commando” or some such…)

I still need to get me some boots……. and maybe a hat…

An afterthought: I was thinking yet again about how I gave up a full-time job in education and should I have done that, blah blah blah (a resounding YES comes to mind) and then I was thinking about how it’s important in life to see what really matters, and to grab hold of those unique opportunities. I mean seriously. Who gets to be a nanny for kids who live on a ranch with horses in southern New Mexico??? Yeah.

A challenge for every day of the week

I have to say… I quite content right now as a stay-at-home wife/nanny/tutor/seamstress/entrepreneur????/short-term missionary/volunteer “Sunday school” teacher/dog trainer… I think some of the best jobs are ones whose titles you really can’t pinpoint to a couple words.

Even with Husband Man being gone for almost three weeks (he comes home in two days, wheeeee!!) I’ve managed to keep myself quite busy. I’ve been working out 4+ days a week, hanging out with friends, sewing like a mofo, grocery shopping, cleaning….

The other day in my whirlwind of such exciting domestic activities, I got a call from a private school organization here in El Paso asking if I were interested in a part-time Spanish teaching position through the end of the school year, with a  possibility of full-time employment next year. Ehhhh. For once, I didn’t feel pressure to jump on a teaching opportunity. Besides, I’m already committed to the family I’m nannying for, committed to the trip to Honduras, and I love spending so much time with Aaron when he’s home.

Truth is, I am content. I’m truly excited for the next few months, as they’ll be super busy and challenging! I think for me, being challenged is a requirement for contentment. I feel challenged in my workouts, in training my dog (I got a Gentle Leader and it’s working well so far!), in creating something for someone when they send me a picture and say, Hey! Can you make something like this?

Just yesterday I made a messenger bag, and while I didn’t have a pattern for a smallish messenger bag, I had one for a purse with a long strap. So, with my super-awesome mathematical skills, I used proportions to make the pattern bigger and guess what? It totally worked! I may make one like this for myself….

I also finished my first legit quilt this week, with squares cut with my fancy-schmancy rotary cutter, batting, and actual quilting stitching on top! That took patience… and then I had to miter corners. Phew. However, I believe this is just one of many quilts I will make in my life.

Anyway. Today I had this idea of a shop I’d like to open someday before I die. Call it a bullet on my “Bucket List”, whatever… but a shop like the pottery shops where you can take your mom, grandma, BFF, whoever, and paint pottery. Except mine would be a sewing shop, where you can make a project in one sitting, or have your daughter’s ninth birthday party, or take a class, or buy a coffee (an in-house cafe would be essential!), or purchase supplies for a project… wouldn’t that be fun?? Maybe someday, after we are done traveling and serving around the world, and our children are grown and have given us beautiful grandbabies, and we’ve purchased that $590,000 property in the New Mexican valley, and opened our animal rescue….. and my husband would work next door in his used bookstore…. someday. 🙂

Tales from the farm

Seriously. I think I need to start a new blog just about the things that happen while I babysit.

Yesterday on our way back to the house from school, we stopped by Grandma and Grandpa’s to wet down the pig. 1) They have a pig. 2) They have to wet it down??? Okay. So. Anyway. They introduced me to Gibbs, which is apparently a name off of the TV show NCIS. I don’t know these things! I don’t even know what that stands for…

Anyway. Gibbs is such a small and cute little piggy! He’s all black and white and has a little piggy nose. I really should get a picture. I asked A what they do with the pig when he’s all grown up and they’re done showing him at 4-H.

He said that they eat him. Gasp! The little piggy??? Then I was okay with it, because the pig grows up to be a massive, well, pig, and also because I. LOVE. BACON. So. Pig issue resolved.

Then, after homework, we had to go clean out the horses’ water. And by we, I mean they. While I watch with my sandals… SANDALS. Really, Elizabeth?! I need to get me some boots.

