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Archive for August, 2013

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This is the wall in my kitchen. Not only is super motivating, it also reminds me that maybe I shouldn’t eat that third cookie.

I am officially training for my first half-marathon. I know, my stomach does the gurgle-ees (gurglies? gurgles? gurgleups?)  thinking about it too. The wonderful ladies of Stroller Warriors here at Camp Lejeune are throwing together a half marathon on October 5th called Have to Half. Not only is that a super cool name, but it’s also the end of my “Couch to Crazy” series. No seriously, I started on my couch and am now attempting a half. I have done a few 5k’s and 10k’s now, but nothing of this magnitude. I expect the first 6 miles to go pretty well, and the last 7ish to basically be the end of the World.

For someone who doesn’t particularly rule at running, this is a FREAKING HUGE DEAL. To me it is the equivalent of “You there, super fat guy in sweatpants! Do a back flip!” I am tempted to have my husband stand at mile 6 or 7 with a doughnut or beer to make sure I finish. Luckily, I do have a lot of wonderfully supportive friends who are encouraging me to not die, so I’m sure it’ll be fine. No seriously, the girls I run with are extremely motivating, our fearless leader is pretty well known for her mid-run ass slaps now, and unless you’re booking it, she’ll nail ya. I on the other hand cannot do anything but run and breathe, and sometimes I struggle with just those two. So when one of the gals passes me, and they say “Good job, Jess!” or “You’re doing great Jessica!” I reply with a “Thajkhdgkhdg (enter Darth Vader noises) Yuhhhh!” Which translates to Thank You in exhausted runner language.

I hear you asking the question “Why the crap would you run 13.1 miles FOR FUN!?!” And my answer is, “I HAVE NO IDEA, MAKE MY FRIENDS STOP MAKING ME DO THIS!” Well that would at least be part of it. The other half of my answer would be because it’s bucket list material and also I eat a lot and should therefore do a lot of cardio. Plus, ya know, zombie apocalypse. The whole reason I joined Stroller Warriors back in Okinawa was to get out of my apartment and make friends, and now here I am on a different continent, same group, doing even bigger things. That’s called motivation people. Or at least forced participation/friend pressure. Either way I love it. I hate running, but I love the feelings afterwards. I love being covered in sweat, gurgle tummied, wanting to pass out in the nearest grass even though I hate that stuff, and needing a cold beverage. That’s the moment reality sets in. That even if your pace sucked, you finished. Then all of these glorious tingly feelings come racing up to you and you feel like you can do it all over again.

So there’s my warrior update! I am currently training to finish the crazy train, and once I’m off the crazy train, I will be, AGAIN, training for a 20+ mile trail run in January.

[Whistle Noise] ALL ABOARD THE CRAZY EXPRESS. NEXT STOP: DON’T SHIT YOUR PANTS WHEN RUNNING!

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Sometimes I wake up in an old band shirt and I have Disney Princess hair. 

So really, I should have baby deer mowing my lawn, mice sweeping my floors, and little birds hanging up laundry. I think Disney owes me that much at the very least. They are, however, nowhere to be found, and I am left back on the grind. So like any Disney princess would do, I freak out about my life not being completely perfect. I know that’s a silly thing to say, but when things are going well, I like to focus on the tiny little problems. Doesn’t everyone do that? I hope I’m not the only one. Lately, my issue is competing for friendship.

I am in the Friendship Hunger Games. 

 I’m competing against no one in particular, but feeling like I have to constantly prove myself.  Do you have people like that in your life? That make you feel like you constantly have to impress them just to get some sort of friendship going? It’s obnoxious.  What do you WANT from me? Is there someone I could possibly throw a radioactive bee hive at to gain your friendship? While I am a pretty entertaining person, I am not here for your amusement. I’m not a court jester, I’m a mother freakin’ friendship princess. (By the way, this is the most I’ve ever said princess in my entire life). I am an AWESOME friend. Seriously if Voldemort held a personal vendetta against one of my friends, I’d be their freakin’ Ron Weasley (I can’t be Hermione, I’m not that smart).  I’m not saying all of my friendships have resulted in sunshine and rainbows, but the place I am now in life, I have wonderful friends, true hearted friends. I’m currently going through the friendship dating routine since we’ve just moved to a new place. I lucked out and had a few gals move with me from Okinawa basically, but I’m still out there trying to establish new friendships. Some have been coming along nicely, where they accepted my extreme nerdiness and awkward conversational skills, and others? Well, others have made me feel inadequate and unworthy of such friendship. Is there a mirror around here I can talk to?  Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who’s the not bitchassy-ness of them all? 

