Driving and “Reading”

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Friends – I have an apology to make.

To all those friends, co-workers, associates, bloggers, Instagram people, WHOEVER –

Who has ever said, “You should try Audible. It’s great for people who love to read!”

Or something like that…. I want to say I’m sorry I didn’t listen when I did. I claim ignorance and a money-saving philosophy at the time.

My commute is now 45-minutes in each direction. After two-months of commuting, I wanted to listen to something else other than the radio.

As most “look-what-I-got” stories start, I was feeling sorry for myself one-day that I couldn’t get through the books on my reading list. While perusing Amazon to make myself feel better ~because if I buy the books, I have to read them right?~ I was about to push purchase on two more paper books when I decided to take a look at my own wish list to see what I’ve saved to purchase in the future.

Sure enough, Amazon’s brilliant marketing said that if I signed up for one free month of Audible, I could get that book for free.

Well, that seemed like a no-brainer and a few clicks later, and the download of the app on my phone, I started listening to the latest book I completed, The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher.

I regret not getting this book sooner. It was a great book for this Star Wars fan.

Oh man.

I regret very few things in this life but I can honestly say that I regret not reading or picking this book up sooner. My Star Wars fanaticism was only increased by listening to Carrie Fisher read her own book.

I was able to listen to Ms. Fisher and her daughter, Billie Lourd, read the book over the course of four days, as I traveled back and forth from work.

Sure, there’s a pile of books I have that I haven’t read at home.

Yes. I know I’m not “reading” the book, I’m just “listening” to it. And I agree, it’s not the same as reading it myself.

But you know what?

I don’t care. Get over yourself.

I did. I’m going to soak up as much knowledge and work by artists while I can on this planet and this is my new way of doing just that.

So – A short review:

Carrie Fisher’s style of writing is unique. She writes as if she is talking to you so this book was perfect to hear her inflections and pauses as she reads her own words.

In some cases she speaks as if she is another person, as she is reading a dialogue that she recalls with a fan. Those pieces were hard to follow as the recollections weren’t readily announced as a ‘conversation’ but she sounded different as she read, which indicated she was pretending to be someone else.

Overall, (and keep in mind I’m a huge Star Wars fan) the information was both exciting and sad, as she recalls her affair with Harrison Ford forty years before and gives the listener tidbits of information of one of the greatest movies ever made. (In my humble opinion, of course.)

As none of us usually want to be judged for our sins, all I will say I’m impressed that she was able to keep that a secret for so long.

This is the ninth (9th) book I’ve read in #DsAugustToAugustReads for 2019.

I’ve already started on the next audio book, even though I’ve got two books sitting on my dresser ready for me to complete the one I carry around with me everywhere.

I will always love the smell of paper books and going to book stores but for now, at least I’ll save some space in my shelves.


2019 Goals

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A new year seems to always indicate changes.

DeAndrasCrafts.com 2019 Goals - Change is inevitable.  Embrace it or grow old knowing you never did anything worth noting.
Change is inevitable. Embrace it or grow old knowing you never did anything worth noting.

If you know me personally at all, you know that are family moved from California to Western Washington, where my husband and I have chosen to move our children to what we hope is a better life. I hope to go into that in future blog posts, as I’ve started writing again for the purpose of getting it out there for my children to follow my train of thought when they were too young to understand “why” something was happening to him or her.

That’s all my husband and I can plan for anyway. They are still little people, and we have the enormous responsibility to help them live and grow to be God-fearing, loving, kind and productive people.

I have written my goals down in the past, and as I have said before and will repeat here: Goals for me are a means of “getting there.” I believe that if one doesn’t make goals, one has nothing to shoot for and will hit that mark EVERY TIME.

My 2019 Goals:

Spiritual – Embrace and study the book of Esther. Start with reading the story and finding a study guide.
Family – (1) Read at least one (1) book with each child this year. (2) Plan one (1) family vacation with the children’s input. (3) Complete the Minecraft blanket that is sitting in the garage.
Physical – (1) Run at least one half-marathon in Washington. (2) Get up to and try my hardest to maintain a 2-minute plank. (3) Plan meals more often and with the family.
Intellectual – Read at least one (1) self-improvement or self-enrichment book and at least four (4) personal choice books.
Social – Make new friends by inviting people over or meeting them for coffee. I also want to have my children have safe “play dates.”
Career – Pass probation. I am also going to strive to finish the three projects I have been assigned to complete before the end of the year.
Financial – Get back to the budget and get on with paying off the house.

