September 28, 2011

Race for the Cure

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to run Race for the Cure.  I have participated in this event many years ago as a team captain with a group of friends who walked with me and in most recent years I have ran the 5k.  It was my hope that this year I'd do the 10k, but the amount of training I didn't do put an end to that idea.  I was sure it was going to be raining for the run but we lucked out!  The rain held off until my last mile and by that time I was so sweaty and hot, it didn't matter.  My friend, Beth, joined me for the run and we both were very happy with our times!  I did mine in a 10:36 mile but am so glad because I AM ABLE TO RUN AGAIN!!  I am hoping t get my time around a 10:00 mile in my future runs. :)  Thanks Beth for joining me in the rain on Saturday morning and congrats to you and your accomplishment this weekend too!!

Running down Michigan Avenue never gets old :)

Runners running north as all the walkers are along side of us walking south - pretty powerful to see all the support for those with or who have lost their battle to breast cancer

All done!

September 26, 2011

Oh Stephanie...RELAX.

So as I've shared, Jason and I are going to Mexico for our honeymoon in a little less than two months so we obviously need to bring Cooper somewhere while we're not here.  Jason and I bought a youswoop for dog boarding that we thought we'd use so I just called to get him all set up and as I was talking to the lady, I had teeny tiny tears welling up in my eyes!  How sad is that!?  He is a DOG!  And a dog who I have been VERY mad at all weekend because he is out of control barking and biting and just being a very bad puppy who is not listening.  So here I am the next day and I am practically crying because I have to drop him off for a week while we're gone?  What is wrong with me?

In my defense, we brought Cooper to a dog boarding place he's never been to last weekend while we were at a wedding and we were told he didn't do well at all. :( He was very timid and hiding in the corner and wouldn't play with any dogs. When we travel he doesn't eat so he didn't eat his dinner or breakfast while he was there. When we are home in Chicago and bring him to the dog park he plays with every dog (even those twice the size of him) and pretty much wants nothing to do with us, so I was shocked to hear how timid he was.  When I think about it, it makes sense because he hadn't ever been there before and LOVES people and when we do leave the dog park (to throw away poop) he stands at the gate until we're back in.  But I mean, come on!

I'm SURE he'll be fine. I am going to set up a couple trial afternoons before we drop him off for an entire week, but oh my gosh!  If I'm like this with a DOG, what will I be like with kids?  Someone please smack me over the head!

*in this picture he is waiting to go out for a walk...I had to run to the bathroom before we left and he won't leave the door if he knows we're going out. :)

September 21, 2011

Happy 1 Year Anniversary Jason!

I cannot believe it's been a year since Jason and I were married.  It feels like a year when I really think about all that has happened since then but I remember every detail of our wedding like it was yesterday and I hope those memories will always stay with me.

Originally we probably would have planned to spend our anniversary out of town with a special anniversary dinner on Saturday night.  But instead we were invited to VA and Rich's wedding in Michigan so we decided to make an anniversary weekend out of it!

Already by Friday night I was in anniversary mode full of romance!  Because of the way our weekdays worked out, Friday was date night so we used a Groupon and went to a semi-romantic dinner.  Saturday during the day I had VA's bridal luncheon to attend (which was lovely!).  Jason and I had the afternoon freed up but while I was at the luncheon Jason and Cooper went for a walk and Cooper managed to roll around in a bunch of sand burrs and he got them ALL over.  Those suckers did not want to come out and since they were all over him and poking into his skin, we had to get them all out immediately.  So our afternoon was spent finding a PetCo and getting a comb, detangler and scissors so we could spend the rest of our free time holding Cooper down while combing and cutting them all out. Man did they hurt, they were not your average burr!  With a lot of patience from Jason, me and especially Cooper, we were able to get them out and get him to doggie day care just in time for us to have a few minutes to rush back to our hotel and get freshened up and ready for the wedding.

As I already blogged about here...the wedding was just beautiful.  I am sure it was a million more times romantic because I was already in wedding mode reminiscing about our own wedding weekend just a year ago but it was the perfect place to be on the weekend of our anniversary.  I spent much of the evening reliving the night of our wedding night and remembering every detail of our own special night. For the purposes of our anniversary, I especially enjoyed our time together looking at the sunset and talking about our own memories of the year before.

