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Archive for May, 2011

Big Day

Yesterday was a big day for me. I ran my first 5K.

Yes, I know I ran a 10K in Ireland, but this was my first 5K. I have actually been training for this race over the past 2 weeks. I have planned for it and worked hard to compete in this race and I did decently well.

I ran this race in 35:04.2.

Woah!

It comes out to be about an 11 minute mile, but I didn’t run the whole thing, so I’m still pretty confident about it. I’m happy with the outcome and now it is working to be able to run the whole thing next time and have an even better time.

Look at me run!

Ok, so I’m not running yet, I’m getting ready to run. Stretching is an important part of running.

This was at the beginning of the race. See how cheerful and full of energy I look?

Yeah…that didn’t last for much longer.

This was at the end of the race. I was so exhausted and throughout the race I thought I was going to get sick. It was so humid that I was getting choked up on the air.

Although, at the end, I found a running partner and she pushed me to run the last 1/2 mile when I didn’t think I could run another 10 feet.

Her name is Lisa.

After the race, they had raffle prizes and prizes for the leaders of each age group.

I actually won a prize, but it wasn’t for being a leader. It was a raffle prize!

I have  a free pass to go on the Hawksnest Zipline!! I’m soooooo pumped!!! 🙂 Wendy and Grace said they would go with me so now I have friends to go with!! I can’t wait!!

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Tonight, I watched a recorded Oprah show of her most memorable guests. These people are ones who have had incredible struggles and who have overcome amazing feats and who have had a positive attitude about it. There is so much that we can learn from these people. One thing being thankful for the things we have in our life.

Every day can be categorized as a struggle, but when I step back and take a look at the life I have, and the life that others have, I have no choice but to be thankful. God has given me two legs that allow me to walk, two hands that allow me to write, read, drive, give a high five, and to hug, a heart that keeps my body alive, and a brain that functions by telling my body what to do, have complex thought, and that keeps me alive. God has truly blessed me. I am able to function normally, I don’t have any type of ceiling that keeps me from soaring to my highest potential except for myself. Watching this program reminded me of how amazing life is and how every day is a gift from God and I should live it to the fullest, without regrets, and give everything that I can back to the community in which I live.

One of the guests that touched my heart to the extreme was a little boy named Mattie Stepanek. This little boy suffered from an illeness called Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy which is a hereditary disorder passed down by the mother’s side only and attacks the muscles, heart, and other major organs. this little boy was an inspirational speaker and had a zest for life even though he knew his life would be cut short. He died on June 22, 2004 at the young age of 13 years old. He visited Oprah’s show a number of times, and on this second to last show of Oprah’s, Mattie’s mother joined Oprah on the stage and shared about his final days.

The final sentence Mattie said to his mother that touched me so was this:

“I challenge you this: Choose to inhale. Do not breathe just to exist. That’s not always easy, but it is always worthy.”

~Mattie Stepanek

This young child taught everyone so much in his young years and is still teaching people to be appreciate even to this day. Thank you Mattie, and thank you God, for giving such an amazing little boy to this world to remind us of the important things.

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Celebration

Tuesday, was a special day.

Sarabeth turned four.

Wow.

I can’t believe she is four. I know, I haven’t been about her for that long, but I still feel like she is a part of my family. She is like my little sister and I would do anything for her and Grace.

But, now, she is a big girl! Four years old!!

You know what she said to me on her day?

“You know what? I’m not going to suck my thumb anymore because four year olds don’t suck their thumb!”

Oh my….”Wow Sarabeth! That is awesome! I’m so proud of you!! I think that is a great idea!!”

Well…needless to say, two days later, she still sucks her thumb, and that is ok.

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I know that I haven’t complete the fill in on the Southern Ireland tour, so I’m going to try to do that right now.

At least some of it….there was so much to see and do!

I’ll pick up where I left off…Day 2.

On the second day of our Paddywagon tour of Southern Ireland, we did some really cool things. One world famous excursion was visiting the Cliff of Moher.

These cliffs extend of about 5 miles long and they stand about 1/2 miles above sea level. Wow! They are so tall and stretch for such along way! I can’t believe that I was standing on the edge of a cliff that extends that far above the sea. It was amazing to experience something so famous!

I know the above picture looked like a postcard, but see…..I really was there!

This experience was an amazing one, but there was one bad thing about it….the bugs!! YUCK!! There were so many bugs that were swarming around our heads that they showed up in my pictures…

….NOT cool.

Grandma even broke a rule…yes, a rule. Some find it hard to believe, but I did. It took a lot of effort and internal coaxing on my part, but in the end, I did it. I passed the sign that said, “Don’t cross!”

I’m such a rebel. Oh no, now I feel bad. Oh goodness.

Alas, I wasn’t the only one who passed the sign. Here is the proof…

Hey! I know those girls!! Well, at least some of them.

Moving on….

We later ended up in a little town called Adare where we strolled and got ice cream.

Adare was such a cute, quaint little town. I couldn’t help but take pictures of the thatched roof cottages.

Anyway, back to the ice cream…

Yum!

I got ice cream a lot while I was in Ireland. That might be why my jeans are tighter in the US, but it was totally worth it! The ice cream is so much more rich in Ireland because the milk is so much fresher and much more rich. The milk is more rich because the cows eat better, and yes, you guessed it, richer grass. It is a course of events that takes place that makes the ice creams so much yummier.

Yummier…is that a word? I don’t know, but I’m going to use it anyway.

Then it was off to Annascaul for the night. Where we ate dinner and sang karaoke.

Oh yeah, karaoke.

First, of course, I have to talk about the food. I had fish and chips with a side salad. It wasn’t too bad, but not the best fish and chips meal I had while in Ireland.

Now, the karaoke.