Welcome 2019. I embrace you with a zeal that only the Lord can give me.

I hope I can write more. I forgot how much I enjoy it!


D’s August to August Reads – 2018

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Ahhhhh reading.

The simple pleasure I don’t get to do very often anymore because of life, but the choices I make to replace reading are certainly my priorities, such as being a mommy to the growing kids I’ve been blessed with.

There is a time for everything, as the saying goes. 🙂

Well into my third year of having this blog, I’ve written posts before with the tag of “book.”

Here it is, January 2019 and I’m starting up my blog again (if I have the time.)

I started this blog so my children could learn more about me, maybe make a little money on the side, and most certainly, do some writing other than my day-job-Engineering-info writing.

I bring you my first D’s August to August reads list, mostly just notes I put on Instagram of all the books I read between August 2017 and August 2018.

As I write this, I’ve started the next year, and we’ll see how that goes….

Book #1 – finished September 8, 2017: “The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded,” by Jim Ottavani.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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9.8.17 I haven’t been very good about keeping track of my book count like others on Instagram, so I’ve decided to use my birthday as the starting point for a year’s worth of tracking to see how many books I can read in a year. This is book No. 1, ‘The Imitation Game – Alan Turning Decoded’ by Jim Ottaviani, and illustrated by Leland Purvis. 📚 I opened up a package on my desk a couple weeks ago with this book inside. I flipped through it and realized it was in an illustrated format, like a comic book. At first, as I watched the movie sometime this year, I wasn’t really interested in reading it, but within the last week or so, I began reading it and couldn’t put it down. I think my visual-learning brain got so much more out of it than just reading a book with words, that I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would. Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician to is credited with coming up with the basis for computers. There were a few words I had to look up like morphogenesis and some I knew the reference for, such as the Fibonacci sequence. As his homosexuality was such a significant part of his story, the book covered it tastefully and I could see the sadness and social anxiety with the illustrations, in a way that made more sense to me than just reading it. I recommend this book as a 4/5 as it might be too simple and not at the depth of language for some in the comic style format. #emptybookshelf #DsReads Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2gPKo0x

 

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The next three books I posted about were as follows:

#2: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

#3: My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

#4: The Witches by Roald Dahl

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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10.29.17 For the sake of record keeping, I’m posting books 2, 3 and 4 that I’ve read (or completed reading) this year, starting the year at my birthday in August. 📚 Book 2: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was completed on 9-19-17. My oldest son (age 11) and I started this book in May and by far it has been the book that was SO MUCH better than the movie. It was also SO DIFFERENT. Little things like Cho being given the serum to make her tell the truth made the movie almost cringe-worthy and sad, but reading the book and it NOT being Cho to rat them out was so-much-better for the story (just as an example.) 📚 Book 3 is “My Father’s Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannet, finished 9-20-17. A quick read, this was a book we read as a family and I think with the 15-minutes of reading time here and there it took us less than three weeks to read entirely. The younger two really loved the story of a young boy wanting to help the dragon no matter what the cost was. 📚 Book 4 we finished tonight: The Witches by Roald Dahl. With typical Roald Dahl style, this book was weird, but kept us all looking forward to the next chapter. It was our family-time book and we started the book on October 1 with the intent on finishing it before Halloween. My husband commented that there was a lot of yelling characters in this book, which I try to give animation to while I read the parts. 🎃 👻 I promise that I personally read non-fiction books too, and look forward to completing the book I’m reading now called “Do Over” by Jon Acuff. • You can purchase any of these books on Amazon or find anything else you need of course: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-2301412

 

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 The next book completed was Holes (Holes Series) by Louis Sachar.  My youngest son LOVED this book.  I don’t know why….

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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11.25.17 Book No. 5 – Holes by Louis Sachar 📚 My youngest son (6-3/4 years old) watched this movie with the family early this year. For some reason, when I told him that the movie was based on a book, he asked me, “Can I read that book?” I bought it for him and I think I started reading it to him late August. We finished the last couple chapters tonight and now he wants the next one in the series. For the record: He wants you to know that there is 233 pages. ❤️ It was a fantastic book that kept my attention as well as his, and we got to talk about bullies, good and bad kids, and bad grown-ups along the way. #ReadWithYourKids #SmarterThanWeThink

 

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 Books number 6 and 7 were continuations of two different series we started this year.