So, I helped A dump out the trough, and we started cleaning it out and filling it back up. Again, by we, I mean they. This mix of water and sand made mud, and before I could say anything, A and H had jacked up their pant legs to the knees, taken off their socks and boots and started playing in…the… gulp.. mud. It was brown and squishy and… muddy. And there was horse poop not too far away.

Anyway, I was a lucky girl that they didn’t start lobbing mudballs?? (???!?!!) at me. Then they cleaned up and went inside and changed and you never would have known the difference. Whew.

I never really thought I was THAT much of a city girl. I mean, my grandpa was a farmer, and my dad worked on the farm too, so that means I’m somehow by blood a country girl right?! I mean, my grandparents had an address in Farmer City, Illinois. And I went through two years of initiation when I taught at a school in the middle of a cornfield…. but I guess this “city” girl has a lot more to learn!

And then after Mom got home, I drove home a different way through the country, and it was so pretty. I’m pretty sure I saw the $590,000 house/property that I want. HAHAHA. Yes. Keep laughing with me. But it looked like it was on a farm…

Not for the faint of heart

I started my new job this week as a nanny and tutor for a family in New Mexico. They have land with horses, a dog, a bunny, a cat, and a gorgeous view of the mountains and west side of El Paso. I tell you what; these kids are gonna wear me out this summer!

I pick them up from school at 2:30pm, and then we go back to the house to get a snack and something to drink. I can’t even remember everything we crammed into three hours yesterday, but I know it involved spraying down the trampoline with water before jumping and feeding stuff to the horses.

H is six and so adorable. Long blonde hair bundled in a braid, she’s a cowgirl at heart. She rides and does tricks and other cool stuff with the horses. A is ten and could figure out how to survive if you dropped in the middle of the dang Death Valley. Both kids are so creative. Today they rigged up the three hoses they have.. two to sprinklers and the third had water running down the slide. I watched from the sidelines as I did not realize I should have worn my swimsuit today. 😉

Before they played Waterpark Tycoon in their backyard, we went “down to the valley”. What that means is that we loaded up with Gatorade and went on a short hike through part of their property. Pretty much everything growing had thorns on it, and little miss H trudged through it with her boots on. Yes, red and black cowboy boots.

these would be a perfect b-day present!

I was smart today and wore my tennis shoes, but can’t you see it’s imperative that I invest in some real boots so that I can continue on these cross-country adventures! I asked H if we needed to watch for rattlesnakes and what we should do if we see one. Without saying anything she picked up a big rock and a little rock and gave the little one to me. Okay then. Ten-four there, little lady.

After taking a couple pit stops in the shade and drinking Gatorade, we headed back to the house. Lord knows I feel like a city girl if there ever was one.

I made strawberry smoothies after A decided he would try this nasty-looking smoothie made with Gatorade, graham crackers and strawberries. Ewww. Boys are gross. 😉 We watched some iCarly (um, LOVE that show) and chilled in the living room after cleaning up the mud we tracked in. I crocheted a little bit and H asked me if I would show her how to knit. I let her know that it’s indeed crochet and I showed her how to make a chain stitch. I think I’m gonna get her one of those fat hooks to work with.

I already have plans for A’s birthday in July.. I want to make a paper mache pinata and some watermelon sorbet for dessert.. he said today that watermelon is his favorite food.

I tell you what; this is gonna be a fun ride! Literally, I hope. Before the summer’s over I’ll be riding horses into the sunset with my amazing tan ropin’ me some cows.. or something like that. Just you watch.

“We are the battling bastards of Bataan”

“We are the battling bastards of Bataan,

No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam;

No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces;

No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces;

And nobody gives a damn.”

I am in awe… of the event, the weather, the volunteers, the survivors who were present, the Wounded Warriors running or rucking… the entire event was so well organized and planned. Of course, they’ve had 23 years to get it down. 😉

If you remember correctly, the Bataan Death March was a forced march of tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers during World War II. Soldiers were mistreated, starved, abused and killed point-blank during the 80-mile trek. The Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico is a 26.2 or 15.2 course through sand, dirt, wind, desert and mountains.

