Staying Active Without a Gym + Weekend Stuff

Last week I did not go to the gym.  Not once.  And yet it’s Monday morning, and my legs are still a bit sore from the week’s activities.  When we joined a gym a few months ago, part of me thought, “Why are we doing this?  We don’t need a gym…”  While the gym is very helpful in staying healthy, it is far from necessary, especially now that the weather is warmer.  Here’s how we stayed in shape last week, outside the gym:

Monday:  Rest

Tuesday: Weight circuits in living room (AM,)  Spikeball with friends Michael and Lisa (PM)

Wednesday:  Running- 30 minutes, intervals

Thursday:  Weight circuits in living room (AM,) Ultimate Frisbee (PM)

Friday:  Running-60 minutes

Saturday: Shopping with Andrew (his legs are twice as long as mine… I practically have to run to keep up with him ;-))

Sunday:  Frisbee Golf

It was a week full of Andrew’s ideal workouts–those in which you play.  I have grown to really enjoy playing Ultimate Frisbee;  it’s like a sneaky speed workout with lots of sprints over the course of ninety minutes.  Plus, the game itself is a lot of fun, running aside.  When I woke up Friday morning, my legs felt good, despite lots of prolonged sprinting the night before, so I decided to proceed as planned with my long run.  I am trying to be disciplined about building up my mileage, and I did not want to change my plans for potential soreness.  The run was a success, but as the day went on, my legs became sorer and sorer  (<–is that a word?  More sore?)  Saturday, it was just embarrassing 😉

Friday night we went to dinner and played putt-putt with our friends Amanda and Diron.  Andrew won, I lost by a long shot (or I guess, a series of short shots ;-),) and Amanda and Diron landed somewhere in between.  We had a great time!

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On Saturday we went on a quest;  we’d been feeling the need for deck furniture ever since this happened back in April:

DSCN7829Kitchen chairs and TV trays… classy 😉

We checked a few stores before finally finding what we wanted at Target.  (Is there anyone out there who does not love Target?  I have yet to walk in the store and walk back out without spending at least $50.  It’s a beautiful place.)

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Aren’t those chairs fun??  Andrew was so excited to find a tall set.  That evening, he went to a baseball game with a friend, so I had the night to myself and was eager to use the new patio furniture.  Every now and then it’s good to have some “me-time.”  For dinner I made bruschetta with french bread, fresh mozzarella, tomato slices, and basil from  our garden, all heated in the toaster oven.

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I have since decided I might live on this food combination for the remainder of the summer. 🙂

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Dinner + new magazine + Mike’s Hard Cherry Lemonade in a wine glass to look more sophisticated (hah!)… excellent 🙂

Sunday afternoon we played Frisbee/disc golf at the University of Richmond.  I’d played once before, but determined yesterday that this game is an excellent compromise for Andrew and me:  it’s essentially taking a walk with a competitive objective.  I don’t know the history of the game (and for the sake of what I’m about to say, I’m not going to take five seconds to research it ;-)), but I wouldn’t be surprised if it started when a wife dragged her husband on a long walk through a park;  suspecting he might be bored, he brought a frisbee, throwing it as they walked.  From there, the only step is adding a few targets.

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We had a great time until a thunderstorm rolled in and ended our game early.

And, as usual, Monday arrived too soon.  Have a great day!

How do you stay in shape without a gym?  Do you ever incorporate “playing” into our workout routine?

Climbing Walls, Canoes, and Capture the Flag (Retreat Recap)

It’s Monday morning, and I feel like I must have been hit by a train this weekend.  Soreness everywhere.  Our youth group retreat was a huge success.  Here’s the play-by-play:

We arrived at Camp Willow Run Friday night just in time to catch the end of the sunset, settled in to our boxcars (the cabins are renovated boxcars… I realize that might sound weird, but it’s actually very cool, :)) and had our first session in our meeting room.  We played a few icebreaker games, including Extreme Elves, Wizards, and Giants (it’s like Rock, Paper, Scissors, with different/bigger motions, teams, and chasing.)