 Book #6: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) by J.K. Rowling

Book #7: Elmer and the Dragon (My Father’s Dragon) by Ruth Stiles Gannett

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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Books number 6 & 7 in my August to August Year of Reads: Number 6 was literally Book Number 6 of the Harry Potter series – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Read with my 12-year old, this book solidified my thoughts that Snape seems so evil. If it weren’t for already have watched the movies, I don’t think I would think of Snape as have having a shred of good in him. Oh and the detail of the Horcrux’s is explained so much better in this book than the movie portrayed to me, even though I’ve seen the movies probably over five times each. ✅ Book number 7 read this year is the second in a series of relatively short books about Elmer and the Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett. These books keep the two younger ones entertained, and I enjoy the imagination it takes to picture the scenes of canaries talking, singing and dancing. We are looking forward to the next book about the Dragons of Blueland. #DsReadsAug2Aug

 

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 I posted about books number 6 &7 on Christmas day 2017.  Sheesh.  Tells you what was important at the time I guess.

Book #8: Pride and Prejudice: The Graphic Novel (Campfire Graphic Novels) illustrated by Marvel.  See the Instagram post below for my notes, but I loved this book.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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12.26.17 Book No. 8 – Backstory: My mom’s favorite book of all time was Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen. I tried reading that book at least three times growing up, but I don’t remember getting past the first third of the book. It was never the kind of book I could get into much to my mother’s chagrin. 👏🏼 Fast forward to a short time ago (a few weeks maybe): An Instagram friend posted that she found this graphic novel-style book and I was like “Wha??? They made this book into a graphic novel?” 👍🏼 So today, I literally had a few hours to kill (that’s another story) and finished this book. It re-emphasized my affection for graphic novels, and made me get through a story that I would have otherwise never been able to enjoy. Sorry friends who love Jane Austen but I just can’t get into books that are exclusively about drama over relationships. I know it’s supposed to be about the “time frame” and “that’s just what people did back then” but none of that stuff interests me if it’s not in the fantasy world of sci-fi. The artwork in this book was phenomenal though and I’m so glad I didn’t have to push through a 250-page book of young-women and teenage angst of just words. Whew. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I got through it though for my mom. And now I totally get why she liked it so much. She loved reading about relationship drama and young-women angst. Oh and especially how people treated each other because of their ‘status’ in the world. 💪🏼💜🎁 #ForMyMom #DsReads #AugToAugReads

 

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In January I posted about books I read a while back, but still in the time frame of August to August.

Book #9:Bloodline (Star Wars) by Claudia Gray

Book #10:Shredderman: Attack of the Tagger by Wendelin Van Draanan

Book #11:Do Over Hardcover – 24 May 2015 by Acuff (Author), Jon (Author) by John Acuff

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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Posting for the memories: Books number 9, 10, & 11. I finished Bloodline by Claudia Gray in early November but never posted about it. An excellent Star Wars Book in the new cannon, it’s like I needed this book to feel closer to this new Star Wars universe, post George Lucas. It takes place sometime before the Force Awakens, and still has Han Solo which is exactly what I wanted post watching the Force Awakens. 👏🏼👌🏼 Book number 10 I finished last night with my youngest, the second book in the Shedderman series. Although this book is about 10-years behind today’s technology, it was a great read with my oldest when he was 6 years old, and it’s been just as good with my youngest. He can’t wait to get to the third book in the series. Book number 11 I finished tonight. It’s called “Do Over” by Jon Acuff. It’s meant to be a book for a Career Jump or for anyone who would like to learn about how to build up his or her career and move forward with a literal “Do Over” in life. I’m not fond of his style of sarcasm and wit in his writing, but I do enjoy his honesty. He talks about his personal Do Overs, including the good and messy-life and the mistakes he’s made, which really help me to appreciate the books he writes. #DsReads #AugToAug

 

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Book #12: Shredderman: Meet the Gecko by Wendelin Van Draanan

Book #13: The Borrowers Afloat by Mary Norton

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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1.18.18 Books number 12 & 13: The third installment of the Shredderman series, my youngest son and I finished this book on Monday and we immediately got into book number 4. I think this was his favorite book yet. We got through it so fast! The 13th book read from my August to August year is the “Borrowers – Afloat” by Mary Norton. This is the second time reading this series, but the first with my daughter. Just like my oldest son, the interest is difficult to decipher for her because it’s just not a book she would have chosen herself. But, she asks me about words she doesn’t know, and she noticed tonight that it was hard for her to read the words in the order that the characters say them in. She asked me why they spoke that way, and I told her it’s because they [many of the characters] couldn’t read so they don’t know how to say things in the right order…. ☺️ #DsReads #AugToAugReads

 

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In March 2018, I posted the following Instagram post on the next three books.