We first sang “No Scrubs” by TLC as a group and did so well that the karaoke man wanted us to do a second song without telling us what the song was and it was a Spice Girls song. I never was a Spice Girls fan, but it was amusing to try to sing an impromptu song together.

Then we sang “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” where we got into the hand motions…as you can see.

We had so much fun singing together and laughing at ourselves as we stumbled through the second song. Priceless.

There is nothing better than singing at the top of my lungs with the girls I will love forever and ever.

Until Later,

The Dreamer

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Whirlwind

The past couple of days have been a complete whirlwind.

I arrived back in the United States on Thursday, returned to Boone on Friday to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, Saturday my parents and my sister’s family got to Boone, I graduated on Sunday, and Monday I drove to Durham.

Oh my…I didn’t think I would be able to get all of that out.

Now, not only have I been going, going, going, I am completely exhausted from it all on top of the inevitable jetlag.

Oh my. See, whirlwind.

BUT, even though it has been an absolute whirlwind, I have loved every moment of it all and I’m happy to be home. Now, I am spending time with my beloved family in Durham where I get to chase around a 2 1/2 year old little girl who has a mind of her own and endless energy. That is something to be exhausted by.

Here are a few photos of the past couple of days.

Friday night, Lauren danced in her Studio K Ballet Gala at Farthing auditorium.

Sarabeth danced in her Studio K Recital on Saturday and while I was there I saw a couple other little girls I know dance as well.

Then, later that afternoon, Kyla met Grace and Sarabeth for the first time and it was adorable because Kyla took to Grace like white on rice!

Early Sunday morning, we rushed out the door at 7.15am to get to town by quarter till 8. It was wonderful and bittersweet to see some girls that I haven’t seen in a long time, but I also know that there are many who it will be a long time before I see them again…if ever.

Which makes me sad.

Jenn and I sat next to each other during the ceremony and giggled and made jokes the whole time because of otherwise, we might have cried together.

We were all standing in line together before the commencement ceremony in a hallway that had no air and was blistering hot. Oh goodness….it was miserably hot.

Of course there were a lot of in there all lined up waiting to be lead in by our professors, the Dean of the College and Chancellor Peacock.

We all felt like cattle being herded in for an auction because people kept walking up and down in the middle of the hallway making sure that there was still a walkway in the middle. It was tiring and hot and I was ready to get some fresh air.

Finally we got through the ceremony and went home  to have my graduation celebration at Wendy’s house where the girls were able to play again.

They played dress up and it was SUPER cute!!

They all became beautiful princesses…

…even Gracie!!

It was an amazing day of family and friends where we were able to hang out with each other, eat good food (Thanks Mom and Dad!!), and simply enjoy each others company.

Thank you everyone for such an amazing graduation!!

Much Love,

The Dreamer

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As of 12.25pm, I am back on US soil and I have to say that I am proud to say that. It is an incredible feeling to know that I am nearly home. We only have about a 2.5 hour flight to go and then I can see my family and friends who I have missed so much.

It was an amazing experience and I can’t believe that it is over with, but I am extremely happy to be home.

Much love and see you soon!

~The Dreamer

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Beginning on April 25th we took another Paddywagon tour through Southern Ireland. This was an amazing way to see the Southwest of Ireland and it quickly became my favorite part of Ireland because of its never ending emerald green grass that blankets the rolling hills of the area. Bordering those hills were limestone fences which rose and fell with hills. This area of the country is exquisite…I fell in love.

Our first day on this trip, we stopped in Connemara where there is a small tree there where people tie ribbons and various articles on it to fulfill their wish of true love.

Later, we moved onto what was once a prestigious school for extremely wealthy folks, but now it is an empty gorgeous castle.

Don’t believe me? I can’t believe this was once a school!

Check it out…

All I have to ask is…Can I teach here? That is, if they reopen.

Then, we were on to Galway. This city is known for its music and crafts. It is a beautiful town which contains the shortest and fastest flowing river in all of Ireland.

This was also the site of our first hostel experience of the week, this was my first hostel experience. Period.

This one wasn’t so bad! As you can see all the girls and I were able to be in a room together that night and all the following nights as well. My only complaint about this particular hostel was that the water in the showers was ice cold. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..

For dinner we went to a pub where all of the people on our tour met. It was a decent little place, but a bit on the pricy side so I only got bruschetta for dinner. I don’t think the server really liked that I got an appetizer for dinner. Whoops!

We were able to go and explore the town a little bit after dinner. The town itself was enchanting. Really, it was absolutely beautiful.

On the streets there were local vendors who were selling food, jewelry, candles, blown glass, etc. There was so much to see and do, I don’t think we even began to scratch the surface, but we were able to go out to the pub that night and listen to traditional Irish music.

This was the best place to hear the best music! Of course because Galway traditionally is known for music, it makes sense that the pubs have incredible traditional music. As you can see, there is a fiddle player, an accordion, and a guitar in this band. The prime instruments in a traditional Irish band are an accordion and a guitar. Most of the time, the fiddler is there as well, but not all the time.

All of the girls went, and we were even able to drag out some of our new friends with us!

Poor girls! They had to put up with the 5 of us all week long, but they were good sports and are incredibly sweet girls. The girl in the middle is from Australia and her name is Nikky. The other new face on the far left is Molly. She is from Virginia Beach. It was nice to hear another American accent for a week. You know, those American accents aren’t common here in Ireland.

We had so much fun out and about listening to music and enjoying each other’s company.

That was the end of Galway…next, we were on to a couple smaller towns and the Cliffs of Moher, but it is now my time to go to bed…you know, flying across the Atlantic an everything. I might need a little bit of sleep.

Time to dream!!

Until then!

The Dreamer

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