A Valentine’s Day Survey

…because everybody likes taking surveys ūüėÄ ¬†Feel free to re-post and answer for yourself…or answer any/all the questions in the comments section!

1. Valentine’s Day: ¬†Love it, hate it, or something in between?
I don’t have super strong feelings towards the day. ¬†If you have a significant other, celebrate together; ¬†if not, it’s not a big deal. ¬†I really don’t get the whole, “Singles Awareness Day” thing, and I didn’t when I was single either! ¬†It’s like Mothers’ Day. ¬†We childless women don’t turn it into “Childless Awareness Day”–the holiday simply doesn’t apply to me at this point in my life.

2. Most memorable Valentine’s Day you’ve had so far (good or bad)?
Two years ago Andrew had to have a minor surgery… on Valentine’s Day. ¬†I spent the day in the waiting room, driving to the drug store, and playing nurse while Andrew came down from his pain medication high. ¬†Yaaay. ūüėČ ¬†He did think ahead and bring me flowers and chocolate the day before.

3. Do you have a Valentine this year?  If so, who is it?
Andrew, my handsome husband.

Catherine & Andrew Storey

4. Favorite love songs (cheesy or not)?
“I’ll Stand by You” by The Pretenders
“(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams
So good. ¬†So cheesy. ¬†Don’t care. ¬†ūüėÄ

5. Worst pickup line you’ve ever received or used? ¬†(And did it work?)
-A (very inebriated) guy walked up to me at a bar one time and said, “We’ll have to think of a different story to tell the kids. ¬†We don’t want them to know we met at a bar.” ¬†It didn’t work.
-My junior year in college I was studying at Panera one afternoon, and a guy walked up to me and said, “Excuse me, I don’t usually do this, but I was just noticing you from across the room…” ¬†Once I realized he was serious, I was flattered and went on a date with him.

6. What’s your favorite gift to receive on Valentine’s Day?
Flowers.  Cliche?  Maybe, but I love flowers.  Chocolate is a close second.

7. If you were a conversation heart, what would you say?
I think I’d just be a winky face: ¬†“;-)”

8. Favorite flower?
Tulips.

9. Favorite candy?
I’m a chocolate girl. ¬†I love anything mint chocolate or sea salt caramel chocolate. ¬†Mmm…

10. Most meaningful way someone could show you they love you?
Quality time.  Simply taking time to do something with me is better than any gift in my book!

11. How are you planning to spend tonight?
Andrew and I are having a nice dinner at home–we are making steaks, sweet potatoes, and green beans, with chocolate fondue for dessert!

IMG_4043Rice Krispie treats for the fondue… but we may have already eaten a few ūüėÄ

Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Tell me your answers to any or all of the questions above!

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Paddleboarding, Disc Golf, and Friends

Did this weekend fly by for anyone else? ¬†Andrew and I had an action-packed couple of days–which is just how we prefer our weekends (usually).

On Friday our good friends Gabe and Jeff invited us over for dinner.  We cooked a delicious and healthy meal of grilled chicken kebabs, rice, and stir-fried veggies:

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After dinner we hung out, talked, and played a little Dance, Dance Revolution. ¬†It was my first time playing (I know…I’m way behind), and I was terrible. ¬†Notably bad. ¬†During one game, just as I said, “I am killing it right now!”, ¬†the word, “FAILED” crossed the screen. ¬†Oops. ūüėČ

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Andrew was¬†slightly better than me…

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We just love these guys ūüėÄ

On Saturday my church had a huge craft show + used book sale, with all proceeds going to the youth ministry (yay!) ¬†The event was a huge success–there were so many awesome vendors, food trucks, thousands of books, and pumpkins. ¬†So. Many. Pumpkins.

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I am tremendously grateful to the group of moms and other women who coordinated this event for the benefit of our youth!

Early Sunday morning, Andrew cashed in on one of his Christmas presents from me: a guided Stand Up Paddleboard trip down the James River. ¬†We let the summer get away from us, so we decided to take advantage of the out-of-character-for-October hot weather we’ve been having. ¬†Unfortunately, we could not bring a camera, as it most definitely would have been ruined by the water, but the morning was beautiful, and the adventure was SO much fun.

The trip was through Riverside Outfitters, and because we were the only two people on this particular trip, we had a private tour guide. ūüėÄ ¬†We started on flat water to get our bearings, then moved through a series of rapids. ¬†Andrew may or may not have fallen in the river a couple of times, but our guide did as well. ¬†Me? ¬†I think my low center of gravity (i.e. my general shortness) helped me keep my balance, so while I dropped to my knees a few times, I never actually went in the water. ¬†If you ever get the chance to do a downriver paddleboard trip, take it…It was such a blast! ¬†And my chest and arms are only slightly sore today from all the paddling :).

