One (not-so-minor) Detail

One other piece of important information from the past couple of years ...
In February, we found out I was pregnant ...


And on October 27, 2012, we welcomed our precious baby boy into the world!
Introducing Hampton Jett
Born 10.27.2012
7 pounds, 11 ounces
21 inches long

MIA ... The Past 2 Years!

Obviously, I haven't been blogging for the past, oh ... 2 years, or so. I have been living life, staying busy, and mostly visiting the internet via my phone or ipad, neither of which I find very conducive to blogging. As we recently celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary, I was looking back at the blog reminisicing about our 1st anniversary and how fun it was to have a record of all of the memories around that time. With all of our major life changes recently, I woud love to have a place to jot down memories and stash a photo or two ... because goodness knows none of them ever make it off my phone or computer to actually be printed.
In an effort to "catch up", here's a quick random collection of events and photos from the past couple of years. I'm "looking back" solely for my benefit, in an effort to have a collection of memories other than my not-always-reliable brain and my camera's memory card.  
I trained with the USAFit marathon program in the summer/fall of 2010. We were training for the Thunder Road marathon in December in Charlotte, but due to some other--more important--life events, my friend Veronica and I ended up running the Disney Marathon in Orlando in January.
We said "see you later" to Jett's dad in September of 2010. He passed unexpectedly, and it was the hardest thing we've ever had to go through. His dad was an incredible man, and one that I'm proud to have called my father-in-law.
I completed the Disney marathon in January 2011.
I was offered and accepted a job as a pediatric nurse practitioner in January 2011. We moved to Mooresville (we rented an apartment since we moved so quickly) in February.
I started my job in March of 2011.
We said "see you later" to my granddaddy in March of 2011. He was almost 93 years old and an incredible man!
We started attending our now "home church", which we later joined. We are so blessed with a wonderful church family.
Jett started a new job with a local insurance agent in October of 2011 (thank goodness, no more crazy shifts!).
We had a kitten, "Boots", that I found in our apartment parking lot. He only stayed for a few short days before leaving us high and dry.
We bought a new (to us) car in September 2011 (a 2008 Toyota 4 Runner). We acquired our first ever car payment.
We bought our first home in March of 2012, and moved in on Easter weekend. (Hence, acquiring our first ever mortgage .. along with that car payment).
We started leading the middle school youth group at our church in 2012.
We went to a few concerts: Zac Brown, Corey Smith, and Coldplay.
Obviously this is just an assortment of the past couple of years. We've celebrated many birthdays and holidays in between, and we've made lots of other memories as well.
We've also taken a few trips, including: a day trip to Stone Mountain, NC for our 2nd anniversary; a weekend trip to Boone for Jett's 27th birthday; a weekend trip to Topsail Island for my sister-in-law's 30th birthday; a few different trips back to Charleston (one for Jett's counsin's wedding, one for a work conference for me, and one for my friend Veronica's wedding); a weekend spent camping in Blacksburg, VA for the App State v. Virginia Tech football game; a weekend in Weaverville, NC for our 3rd anniversary; another weekend in Boone with friends for the App State Black Saturday game; a weekend in Bryson City for my brother's 30th birthday; a girl's weekend in Lake James with some of my former coworkers; a week in Topsail for a summer beach vaction; and a weekend in Ferguson, NC for an early 4th anniversary trip.
Post Disney Marathon, January 2011
At the Zac Brown Concert, July 2011

With my granddaddy, Thanksgiving 2010

Jett getting ready for trick or treating with his nephews, Halloween 2010

Post race, 2010 (I just can't remember which one!)

Pumpkin pickin', 2010

Jett with his Granny, September 2010

Pumpkin pickin', 2010

Halloween 2010

Christmas 2010

We had a white Christmas for the first time I can remember, 2010

Post Dowd 1/2 Marathon, 2010

Mountains with friends, January 2011

"Jimmie Jam" concert with Veronica, 2011

Topsail Island, view from the balcony, July 2011

My Pawpaw's birthday, August 2011

Go cart racing

Boots, our adopted kitten (who un-adopted us after about a week)

Getting ready for "Greertoberfest", 2011

On our way to the mountains for our 3rd anniversary, 2011

Max Patch, 2011 (3rd anniversary trip)

