Weekly Wrap Christmas Edition

Can I start out by saying What is up with this weather?  We had a cold snap here last week and it is continuing. I feel bad for the folks that were here visiting over Christmas because they probably think it's always this cold here, but it's not. But then again, if it's this cold here, I'm sure it's just as cold elsewhere. Luckily we haven't got into single digits (or negatives) yet like I have seen in other places.

I am really bad at documenting what went down this week, so once again this is going to be a photo dump of whatever pictures I already had on my phone.  One of these weeks I will take pictures with the intention of sharing them in the weekly wrap. I guess this is a good thing though because it means I am living in the moment, right?

I apologize in advance that most of my pictures are of the dogs. I guess that seems to be what I photograph the most.

Christmas Eve.

The Pet store is located right next to the Starbucks, so it has become a tradition that Baylee and I go to both on Christmas eve.  I get her some Christmas treats and then she come with me to get a Chai tea. This year it was a Snickerdoodle Chai.  I'm pretty sure dogs are not allowed in Starbucks but I am thankful to my local Starbucks employees because they've never kicked us out!

We had already gone to Christmas eve service so we had the rest of the day/night to visit with family. We went to our Nana's house around dinner time and she gifted me with a beautiful dress that fits perfectly! She also got Lacey the cutest pair of Bobs with dogs on them.  Later we went to my aunt and uncles house for some games and then ended the evening at my parents house watching a movie like we always do.

Before the movie I wanted to give out a treat I had bought everyone. Now that we are all adults we don't do the one gift on Christmas eve, but because I was excited to give it AND because the dogs were violently sniffing at them and I didn't think they would last the night under the tree, I decided to give them.

We like popcorn in our family, so I ordered everyone a personalized bag from Savannah Rae's Gourmet popcorn. The flavors were as follows: Crab leg for my dad,  Creamy Cucumber for my mom, Buffalo chicken wings for Scott, and Key lime pie for Lacey.

Christmas Morning.

We stay at our home on Christmas morning and open gifts with Baylee.  Scott and Baylee always get me such great and thoughtful gifts but this simple gift has got to be my favorite.

It's a matte print of Baylee and Belle at the beach. I'll have to pick out my own frame but I do have one in mind. I just love this!

It was then time to travel back to Mimi and Pappy's (AKA my mom and dad's).

When we got there Belle was already anxious to open gifts. This is exactly why I did not think my popcorn bags would last overnight!

Belle enjoyed unwrapping her gifts (and helping everyone else unwrap there's too)!

After exchanging gifts we had a big Christmas lunch and then just hung out for a while until it was time to meet the rest of my family at our Pappy's house for the Steelers game.

I love when the Steelers play on Christmas! I think our new elf gave us a little bit of extra luck!

The rest of the week seemed to go SO fast! We didn't hit the stores for some after Christmas shopping until Friday night and it actually made me excited to start Christmas shopping for next year!

In all the business we forgot to mention that we got our blogger cards (which I hope all of you did).  Mine was from Kelly from Noodle to the Rescue and Lacey's was from Kim from Running on the Fly.  Thank you Kelly and Kim and to all who participated again this year. It was fun.

On Saturday I ended up putting the inside Christmas decorations away (except for some snowman pieces and the Steelers Christmas tree which Scott said he wanted to keep up until the playoffs)!  I know most people keep their tree and decorations up through New Years, but I like to go into the new year with a clean home and everything back in its place!

It was really pretty as we walked through town and all the Christmas lights were on. I should have taken more pictures. 

Saturday night we had dinner plans with friends and then did another escape room. This is the same group that we "escaped" with last time. This time our room was the Bank Robbery. We actually did find all the clues and found the hidden briefcase at the end but we were considered "losers" because we didn't make it out of the room on time. Which was a bit confusing because last time we did the escape room (in a different room), the game ended after we found the last clue which was the diamond. After that the agent came into the room to get us and we were considered "winners".  We didn't leave that room and so we didn't think we had to leave this room to have had won. Oh well, we know among ourselves that we really did complete it!

Tonight we will say good bye to 2017! Oh what a year it was. Before we head out for the evening, I have a tradition of calculating all my miles for the year. This usually takes a while, not because I've run so many miles, but because I end up reading through my calendar and running journal and just reminiscing. 2017 was a really good year!  -M

That's a wrap for our Christmas festivities!

We will be linking up with Holly and Tricia for their weekly wrap!

Christmas Goodies

For today's Friday Five I thought I'd share a few running related goodies I got for Christmas.