When I found out Aaron had orders to Ft. Bliss, one of the first things I did, naturally, was look up races. I knew I wanted to do this one, but I also knew it would be completely different than a race like the Illinois Marathon. We both wanted to do the full 26.2 distance, but Aaron wanted to be a part of the military heavy category, which wears a full uniform and carries a ruck of at least 35 pounds (his ended up being 52. Crazy crazy man).

We trained by running up and down McKelligon Canyon and also Transmountain Road. My running training fell apart, but I still had a half marathon, a 16-miler and a 10-miler under my belt going into this race. Not ideal, but I knew physically I could do it.

I ran the first seven miles or so, walked until mile 16 when I was texting back and forth a little with Gabi and she must have prayed because I ran an incredible mile! I felt like I was in Runner’s World’s Rave Run. Then I walked the rest of the course.

It was rough. There were some paved parts, but most of it was packed dirt and loose sand. There is a “sand pit” around mile 21 that’s 3/4 of a mile long… sand that gets everywhere! I stopped to dump out my shoes at least three times.

I stopped at every water stop and got water or Gatorade and an orange or banana piece. My stomach was not agreeing with me today as every time I ate it would cramp up and I’d get side aches. However, I knew that if I didn’t eat or drink I wouldn’t have the energy to finish.

My quads and hip flexors were very sore, which is why I stopped running and stuck to walking most of it. Normally in a 26.2 race, a walker as slow as I was at the end would be at the end of the pack, but I think I was right in the middle. I finished in about 7:45 clock time. The website shows I finished in 8:26, which is not correct because Aaron finished in 8:23 and I finished about 40 minutes ahead of him… so I’m guessing it’s supposed to be 7:26-7:30.

The last few miles were rough for me emotionally. I’ve never lost a soldier who’s been close to me, but I have a few friends who have so I thought about them and all they’ve been through. And I saw a couple memorials attached to rucks that commemorated the marcher’s grandpa, one of whom was a Japan war camp survivor. I had to calm myself down because I got very emotional.

I’ve done a lot of races, but I’ve never seen a community of volunteers like I did today. They were so helpful, encouraging (which was good because no spectators were allowed on the course!) and dedicated. I think two of the greatest things to be meshed are running and the military… I really felt like I was running (walking… or moving…) for a cause. My grandpa is a Korean vet, my great-grandpa is a World War II vet, and my husband is currently serving.

We marched about a third of what the real Bataan marchers had to go through, and we weren’t tortured and bayonetted… I just cannot fathom how they got through it aside from gritting their teeth and relying on the grace of God. There were amputees, some double amputees running or walking today. The soldiers in full uniform carrying rucks were amazing as well.  I was utterly humbled today. Utterly. I am so thankful I was able to finish and that I wasn’t injured along the way.

I’m not sure I’ll run (or… move…) it again next year, but I would be ecstatic to volunteer. Or….. I could find four ladies who are just as crazy as I am a form a team. 😉 If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted pictures, it’s because I just ran (or walked.. or moved…) 26.2 miles and I’m sore. And hobbling. Check them out here. 🙂

Bataan is on!!!

I was hesitant to sign up for this race, no lie. However, since I have the go-ahead from my cardiologist and the funds to pay for it, Bataan is on, people! I asked my awesome runner-Army-wife-kindred-spirit friend Natalie her advice on prepping for 26.2 in just six weeks. I ran 13.1 on January 14, finishing in 2:19, which is really strong for not having formally trained for that race. That wasn’t even a month ago. I’ve kept my mileage light since then… I guess you could say I’ve been half-heartedly training for some 26.2 at some point….

I have some things definitely on my side for Bataan. 1) That I’ve run a “long” distance race recently. 2) That I have marathon training and racing experience. I would never attempt this if I didn’t have both those things. 3) I’m running this race for a bigger purpose than a PR. In fact, I have no time constraint. The average time for Bataan is 7 hours and 43 minutes. A lot of soldiers ruck this race with 35+ lbs on their backs. I’m running it for the bad-ass-ness of the race (and distance! and terrain!) but also to honor those who have served our country in the military.