Max Patch, 2011

Christmas 2011

Charleston for Veronica's wedding, December 2011

Charleston for Veronica's wedding, December 2011

App State football game, October 2011
With Cooper and baby Avonlea, April 2011

Day in Magic Kingdom after the Disney Marathon, January 2011

Reunited with my beloved peds coworkers at a wedding, August 2011

"Greertoberfest" 2011

Stand-up paddleboarding on Lake James, April 2012

In Charleston for Veronica's wedding, December 2011

Our first house! (April 2012)

At a friend's wedding on Lake Norman, June 2012

Coldplay concert, July 2012



Christmas Card Promotion

For the past 2 years since Jett and I have been married, I have totally slacked on the "Christmas Card experience". Two years ago, I tried so hard to get the perfect picture in front of our first Christmas tree. Unfortunately, trying to get 2 hyper dogs to pose in a Santa hat and reindeer ears with the self timer isn't as easy as one might think. The Christmas card of 2008 was not to be. I don't even have an excuse for last year. Maybe we were too poor while I was in graduate school. Sure, that sounds like a good excuse ... I'll go with it.

This year I either have to come up with a new excuse or suck it up and send them out, because we have plenty of people capable of being our photographers .... AND, Shutterfly is offering this awesome promotion to bloggers for 50 free super cute Christmas cards.

Shutterfly has tons of great products. Check out the hundreds of great Christmas card styles. Personally, I also love the personalized calendars . Too bad my brother and SIL stole that idea last year and made a calendar of their anniversary trip to Ireland ... how can I trump that one? Or, if you're a slacker like me and can't quite get it together in time for Christmas, they still have you covered. Check out the New Year's cards here.

Bloggers, find this great promotion here, or just visit their website to see all of the cute products for yourself.

Now, if only my wedding planning website had not deleted all of my addresses. Maybe I should have back that up in the past 2 years!?


Step Outside the Box

I am not one that ventures into new territory often, at least not always willingly. I love to try new things and gain new experiences. I also love to meet new people and find it easy to make friends. But I also am the person that recognizes an old acquaintance in Target and finds it easier to walk on by than to face the possible awkward moment of realizing they don't remember me.

Just in this past week, I've stepped out of my box and required myself to open my surroundings a bit. On Tuesday, I had my first meeting with a group of girls from the church we've been attending in Charlotte. When Jett and I first decided to sign up for a small group, my intention was to sign up for a couple's group--Jett is fabulous at enabling my need to have my hand held in new situations (although he may not know it!). He is social, outgoing, and just all around makes it easier for me to walk into a group full of new faces. But, due to his new erratic work schedule, my best-laid plans failed and I signed up for a 20-something women's group instead. I walked in Tuesday nervous to introduce myself to 10 new-to-me girls (what if I'm not good enough!?). Happily, I found myself leaving excited to come back this week and get to know these girls better. I think being in a group apart from my husband will make me lose the crutch and grow personally and spiritually.

Saturday, I went to a new running group. I don't run with others that I don't know (what if I'm not fast enough!?). After the intial evaluation run, I fell right in the middle of 2 groups--should I move down to the slower group or up to the faster? The friend I've joined with convinced me to try out the faster group. Although I was the slower one in the group, there was no need for me to get myself all worked up over it. I met some great people and felt proud of the accomplishment when the run was all said and done.

And as if psyching myself out over Satruday morning wasn't enough, I also had a phone interview for a nurse practitioner job on Saturday. While I don't often push myself to step out of my comfort zone, I also don't typically stress or let myself focus on getting too nervous about things. Except for interviews. I don't know exactly what it is about interviews. I actually think I interview well--but, I hate it! I don't like to try to sell myself, I don't know what to do with the awkward pauses, and I always leave feeling like they could just see the sweat pouring off of me. I go over and over what I could have done differently (what if I didn't say the right things?). Saturday I didn't let myself get all anxious about it, and just went with the flow. When it's over, it's just that much more experience I have to learn from.

So, all in all it's been a week full of growth and learning. What have you done lately to step out of your comfort zone?


Since I've Been Gone

Just a quick photo recap of some of the things keeping me busy while I've been gone . . .

We moved from our apartment in Charleston, SC, back to my hometown of Charlotte, NC.

I tried water skiing for the first time ... FAIL!

We planted our very first garden ....

. . . SUCCESS!

I graduated from the Medical University of SC with a Master's degree in nursing.

I ran my first half marathon.

We took a day trip to the NC mountains to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July.

Time has flown the past couple of months. I can't believe it's almost the end of July.