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Looking awesome post-river ūüėČ

Sunday afternoon we played disc golf with a group of friends from church at a local park.  In spite of the freak 90-degree October day that was yesterday, we had a lot of fun.  We also had a lot of back sweat.

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We wrapped up the weekend with youth group, turkey tacos, and an episode of Once Upon a Time. ¬†It was a whirlwind weekend, with little time between each event, but we packed in a lot of good stuff. ūüôā

Have a great Monday!

Have you ever tried stand up paddleboarding?

A 5K, a Wedding, and Two Picnics

Friday afternoon as I returned to work after my lunch break, I passed a friend in the parking lot who said, “I’m so glad it’s finally Friday!” ¬†Automatically I replied, “Oh yeah, me too!” ¬†Then I thought,¬†Well, when you work at a church, Friday is often like Sunday: it’s the day before everything gets crazy! ¬†Now that it’s Monday morning, I can breathe and relax. ūüôā

This weekend we kicked off the new school year in the life of the church with a bunch of awesome events that definitely kept me busy! ¬†Saturday morning our church, in partnership with another church down the road, hosted a 5K. ¬†We encouraged the youth group folks not only to run, but to dress up in costumes. ¬†I couldn’t find a great¬†costume, but I did find these fantastic purple “skapris” (oh yes, “skapris” are a skirt/capri combo) plus a purple sequin headband¬†in the kids section at Target. ¬†All I’m saying is that I looked pretty good. ūüėČ

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I ran with my sweet high school friend Gena, and we rocked it!  I won my age group, and Gena placed second in hers (with a lot more competition.)  We had over 200 participants and raised a lot of money that is being donated to a couple local charities!!

Saturday afternoon, on our way to a wedding in Virginia Beach, we made a stop to visit our good friend Allison.  We ate lunch, watched the Virginia Tech football game, and so enjoyed catching up and laughing!

On Saturday evening we attended the wedding of my good friend and coworker Evan and his beautiful bride Kristina. ¬†The day was perfect, the decorations and details were adorable, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen two people so excited to get married! ¬†It was a sweet, joyful celebration.

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Just bein’ us

It was close to 1 AM when we arrived home from the wedding, and I had to be up pretty early for church, er, later that morning. ¬†Rather than our usual three services (two traditional and one contemporary), we had one huge, blended service to bring everyone together as we kicked off the school year. ¬†Even though I was operating on insufficient sleep, the morning was awesome! ¬†I don’t know ¬†how many people were there, but the sanctuary was PACKED, and we had overflow in our Welcome Center. ¬†Some chose to sit on the floor with their kids. ¬†The atmosphere was just relaxed and genuine as everyone came together as one community to worship God!

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After the service we had a picnic lunch, and people spread out all over the church grounds–inside and out–to share a meal with friends!

And because one picnic on a Sunday is never enough, that evening we had a youth ministry picnic at a local park to kick off the school year and welcome our new families. ¬†I was unable to do a headcount, but I estimate we had 150-175 people (youth, parents, and siblings). ¬†I felt a little bit overwhelmed…in a good way. ¬†ūüôā

I am most definitely an introvert, so being in a crowd like this drains my energy. ¬†As soon as everyone had eaten, I’d finished speaking, and we started to clean up, I was ready to lie down on a picnic table and sleep. ¬†Hah! ¬†It was awesome, though, and¬†I am so excited to see what’s in store this year!

As great as the weekend was, I’m so glad it’s finally Monday!! (…aren’t you? ¬†;-))

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Jamaica-Bound!

Friends, Andrew and I are off to Jamaica!  We are staying at an all-inclusive, couples-only resort, and I could not be more excited.

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A few days ago I Googled, “Staying healthy at an all-inclusive resort,” because let’s be honest: all you can eat and drink for an entire week can be dangerous. ¬†I present you the following from our honeymoon at a similar resort in the Bahamas:

Exhibit A:

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1. The pina colada because I’d only had one that day
2. The “welcome to dinner on the private island!” glass of champagne
3. The white wine because the waitress offered
4. The water because, well, I like to drink water with my meals.

Notice that Andrew has a similar lineup across the table. ¬†We’re not proud.

Exhibit B:

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All you can eat. ¬†Chocolate pastries on the right, I’m looking at you.