But first, a little background story.
Last month I was telling my good running friend that I was going to ask for these blue tooth wireless headphones for Christmas. At the time I didn't do too much research and have heard great things about the Jaybird ones.  

Since then, I did a little more research and looked up reviews with some comparisons on Youtube of the different kinds of wireless headphones. I even went to Best Buy to see them in person. Of course, I couldn't try any on. I saw a few in the cases and noticed that the Jaybird ones were a lot bigger than I thought they were. I was starting to second guess myself. After reviewing a few more I thought the Samsung ones would be a good fit for me because out of all the ones, they seemed to be the smallest and had no trouble with them falling out of your ears. Plus I am a Samsung girl, not an Iphone one. Unfortunately they did not have any in stock and it was online only. 

The week before Christmas I received a package in the mail from my friend. They were the Jaybird headphones that I mentioned I wanted back then. Yes very thoughtful, but now I feel like I may be getting another pair from my parents. 

Christmas comes and of course I get the Samsung ones I asked for. Now I have two pair, which ones are better? I have opened the Samsung pair and they seem to be good but I have nothing really to compare them to. I have yet to open the Jaybird, in fear that I won't be able to return them.  

Has anyone tried either the Samsung Gear Icon X or the Jaybird Run? 

My sister made me this plaque from the Outer Banks marathon. She said I deserved something more than just the pin I got. She is so thoughtful. 

Another one of my favorites is this ornament my Mom madeNow I could expect this from my sister (like she did) but my Mom was quite a surprise. She remembered all the details that went along with it, and they were right!. I hope this starts a new tradition. 

Some other items I received from my parents are the Gone For A Run PR sandals. I gave my mom a pair of the older style a few years ago and I always thought they were a bit goofy because they were the rubber ones, but she loves them and says they are very comfy. I am excited to try these once it gets warmer out. She always likes to do a theme so she got me a matching Boston sweaty band! 

I purchased my Garmin 235 last year and that has got to be one of the best gift I ever bought for myself. I have worn it every day since I bought it and got much use out of it. The only thing that bothers me about it is that I feel weird when I dress up and am wearing a sports watch with my outfit. I have wanted a replaceable band that would be less sporty and match everyday attire. I received this black magnetic one. I watched a few Youtube videos to see how you change it. Doesn't seem too hard, but I am sure it is a bit tedious with those small screws. So needless to say, it hasn't got changed yet.  

Do you have any advice on the headphones? -L

Merry Christmas week!

Merry Christmas friends!

How did you spend the last week before Christmas? I am happy to say that I wasn't running around like a
crazy women doing last minute things, nope. I actually enjoyed these last few days.

This is how I spent it!

Sunday we had our Family Christmas party to watch the Steelers play. I mean who doesn't combine football with their Christmas? My Pappy is a huge Steelers fan so that's what we do! I'm happy that they play on Christmas again this year! (Notice all the people wearing Steelers shirts (me included) are in the back, yes, they lost)!

The rest of the week went by so fast!

I met up with one of Santa's deer! 

One of my Christmas gifts were tickets to the Jewel holiday concert. This was amazing and a great way to head into the holiday weekend. 

Friday we met our family at our church coffee shop for a Christmas sing along! It was so crowded but fun hanging out with our family! Oh and we learned a new game! 

We went to Christmas eve service at church already today. Usually we go at night but since Christmas eve was on a Sunday they had a special service during the day as well. So I guess we have the rest of the evening to do all the other Christmas eve traditions! 

I hope to get back to the running scene hopefully next week. I've really put running on the back burner these past few weeks so I could savor this holiday season and just relax. I think it's done me well! 

Merry Christmas friends! 

We will be linking up with Holly and Tricia for their weekly wrap! 

Holiday Home Tour

I would never decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving was over.  I felt that Thanksgiving needed to be honored in its own way. So many people are trying to speed up these holidays (Heck, I saw Valentines and Valentine candy at CVS yesterday)! I want to feel like I'm savoring the year, not speeding it up . I'm not a big shopper so it has always been a tradition for me to stay home on Black Friday and get all my holiday decorations out. That's when the official Christmas decorating begins at our house.

UNTIL......This year!  I was really in the mood (I think in part to my friend Megan talking about decorating) and I decided to start pulling out the Christmas decorations on the Sunday BEFORE Thanksgiving (gasp)!  I know it's just a week earlier than normal, but I really liked getting into the Holiday spirit a little earlier. When people say "Holidays" do they include Thanksgiving with that too?  Because from now on, I think I am including it!  I didn't feel bad putting up Christmas decor before Thanksgiving and in fact, I think I might make it a new tradition now to put my trees up the Sunday before Thanksgiving!

