Tuesday, May 22, 2012

+ I made this balsamic chicken, spinach, and tomato pasta salad. It was delicious. And easy. It will most definitely be going in the "Lewis rotation." We opted to cook the chicken on the grill outside rather than the stove. It's summer! Why not?

+ We have been dining outdoors on our new patio furniture. We love it. Bring on the barbecues!

+ I started Crossfit again! A gym opened RIGHT by my house, so I'm taking advantage of it. I did my first workout with them last night and, true to Crossfit form, can barely walk today.

+ Also made these muffins. THEY WERE A HIT. Make them. Please?

+ We have spent lots of time in the yard trying to get our garden and other areas finished. It's been slightly enjoyable, but mostly I can't wait till it's done. :)

+ My sister showed me a ridiculously funny video that cracks me up every time. I don't know if I will be able to listen to Bon Iver with a serious face for a long time. And that's too bad, because I love Bon Iver.

+ Am feeling really grateful for all of our loving friends and family. Thank you, thank you for all the kind words and thoughts that have been extended our way. I was overwhelmed with gratitude after this last post. Thank you again.

Mother's Day 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

This may have been one of the hardest weekends I've had in a long time. Emotions have been close to the surface and it seems just about anything can make me start crying. Bet you're excited to keep reading, eh? :)

Let me explain.

My siblings and I drove home to Spokane, Washington to attend the funeral of our dear friend, Sheri. Perhaps it was the reality of being back in my hometown without Sheri walking through our front door the moment we arrived, or seeing her children without their mom, or being at the actual viewing and funeral. Either way it all hit me like a ton of bricks. I was a mess! It was such an honor to play the piano at her funeral, and I'm amazed I got through that experience without losing composure. Everything about the occasion paid such a beautiful tribute to an amazing mother and friend. And ironically enough, it just so happened to fall on Mother's Day weekend.

I will miss Sheri so, so, so much. Like I've mentioned before, we are all comforted in knowing that she is with her loving spouse, Keith, and that families are forever. Her five children will get to see her again, and even better, will be with her for eternity. What a beautiful promise. Until then, the Bird kids are unofficially adopted into our family. I can't wait for future holidays and family vacations with them. (Lindsay, Sheri's youngest daughter, one of my best friends/former roommates, and the strongest girl I know is on the far left).

And then there's more.

Not that I was trying to make the weekend about me in any way, in fact I hated that this happened on such an important weekend, but I was greeted with an unwanted friend {on the day of the funeral, no less} that was one more reminder that I would not be becoming a mother within the next 9 months or so (you catch my drift?). Motherhood is such a divine calling. It is honored and celebrated, as we all saw through pictures, breakfasts-in-beds, and flowers given to Mother's all over the country on this lovely weekend. Don't get me wrong, every. single. mother. deserves all the attention and love they received. Mother's are amazing. It's just that when you want it so bad and it doesn't happen for a while, part of you starts to feel a little... left behind. I've been told how Mother's Day is a hard day for those battling infertility, but this particular year I really felt it. I'm not in that league of divine Mother's yet. I can't wait till I am, but it's a frustrating reality that I do not know when that will be. (I've come across a few blog posts that reflect on some of these issues and provided comfort -- read here, here, and here, if you'd like).

I know some day it will work out. We are working really hard to make that happen (think doctor visits, needles, and prescriptions). Knowing what's ahead of me (mostly from watching my sister struggle), scares me half to death. But I know it will be worth it, and I will do anything to get there. I am learning a great deal of patience. I'm so grateful for the friends and family who offer never-ending support, and most of all, I am grateful I could be with my own mother on this Mother's day. Crying on her shoulder was exactly what I needed. I love you, Mom!

{Photo from my birthday in 2011}

Provo City 1/2 Marathon

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

About 6 weeks ago Russ's cousin emailed me about the Provo City Half Marathon, saying she wouldn't be able to use her registration and she wanted me to run under her name. I had been running a bit more than usual, but definitely not half marathon training amount. But being the optimist I am, I responded with an enthusiastic "YES!" Gulp.

