Her’s Day Thursday

Hers Day Thursday Girl

 

Last Thursday, my family and I were hit by a devastating loss. Our sweet little miniature pinscher, Pinny Lane, passed away.

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We knew it was coming. She was plagued with health problems: diabetes, cataracts/eyesight loss, hearing loss, pancreatic tumors, and kidney problems. Even though we knew it was coming it was still tough.

Last Monday I took her to the vet and she said that even though it hurt her heart to say it, she believed euthanization was necessary. Very reluctantly, and with heavy hearts, we made the appointment for last Thursday at 4:30.

The kids and I had somewhere to be at 9:30 that morning. On our way, I decided to stop at my sister’s house to check on Pinny. When I walked inside, the house was silent. There was no patter of little paws coming to greet me. I turned from the kitchen into the living room and saw her laying on her pillow, with her favorite pink blanket over her. At first, I thought she was sleeping.

I called out her name, but she didn’t move. I gently shook her pillow. When she didn’t stir, I knelt down, searching her chest to see if it rose and fell. It didn’t. I reached out and touched her–she was gone.

As I went back to the car and my kids, I started thinking about that sweet little pup and everything she meant to my family…

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Pinny was given to me by an ex-boyfriend while we were still together back in 2004. At the time, she stayed at his house. This was fine with my family–they didn’t get along with the guy and certainly didn’t want a dog at their house that reminded them of him. The relationship was…awful. And that’s being nice.

There was emotional/mental abuse, manipulation, and controlling behavior. When I finally broke up with him, I decided that I was taking Pinny with me. She was mine, after all, and I wanted to be the one to care for her.

She came home with me and my dad set up a little fenced in area for her in the backyard. Soon after, my grandpa built her a dog house. I always thought it was so cute the way she’d fluff her blankets to cover the hole of her little house. Eventually, when the weather changed, Pinny became an inside dog.

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There was a point that my family was still a little reluctant to take her in. But soon after, Pinny got sick–I still don’t really remembered what happened. What I do remember is my mom and sister crying on the back porch and praying over that little black and brown dog. She quickly solidified her place as a member of the family after that!

We moved to a new house on the other side of town a few months later and Pinny Lane slept with me in my bed. When Huff the Hubs and I got married in 2011, neither one of us wanted to keep her cooped up in a tiny apartment, so she went to live with my sister, Bridget. And that’s where Pinny has been ever since.

Pinny has been such a great companion to Bridget. Bridget spoiled her rotten and loved her deeply. There were so many times I’d see her wrap that sweet dog in a blanket and hold her like a baby. But that’s what she was–Bridget’s baby.

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Pinny has held such a huge part of our hearts for so long and means so much to my family. We credit her with bringing my family back together again after I was in such a bad relationship that fractured our family dynamic (it’s no wonder the name Penny means “weaver”!).

She was an enormous blessing and will be forever missed.

 

 

Writer Wednesday

Here’s today’s writing prompt:

What was your favorite Christmas present you received as a child?

Christmas 1990 (at least, I think it was 1990) was a GREAT Christmas. I was still on the side of the fence that somewhat believed Santa was real. I mean, there was a big part of me that thought my parents were the ones that filled up our stockings {we’re the ‘cheaters’ that open presents on Christmas Eve; I knew Santa didn’t bring those} but I also figured that my parents left stockings to the Fat Man in Red because they had had enough of shopping and wrapping gifts.

Anyway, Christmas morning 199something, my sisters and I woke up at our normal 3:00 a.m. “Let’s-go-see-what’s-in-our-stockings” to find the most glorious gift waiting for us. I’m talking the Holy Grail for all ’90’s kids: a Nintendo. A freaking NES was waiting in all of its monochromatic beauty.

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I’m pretty sure our squeals were so high-pitched that windows broke. We FLIPPED out! We could not believe that we were looking at our very own Nintendo! I can’t remember all of the games we had, but I know we played the crap out of Super Mario Brothers, Duck Hunt, Super Mario Brothers 3, The Little Mermaid, Yoshi, and Dr. Mario. We loved that game system. It probably paid for itself within the first month of us receiving it. When we got older, we didn’t play games on it that often. But I will never forget how excited we were with our “latest and greatest technology”.