I really liked how my friend Megan showed all her holiday decor around her home. I enjoy seeing how people decorate for the holidays. Even though Megan does not put up a tree, she goes all out! Kudos to you Megan!

I wanted to do something similar, but I am not as talented to add the video. Therefore you will only get still pictures. I hope it tells the story just as well!

The Trees

                                                           This is our main tree in our den.

This is the tree in our living room. I've always had a white tree in the living room but because I use to stick it in front of the window, it discolored over the years. Last year I had to buy a new one. This is the second year using this tree and I'm just not loving it. It's not as full as the other one was. 

This is our Steelers tree in what I guess we would call the man cave. I know its a bad picture but I already took all these photos before I decided to do this post. When I took them my only intention was to text them to my mom... haha. This tree has only Steelers ornaments on it. I love the multi colored lights and wish we could have those lights on out big tree (but that tree is pre-lit).  Our fireplace in this room is also decorated but I did not get a picture of that. 

Sometimes I put up a tree in my bedroom and decorated in purple decorations. This year I just didn't get around to doing it. 

The Fireplace

                                                  Our garland and wreath light up.

 I really need to become a better photographer when it comes to photographing Christmas lights!

Dining Room

The next few pictures are from the shelves from a hutch that I decorate in my dining room.

The three snowmen were actually a hand me down from my MIL and I love them. They've had a home on top of the hutch ever since I got them many years ago. The pink glitter Christmas tree was left over from when I use to decorate my living room in only pink Christmas stuff. I don't decorate with pink anymore so was thinking about getting rid of the tree but thought this was a good place for it instead. Scott says it looks out of place.

 This is an old photo of my grandparents and my collection of Willow Tree angels. The thing hanging above is icicle garland.

As you may notice, I like to group together like doo dads.  Here is my snowman collections. I do believe every one of these snowmen were given to me. Also, that is a picture of my sister and I at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Disney World  over 10 years ago!  I Still put it up every Christmas!

My Disney Snow Globes. I can't really do much with this shelf because the center snow globe is very tall and it is actually larger than it appears. I love it though and it comes out every Christmas. I think both of them actually play music too!

Across the room is my collection of Santas. All of these where given to me as well.  My Christmas card holders is Mickey heads!

 My table center piece is very simple because we actually use our dining room table and I don't feel like moving things around each time we sit down.  I usually put on a snowflake table cloth but I am retiring it this year because I found a stain on it.

This is Snow Flake Jake (that is the name he came with). He is also from my MIL. He collapses and gets taller.

This is Baylee's Christmas stocking. We normally don't hang it in the dining room but I got rid of the stocking hanger in the other room and this is just where it ended up. I suppose I should move it before Christmas. (The tag on the side of the stocking is actually a storybook about Duffy Bear. If you are a Disney fan, you know who Duffy is!)

I have a smaller hutch on the other side of the room where I put up a Disney Christmas village but after looking at it for 10 minutes I decided that I did not like it there.

Living Room

This is my favorite piece!  I ordered this pillow for myself last December and was excited when it actually showed up before Christmas! The throw blanket is a Disney blanket that my sister got me for Christmas last year.  Can you find the hidden Mickey?

                      Some of my Christmas candles and my favorite Christmas picture.

I have a lot more Christmas decor that I did not photograph because it would take too long. It is really time consuming uploading these photos so you get to see a sampling of the photos that were already on my phone!

We also put lights up and decorate the outside of our house but i already proved to you how challenging it is for me to take good photos of Christmas lights so i will spare you the blurry pictures...lol

One last category to make this a true Friday 5........


 This is my door at work. Some of my language students helped make the snowman.

What's your favorite holiday decoration? Whats your thought on my new decorating tradition? -M

Our 2017 Race Scrapbook

Every year we put together a "Race Scrapbook". It's a fun way to look back at the races we've done, although this year neither of us has done as many as years past. It's okay though because I feel like the ones that we did do were definitely worth it. We had a lot of fun races this year!

My Top 5 of 2017

Earlier this month I talked about my favorite moment of 2017.  That was my favorite experience hands down, but 2017 was a pretty good year and I had a lot of fun experiences.

Here are my top 5 (Not in "Ranking" order, but in the order they occurred throughout the year). Surprisingly they are not ALL running experiences!