Elves, Wizards, Giants(Sorry for the blurry iphone photo…)

We ate some snacks, introduced our lesson theme for the weekend–What You’re Worth–and talked about how we are often our own biggest critic.

Saturday morning we made our way to the dining hall at 8:00 for breakfast–biscuits, sausage, gravy, grits, eggs, cereal, fruit… Mmm.  This was the first time I’ve been dairy-free at camp, and it was so tough to turn down those biscuits!  After breakfast we met for our second group session.  We played telephone charades, which is a hilarious game for those of you who haven’t played it!  The clue is given to the first person in line, then acted out person-to-person (getting skewed a bit along the way.)  The last person in line guesses.

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At one point the boys acted out “going on a first date,” which the last person guessed was, “kissing.” (Parents, you should probably have a chat with your boys ;-))  The girls acted out “whitewater rafting,” which the last person guessed was, “dying on a boat.”  Lots of laughs all around!  In our lesson that morning we discussed the impact other people have on our sense of self-worth and how we can tune out those negative messages we receive.

Before lunch we played capture the flag–always a favorite with this group.

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Headbands, eye black, game faces–we are serious about Capture the Flag.

We ran around in the woods for over an hour, sprinting after opponents, sprinting back to safety after jailbreaks.  Only a few band-aids were needed at the end of the game, so I consider it a success 😉  I did manage to sustain a 4-inch cut on the back of my thigh when I was forcefully tagged just before crossing back to my side.  Ahem.  Battle scars.

For lunch we ate burgers, fries, and fruit cocktail.  Power lunch for a busy afternoon!  After lunch we went canoeing…

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…played nine-square (like four-square, but bigger, and 3-D)…

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Nine-square was a huge hit;  we may need to invest in some PVC pipes!

…and climbed the wall and braved the Giant Swing…

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Whew, it was a full afternoon!  For dinner we had spaghetti and salads, then headed back outside to play some more nine-square (yes, every free moment we had was filled with nine-square.  To quote one of the boys, “Nine-square is life.” 😉 )

Later that evening we met inside for our third group session.  In my last post I mentioned that sometimes we play games whose sole purpose is to make me laugh.  Saturday night we played, “Sock Wars.”  It was one of those games that could either really be a hit or really flop…and turned out to be hilarious. The object of the game is simple:  be the last person with a sock on your foot.

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The result was total chaos.  It was like the Hunger Games, with socks instead of murder.  Some people hid.  Some people attacked.  Alliances were formed.  They were ruthless.  Unfortunately I was unable to upload the video, and the photos don’t quite capture the madness, but you get an idea. 🙂

For the sake of not making this post too much longer than it already is (thanks to anyone who is still reading!,) I’ll finish with a Cliff Notes version of the rest of the weekend:

Campfire.  S’mores.  Third lesson:  God is our biggest fan, and we are worth more to Him than we can comprehend.  Grog (outside, nighttime game in which one person is the “Grog” and tags people, and everyone else must find hidden pieces of a flashlight, assemble, and defeat the Grog by shining the light on them.  In other words, more running around :))  Sleeping hard.  Breakfast.  Games.  Fourth lesson:  building up others so they know how much they are worth to God.  Nine-square.  Home.

It was a full weekend, to say the least.  I loved being able to spend quality time with this group–laughing, playing, encouraging.  Retreats always remind me what a cool job I have, and what an awesome opportunity I have to be part of the lives of these youth.

They also remind me that I am getting older, and my body can’t endure as much as it once could.  Here’s to hobbling around like an old woman for a few days. 😉

Youth Retreat Weekend + Yet Another Easy Dinner

In just a few short hours, Andrew and I will be on our way to North Carolina with a few van-fulls of teenagers.  It’s spring retreat weekend for the youth group, and I am SO excited!  We are going to the beautiful Camp Willow Run on Lake Gaston, where I was a camp counselor during my summers in college.  CWR has a special place in my heart, and I am thankful for a job that takes me back there every year.

