Michael turns 37 and Laundry Room

Well…I believe we have had another snow day. I think it was on a Friday. I made the girls snow-cream and they got a big kick out of that. We had more snow today, but it was just a dusting…and thankfully – the kids went to school! Yes!

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Michael turned 37 on the 19th. We waited on him to get home and he made steaks, potatoes, salad, and a cherry pie, his favorite. The cherry pie actually turned into a chocolate pie because we thought the cherries tasted weird. He was still happy with it. After we ate, we played bingo! The kids were ecstatic! The markers were skittles and the prizes were butterfingers, also his fave. He had a good time celebrating with us!

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Did you know that Ugg makes pillows?? We took him to Bed Bath and Beyond for him to pick out a pillow and he liked that one the most.

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Michael also finished up the laundry room, well almost. He keeps talking about adding a pole for me to line dry. I air dry almost everything. So the pole and a few pieces of trim to finish it out. We wandered around Lowe’s for an afternoon after looking at my design. We priced Formica, butcher block, a door, and then lumber for the counter-top. I really wanted butcher block, but that stuff is expensive. I wouldn’t have enough $$ for the rest of the project! So we decided to build a fake butcher block and took several 2x4s and put them together and stained it…same for the shelf on top of the cabinets. We bought two unfinished cabinets and stained them as well. It was around a $300 project…butcher block and Formica would have been way over!

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So now that we have more storage in the laundry room…I moved all our camping gear into the house.  I didn’t want it getting hot and cold throughout the year. It’s bad for the weatherproofing. Plus spiders! My mom got bit by a brown recluse last year…so I was weary of keeping the sleeping bags in the garage anyway!

My parents are suppose to be coming in town this weekend, but we have chances of snow and ice Friday – Monday, so we are watching the weather. Ella Kate also has a violin recital where she is to play Minuet 2, her longest and hardest song so far! Michael already had a fun run on the calendar so he is off the hook!

That’s about all for now!


Headaches and Woes

Since 1/1/18, I have been detoxing. No sugar (minus one piece of dark chocolate every night), no grains, no dairy, and no beer or wine! I have no set goal for how long this will last, but hoping to make it til spring. So for the last week I have had waves of headaches…and I am out of advil so I just deal with it. I know at some point that will go away and then I will be solid!

Woe is me. Last Tuesday, temps hit 62 and the sun was out! I went to boot camp where we did 85 45#-65# hanging snatches. Whoa. Didn’t feel it as I was lifting but man that night I woke up and my shoulders had two big tennis balls in them. So I went home and ate and decided to hit the trails. I missed all of the fall at Bent Creek because I sprained my ankle at a 10 mile race. So this was the first time I ran. All was fine but the next day I could feel my dern tendon again. I am at a loss as to what is going on with it. We ran sprints Thursday and it was quite painful so I backed off. I got home and made an appointment with the Runner’s Mechanic here in AVL. I need a clear answer and a plan to get rid of it…cause I am sick of it! I am not sure if its my shoes, or the way I run. But it is the leg that has been messed up many times from cheerleading.

Kids had a good week at school. Addison is currently studying moon cycles. We are suppose to be going out each night and looking at the moon. It has been overcast and rainy so we look on the internet and fill out her sheet. Ella Kate has started multiplying double digit numbers (24×24) and she is of course doing a round about way that seems ridiculous to the way we learned it. Michael checks her math homework every night, math has never been my forte.

Everything is in full swing now and back to a normal schedule now. We got a dusting of snow last night and the temp feels like 4. We skipped the gym today – my legs are beat from yesterday and the wind is outrageous right now! We bought the cabinets and stain for the laundry room. Michael is about to start on the staining. We are hoping to get everything finished in two weeks, so we shall see.

I’ve got the girls running two times a week. Since Tuesday was so nice, they came home and ran around the neighborhood. It is a .25 mile triangle. EK ran a mile and walked .5 more. Addison ran .75 and walked .5 more as well. I hit 19,000 steps that day! Thursday it was raining and I took them to the track at the gym. EK ran 2.25 miles and Addison 1.25. They had a blast! Then we all walked until we reached 10,000 steps. That’s another one of my goals for the year 10k steps (running/walking) 6 days (a week) + 50 pushups + 50 version of situps (a day). Monday – Friday no problem. Weekends are a little tougher for the steps (winter, cold, rain).

Tuesday’s jaunt around the hood.