Sunday morning when we woke up I was very anxious to get Cooper but it didn't make sense to pick him up so he could sit in the car while we went to breakfast.  We had a nice romantic morning meal at IHOP. ;-)  Then we had to go to Meier since neither of us had bought each other an anniversary card yet.  Also very romantic. But then we were off to get Cooper and spent the rest of the afternoon hiking at Grand Mere State Park which was just awesome.  The beginning started off a little rough as we were hiking some monstrous bluffs in sand and I didn't have the right shoes on with the sand leaking in making my shoes about 3 sizes too small.  But once we found the right path we had a lot of fun just walking and talking and me finding acorns to collect.  Cooper was very tired from being at daycare but he also enjoyed all the Michigan sniffs and being with us.  It is so fun having our dog (the best dog!) with us on our first anniversary hike!

We headed out just in time before the rain started and drove back to Illinois with a low key night planned.  We were both pretty exhausted from the wedding (and climbing what I felt was like mountains in Michigan) so we came home and ordered the "Jason and Stephanie Special" from Giordano's and our favorite salad from Lou Malnati's.  We poured what I thought was like a champagne but ended up being a sparkling white wine from a past Michigan trip we'd taken which was kind of nice to relive that memory.  We opened up the cards that were mailed to us and our own and watched our wedding video together. We didn't do some grand dinner or anything extravagant but it was absolutely perfect and the best way to spend our first anniversary.

 I feel like so little has changed in just a year of our relationship, but in all honestly, it's been a year and we've already had many changes and adjustments from the life of singleness that we used to have.  There's been many compromises made and many adjustments, especially with living with one another and with bringing a puppy into our marriage, not to mention the decision to move to Colorado once we sell our condo.  There's been a lot more ups than downs of this first year but even with the downs, we've done it all together and it's really helped to shape our marriage and who we are and strive to be as a couple.

I am so thankful that I get to call Jason my husband.  He has been a wonderful provider for our family this past year while I've tried finishing up grad school and I have loved seeing how we have grown together as a couple.  I look forward to many many more years of marriage where we can continue to get to know each other and continue to become one. I love you Jason, thank you for a wonderful first year and beautiful anniversary date!

Virginia and Rich's wedding

On Saturday Jason and I headed over to Michigan for another wedding...this time for Virginia and Rich.  It was  our anniversary weekend so I was already in super romantic-mode before we even left!  I was so excited to be at a wedding the same night as our wedding (I still was thinking of ours being on a Saturday since ours was on a Saturday...I didn't pay much attention to the actual date until the next day).

The wedding was just beautiful.  It was held at Virginia's parents home in Michigan with the wedding ceremony overlooking Lake Michigan and the dinner in the front yard under tents.  It was a very intimate wedding with only their friends and family and it was so noticeable the entire day/evening.  The wedding party was just their siblings (and their dog!).  It was a short and sweet ceremony but full of love and a few moments of silliness.  You could really see the joy of both Virginia and Rich all through the ceremony.

All through the night I was trying to figure out how I'd explain the details of the wedding. Several days later and I am still at a loss of words. Not a single detail was left out but it was so simple and elegant but yet so exquisite.  I felt like I was attending a wedding straight out of a bridal magazine but even better!  It was beautiful, just beautiful.

Jason and I went over by the lake and relived that night of our own watching the sunset just as we did in Mexico the year before at our rehearsal dinner.  Because it was a more intimate wedding I felt as though we could all be together and truly celebrate the night with the bride and groom and their friends and family.  We all danced the night away and ate the most delicious cake!  The night was topped off with fireworks over the lake, the perfect touch to the already perfect evening for the bride and groom and their guests.

Thank you VA and Rich for inviting us to be part of your very special day! If your marriage is any bit of a reflection of your wedding day, you are set up for a beautiful marriage and life together! We wish you nothing but the best as you journey together through the wonderfulness of this beautiful thing we call marriage!  Congratulations!!

September 18, 2011

Sunday Update

This weekend was one of the best weekends in a really long time and that's saying a lot since we're coming off the tail end of summer! I have been wanting to write all week about many different topics but my "new schedule" has kept me pretty busy. Will try to check in tomorrow with an update about our weekend. I am currently in the state of love right now as we are celebrating our one year anniversary. Happy Sunday all!

September 16, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday!

Happy Friday! Week one of school is complete and I am so excited that the weekend is here! Hope you all had a lovely week and an even better weekend! If you want to link up with Lauren, click here!

