27 April, 2010

Country Music Marathon

After several weeks of training, Eric and I were ready for the big race!  We packed up and drove to Nashville to spend a weekend with Eric's long time friend's Katherine and Elisabeth in their new hometown. 

The race expo and packet pick up was smooth, organized, and informative.  We were able to watch a jumbo screen fast-foward of the race course.  Someone videoed the course and then played it hella fast on the screen.  It was great to see a preview of the hills, turns, and scenery.  Though nothing compared to actually running this course!

Katherine and I ran the entire race together using the 2-and-1 method I learned from my Galloway Training running club.  We ran two minutes, walked a minute.  And guess what?  We finished in 3:01:58.  Heck yeah!  The day before I was checking where the medical stations were so I could exit the race course...and then BAM I finished a half-marathon.  Advil, prayer and a great running buddy go a long way.  13.1 miles in fact.

The weather was pretty crappy.  In fact it re-routed Eric on the marathon course.  He was around mile 19 when they announced the tornado watches and by mile 20 he was directed to the finish line.  Though he was really frustrated not to finish, it was a blessing in disguise because we were able to cross the finish one minute apart and meet up in the "family reunion area" without having to wait or get separated.

My aunt and uncle who live in St. Louis were also in town for the race.  We met up with them at the Expo, had dinner with them on Friday night, and Eric ran the first 9 miles of the course with my uncle Mike.  It was so great to see them!

The more we visit Nashville, the more we love it!  The food was delicious, that atmosphere is friendly, and the city is clean.  I know we'll be back!  There are way too many great places to eat!

I think this pretty much sums it up:

20 April, 2010

Eric's Birthday

I love birthdays!  I love to stretch them out and celebrate several times.

For Eric’s birthday we had a great dinner with his parents and his long time friend, Joey, at Dante’s Down the Hatch for fondue and the random pirate atmosphere.

Another night we celebrated with a small group of friends at Swallow at the Hallow, a BBQ place is Old Roswell.  Dinner was incredible, as you can imagine authentic southern bar-be-que to be.  And the desserts took eating to a whole new level.  Never in my life had I had a southern pie crust that flaky, crispy and melty-in-my-mouth.

Another night my parents took us to 5 Seasons, a local brew pub with organic, locally grown, seasonal food.  Mighty delicious.  My parents completed Eric’s motorcycle outfitting so he could return all the gear he has borrowed.

Then there is the best part of the birthday week, at least in my opinion.  I bought Eric a unicycle for his birthday.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Apparently, he had a friend in college who taught him.  And although he never got more advanced than a few pedal strokes down a hallway, he's been wanting to continue practicing so eventually he can be THAT GUY who unicycles to work.  I love him :)

02 April, 2010

We had a home brew!

Over Christmas break we received a belated wedding gift of a beginners home brew kit.  Can we say, awesome?

My uncle, Todd, has already tried his hand at the craft and has created some delicious beers.  Eric thought who better than to try his first batch with.  So off we went to Todd & Keri’s house for the evening.  A box of pizza, some old home brews, and six hours later, the boys completed step one of the home brew process.  In the video you can see a little of the steps it takes.   After the first day, the beer has to sit for about two weeks before it is transferred to the bottles.  Then the beer sits another two weeks before it is ready to drink.  Some beers are better the longer they sit in the bottle, others are only good for a few weeks.  A lot depends on the ingredients and the style of beer.  Regardless, home brewed beers are always stored upright because they have some sediment in the bottom, unlike your typical store bought beer.

We had a release party that included a blind taste test of 12 other beers.  Todd’s home brew ranked 3rd over all, and while ours ranked second to last - those who liked it said it was one of their favorites...then there were those who just didn’t like it!  (We voted them off the Island.)  At least it ranked higher than Guinness!

A Belated Post: Christmas Cookie

Ever since I can remember my grandmother, Nannie, has made dozens upon dozens of Christmas cookies.  When we all lived out of town it was a great treat to greet Christmas vacation with a box of Nannie’s cookies, or to arrive at her home to find the platter of cookies left out for sneaking.

Now that we’re all grown and live in town we’ve started to make a day of it.  On the Saturday morning a week after Thanksgiving we gather, before showers & make-up, and dressed in our best Martha Stewart Apron (unless you’re Mom), to bake nearly a dozen varieties of cookies.  There is a careful order, since some cookies bake at 325, 350, or 400.  And while Nannie purchases enough flour, sugar, and butter to bake for an Army, there always is that one ingredient that my grandfather has to run to Publix for.

Needless to say, we have a blast doing this and look forward to it each year.  We all have our favorites that we like to bake and those that we like to eat (yes, they can be different!).  So hours later, we get to taste test before the boys arrive to pick us up, just a small perk of the Cookie Baking Day!