This morning I slept in as long as I could (7:15, then tossed and turned until 8… oh the joys of getting old 😉 ) in anticipation of the craziness that will be the next 48 hours.  In previous years, I’ve arrived home Sunday feeling like I was hit by a bus due to all the running around we’d done.  Here’s a quick flashback to last year:

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Capture the flag in an excellent wooded arena (this photo doesn’t quite capture the intensity of the game, but it is always hardcore!)

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Games I created for the sole purpose of making myself laugh 😉

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High ropes course

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Silly team-building activities

Throw in some good food, canoeing, a sunset over the lake, and great Bible studies, and it makes for a pretty epic weekend!  This year we are doing the climbing wall and giant swing rather than the high ropes course;  I can’t wait!

This week has been super busy in preparing for the weekend, so our dinners have been simple and easy, and workouts have been a bit shorter and lower-intensity as well: Short weight-lifting session Monday (like, 20 minutes in the living room with the TV on,) walk on Tuesday, yoga Wednesday, 30-minute easy run Thursday.  I wrote about our easy Monday/Tuesday dinner here, and our Wednesday/Thursday dinner was this:

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Baked chicken breasts (cut into smaller pieces to cook faster) marinated in Balsamic vinaigrette, leftover quinoa, roasted beets, and beet greens.  I started to make a marinade for the chicken and then thought, “Nope.  Not happening.  Balsamic vinaigrette will taste great.”  I told Andrew it was a secret family recipe. 😉

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I’ve said this before, but when in doubt about cooking a vegetable, slice it, toss it with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and throw it in the oven at 400 degrees.  Roasted beets?  Two thumbs up from this girl.  Andrew handled the greens, and they were pretty tasty too.  Both the chicken and the beets were done in about 20 minutes.  Can’t beet that (pun-intended…bahaha :-D)

Now I’m off to finish a few last-minute details for the retreat.  I hope to give a quick post at some point during the weekend, but if not, I will be back Monday.  Please pray with us for safe travel and no injuries, big or small!

What are your plans for the weekend?  Any quick and easy dinner ideas for busy weeks?

Weekend Highlights

We had a very full weekend here, and while I know this post is a little late, I wanted to write about some of the highlights.

Thursday Night–(I know, not technically the weekend… but close enough.)  Andrew’s church league basketball team progressed to the championships last week, and the final game was Thursday night.  The guys played well…and won!

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Our good friend Kevin, who lives in Dallas, was in town for a meeting that day, and he was able to make it to the game and cheer on the guys.  We enjoyed visiting with him for a while after the game!

Friday–My alma mater, James Madison University, played their first and only game in the NCAA tournament.   They got their butts whooped, as expected, but I was still excited that they made it to the tournament.  There was a small part of me that held onto hope that maybe, just maybe, they’d be the first #16 seed to beat a #1 seed 😉

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I was really excited, okay?

On Friday night we took a youth group trip to Jumpology–a new indoor trampoline gym in town.  It.  Was.  Awesome.

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The room was essentially wall-to-wall trampolines, plus areas for basketball, dodgeball, and a foam pit.  It was quite a workout!

Saturday– Yesterday I recapped the 5k I ran with my brother; you can check it out here. The short version:  we kicked butt.

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In the afternoon, our friend Andrew came over to watch the VCU basketball game.  Unfortunately, no havoc was wreaked.

Later in the afternoon I helped with a youth group service project.  Once a month we help wheelchair-bound adults with disabilities (residents of the Virginia Home) enjoy an afternoon of bowling.

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Everyone–youth and bowlers–had a great time!  I love to see how excited they are, not only when they do well, but simply to be there bowling.

When I arrived home, I found that Andrew had been hard at work in the yard and made some awesome progress on the garden:

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Doesn’t it look great??  We cannot wait to start planting.

Saturday night our friends Amanda and Diron came over to watch some more basketball.  With JMU out of the tournament and VT not in the tournament to begin with, we were not particularly interested in any one game other than for the sake of our brackets, but we had a great time hanging out!  Amanda and I have been friends since college, and for a long time would say, “We need to go on a double date!”  When the four of us finally hung out a couple of months ago, we realized just how similar we are, and now we get together often.  We laugh a lot, although I think it often centers on how neurotic Amanda and I are 😉  Regardless, we are very thankful for these “new” friends in our lives!