It’s hard out there for a princess. 

I suppose I should just ignore it and move on, focus it all on the women who enrich my life and don’t make me feel like Quasimodo.  Seriously, look at that guy, forever trying to get into a clique and ending up in a Church attic ringin’ bells and crap. If I up and say I’m moving into a Church, PLEASE bring me back to reality. I have great friends, I have a best friend, I have relationships I don’t have to prove myself for, and can be completely…myself! I don’t need to put myself out there over and over again and be ignored for whatever reason. I like who I am. I have people who invite me to things,  support me, and make me smile. Those are the people I should continue to grow with. From here on out, I’m done trying to murder people in the forest for people, I’m gonna go hang out in a meadow, put flowers in my hair, and tell all my new (and old) friends they’re the prettiest girls in all the land!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go do man stuff because this post was EXTREMELY girly. 

 

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I’ve done something wrong with my life, I haven’t road tripped until now.

This was only across a few States and with only my toddler in tow. And really, far less junk food than I would have required had I done this in my late teens, early twenties. I’m talking like an old woman now. I’m not, but to be fair the furthest road trip you could take in the area of Japan I lived in was about 3 or 4 hours depending on traffic. So now I’m making up for lost time. We recently traveled up to Carrollton, Ohio to visit some family, and this is post one on our trip.
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Please excuse the fact that almost all of these photos are out my dirty Jeep windows, but I was trying to power through and not stop too much. The first photos I ended up taking were just before I crossed over into Virginia, when I spotted a mountain. Though if my husband has been with me, he would have reminded me that it’s not actually a Mountain if it wasn’t once a dinosaur murdering, active volcano, or as majestic as the Olympics. But when you live in the flat area we do, I was excited to see even one misshapen blob of Earth. I sacrificed a few minutes to pull over and check out the viewpoint for Pilot Mountain.
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From there I drove on into Virginia, where I realized I hadn’t really looked at my route, and trusted my GPS fully, because I had no idea I was going to be driving in a bit of the Blue Ridge Mountains as well. I even passed the actual turn-off for the Blue Ridge Parkway. See you again in the fall, turn-off. I’ve heard it’s one of the most breathtaking places for Fall leaves, so I’m all over it. Seriously, Google image that nonsense and it will make your brain freak out about all things Autumn.

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From there on out, all of the States pretty much blended together and looked exactly the same. Lots of green hills, tons of corn, and a whole lot of… ahem… interesting looking folks. I hadn’t seen a single trooper until I crossed over into VA. BAM! Cop after cop after cop. Good thing I don’t have a CA license plate on the Jeep or I may have been targeted for going a little over the limit. Oh yeah, 7 over, tops… I’m a wild one.

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But really, it’s a very pretty drive, and I did get through two audio books each way. One of those books was Bossypants by Tina Fey, so if you happened to be driving next to me, I’m very sorry for the ugly face I make when I’m trying not to crash while laughing hysterically. I can imagine it looks something like if you gave a cow a facelift and threw M&M’s at it’s mouth. That’s the best analogy I can come up with. Try and imagine it. No? How about this one; When you’re driving and feel an epic sneeze coming on and know if you close your eyes you will kill 75 people in a pile up, but if you don’t close your eyes they will pop out of your skull. It’s sheer horror and maniacal laughter rolled into one. It ain’t pretty, people. If you’re going to road trip with a toddler really the only things I needed were a small backpack full of his favorite toys, a book or two, and all of his favorite snacks. The first time he got out of the car was at the VA rest stop and he ate it in the parking lot. With skinned knees, blood all over, he looked at me and said “I DON’T WANT VIRGINIA!” You and me both bud, you and me both. It was a wonderful first road trip, and I’m glad we got to count cows. I totally.played the license plate game by myself. HIGH SCORE BITHEZ. Also hey, look at me posting a travel post on Travel Tuesday, about time right?!?!

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3 Going On 17.

