Week One: Raleigh

I think second to our wedding, we have likely had the most eventful week in our marriage.  Ahhh, it feels so great!!!

I started my job and L-O-V-E it.  I even said to Chris at one point today, “is it weird that I’m looking forward to going to work on Monday?”  I love what I’m doing, my 10-minute commute is amazing, my coworkers are great and I love having an office.  :)

We’ve had some amazing food this week, too.  We’re getting back into cooking and being healthier tomorrow, but we’ve just enjoyed immersing ourselves into the southern culture and I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tasty few days. I think our favorite spot was The Pit, famous Carolina BBQ.  It’s definitely a place we want to take our friends and family when they come to visit.

We also went to the Mellow Mushroom which we’ll definitely visit again.  The warm pretzels were delish!

Everyday, we’re getting more and more settled in the house, and I’m hoping by tomorrow we’ll have a fully stocked fridge and a finished house.  Check out the kitchen…we love it!

This morning, we took Hunter to an area dog park.  We love taking him to the dog park so he can run around and socialize with other dogs, but it’s unfortunate that his brain never tells him when enough is enough.  After 30 minutes we have to drag him out of the park on a leash before he passes out from exhaustion.  Today was no exception.  He has so much fun, but he can never just chill – he always has to be in the thick of the action, but it’s still fun.  We really liked this park (much larger than the one we used to go to in Virginia), but I’m not sure we’d go back.  It was about a 20 minute drive which seems a bit far – I need to do some more research to find a park a little closer to the house.  There is a great one very close to our house, but you have to pay a $40 annual membership and I don’t know about that.  We’ll see what happens.

After the adventures at the dog park, we finally got around to getting Hunter a new bed, but then this happened:

Yeah, I don’t know.  In the two years Delilah and Hunter have lived together, she has never expressed any interest in his bed, but today, she was all over it.  It’s been a few hours now, and Hunter has happily taken over, so all is right in the world again.  :)

Oh yeah, what else happened this week?  We put our house up for sale on Tuesday and received an offer on Thursday.  TWO DAYS Y’ALL!!  We accepted the offer and are officially under contract!!  So, so, so exciting and I can’t tell you how effing relieved we are.  I swear two days must be some kind of record – we are so excited and have our fingers and toes crossed that all goes smoothly in the next 30 days til closing!

Chris is serious about getting back into coaching swimming and has already been contacted by five swimming teams for either head or assistant coach positions.  Hellooooo, options!  I’m so proud of him for following his passion.  So, so proud.

My friend Emily said it best, it’s really like all of the stars have aligned for this move and life is pretty freaking good right now.  :)

Fun Fitness Friday

Fun Friday!  At the gym.

Kirsten came super prepared tonight with a plyometrics workout that kicked my ass.

We started with 10 minutes of cardio, but this time, she made us pick one machine we don’t use frequently.  We had to split our 10 minutes into two different machines, so I did five minutes on the stairmaster (kill me) and then finished my last five minutes on the treadmill.

We made our way into an auxiliary room which was cool because we had it all to ourselves and could really spread out.  Kirsten produced pieces of paper which she put on the floor around the room, each with two different exercises listed.  The goal was to perform the exercises for 45 seconds with 15 seconds of rest in between. Let me just say I’m going to be sore tomorrow, my arms are still shaky.

Hardest exercises for me?  The mountain climbers and the squats.  The rest were just challenging, but not difficult coordinate wise.  Overall it was really good.  On a few of the breaks I definitely needed more than 15 seconds to get it together, but A for effort.  We ended the session with some suicides carrying dumbbells and two sets of planks.  I was a hot and sweaty mess and it was awesome.

Oh, and remember my post the other day about recycling?  Kirs bought the large recycling bin we had our eye on, but it was too large for the space they wanted to use it.  Guess who has inherited said recycling bin?  Hooray!  Our recylcing efforts look much nicer with the white bin as opposed to the hideous blue bin.

Personal Best

I feel like being healthy is sometimes a part-time job.  My brain is constantly thinking about the decisions I need to make in order to be healthy these days.  It used to be easy to just come home and throw a frozen lasagna in the oven and not give it a second thought, but now, I’m grossed out by that concept.  I find myself thinking of what I can eat with lots of protein to satisfy me.  I want to know exactly what a “superfood” is.  And finding recipes online is like the worlds biggest and most delicious scavenger hunt.

I’ve talked to a few of my girlfriends about this new healthy path, and I’ve found relief in hearing their stories about how it’s work for them as well.  It’s nice to hear other people say, “I work really hard to be in shape.”  Makes me realize I’m not the only one who actually has to try, and that’s honestly refreshing.