1. I guess it is appropriate that this experience happened in the beginning of the year because it actually is my #1!  If you guessed running the New York City Half Marathon you would be right. I've said plenty about this during the year so that's all I'll say about it now!

2. The Chocolate Spa at Hershey. I visited the spa in conjunction with a race weekend. The race was just meh, but the spa was a fabulous experience!

3. Riviera Maya Mexico.  This was a birthday gift from my mother and we had a fantastic time. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort that was SO beautiful!

4. A week at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge with Scott.  For all the times I've visited Disney, I've never stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Disney is such a great experience to begin with but when you can wake up and see giraffes outside your balcony, it's even better.

5. Baltimore Running Festival with the girls.  My sister and I met up with some blogger friends in Baltimore to do the Marathon and Relay.  This was a fun weekend with the girls and I thought  everything about this race was fantastic. I loved that it was close to home, the weather was perfect, the hotel was in a great location (Thanks Ana), and I wasn't injured (which is the key component to having a great race)!

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed all these "Big" moments, but it's not always the big moments that make a year great.  It's the small moments with family, it's getting good news at the vet's office, it's an afternoon boating or a long walk on the trail when the weather is just perfect.  It's winning an AG at a local race (or running it just for fun).  It's getting a package in the mail from a friend who cares or being invited for a evening out. Life isn't always about looking for happiness, it's about finding happiness in the little every day moments.  -M

What are those moments for you?

To Ski or not to Ski?

Last weekend A LOT of our friends got snow!  It snowed in the north, it snowed in the South, heck it even snowed in Mexico!  I thought for sure we would get some too, but no snow for us in our little pocket of the state.  All this talk about snow got me thinking of Winter activities.

 As much as summer running can be tough,  I would rather run in the summer when it is hot and humid, rather than running in the cold.  I actually don’t mind running on the treadmill so I do that a lot more in the winter.  It has finally started to get cooler here after having a mild fall and it got me thinking about activities that I would do while I was younger.  Looking back I feel like I was a bit fearless with some things I have done in the past. Of course you don’t think about that during the time.  

 I remember the first time I ever went skiing.  I was in middle school and my friend’s dad took us out of school for the day. They were both pretty experienced at the time. With the help from them and the lesson I took that morning I caught on pretty quickly and ever since then I fell in love with it.  

When I got to High School I was part of the Outdoor club and every weekend we went to a Ski Resort in the Poconos.   One weekend in my early years of skiing my boyfriend came along with some of his friends on the bus trip. He stayed with me for a few rounds down the mountain and then quickly moved on to ride with his friends that were much more experienced than I was.  I didn’t want to hold him back so I let him go and we did our own thing. I remember going down one of the mountains and I hit a mogle at the wrong spot and continued to fall down on the side of my face.  I’m not going to lie and tell you this didn’t hurt. It did very much.  My whole face was scratched up pretty bad and I had a scar on my wrist for the longest time. I knew right then and there if I didn’t pick myself up and go back down the mountain I would be afraid to ever do this again. For something that I really enjoyed doing, I didn’t want to just give it up. I went down a few more times and then called it a night and had some hot chocolate by the fire in the ski lodge while I waited for the time to get back on the bus to leave.   

I didn’t see my boyfriend until we met back on the bus. He started to tell me about all these black diamonds they did and tricks they were doing down the mountain. I finally turned my head and I looked at him. Oh my gosh what happened, he asked.  I told him what had happened and I could tell that he did feel bad about leaving me.  Oh well. The past is the past, I moved on and I continued to ski plenty of years after that. I skied up until I was in college and  a little while after but then I just stopped. Not sure really why, just life. 

This may have been the last time I went skiing (circa 2007-ish)

I have been seeing commercials lately about advertisements of the ski resorts this season and I think to myself will I ever ski again? Whenever I think about skiing, as much as I loved it, I think about how my love grew for some other activities throughout the years, like running.  I ran track in High School, but I was never a big runner. I was a sprinter and honestly never really liked running that much (but my coaches thought I was good, I think that’s why I did it). If you would have told me I would go on to run 15 marathons in the future I would have just laughed at you. That being said, I love running so much more than I did skiing and my biggest fear after taking so many years off is that what if I take another tumble down the mountain and hurt a leg that would prevent me from running? I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.  Not to mention it would affect my work, since I am in the fitness industry. That is not the chance I want to take. So I will remember all those fun times (and not so fun times) but I have no desire to ski again. 

Have you ever fell out of love with something and can’t say you miss it?  -L