28

Today is my 28th birthday.

I love celebrating birthdays, and I am not working today, so I have some good activities planned–starting with my annual birthday run.  At some point in my early 20’s, I had the idea that it would be really cool to run my age on my birthday every year… but quickly decided I was already too old for that to be a good idea. 😉  I just go for a comfortable, enjoyable run now.  The rest of the day will be packed with reading on the back deck in this gorgeous spring weather, visiting the greenhouse and planting a few flowers, and tonight going to our local trampoline gym and dinner with friends!

Yep, 28 is off to a good start.  As I look back over the last year, I must say: 27 was very good to me.  Here are some of the highlights of 27, in no particular order:

-Ran some great races, and PRed in the 5k and 10k:

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-Celebrated 1 year of marriage with Andrew:

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-Filled this garden plot with seeds and dreams:

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-… and watched it turn into this:

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-Spent time on retreats and mission trips with the amazing teens in my youth group:

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-Hiked to my heart’s content (almost ;-))

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-Spent lots of time playing outside:

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-Celebrated with friends getting married:

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 999273_10151611555683762_1975079904_n erin's wedding

 

-Put my wedding dress back on and pretended I was getting married 😉

  Catherine & Andrew Storey Catherine & Andrew Storey

 

-Traveled to Jamaica:

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-Traveled to Colorado: 

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-Most importantly, spent lots of time with family and friends:

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I am incredibly thankful for the year behind–really, it was kind of an epic year in terms of everything I had the opportunity to do–and can’t wait to see what the year ahead has in store!

Have a great March 11, everyone! 😀

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Trampolines, a Brave Birthday, and Family

Happy Monday, everyone!  We had a full weekend in North Carolina celebrating our niece Lauren’s 4th birthday.  My dad, aunt, and uncle drove up from Georgia for the weekend, and my mom and brother drove down from Richmond Saturday.  I know there will come a time that the entire family can’t gather for the nieces’ parties, but for now I love the tradition. 🙂

We drove down early Friday evening and met my sister, brother-in-law, nieces and friend Jeanine at Defy Gravity–Raleigh’s indoor trampoline gym.  If you have never been to a place like this, find the one closest to you and go.  Today.  Jumping in a room full of trampolines makes you feel like a kid… and also gives you a fantastic workout!

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Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to get a non-blurry, mid-jump iphone photo. 😉

Saturday morning, before the party prepping picked up for the day, my aunt Ann and I went for a run through the Capital Area Greenway–a beautiful park with lots of trails (paved and unpaved) and wildlife.

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I took these photos as the end of the run, but I wish I’d run with my phone to capture some of the beauty of this place.  We ran around a lake, jumped across streams, high-stepped over roots, and ran within feet of a bunch of deer, who were obviously accustomed to having people around.  It was fantastic!

After the run, it was party prep time.  I’ve mentioned this before (see Kendall’s birthday party back in March), but Whitney and Jeanine go all out for birthdays.  Lauren’s party was “Brave” themed (the movie, not the adjective ;-)).  Here are a few of the details:

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Plus the Highland Games in the backyard:

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Beanbag toss (board painted by Jeanine), log toss, and archery

Everyone had a great time at the party, and we were all pretty wiped out afterwards!  For the rest of the evening we relaxed, made tacos for dinner, and just enjoyed time with family.  Most of the crew hit the road early Sunday morning, but Andrew and I hung around to have brunch with the birthday girl (her actual birthday was Sunday.)  Finally, with full bellies, we said goodbye and drove back home.

The first thing we did when we arrived home was crawl into bed and take a 45-minute power nap;  between the travel and the excitement of the weekend, neither one of us were going to be functional without a nap :).  Afterwards we made a trip to the grocery store, and when we arrived back home, Andrew mowed the grass, and I started dinner:  salmon, roasted acorn squash, and a brown rice/quinoa mixture (we had about 1/2 c left of each that we needed to use!)

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Delicious.

What was the highlight of your weekend?
Have you ever been to an indoor trampoline gym?  What did you think??

DIY Sewing Organization & A Surprise Party

My sister, Whitney, turned 30 last week, and we drove to North Carolina Saturday for a surprise party thrown by my brother-in-law, Charles.  The party was a huge success– backyard barbecue, fantastic bluegrass band, and Whitney was genuinely surprised.  Everyone had a blast!

I meant to capture the entire party, but mostly just took pictures of my family.  Sorry for the photo-overload, but I really love these people. 🙂 Ross, my mom, and my mom’s friend Walter drove down from Richmond, my dad, Aunt Ann, and Uncle Richard drove up from Atlanta, and Whitney’s best friend Jeanine drove down from Northern Virginia:

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I think the best surprise of all for Whitney was this:

528277_622926824389862_313341416_nShe babysat these girls during her college days 10 years ago, and they made the trip from Northern VA to celebrate her birthday.  Whitney actually screamed when she saw them.  Charles set the bar pretty high for himself for future birthday parties. 😉

As for our present…  Whitney is incredibly crafty.  Among other things, she sews/monograms/appliques adorable children’s clothing which she sells here on her Etsy site.  <–Check it out!  The last time we visited, I noticed that she could use some organization in her sewing room.  I searched Pinterest for inspiration, presented a vision to Andrew, and we began work on a project…

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…that ultimately turned into this:

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A pretty sewing organization board!

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Plus a set of pincushion mason jars for storage and, well, pins.

We were pretty pleased with the outcome and thought crafting a present was a great way to honor the ultimate crafter on her birthday.

Happy birthday, Whitney, and happy crafting to all!

The Sandwich-Hater’s Lunch: Leftovers

My birthday was on Monday, and with birthdays come dinner celebrations.  For someone my size, dinner celebrations almost always produce leftovers: a sandwich-hater’s dream come true.  Here’s what I’m eating this week for lunch:

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Salmon, steamed broccoli, and green beans from Bonefish Grill (Monday night with friends)

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Spinach & arugula salad with goat cheese, pecans, pineapple, craisins, and a citrus vinaigrette from Baker’s Crust (Tuesday night with Andrew’s mom)

ravioli

Three cheese ravioli with pesto-alfredo sauce from Maggiano’s (Wednesday night with my mom, brother, grandmother, and uncle)

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Bowtie aglio with broccolini, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese from Maggiano’s (Wednesday night with my family)

I hadn’t been to Maggiano’s in close to ten years, but I’d like to sing their praises for a moment:

1. Anytime we go out to eat, we have to consider Andrew’s gluten and dairy intolerance.  We’d heard that Maggiano’s had gluten-free pasta, and we were curious to try it.  Not only did they have GF pasta, but a chef came to our table and talked with Andrew directly about how he could tailor each dish to meet his needs.  It was far more reassuring than a waiter saying, “Umm, I don’t think that has any bread in it…”

2. Maggiano’s offers a “buy any classic pasta, take another one home for free” deal all the time!  $13 buys you two large portions of really good pasta.  I can easily make five meals out of my two dishes.  You’ll pay more per meal at any fast food restaurant, and the food won’t be nearly as good.

Both pasta dishes were pretty heavy (“pesto-alfredo” means “alfredo with a little basil”) so I am pairing them with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in hopes of keeping my triglycerides at an appropriate level. 😉

I’ve felt very loved and celebrated on my birthday week… and my sandwich-hating self has been extra content to have so many lunch options!