It’s gonna be a rough race. Like I’ve posted before, it’s sandy, windy, you kinda sorta gain 1300 ft of elevation, and yes, it’s out in the middle of the desert. Hydration and nutrition are super-important. Recovery after the long runs is crucial. Training on hills or hiking on rough terrain is also priority.

Here’s what my training schedule looks like for long runs: no room for missing them!

Week of….

February 12 — 12 miles

February 19 — 16 miles

February 26 — 20 miles

March 4 — 12 miles

March 11 — 16 miles

March 18 — 12 miles

March 25 —  26.2!

 

And during the week…..

Sunday — long run

Monday — cross train/recovery

Tuesday — rest

Wednesday — run

Thursday — hike/run on rough terrain

Friday — run

Saturday – rest

 

I’m committed. I’m registered. The only other issue is transitioning to the Minimus, which can’t be done without caution. So I’ll go slow at it. No promises on wearing those on race day!

And one final thought….

Is it crazy that I’m kind of looking forward to running in the cold Midwestern air??

Spring in January

Ahhhh. It’s a LOVELY 70* here today. I don’t even care if I’m rubbing it in to all you folks in Illinois… if we have to live in the desert against our will, we need to get something in return! 😉 Jess and I went on a walk around the neighborhood today and I might go for a run before I pick up Aaron from work. It’s my day off, too, so I’m in a super-good mood today.

This week has been pretty good. My work schedule will be changing a little from week to week to accommodate my boss’s strange schedule with conferences at different places. I got to leave work before 5 on Wednesday, and it was nice to actually be home and make dinner and have time to relax before Google+ Hangout-ing with family. Here we are…

My father-in-law (second from right), my mother-in-law (second from left) and my brother-in-law (on the far right) were all in the same house. Hilarious. Later in the conversation our cousin Anita (well, Aaron’s cousin) joined us from Ohio. So we had three time zones represented: Mountain, Central and Eastern. In the famous words of Kip, I love technology.

i don't care what y'all say, i will always love this movie.

So, we hung out. And then it was Friday. Already! We fly back to Illinois THREE WEEKS from tomorrow! Woohoo! We could have chosen a better time of year to go, but it’ll be good. Maybe we’ll take some warmish weather back with us. Illinois kind of boycotts these temps so early in the year.

But seriously. I opened up the window in the kitchen and I have the front door propped open. The air smells fresh and warm and…. just awesome. It really really makes me want to go on a roadtrip…

Over my birthday weekend (April 22) we’re talking about taking a long weekend and going camping in Silver City, New Mexico. It’s on my list because it’s a new place to visit, it has some cool art and history, and they’re close to the Gila National Forest. Temps will be nice with highs in the 70’s and lows in the 40’s. Even if there’s nothing really going on in town, a relaxing weekend of camping and hiking in the fresh mountain air will be a perfect way to celebrate my 26th birthday. (This will be the first one in four years Aaron’s been present for.) We’d like to stay at the KOA Kampground… I’m quite partial to them. And at ~$30 per night for a site, how can you beat that?? Here’s a pic I found on their Facebook page:

One word: Yes. So, if you remember, I had a race tentatively scheduled for this same weekend, across the state from Silver City in Hobbs. Welllllll, Aaron might get to join his company’s team for Bataan AND they’re trying to get it paid for by the company. In that case, I’d then be able to pay for myself for Bataan. After my recent success in the half marathon, I realize I could train to run 26.2 just two months from now. That is definitely heartening!

The next few months will be good! January is almost over, which is good because I HATE January. February we’ll be back in Illinois for half of it. In March I have my spring break from work and we have Bataan, then in April is my birthday!

Now, excuse me while I sit outside and enjoy the sun and blue skies. 😉