Book #14: The Dragons of Blueland (My Father’s Dragon) by Ruth Stiles Gannett

Book #15: Shredderman: Enemy Spy by Wendelin Van Draanan

Book #16: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) by J.K. Rowling

 

Book #17 is the The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Harry Potter) by J.K. Rowling.

Book # 18 was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, which none of us really liked BTW.
Book #19: The Borrowers Aloft by Mary Norton

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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4.18.18 These are books 17-19 for my August to August record of how many books I read in a year. Not pictured: No. 17, The Tales of Beetle the Bard by JK Rowling finished in about a week – because it was so good. Book no. 18 is a classic, but was not entertaining for my family – Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Right from the start of reading this book as a family book, (7, 8, and 12) the kids and I were not able to handle the weirdness of it all. As soon as we were done reading it this evening though, we were ready to watch the Disney movie classic to reset our brains on the love of the film. That may be a weekend thing. Book no. 19 also ended today and that was the Borrowers Afloat by Mary Norton. I read this with my oldest when he was around 8 and tonight I finished it with my daughter (who is also 8!) Only one more to go in that series with her and it’s been great to talk about big words and how some folks don’t learn as much as others do when they can’t read and write. I’m looking forward to finishing a different book this week with my youngest too! 📚 #DsAugustToAugustReads #ReadToYourKids #ILoveBooks #RaisingReaders

 

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 I started a new series with my youngest called the Far Flung series.  He and I read the first of the three books, Book #20, called Fergus Crane (Far-Flung Adventures by Paul Stewart

 

Book #21: by Christopher Paolini

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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5.26.18 Book No. 21 of #DsAugustToAugustReads – Forty days after we started it, we finished the first book of the #InheritanceCycle. Can’t wait to start the next one. #ReadWithYourKids #KeepingTrack

 

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The last and what appears to be the final book of the year was #22 finished with the youngest: 

As it’s January 2019 when this post got published, I started keeping track again for all the books I read, both for myself and with my children.

Please feel free to follow me on Instagram, and I hope you get in few good reads this year too!


Completing the Star Wars Half Marathon – And Then Some

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Completed 19.3 miles for Rebel Challenge

Well – I did it.

I completed the runDisney Rebel Challenge at Disneyland in Anaheim, California over the weekend of January 12-15, 2017.

It was hard.

As I write this I have back pain from Lord-knows-whatever-happens to an aging body after completing a total distance of 19.3 miles over two days.

If it’s your first time to this website because you were searching for tips on running in Disneyland, here’s my best one: Make sure your phone is charged if you’re planning on using it to take video/photos/FB/Instagram while on your run.

The Rebel Challenge consisted of completing the 10K on Saturday and then the Half Marathon on Sunday.  There was a third medal for people (including me!) who finished the two races.  I trained for twelve-weeks for this weekend, including running 15-miles three weeks prior to this race weekend.  Fifteen miles was the longest run I have ever done.

For me, the runs this weekend was my victory lap.  I earned it as both a reward for training, and because of the money I put down just for the privilege of running through Disneyland.  I took as many pictures and videos as I could – before my phone died on the 10K. 10K BB-8 Medal

I learned many lessons after the 10K and only took photos for the half marathon.  Thankfully the phone made it all the way through the 13 miles.

My husband and I took the vacation by ourselves, and our three kiddos were well taken care of by family while we were gone.  We purchased the three days of photos that the Disney photographers took, and some of those photos are below, as well as this one here. Entrance to Disneyland Pro PhotoFor the most part, I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves.

Thanks for stopping by = D’

Saturday, 1-14-17, 10K (6.2 miles) Run

Flat D'Andra ready for the race. I tried on all my clothes and pinned my bib onto my shirt the night before the run.

Flat D’Andra ready for the race. I tried on all my clothes and pinned my bib onto my shirt the night before the run.

Star Wars + UA: Shop The Collection

I arrived at the runner's waiting area around 4 AM as it was suggested. It was too early, but I did get this amazing photo in one of their background set-ups for the runners.