 

(Fun fact: When we went back to school after the break, my sister Bridget was being teased because she said that Santa had outdone himself this year. “Santa’s not real, Bridget!” a kid yelled at her.

“Oh yes he is!” she snapped back.

“How do you know?”

“Because my parents can’t afford a Nintendo and there was one under our tree on Christmas!” she explained.

You just got PWNED, kid.)

 

My First Marathon (Or, The Most Idiotic Decision I’ve Ever Made)

This weekend was the 14th Annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. And, as you know, completing a marathon is one of the things on my 30 by 30 list. I’ve been training with my sister for the past 4 1/2 months and the day FINALLY came.

Saturday night, I was super nervous. We picked up our packets the day before and I was sitting in my recliner, looking at the course map. I could not believe it. My stomach started to churn and so many thoughts raced through my head: Can I do this? Can I actually do this? What if I die?!

I went to bed Saturday night confident that I could do the marathon. After all, I had run 20 miles just a few weeks before and I did fine! I was a little sore the next day, but I survived. And on race day, adrenaline kicks in and really takes your endurance to the next level.

The race was set to start at 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning. I got up at 5:00 to pump and get dressed. The news was on and the weatherman was predicting a lot of rain, hail, and possibly a tornado. I still didn’t worry. Two years ago, I did a half marathon in the rain and I did just fine! I’d be okay.

We got to the race and I could feel the excitement. There were so many people! I even met a Biggest Loser!

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As the morning went on, the weather started getting worse and worse. We were forced into a parking garage where we learned we’d be waiting for the next TWO HOURS.

 

When we finally started, my legs were tight (from the lack of fluids and from sitting/standing for TWO HOURS) but I was excited. I was ready to start this journey and check this off my list. Here’s how the race went…

 

Miles 1-3:

Its raining a little. There are A LOT of people running and even more people walking in my way. My inner monologue went a little something like this:

Get out of my way. Seriously, MOVE! Get. Out. Of. My. WAY. 

Oh geez, that was a big puddle. Are my socks wet? No, they’re fine. Whew!

Holy crap, that’s a steep downward hill. I’m going to slip. I’m going to slip. I’m going to twist my ankle and fall. 

You didn’t fall, good job. 

Where is the *&^%$#@ water stop?! 

 

Miles 3-5: 

Okay, first water stop and bathroom break. *Sigh* I feel MUCH better! I can do this! 

Oh, hey! There’s my dad and Huff the Hubs! *waves to them*

Ha! Look at that poster! *Stops to take a picture of the poster and points out Allonsy! on bib*

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Miles 5-8: 

Ugh. Is this “Gorilla Hill” up here? Crap, it is. 

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I hate this frakking hill.

I’m walking.

Better wave BB down and let her know I’m walking.

Might as well take a picture. 

 

Miles 8-15:

I want to quit. I want to quit. Tell your sister you want to quit.

Kill me. KILL. ME.

Why is it so $%^# hot?!

I’m dying.

There’s a medical tent. Just stop and tell them to take you to the finish line.

 

Miles 15-18: 

Me (to Bridget): “I don’t want to do this anymore!”

Bridget: “Too bad! Keep moving!”

Me (starting to sob): “Bridget, my legs hurt so bad!”

Bridget: “Then let’s walk.”

Me (crying and thinking): I’m crying but I can’t produce any tears because I’m so dehydrated! I’m like Howard

 

Mile 18-19: 

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Miles 19-21: 

I feel the blisters on my feet. Every step is agony. I’m wielding my arms like a granny power-walking at the mall. The sun is beating down on me and I realize I haven’t put on ANY sunscreen. I actually think: I’d rather give birth, right here, right now on this asphalt than do this! 

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Mile 21-22: 

*&^% @#$% *&^%$ @#$% ^&%$ *&^% *&^%

Get to the finish line so you can use your breast pump!

 

Mile 22: 

We meet a woman we’ve been keeping pace with the whole time. We start talking. She’s 45, from Little Rock, AR, and this is her second full marathon. We talk about our aches, our pains, how we weren’t expecting it to be so hot (88*!) and how ready we are for the finish line. We talk the rest of the way.

 

Mile 25.75:

The finish line is in sight.