1. You should always take time to let those you care about know you love them (I hope I do this!) .

2. Animals make(s) the world a happier place to be.

3. I can hardly wait for Sunday to celebrate our anniversary .

4. Saturday is my favorite day of the week.

5. Something totally dumb and ridiculous that I love is watching Sex and the City reruns over and over again (but only on my DVD's...forget the edited TV versions :) .

6. If I could, I would ride horses every day...I miss riding/horses so much! .

7. I rather like that pumpkin pie is coming soon! .

September 12, 2011

A New Week (and schedule) and my LAST Quarter of Grad School!!!!

I am thrilled that this is my first week back to school of my LAST quarter of grad school! I cannot believe it! This week is going to be amazing too because I have a schedule again which I really really need. My week begins maybe a little less than happy because I have a dentist appointment and am pretty sure there's a cavity or two in there but the afternoon gets much better with the Ellen show being all new at 3:00...DVR is set in case I'm not here. Class number one begins tomorrow morning then Parenthood begins all new tomorrow night. YAY! Wednesday I picked up a babysitting job for a mom's group. So anywhere from 5-8 little kiddos running around like crazy in someones basement. Not as exciting on that one but at least it's a little income and gets me up and out of the condo. Right after that, I get to bring Cooper out to the burbs to play with Sophie at the suburban dog park - AKA Coopers idea of Heaven. Thursday morning is the beginning of class number two. Friday I begin a class at Willow South Barrington about the Fruits of the Spirit that I am very excited to start! Saturday is my dear friend Virginia and Rich's wedding in Michigan which means we will wake up on our anniversary to celebrate all things love with some hiking or canoeing or other outdoor activities together. :) Oh happy week...I'm so glad you're here and am sooooo glad to be in my final quarter of grad school. Happy, happy me. :)

September 11, 2011

September 8, 2011

All Things Fall

I have always dreaded fall. When fall hits, it just means that winter is very quickly right behind which means no more flip flops, no more skirts and dresses, no more letting my hair air-dry. This year we went from temps in the 90's to fall...complete with typical Chicago wind and cool, "crisp" temperatures. Everyone's posting on their blogs and Facebook how nice it is to finally have their windows open and be sipping on Pumpkin Spice lattes. Well, where I live, we can't leave our windows open at night since we have two fire departments within 2 blocks who blast their sirens and lay on their horns which echo off the walls of the buildings around us, not to mention that we live on the corner of a very busy Chicago intersection where people blast their horns just for the heck of it. And I don't like pumpkin spice lattes. I have tried to like them. It's around this time of year that I see the Starbucks sign with their artistic little twirly letters sucking me in and begging me to buy one (at a whopping $4.73). And every year I cave and then want to spit it out after my first sip but can't do that for the price I just paid! So I must drink it all with a smile on my face as I'm supposed to be thinking how excited I am that fall is upon us once again.

This year I did my best to not be Debby Downer about the weather and season change. But it wasn't even a day into the dropped temperatures that I quickly learned that I have nothing to wear. Nothing. I don't even have a jacket which I (obviously) need because I get cold in any temperature under 82 degrees. The jackets I was sporting last fall are very out of style (like 5 years old out of style...that happens when you worked non-profit, then lost your job and now are a grad student and doing everything I can to not spend my husbands well-earned money on something I don't really even enjoy -- I'd much rather spend his well-earned money on dining out, movie popcorn, street fests, date night or just about anything other than clothes!). Back to my point, it's a necessity so I thought I'd try to cheer myself up and embrace this weather the best I can and go shopping with some leftover birthday money (yes my birthday was back in February!).

I met my mom in the burbs and went to the local mall and ended up coming home with nothing. Absolutley nothing. Well that's not entirely true, I did buy a sweatshirt for Jason and a cute "my aunt loves me" outfit for Kaylee. But nothing for me which was the intended point of the trip.

I hate shopping. Hate it. I swear I am missing the girly gene that every girl has. I hate shopping, hate gossip, hate reality TV shows and all the other girly things girls love. How do I not like shopping? I even had money to spend and I still hate it. I've always joked that I need a personal shopper but it is coming to the point that I need one. And ever since I've gained weight I feel like nothing fits how it's suppose to, so I just give up before I even try them on. At this point I've decided that the one thing I really need is a jacket. That way I can at least cover up my bad out of date clothes and leave the house without freezing to buy some better clothes to go eventually sport without the jacket on.