I think all forces were against me with training when I first dislocated my knee while working in the yard and had to take a week off for that to heal. And then I got the blister of all blisters on the bottom of my foot (I'm talking multiple blisters on top of each other... ouch), and had to lay off the running for that to heal. And then I went on vacation. Ha! So let's just say I had about 3 weeks of "real" training. As I expressed in this post, I was hoping just to finish. 

Continuing the documentation of my crazy weekend, I finally wrapped everything up with the baby shower at about 10:30 on Friday night (after going all day on little to no sleep as it was). I knew I needed to get to bed right away because my alarm would be waking me up at 4:15 am. SICK. I couldn't get to sleep, and I think the last time I saw the clock was 2 or 2:30. When the alarm rang to get to my race I felt terrible. I drove myself down to Provo anyway, and waited in line in the dark for the shuttle to the top of Provo Canyon, which luckily is one of my favorite places to run. 

When the gun finally blew at 7:15 all I kept thinking was "here goes nothing!" And you know what? It went. I finished my fifth half marathon! Definitely no PR for me, but I was happy just to finish. It always feels like such an achievement. (And thanks to Russ for running the last 3 miles with me... I may not have been able to keep going without him :)

I wore my Pro Compression socks for the first time during a race. I've loved them for recovery after long runs, but I've seen people running in them so I thought I'd give it a try. I did feel like my legs were a lot less sore and recovery time was much faster. I am a believer.

And one of the biggest highlights of the day came when I finally ran into my running hero, Hungry Runner Girl, who also ran the race. She is 6 months pregnant and finished in 1:39... amazing right?!? She's also one of the nicest people I've ever met. I felt a little bit like a stalker as I know more about her than a stranger should (thanks to her blog), but luckily we have some mutual friends so I wasn't totally creepy. I was so excited when I even made it onto her race re-cap post

In the end I'm glad I ran the race, although I would not recommend doing it on such little sleep (or training!) to anyone. I think your body likes rest. Just guessing.

The Itty Bitty Baby Shower

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Friday night Laura and I threw my sister, Brittney, an "Itty Bitty Baby Shower." Everything turned out fabulously! We had so much fun planning and throwing this shower. If Laura wasn't moving to the other side of the country soon I may try to convince her to quit our day jobs and start a party planning business. That sounds waaaay more fun than accounting. :)

Here are the invites, which were totally and completely Laura. She even made a sweet letterpress. She is one creative chica. 

We tried to keep with the "itty bitty" theme and served lots of "itty bitty" foods, including mini tomato basil soups/grilled cheeses, mini cheesecake bites, mini parmesan crisps topped with macaroni and cheese, mini soda cans, pears topped with bleu cheese, and mini waffle and fruit bowls. We also served homemade baked doughnuts and salad. All the food turned out, which is a huge relief. We all know that's the most important part! :)

The grilled cheese and tomato basil soup shots. Deliciousness.

The macaroni and cheese Parmesan bites.

Homemade waffle bowls filled with white chocolate pudding and fruit

 Mini cheesecake bites

 Pears and bleu cheese

Itty bitty sodas served with bowtie straws, of course

Laura putting the bowtie straw into action

The guest of honor (with her mother in law) serving themselves some yummy food.

Caitlin, Brittney's sister-in-law. She was our game planner. 

We had such a great turn out and a really fun night overall. Thank you to everyone who helped out, and most of all, came to support Brittney. We are so excited to meet this little guy!!! 