I obviously have much to update on, since I've been MIA for a couple of months. And I will--update, that is--soon. In the past couple of weeks, I have finished my master's program, we have both stopped our jobs in Charleston, and we have moved back to Charlotte. I will graduate this Friday.

But for now, I need some advice! I have my very first half marathon coming up in less than 3 weeks. Training has definitely not gone as originally planned, but has gotten back on track the past few weeks. We had a great 9 miler two weekends ago, and 11 miles on the schedule for this past Saturday. That's where the advice comes in ... after the 9 miles, my left knee felt a little tight, but not really painful. It didn't really bother me during the week, until Friday, when I spent a lot of time cleaning and when I would kneel with my kneecap on the ground, it was a little uncomfortable. On the run Saturday, my legs never did loosen up. My knee felt tight to start out, and then about 2-3 miles in started with a nagging ache. At 4 miles, it was hurting just enough to decide to stop the run and go out again another day.

My knee feels tight, with pain down the lateral side, with some shooting pains up my thigh area when I step down while running. It hurt mainly on downhills and a little on flat surfaces. Uphill was fine. I'm concerned that adding too many hills too quick may have irritated something, since up until 2 weeks ago I was running on all flat areas in Charleston. Since moving back to Charlotte, I've been running on lots of hills. The half marathon is in Hickory, NC--the start of the NC mountains, and the first 3 miles are all downhill. If my knee is still acting up, that could potentially be a painful 3 miles!

Any ideas on what this could be? Any suggestions on the best way to stretch that area? I've been icing it and taking ibuprofen, and today it feels much better. But, I really want to get a couple more long runs in without hurting it further.




News Flash: I am not a neat person. I am organized in my own little--stack it up in piles, throw it in a bag, toss it on the counter--type of way. Right now, my coffee table looks a little bit like a frat house, only sub diet Dr. Pepper cans for beer cans and cookbooks and pediatric drug dosing books for pizza boxes. The last person to vacuum was definitely my husband, and there may or may not be a load of laundry in the washer that needs to be repeated because I forgot to move it to the dryer in time.

Having admitted that, I would also like to make known that I feel like I do my part to make our little 900 square feet a happy home. Sure, the crock pot sitting on the counter right now may take an extra soaking to thoroughly scrub it, but that roast I cooked in it was mighty delicious. Sure, there may be 7 dog toys strung across the living room, but those dogs sure do live a luxurious life. And quite possibly I will remember the time spent snuggled on the sofa in that blanket (that still needs to be put away)watching tv with my husband a little more than I will remember that it took an extra day to empty the dishwasher or dust the furniture.

When it comes to picking up after myself, if I am completely far-left, than my husband surely must be completely far-right (or just off the scale altogether). Once upon a time before we were married, I remember a day when he literally jumped at the chance to clean my car for me. You would have thought I bought the man a new puppy or something. This guy can iron a shirt more flat than the cleaners. One time, he asked me if I had starch and I'm pretty sure I accidentally laughed in his face.

While I am the self-proclaimed messy one in this marriage, he certainly does his part to contribute to the pile of laundry on the floor, the dirty dishes on the counter, and the size 13 shoes that I stub my toe on every morning when I get up before the sun rises. His excuse is that by the time he gets around to contributing to the mess, I've already done my part to make it out of control. We are not dirty. We clean from top to bottom mostly every Saturday and pick up at least 2-3 times in between. But, we both do it at our convenience. No schedule, no set chores.

Which leads me to the real reason behind this lengthy explanation of our sanitation grade. Today at lunch, we talked at length about "even distribution of household chores". This conversation was sparked mainly by a topic I heard discussed on the radio the other morning, and partially by the comment that my husband made about how we couldn't have children because I'm messy enough on my own.

The radio topic discussed was about how to fairly split up household chores .... a lady called in to say that she and her husband do everything exactly 50/50. If she loads the dishwasher, he empties. If he does the laundry, she folds it and puts it away. So on, so forth. I am not a firm believer in 50/50. I think some days distribution may be 70/30, 90/10, etc. Others, it may be 20/80. As daily schedules, illnesses, and life gets in the way, time allowed to do certain things changes. I think with everything in life, we should watch out for those around us and help out where needed.

My husband, however, is an advocate of the ... da da dum ... chore chart. I'm pretty sure I even failed at the chore chart when I was in preschool. Stickers, prize boxes, and all. He thinks this will allow us to visualize more clearly (his words) what needs to be done.

How do you divide up necessary (but dreaded!) chores in your home? Does one person do everything, do you split evenly, or just do at your convenience?