In the meantime, since I know it'll be a while before I find anything I like, if you're interested in being my personal shopper, I'll hire you for $5 an hour. ;-) I think that's a steal! You get to spend my money and do what I keep every girl except me loves to do - shop! Hey, I'll even throw in the $4.73 so you can enjoy a pumpkin spice latte while doing the shopping! Who is in?!

September 5, 2011

Ellis and Josh are Married!

September is wedding month for the Lockwoods! It was kicked off on Friday with Ellis and Josh's wedding festivities. Friday morning I went out to Geneva for a bridesmaid Luncheon which was really nice and great food and got to meet a few of Ellis's close friends and family.

I have to say here that I have the best husband ever. I wanted him to be able to attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner so in order for that to happen (with Chicago traffic on a Friday) he had to head out to the burbs over his lunch hour and then work in the church parking lot. Seriously, how awesome is he?! So since he was already there I went to pick up Cooper (who he had to take with him since we had a showing) and brought him to the dog park. Nevermind that it was like 100 degrees and humid and I was walking with a dress on in full makeup, jewelry and shoes. :) Cooper was happy though, especially with his jump into the creek to cool off. Then he spent the rest of the afternoon/evening at a friends.

The rehearsal was as any rehearsal would be (I only did a reading so not too much to remember) but the dinner was amazing. It was at a steakhouse in Geneva and was so much fun. They had everyone there who was in town for the south which was a lot of people. Delicious food, great company and a beautiful couple!

Saturday was the wedding and I was beyond excited to see Ellis as the bride!! My morning started a little rough as I had an almost meltdown when the dress I had bought just didn't look flattering at all when I put it on again. But I was thankful that I had a dress to wear from the last wedding I went to. Besides, what it all boiled down to was that this was not my day...this was Ellis's day and oh my gosh, did she look stunning!! Absolutely gorgeous! The wedding was perfect with every detail in place. The reception was at the country club next to the barn I rode at so the night was filled with a lot of memories. Thanks for letting us be a part of your special day. I am so excited for your future together as a couple. Love to you both!

Last Week of "Working"

So this past week was my last of babysitting and the week before a long holiday weekend. The weather was great and got really hot which I LOVE. My babysitting schedule was switched up a little which worked out really well for me since I had a Bridesmaid luncheon and rehearsal out in the burbs to attend on Friday. Jason was gone half the week too which meant some girly time for me and relaxation including a lot of take-out food which I have realized I really enjoy every once in a while...especially Chinese food!

Monday the weather was pretty warm but a nice breeze so I took little Jack to the Riverwalk. Jack fell asleep right when we got there so I was able to read outside for a bit while watching all the architecture boats come by. It was such a relaxing and peaceful afternoon. I feel like I don't really stop to enjoy the city much lately and this was a good half hour of enjoying the beautiful city life I will soon miss. The picture is from my walk to the riverwalk. :) My plans were canceled that night so I got to go for a run and I was actually able to run a little over 3 miles, so I am so excited that I can officially run a full 5k without walking. It is SO great to be able to run again pain free. I really hope this keeps up!

Tuesday I got in a nice long walk with Christy and Cooper. The weather was perfect. I got home much earlier than I had originally planned and being husbandless that night I wasn't really sure hot to occupy my time so I went to the gym and did my first spinning class in over a year. I forgot what a work0ut that is and how much I love it. The instructor was from Boston and said she missed the hills and since it was her bachelorette party this weekend she wanted to get a great hard workout in and was bringing us with her on her ride. Lets just say I took the elevator back up to my car in the garage. Awesome workout.

Wednesday night I went to Willow Creek for their "All Worship" night. I've been wanting to go for about a year now but have always had night class, small group or some other commitment. It was just what I needed in the middle of my week. A night of worship music -- one my my favorite ways to feel closer to God. Then I got to go pick Jason up from the airport.

Thursday was my last day of babysitting Jack so was kind of bittersweet for me. I am so excited to be that much closer to a "real job" but am going to miss my days with him and the extra cashflow was definitely nice! I finished up the night with Andrea for some sushi and a little too much wine.

All in all it was an amazing week. I felt like I got to relax a lot and get some things done that I have been wanting to do and just catch up on my alone time. I am so appreciate that Jason doesn't have to travel like he used to and that I can enjoy the time alone rather than missing him like before!