I also think it’s tremendously helpful to see my other friends who are losing weight, working out and making great lifestyle changes.  Having friends to bounce ideas off of and see success unfold with is really rewarding.  Having a partner to eat well and work out with is a big motivating factor, too.  I’m super lucky to have Chris who is willing to try everything I’m cooking (and often times help), and who challenges me to go to the gym when I’m sometimes blah about it.  Support definitely helps.

I was super excited to cook dinner tonight, and it didn’t disappoint.  Chris really liked it too, so that was an added bonus.

Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa & Spanish Rice.

I love cilantro, I love lime, I love tomatoes and I love avocado, so what wasn’t to love about this recipe!  It was actually really easy to make (next time I’ll use fresh salsa instead of making my own — it just took too long) and it was super tasty.  I love finding flavorful foods that are still moderately healthy – that’s my new favorite thing!

After dinner, we made our way to the gym where I had my best workout yet.  3.5 miles on the elliptical in 45 minutes.  It may not sound that fantastic, but it’s the best I’ve done since we started working out again.  That’s just over a 12 minute mile, which for me is a great feeling.  Two weeks ago my pace was more than 14 minutes per mile, so to see it drop already is just awesome.

Recipe for the Cilantro-Lime Chicken!

Ingredients

  • Chicken:
  • 2  tablespoons  minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 4  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • Cooking spray
  • Salsa:
  • 1  cup  chopped plum tomato (about 2)
  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped onion
  • 2  teaspoons  fresh lime juice
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  avocado, peeled and finely chopped

Preparation

1. To prepare chicken, combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss and let stand 3 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.

2. To prepare salsa, combine tomato and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a medium bowl. Add avocado; stir gently to combine. Serve salsa over chicken.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 289
Fat: 13.2g (sat 2.4g,mono 7.5g,poly 1.9g)
Protein: 35.6g
Carbohydrate: 6.6g
Fiber: 3.6g
Cholesterol: 94mg
Iron: 1.6mg
Sodium: 383mg
Calcium: 29mg

The Best Surprise

I’m not big on surprises.  I take that back.  I like to surprise people, but I’m not usually on the receiving end of surprises.  I enjoy knowing what’s going on and planning, so being in on something is usually my thing.

When I was about 13 years old, we lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  My aunt Brenda, uncle Mike and two cousins, Michael & Tracy lived in neighboring Kansas and were planning on spending Christmas with us.  A few days before Christmas, my grandmother arrived, and my parents took the chance to go out on a date night before the holidays really kicked in while my grandmother and I stayed at home at watched a movie.

Shortly after my parents left, the doorbell rang and I jumped up to get see who it could be.  I wasn’t tall enough to see out of the peep-hole, so I just whipped open the door and there stood my two younger cousins who said:

“We’re lost – can you help us?”

I squealed with delight!  It was so excited and felt like Christmas morning had landed on my doorstep at that moment.  My aunt and uncle had circled the block for effect and were pulling into the driveway about this time and I was so excited.

We anxiously awaited my parents return from the their date, and my uncle devised a plan of surprising them even more.  When we heard the garage door open, they would race up to my parents queen size waterbed, and all four would get it and hide under the covers.  When my dad would predictably go upstairs to take out his contacts, they would fling the covers off and yell surprise.

They did exactly that, and to this day, I can still hear my dad scream “holy shit!!!” when they jumped from the bed.

It was the greatest thing ever.

Until today.

My uncle Mike has been in Afghanistan and Iraq for a really long time off and on over the past 10 years.   He’s been a part of the stuff we only hear about on the news, and I am so proud of everything he’s done and to call him my uncle.

It was announced last week that he was going to be taking command in DC, and should be coming home next month to settle in to his new role.  Very exciting because that means two years of being home!

Today, we went to my parents house to celebrate my aunt Brenda’s birthday (uncle Mike’s wife) for the afternoon, and I expected nothing but a low-key afternoon with my family and then to go home and prepare for the work week.

My aunt was running a little bit late, so we were all gathered in the kitchen munching on snacks when I saw the sunlight pour through the door as it opened.  Aunt Brenda poked her head in and said her “howdy doody,” to which we all yelled, “hi!”  But then, the door didn’t close.  I could see a tall shadow before I actually saw my uncle Mike, but it was like slow motion, I swear.  My aunt beamed with happiness as uncle Mike thundered a rousing “helloooooo” and I totally burst into tears.

Never in my life have I ever been so shocked, surprised and happy than I was today.  They sure are great at surprises and this time, I was actually on the receiving end of it.  For someone who doesn’t like surprises, this sure was a great one.  And not just for me, either – everyone was just so happy and excited and shocked to see him standing there in person when we thought he still had another month to go overseas.

Such a relief.  He’s back.  Welcome home, uncle Mike.