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This is Bent Creek. Michael does the majority of his training runs here early in the morning. I try to go after dropping the kids off at school and before the gym…when my leg is cooperating. I also take the girls here to run/hike after school when the weather is nice. I saw two bears last (early) fall.

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YMCA track, I can’t stand this thing!

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My mom gave EK $100 for her birthday. I taught her about shopping around for things she wants. We went to Toys R Us to look at things she liked and I showed her how to shop the internets. So she came home and I showed her amazon and she did some shopping with her bday money…kinda funny!

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Carpoolin.

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20 Freaking 18…

Well. This little slice of my life has been on my mind for a few months now. Would you believe that this blog is 11 years old, and I documented much of Ella Kate’s life. Poor Addison has the second child syndrome and well, she wasn’t as documented as well as ole EK was. Still love you big…Big Tiny. Cause one day, they will read all this.

So last year I was on the verge of shutting this thing down. I had a great year landscape wise and kept busy til December with designs and projects. It wasn’t too much and it wasn’t too little. Anyway, between that, a house, two girls…and life…well things get forgotten. I was going to sign off in December for good. Then I got a notice that my domain, chocolatelyclaire, had renewed for one more year. So I contemplated and decided one more year and I will see if I can actually update it.

So being the new year and new goals on the table, this is one. Bless it. I have others…but I keep them to myself – “Set some goals. Stay quiet about them. Smash the hell out of them and clap for your own damn self.”

2017 Year in Review: oldest to youngest

Myself – Still a freelance landscape architect, drawing designs. Most of all of my business was word of mouth. I plan to update an unfinished facebook page that I started last year. I workout 6 days a week, and trail run when the girls are in school and the weather isn’t say 9 degrees outside – and when I am not injured. I had a stress fracture almost a year ago that took a while to recover from. It left a tendon in a big ball of fury and I went to the chiropractor for a couple of months and he worked most of it out. Foam rolling the devil out of it has helped as well. I have met an amazing group of girls at the Y and look forward to working out with them every day! I am on my second year on the board of trustees at our church. One of our family resolutions last year was to volunteer as a family. So every first Saturday of the month, the girls and I head to church and help feed the needy. I am still a big organizer of all things and am constantly trying to better our home. My Christmas present this year, or last year…is under construction. We are adding a counter, cabinets, and shelves to our laundry room. I want to have a “gear room” to put our tents and sleeping bags in. The heating and cooling of the garage aren’t good for that type of stuff. After that gets finished, two other closets will be reorganized. Speaking of gear, we got two backpacking trips in last year, Linville Gorge and Black Mountain Crest Trail. On my plate for the year…nothing to official. I did have a major goal this year, pacing Michael at one of his races we were trying to get in, but that isn’t going to happen. More on that later. I am hoping to be more organized life-wise food planning, things I do with the girls etc. We are also planning more backpacking trips, hoping to section hike some of the AT while the girls are in Memphis.

Michael – On April 1 of this year, he switched jobs. He pretty much hated his other job that brought us to these mountains we love so dearly. So he got another offer at K2, an irrigation and lighting company, and he accepted. So he isn’t designing landscapes right now, which he is fine with…it does get old every now and then. He loves working there, and really likes the people…so that is a plus. That’s what he didn’t like at his other job…the people weren’t too brilliant in the life department. He is currently studying for his irrigation contractor exam, which he will sit for in April. He is still a running fool. He had two official races last spring, Georgia Death Race (74 miles, his Western States Qualifier) and the Cruel Jewel 100 (106-113 miles…no one will ever know, his Hard Rock 100 Qualifier). He finished both, and he was suppose to go into semi-retirement. Well, he got talked into Pinhoti 100, DNF’d due to extreme chaffing of the nethers, and then redeemed himself at the Chattanooga 100, finishing 9th place. So he took December off and is picking it back up this month. We also learned in December that we did not get into either Western States nor Hardrock (hence why my goal of pacing is now nil). So another qualifier for Western States is upon us this year. Hardrock is good for another year. We decided to go back to Ohio, and run the Mohican. He has also signed himself up for two more races, the Hellbender 100, which is local. This race is the most challenging on the East Coast, and this is its first year.  We’ve backpacked and hiked sections of it, and lordamercy its tough! I am volunteering and crewing for this one. Crewing him, and volunteering at each aid station while we wait. The other one is a training run for Mohican, a 6 hr run in Black Mountain. Michael is still a man of many hobbies. He (with my assistance) finished our big ole deck, installed back-splashes, re-did our front landscaping, built huge trellises in our backyard, installed pallet walls, sheet rock repair (NYE accident involving a wax tart and a lawn chair last year), and is currently making a butcher block type counter top for the laundry room. He still home-brews and loves tearing up the grill and the kitchen. His birthday is coming up on the 19th and we are keeping it low-key…steaks or ribs or shoulders…and I am making him go shopping for his birthday present…a pillow and a fish spatula (that would be my term for that particular cooking utensil).