Bridget: “Come on! Let’s run across the finish line!”

Me:

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Bridget: “MOVE!”

Me: “UUUGGGGHHHH!!!!” *wills legs to move and crosses the finish line*

 

At the Finish Line: 

*Gets medal and Finisher shirt*

I did it! I freaking did it! I completed a marathon! Thank you, God, for helping me get through this! And I’m sorry for swearing in my head so much. 

I can’t believe I did it!

Wow!

I’m NEVER doing that again. Like, EVER. 

 

Running (who am I kidding–walking) that marathon was the absolute hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Every part of my body hurt. I was starving; I hadn’t eaten in seven hours. SEVEN. FREAKING. HOURS. I was dehydrated, covered in salt and sweat, and burnt to a flippin’ crisp:

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But I did it. I finished it. And, actually, I’d say it was worth it. The months of waking up early every Saturday to do long runs; the solo runs through the neighborhood in temps of 30*; the sore joints and muscles…it was worth it. Why? Because I achieved a goal. Seven months ago, I was giving birth. Seven months ago, I never thought I’d be able to do this. But I did. am a marathoner. am a Finisher.

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(I want to say that there is NO way I’d be able to have done this without the support of my family. My sister was the BEST running partner I could’ve asked for. She was so incredibly supportive the entire time–training and all! My husband, my parents, my friends, my family; they were all so great! But mostly I could NOT have done it without The Lord. He gave me the drive, the dream, and the perseverance to do this. Even though I hated it at times, I am so glad I did this, and that He got me through it!)

 

 

 

Try It Monday

Happy Monday!

Wait. That’s sort of an oxymoron isn’t it? Happy Monday? No such thing, right?

WRONG.

Because today I’ve got a yummy Try It for you, just in time for your New Year’s par-tay!

Its pretty simple and REALLY good!

Every Christmas, my parents get a tin with the three different flavors of popcorn. Typically, the caramel one goes first and everyone gets all butt hurt because they “only got a handful” of the sweet treat. Well hold on to your hats! I’m about to save the holidays.

 

Caramel Corn Puffs! ("Gotta have my Pops!")

Caramel Corn Puffs! (“Gotta have my Pops!”)

My mom and sister made these the other night and they were BANGIN’!

Here’s what you need:

2 sticks butter

2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. Karo (light)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 package Cheetos butter flavored corn puffs (Chester’s Puffcorn)

In a large saucepan, bring butter, brown sugar and Karo to a boil for 5 minutes, but be sure to stir it a few times. Then, stir in vanilla, salt and baking soda (the mixture will bubble; don’t worry, this is supposed to happen).

Sweet caramelly goodness.

Sweet caramelly goodness.

Meanwhile, pour the corn puffs into a large bowl. Next, pour the mixture over the corn puffs and stir until well coated.

Ooohhhh yeeeahhh....

Ooohhhh yeeeahhh….

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring the mixture every 15 minutes. When time’s up, place the dishes on a cooling rack.

Caramel popcorn at its best; hot and fresh from the oven!

Caramel popcorn at its best; hot and fresh from the oven!

Then, try not to eat the whole thing. You’ll want to, trust me. Its THAT good. They seriously taste like Corn Pops and I lurve Corn Pops!

Try It Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, people!

If you’re still in need of some dessert ideas, have I got one for you!

Today’s Try It is PERFECT for Thanksgiving. Its delicious, decadent, AND already in single-serve portions (so you don’t indulge too much).

My sister, Bridget, found this pin on Pinterest:

Two of my favorite things: Oreo and cheesecake.

Two of my favorite things: Oreo and cheesecake.

First, she gathered her ingredients:

This is all you need!

This is all you need!

That’s right! All she needed was a pack of Oreos and a Jello-O No Bake Cheesecake.

First, she lined her cupcake tin with cupcake cups. Then, she placed Oreos in each one:

O-R-E-O-S.

O-R-E-O-S.

Then, she mixed up the cheesecake:

Mmm...cheesecake.

Mmm…cheesecake.

 

Then, she poured the cheesecake mixture over the cookies:

Ooooh yeaaahh...

Ooooh yeaaahh…

 

To add a little pizzazz, she ground up some Oreos in the food processor and sprinkled them on top:

Best. Garnish. Ever.