Someone should let my child know he turned four, not seventeen. If this is any indication of the attitude he will have as each birthday passes I am DOOMED. My boy is amazingly sweet, very adventurous, and loves to snack. He goes through small phases where he has to be the sassiest person alive, and since his birthday, has thrown three temper tantrums equivalent to an atomic bomb. I am not impressed. But then this magical thing happens. I meet or see other children who are either equal to one of those atomic bombs, or greater than. I’m reminded how amazing he is. He’s polite, normally he listens, and really he’s only four and I should give him a lot of credit. This year he wanted an Octonauts birthday. Unfortunately for him, all of those party supplies are really only readily available outside the U.S., so we moved onto his second favorite, Jake & The Neverland Pirates.

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This was the first birthday he’s had in the United States. That’s a BIG deal for me. Life is much easier with the abundance of stores here in America that readily supply all things party time. Pinterest projects and recipes are now possible, so I went a little nuts.

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See? I wasn’t lying. I had a lot of fun doing this birthday, and really besides food, all I had to do was a few decorations and the rest was hanging out with friends.  Our kiddo had a blast, everything went off without a hitch, the food all got devoured and the leftover cupcakes were sent to the shop with my husband so the men could eat them and I wouldn’t. I have no self-control over chocolate cupcakes.

Here’s a little bit about Jax now that he is four:

Favorite Food: it’s a toss up between PB&J’s and String cheese,

Favorite Color: ALL OF THEM.

Favorite Hobby: Anything outside, but mainly playgrounds.

Favorite Toy: I trip over trains and hotwheels the most, so those.

Favorite Clothing Item: Lightning McQueen chonies.

Favorite Time of Day: Either walking to the mail box or when Daddy comes home.

Most Used Words: “But, why??” “Faster!” “Can I has ____, please?” We’re working on the last one.

Favorite TV show: Mickey Mouse is still a major player, but really anything on Disney Jr., or Discovery animal shows.

Favorite Animal: Dragons.

Favorite night time activity: Watching lightning storms.

Random Facts:
– After our Ohio trip, he now assumes every time we leave the house we’re either going to the Zoo, or to see his bff Karleigh on base.

– He is pretty much potty trained at home now, with only a few accidents.

– Eventually he will snack us out of house and home.

– He still doesn’t care much to be on a bike, pedaling is apparently child labor.

– He reaaaallllyyy loves his grandparents. All of them. Talks about all of them constantly.

– He wants to see every little creature we find, but if he sees it first, he FREAKS OUT. Flies are the worst.

– He get’s really bummed when he goes outside and the moon and stars are gone.

– Out of all of the books he has, he makes Daddy read “Rocket Town” and Mommy reads “Good Night, Little Grover.” Every. Night.

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I am so ready for the next year of adventures.

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When you get orders to Camp Lejeune (or one of the bases nearby), you’re told one of two things;

“UGH. I HATE THAT PLACE.”

or

“Oh, I LOVED living there, you will LOVE it!”

I got a lot of both. A lot of the hate came from either single Marines, or people who are not as adventurous as I am. The love side was a mixed bag.  I think if I had gone from my home on the West Coast, straight to living here on the East, I would have joined the Debbie Downers. But luckily for me, I had that… we’ll call it, interesting 3 years in Okinawa, Japan. I won’t lie, things are almost as different here on the East Coast as it was switching from San Diego to Okinawa. There is a CULTURE SHOCK here, believe it or not. And while, yes, Jacksonville is mainly chain stores and restaurants, with no large amount of local fair, it is special in it’s own ways.

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You really just need to venture out. And this post applies to wherever you reside, not just Jacksonville.  I suppose we’re well off, considering we’re very outdoorsy people and I’m not one to be caught dead in a mall unless it’s been a few months and have a friend to go with. I really love the movie Mall Rats though. I make no sense. Anyhoo! Generally I can get us all in the car and head out to just about anything. The Mr. is all about fishing at the current time, his myriad of hobbies usually reduce down to one at a time, and right now, fishing is IT. Once the cooler weather comes to stay, I’ll be breaking out the camping posts left and right after multiple trips to reside in a tent for a few days. AKA: HEAVEN. I grew up camping. I grew up visiting Yosemite and staying in a cabin. I grew up heading to the lake to ride around in a boat. These are things I will pass onto my son. If God graces us with a daughter, she better buckle up for a lifetime of tomboyhood because this Mama is no sissy pants. Unless a big bug tries to fly at my face, I ain’t havin’ that shit.