It's Friday! Hooray!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Can I just give a big shout out to the fact that it is almost, very nearly the weekend!?! Holy moly is that a welcome phrase! As I mentioned in the previous post, we had a glorious time in Kauai last week. But I think the vacation gods were playing a cruel joke on us because we were greeted with the most "real life" welcome home. Monday morning started with a text from my mom that Sheri had passed away, but I couldn't dwell on that too long as we had to rush off to an 8:00 am doctor's appointment to start working with a fertility doctor. Yup. Super overwhelming/scary/frustrating doctor's appointment to have to attend. Sigh. Oh and then work, don't even get me started. I wish the work fairies would continue getting stuff done while I am away on vacation, but that does not happen. All week I have been playing catch up on top of an already crazy/hectic week in the office. Sigh number two. And then I have a race tomorrow morning -- a half marathon to be exact. Let's just say my goal is to cross the finish line, as this training did not really go as planned. Sigh number three. And one other thing that has taken my time this week -- but luckily has been a lot of fun -- is planning my sister's baby shower! Oh, have I looked forward to this day for years upon years (in case you do not know my amazing sister, she is pregnant with her first baby after 4 years of struggling with infertility. Happy day!). The shower is tonight and I am sooo excited for a happy party! We could all use one, that's for sure!

Sorry for the rant. I'm just really, really, REALLY happy it's Friday. :)

Kauai // A week in Paradise

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A few months ago my parents offered to let us use some of their timeshare points as our Christmas/birthday/everything gifts for the year. Let's think about that for a second... YES. So to Kauai we went. It really was paradise and the escape from real life we so desperately needed. We have both been to Oahu and Maui, but I think Kauai is by far my favorite island. It's a lot less touristy with endless amounts of adventures (ie hiking, kayaking, camping, etc.). Of course you still have the option to go lay on beautiful beaches (which we most definitely did). The island is breathtaking! I feel like every turn you make leads you to another amazing vista with rainbows, mountains, ocean and greenery everywhere. I apologize for the picture overload. It took all I had to narrow them down! So... without further ado...

One of our favorite things we did was kayak 2 miles down the Wailua river and hike one mile to "the Secret Falls." The below picture is one of my favorites of Russ taken on our way to the waterfall.

               The water fall was absolutely amazing! (and huge!! See little Russ in the right hand corner?)

We even got to swim under it!

Here's a shot of the Chacos getting a Hawaiian experience on the way back from the Secret Falls

... and I must include Russ's ultimate "tough/extreme guy" action shot.

On the second night there we actually backpacked and camped overnight down in Waimea Canyon, which is basically the grand canyon of Hawaii. This hike was KILLER! 2,300 feet elevation change in 2.5 miles! Ouch! We definitely earned our lazy beach time with this hike!

I think this picture is funny. We turned the corner to see an amazing view with the sun coming through the canyon... and then a tractor. Ummm... one of these things does not belong. Mostly we were confused how they got this tractor down here! It seriously must have been helicoptered in or something.
These guys were everywhere! We thought they were pretty fun, until they would wake us up at 5 in the morning. Yeah. Not cool rooster.

Kileaua Lighthouse! So lovely!

I loved all of the exotic flowers! 

Russ is the snorkel master! He is seriously the happiest person in the world when he is doing anything in the ocean. I am the opposite as I am actually quite terrified of the ocean. This picture was taken on Tunnels beach on the north shore. While Russ was way out there looking at fish, I was laying on the beach reading my book. I knew that Bethany Hamilton (aka Soul Surfer -- you know, the pro surfer who got her arm chomped off by a shark while surfing) was from Kauai, but I was curious where it happened. Well what do I find out? It was Tunnels beach. The beach my husband is swimming in right this second. Bah!

One day we took a boat to see the Nepali Coast (where movies such as Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed). There are no roads to see this coast, so it has to be seen from the water! We also got to snorkel off the coast. It was pretty magical (even for someone who doesn't like the ocean :).

The next day we did a hike called the Alakai Swamp trail that lets you see the Nepali coast from up top. It was a pretty long hike so we ended up running a lot of it to get it over with faster. After we hiked the 4 miles to the "lookout," we had to laugh when all we saw was one big giant cloud. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. At least we got this one view on the way!

One of our favorite sunsets was on the south side of the island at Poipu beach. I wish I could see this view every day of my life!

Standing in front of Wailea Falls, right before we headed to the airport (I guess you can't actually see the falls! oops!). We were feeling a bit sad about our adventure being over! You know how by the end of some vacations you are ready to come home? Yeah, this wasn't one of them. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. :) 

Thank you, Kauai, for being the perfect getaway! We hope to see you again!