When I Googled, “Staying healthy at an all-inclusive resort,” all the responses I found fell in two categories:

1. Be a crazy person and have a miserable vacation.
2. Do what you do naturally.

And because Andrew and I are most certainly¬†not¬†crazy people, here’s our stay-healthy game plan for the week (spoiler alert: it looks very similar to how we live normally) :

1. Stay active.  The resort offers kayaking, snorkeling (we bought our own gear on our honeymoon!), beach volleyball, windsurfing, swimming, and more.  We love outdoorsy stuff, and we are planning to live it up.

2.¬†Listen to our bodies. ¬†Eat when we’re hungry, stop when we’re full (Admittedly, we did not do a great job of this on the honeymoon…) ¬†If it doesn’t taste good, don’t eat it just because it’s there. ¬†Eat plenty of fruits and veggies because we feel our best when we do.

3. Enjoy. ¬†It’s vacation, and we fully intend to enjoy those strawberry daiquiris, pina coladas, and chocolate pastries. ¬†ūüėÄ

While we’re gone, I have some awesome guest posts lined up from a couple of people who are very near and dear to my heart. ¬†ūüėÄ

Have a great week, and I’ll “see” you next Saturday!

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. ūüôā

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. ūüėČ

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??

Ultimate Frisbee + My New Favorite Squash Recipe

I am¬†sore this morning! ¬†Last night we played Ultimate Frisbee with friends, and we played¬†hard. ¬†I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, dinner.

We enjoyed leftovers from an awesome dinner Monday night: chicken sausages with a potato, squash, and goat cheese gratin.  I used this recipe for the gratin (minus the milk and Parmesan cheese; Andrew can handle goat cheese.)

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Oh, it was delicious.  Squash by itself?  Not my favorite.  Squash with my beloved potatoes?  Oh, yes.  This recipe is a winner, for sure.

After eating, we made our way to the University of Richmond to meet the Ultimate Frisbee gang.  We went a little bit early so Andrew and a few others could play Spikeball first.  I embraced the opportunity to go for a walk through the beautiful campus.

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Ready. To. Play. ūüėČ

Last week we had 8 people for Frisbee; ¬†this week we had twenty. ¬†Rather than play a crowded 10-on-10 game, we made four teams and had a mini tournament on two adjacent fields. ¬†We each played one game (first team to score 11,) then the winners played, and the losers played. ¬† By the end, we’d all spend about 90 minutes running pretty hard. ¬†The teams were beautifully even in terms of abilities, so although we won our games (:-D), both were very close, and there was no time to rest.

After driving home and hobbling from the car to the house, I made my favorite workout recovery meal–a smoothie. ¬†This cup contained frozen berries, banana, mixed greens, peanut butter, and soy milk. ¬†While this sounds rather strange and is not my typical smoothie combination–I usually use spinach, but we have mixed greens on hand right now, and I usually forego the peanut butter, but I wanted some extra protein–it actually tasted great! ¬†And no, I could not taste the greens. ūüôā

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I love smoothies as workout recovery fuel because they contain carbohydrates, protein, and lots of vitamins, depending on what fruit you include. ¬†Unfortunately, none of that is preventing my legs and glutes from being¬†incredibly sore this morning. ūüėÄ

What do you eat/drink after a hard workout?
Do you ever play Ultimate Frisbee?

NC Mission Trip- Midweek Report

The week so far…

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This week we have been working with a man named Chuck and his two teenage daughters, Ashley and Haley. ¬†Chuck’s wife passed away in April, and around the same time he lost his job. ¬†Due to the tough financial situation, ¬†the three were forced to move into a broken down trailer. ¬†One of the girls told us that life has been so crazy that they haven’t even had time to mourn the loss of their mother. ¬†Our crew has been replacing an old, rotted floor this week, as well as putting a fresh coat of paint on the outside of the house. ¬†It’s been a joy for us to spend time with Chuck and the girls too!

In addition to sweating like crazy from 8:30-3, here are some other notables of the last few days:

Highs:

-beach time

-awesome food

-a surprise ice cream delivery by Mr. Oguich

-goats at the worksite (yes, everyone else is just as excited as I am about this ;-))

-worship on beach blankets in the sand

 

Lows:

-broken AC in the girls’ room the first night (which has been fixed! We are nice and cool :))

-Mosquitos that laugh at our Off! Deep Woods bug spray…

-noisy neighbors (I laid the smack down last night ūüėÄ

All around, it has been an awesome week… And we have over 3 days left! ¬†I will give a full report when I return… Blogging via smart phone is a painful task.

Have a great week!