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Now I will admit that this is no San Diego or Olympic Peninsula, but it’ll do. Bloom Where You Are Planted, right?  I do miss hiking, and local hole in the walls, but if I really need those things, I can drive to them. Here, right in Jacksonville though, it does take some exploration to make this place home. I fell in love with this park, Onslow Pines. The trail isn’t extremely long, but it’s full of trees and peacefulness, and suicidal mosquitoes. Seriously don’t mess with me bugs. It’s long enough to occupy us until we come back around and burn energy at the playground. I found it through my running group, Stroller Warriors, and have since made it a favorite stop when we want to get outside.

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The simple truth is, this park reminds me of Washington. Of home. I think that’s very important. That no matter where the military might move you, you find something that reminds you of home. It’s harder here. Nothing is really quite the same. When I buy a new plant, I think of my Dad. When I watch a sunset on my back porch I think of my Mom. Small things take me back home. Small things, make it easier to be away. People in the civilian world don’t think it should be hard for us, afterall we’ve just moved somewhere else, people do that all the time.  We still make friends, do normal tasks, but we do it with only the memory of our once homes, instead of the actual thing. So I highly encourage you to high five a military family member, we love that. Maybe not in a creepy way though okay? Just a, Aww yeah way to be, kind of way. Because most of the time, we’re trying to make a place home, that is very much far from the original.

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You get homesick. You get used to your new home. You get homesick again.

Make the best of the middle bit.

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I have a few travel posts to get to, don’t I? Nothing exotic mind you, I’m still waiting on that random millionaire to hand me a check for being awesome. Then again, I just moved from a small island in Japan, I’m all good on exotic for a bit I think. So let’s rewind back to July, where I got to finally explore a little bit of Raleigh.

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Yeah, I meant a little bit. Apparently the 4th of July fest in Raleigh is srs bzns. Fighting through the crowd was something else. I assume there were vendors, I think I got close to maybe two of them.  This is where the whole Californian in me gets reaaaallll depressed. Street fairs back home are incredibly laid back, holiday or not. People bring their dogs, stroll around with local coffee, and shop at their leisure. This was more of a clusterfack of people needing iced beverages and over priced light up doodads. But, nevertheless, I did still get to see a little bit of downtown Raleigh, and I WILL be back to eat at all of the restaurants. And sight see (but mostly eat food).  At this point I was missing big cities, so I was soaking up everything I could.

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Yes ladies and gents, you read that right, DEEP FRIED GIRL SCOUT COOKIES. Is there a girl scout patch for childhood obesity? SIGN ME UP. I actually did not partake in this ridiculousness this go around, but if I see them out on the streets again, I’m all over it. Just for the sake of saying I ate something so insane. I know they do things differently in the South, but really!? Also check out that Christian Science reading room. Now there’s a place I’d like to pick up a brochure in, scowl, laugh, and walk out of. I really wish I’d been that creep to take pictures of the crowd, because whew, there are some real winners in Raleigh.

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Like these people for instance. WINNER STUFF. I’m not sure how well I’d pedal and drink beer at the same time, but I’m willing to give it a go.  They were cruisin’! I missed the smorgasbord of insanity that is a bigger city.

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At some point my stomach made it’s point rather clearly that if I didn’t eat something I would probably keel over. The lines for truck food were meh, so off to ZPizza! I forgot to mention that about 4 or 5 restaurants had cornhole game sets right outside. So I may be in a big city, but it’s still the South. Anyway, my Dad and I taught the mini to play cornhole, which he CLEARLY cheats at. The food was awesome, we were directly behind a stage that at first was rocking out, and then somehow turned into an intro to a myriad of international sports teams. For 20 minutes of looking directly at them, I still don’t know what sport they played. My best guess was frisbee. That’s a thing right?

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I definitely have a lot more of Raleigh to explore. Overall it was a lovely little side trip from the airport to catch some holiday goodness and totally drag my guys around. Sorry for immediately dragging you all over Dad, please come back someday.

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But I Am Le Tired

Oh blog, I’m so sorry for leaving you. You see, I went to rural Ohio, and, well wifi is a rare commodity there apparently.  It was a very nice week away, but oh how I missed my own little house. 5 states in less than a week. WHEW. And somehow we went to 3 different Zoos. I am ZOO-ed out. Seriously, if I saw another monkey, I’d punch it square in the face. Basically all of my photos are either out of a car window, or at a zoo. I went thrift shopping, and saw a lot of Amish people. This is really just a very terrible small blog post about how I went away, and am now back. Ha! Better posts on the horizon my friends, but here’s my little note in between couch comas and prepping for shark week. Speaking of which, here:

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