Best. Garnish. Ever.

 

Ta da!

Ta da!

 

OMG, you guys, this was So. Freaking. Good. I may  have eaten two. Okay, three. Okay, three and a half. Seriously guys, this is one of the simplest, tastiest desserts I’ve ever had!

Try It Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, all!

As you know, for a while I was really into the whole nail art thing. My Pinterest boards were flooded with new ways to do my nails. I loved it! It was so much fun! I was obsessed with it for a hot minute.

Then, I got lazy. My nails were very sad.

But this weekend as I was rummaging through my extensive collection of polish, I found a Christmas gift from my sister:

Ba na na na na na na na na.....BATNAILS!

Ba na na na na na na na na…..BATNAILS!

 

So I thought: I should try these bad boys out!

I’ve been seeing things like this at WalMart, Target, and Walgreens for months now, but I haven’t really given it much thought. Mostly because I thought it was the “lazy girls way to do nail art” and I was getting pretty good at designs! But, alas, with my energy levels super low, I need all the help I can get.

Enter nail stickers.

The instructions looked pretty easy: place stickers on nails, fold down the excess, file off the excess. Ta da! You’re done!

If only it were that simple.

First, the little buggers are really hard to get off the clear strip. (And, if you drop them on the carpet, they get little fuzzies stuck to them. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…cough, cough.)

Why must you torment me, adhesive?!

Why must you torment me, adhesive?!

Anyway, so as soon as I matched up the adhesive size to the nails I thought they would fit, I did what the instructions said to do. I folded down the excess–which again, was difficult. There was so much excess that the adhesive on the nail started to get lumpy. After I folded it down and tried to file the excess, it chipped the ends of the adhesive strip! Needless to say, there was a lot of choices words being thrown about in my mind. I really hope babies aren’t telepathic in utero.

When I finally got all of the adhesives attached, I was pleased (mostly because it was over) but I did like how they looked!

Gotham City Chic.

Gotham City Chic.

 

Have you ever tried the nail adhesives? Did they work for you? What did you think?

Try It Wednesday

Happy Hump Day, Tryers!

This week’s Try It is brought to you by the letter Y as in “YUMMY!”

When my sister, Samantha, and her brood were down from Maryland, she made something that seriously made me want to do cartwheels. (I refrained, don’t worry). She made these awesome things call pretzel rolls. And yes, they tasted as good as they sound.

This was indeed a Pinterest find:

*Cue the Homer Simpson-like drooling*

*Cue the Homer Simpson-like drooling*

This week, my sister Bridget decided to try them out! (And I’m glad she did!)

She got everything she needed:

Milk, yeast, brown sugar, butter, flour, fine salt, baking soda, coarse salt

Milk, yeast, brown sugar, butter, flour, fine salt, baking soda, coarse salt

Ingredients List:

2 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons fine salt

1/3 cup baking soda
3 cups warm water
Coarse salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted

After she got all of that, she got to work.

She warmed up the milk in the microwave for about a minute and a half. (*If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast*) Then, she stirred in the yeast and let it set for about 3 minutes.  She added the butter and sugar, and then the flour; about 1 cup at a time. Then, the salt was put in. She kneeded the dough for about 10 minutes (what an arm workout!) by hand. You can also use a stand mixer. Then, she put the dough ball into a greased bowl and covered it.

I didn't ask if she tasted the raw dough. But I think I would have.

I didn’t ask if she tasted the raw dough. But I think I would have.

After letting it rise for an hour in a warm place it had doubled in size:

This is how I feel after eating too many pretzel rolls.

This is how I feel after eating too many pretzel rolls.

She then preheated her oven to 375º. After punching  the dough down, she divided it into 12 lumps and rolled them into balls (heh, balls). Then she Combined the warm water and baking soda in a wide bowl and dipped each ball in the baking soda water. She cut a slit into each ball and placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. She sprinkled them with coarse salt and baked for about 9-15 minutes (or until browned).

Lovin' from the oven!

Lovin’ from the oven!

 

 

OMG you guys. I pretty much inhaled these things. They were SO. FREAKING. GOOD. After you take them out of the oven, be sure to spread a little melted butter on top with a butter brush. You will NOT be disappointed!