Ella Kate – Turned the big 1-0 as of 8 days ago. She is still as sweet as can be. We get compliments on how well behaved our kids are, and she is a HUGE part of it. She is the BEST big sister to Addison, a second mother if you will. Our girls get a long pretty much all the time, hardly any fighting. They have many many sleepovers in EK’s room. She is in the 4th grade now…a bookworm, violin loving, old soul. She is still shy, and only has a couple of good friends. She invited one friend to her Wonder Woman birthday party and they had an absolute ball. This was the first year we branched out and had a friend come to the birthday. I told her when she found a true friend, then she could invite them. We’ve never been the invite the whole class over party type. I’d loose my marbles. She loves school and her favorite subject is science. Music is her forte. She can play by ear and surprised us over Christmas Break with Away in the Manger and Silent Night…self taught. She began reading notes this fall, and is doing well at that. Ella Kate had a big change in her life early last summer. She, by herself, decided to quit karate. I knew it was coming. I could tell there was no more fun in her eyes. Blue belts are tough, after all, that belt is halfway to black. It’s the sparring that got to her. She cried every time. I approached her one day after practice and I sat her down and told her that I wanted her to take the weekend and get her thoughts together about her Karate career. I wanted her to figure out what she wanted, and didn’t want, if it was worth the tears, if she was still happy. She took about a week, and she told me she was done. She said she took so long because she thought we would be mad. She hasn’t looked back or missed it. I would have loved to have seen her get a black belt, but I love her happiness more. She took up chimes in church and loves that as well. She also participated in a running club during the fall and liked that. Michael took her on a good bit of trail runs which she thought was super fun. Since it is cold now, I am taking them to the track at the Y and am encouraging her to run a mile. She loves hiking, camping, swimming, dolls, books, and is getting into listening to music. She got a stereo for her birthday and the Moana CD which is blasted daily!

Addison – our wild little pistol (aka mini Claire). Addison is 6 and a half now, in the first grade, has lost 2 teeth, and weighs a whopping 37 pounds. That 37 pounds is a ball of fire. She is working on reading, which hasn’t come easy for her. I almost held her back last year, but her teachers and guidance counselor said she would be fine, so off we went. So we work extra hard on reading and site words. We have site words posted on the fridge and her bathroom mirror. Last summer, hark the harold, that child learned to swim. She finally jumped up 4 levels in swim lessons. She was in the 2-3 year old class, but she was the same size…so no one really knew. My parents got her this belt to wear at their pool, and one day she said take this thing off me, I’m going to swim, and she did…and that’s how she rolls. Aunt Holly also taught her to ride a bike. I saw it on video and facetime, got her home, and she hasn’t been able to do it since. We will pick that back up this spring. It could be because our neighborhood isn’t flat. Its rolling, not big hills…so that could have been part of it. Addison is the crafter, make believer, and story-teller (not lies, but making up stories). Her teachers love that about her, although she can’t read a book, she makes up her own stories to the book, and her classmates gather round and listen to her. She is also a singer and a dancer. The girl can sing, we don’t do any lessons or whatnot, but she can belt a tune, in key…its quite amazing and funny. Addison also sort of likes running…she likes the snacks at the end. I am also encouraging her to run about a half mile at the track as well. No violin for her yet, I don’t think she has the attention span yet, and I don’t think I have the patience for her attention span. Maybe next year. She loves all things unicorn and rainbow, especially rainbow unicorns. No more unicorn parties or unicorns though, she has unicorned me out. She loves being outside, hiking (sometimes), camping, butterflies, and trying to get away with most everything. She is mainly the reason there would be a fight, but not very often. She is definitely not shy…quite the opposite, the mouth of the south.

So that’s where we are. And here is my attempt at keeping this 11 years of documentation going. So much has changed since I started this in 2007, which I actually think I started in 2006 and some posts got lost when I transferred from blogger to WP. We’ve all changed, for the better I think. I love these 3 souls that are my world!

So here we go…oh and I know my grammar and punctuation are terrible, and I don’t give a damn.

“It’s okay if you fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire.” – Collete Werden