When Amanda and Diron left, we continued watching TV, and I fell asleep on the couch, as often happens (I think I inherited this ability from my grandmother.)  It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or how interested I am in what’s on TV–the couch + the sound of the television are my personal recipe for sleep.  Andrew finally turned off the TV, and the instant the sound was gone, I sat up straight, opened my eyes wide, and said, “We should go to sleep!”  Andrew started laughing and said, “Oh you think we should?  You think we should go to sleep now?”  😀

Sunday– We had a pretty typical spring Sunday until the evening when…it snowed?

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It started sticking to the ground in the middle of youth group, so I decided to send everyone home early just to be safe.   I know everyone is saying this, but I am very ready for spring to actually be spring.  Snow is great–in January–but I am so ready for warmer weather.

Even so, a blanket of white was not a bad way to end a great weekend!

 

A Rock Star Birthday

Six years ago I drove down to Raleigh, NC for my spring break;  my sister was due with her first child that week, and I was hoping to be there when my niece made her debut into the world (uh, not in the room… just nearby ;-))

After spending a few days waiting, I finally had the joy to meet Kendall:

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I didn’t know it was possible to love someone so quickly and so deeply, and my life was forever changed.

Last weekend, Andrew and I had the pleasure of attending Kendall’s 6th birthday party.  To make a long story short, Kendall’s parties are elaborate.  Like, make-other-moms-look-bad elaborate.  This year the party was “Rock Star” themed.  I’ll let the photos do most of the talking:

Friday night, the photo booth needed to be constructed and tested:

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Saturday morning we had a bit of downtime to relax and break-in the bounce castle:

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Andrew stepped up to the role of Cake Engineer and made an awesome guitar cake for our little rock star:

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Impressive, right?

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VIP passes and sunglasses for the guests, cream cheese and JAM! sandwiches, yogurt-dipped pretzel drum sticks, pop star popcorn, guitar pick carrot chips…

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Kendall was born for the spotlight;  this was the best smile we could get from Lauren 😀

Cake and presents, of course:

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Isn’t Lauren a good helper? 😉

There was also Just Dance happening on the Wii and guitar decorating for the photo booth.  Speaking of the photo booth…

After all the kids left (and I should mention there were 30 kids!), the big kids adults had some fun:

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Charles, Kendall, Whitney, Ross, Ms. Patsy, Lauren, Andrew, and me… My dad, grandmother, aunt, and uncle were not able to make the drive from Atlanta, and we missed them dearly!   

The masterminds behind the Jam:  my sister, Whitney, and her best friend Jeanine:

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We had a wonderful time celebrating Kendall.  I sure am glad that kid was born!

Shenanigans in the Shnow

Last night something wonderful happened that reduced us to 12-year-old versions of ourselves: snow.  What is it about snow that makes us so happy?  I am no less excited at the prospect of the fluffy white stuff at age 26 than I was in elementary school, waking up in the middle of the night when snow was in the forecast, and peeking through the blinds to see if maybe, just maybe, school would be canceled.

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This particular snow was even more thrilling because it brought with it thunder snow. Thunder snow has been on Andrew’s bucket list of “cool types of weather to experience,” (really, how long is that list? I think it ends with thunder snow, as I feel confident he doesn’t want to witness a tornado…) and when we heard it last night, he was GIDDY.  Jumping up and down. Spinning me in circles.  Fist pumping.  “YES!! THUNDER SNOW!! YESS!!”  I couldn’t help feeling so happy for the guy.

DSCN7169This just about captures it.

Giving a nod to our 12-year-old selves, we played outside… way past our bedtime.  We had a snow fight.  We threw snowballs on the roof and tried to make them roll back down.  We even made a snowman.  In our awesome neighbors’ driveway…

DSCN7170Hi!  Sorry you live next to two kids with no parental supervision… 😉

When we woke up this morning, the melting process had already begun, but everything still looked beautiful.

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DSCN7180Our humble abode.  In desperate need of a wreath and a pair of hedge clippers.

(Please note the roof over the garage- you can see the impact of last night’s snowball game :))

Until next time, snow!