I arrived at the runner’s waiting area around 4 AM as it was suggested. It was too early, but I did get this amazing photo in one of their background set-ups for the runners.

This is another one of the backdrops to take photos at while waiting for the race to start.

1.14.17 Despite being delayed by being caught by the wampa, I finished the #StarWars10K. 😉 #RunDisney #DsBucketList

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I try to take a selfie at my starting lines. This is what the scene looked like. I was in a crowd of over 1400 people in my corral alone.

I try to take a selfie at my starting lines. This is what the scene looked like. I was in a crowd of over 1400 people in my corral alone.

Starting Line Tips:

  • Meet people around you.  It passes the time as you wait for your corral to line up to the front.  It seemed like there was about a 7 minute time frame between corrals.  I was in corral F for this run so even though corral A left at 530 AM, corral F left at 6 AM.  That was a lot of standing around.
  • Sit if you get the chance.
  • This one is probably obvious but – use the bathroom before you go to the corrals.

This was one of the first things you see as you run into Disneyland....

This was one of the first things you see as you run into Disneyland….

I think one of the coolest things we got to do as runners is see a small portion of the back of Disneyland.  There are cast members everywhere to guide your way, so I never felt like I would get lost.  That, and the fact that there were thousands of people around me running in the same direction.

As we entered Cars Land from the back, the Rebellion symbol was lit up on the façade.

As we entered Cars Land from the back, the Rebellion symbol was lit up on the façade.

Something I wasn't expecting was the amazing mile markers. Many people stopped to take a photo, and there were plenty of people around to take a photo if you were by yourself like I was.

Something I wasn’t expecting was the amazing mile markers for the 10K run. Many people stopped to take a photo, and there were plenty of people around to take a photo if you were by yourself like I was.

Here's my selfie at the Disneyland pier. I learned to raise my hand if I was going to slow down to walk or stop for any reason along the run.

Here’s my selfie at the Disneyland pier. I learned to raise my hand if I was going to slow down to walk or stop for any reason along the run.

 Up to 25% off Disney Parks Merchandise! 15% off $75+, 20% off $125+, 25% off $200+. CODE: PARKOFFERS. Valid 1/20/17-1/22/17. Some Restrictions Apply.

This was a cool X-wing symbol at a "photo stop" along the route.

This was a cool X-wing symbol at a “photo stop” along the route.

This is one of my favorite pics from the race. Fighting tie-fighters since 1977. #StarWars10K #runDisney #DsBucketList

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You do have to wait in line to take photos at the photo stops, which slows your time of course. BUT - some of the photo stops are worth the few minutes.

You do have to wait in line to take photos at the photo stops, which slows your time of course. BUT – some of the photo stops are worth the few minutes. <Finn!>

This was the symbol showing up right before the BB-8 photo stop. The wait was over 45-minutes. It was at this point that I had to decide if I was going to finish the race and get my medal, or get a picture with BB-8. I chose the medal.

This was the symbol showing up right before the BB-8 photo stop. The wait was over 45-minutes. It was at this point that I had to decide if I was going to finish the race and get my medal, or get a picture with BB-8.
I chose the medal.

10 posing stormtroopers

11 Mile 4 Sign w-Poe

This photo was taken as we approached the backside of the Disney princess castle.

This photo was taken as we approached the backside of the Disney princess castle.

And that’s about where my phone died.  At 4.89 miles to be exact.  Oh well.  I have the memories of the run, and the super cool medal.

We purchased the photos of the three days my husband and I were at Disneyland and the runs.  Here are a couple of the pro-pictures taken by the Disney photographers –

RUNDISNEY_DLRMARAACTION16_20170114_7923467419

RUNDISNEY_DLRMARAFINISHLINE5_20170114_7923723464

My 10K finish photo.

Sunday, 1-15-17, Half Marathon (13.1 miles) Run

Flat D'Andra ready for the half marathon through Disneyland and the Anaheim area.

Flat D’Andra ready for the half marathon through Disneyland and the Anaheim area.

Second day Tip:

  • Sit as much as possible while waiting around for the race to start – There were bleachers in the waiting area for the runners.  There’s plenty to watch on stage including the appearance of Vader and his peeps.  The MC’s give you plenty of warning to go to the bathroom and start walking out to the corrals, where once again, there will be a “hurry up and wait” mentality.

Darth Vader came out with some storm trooper friends and pumped up the crowd as he was looking for the rebel spy. I guess someone forgot to tell him that this was the "Light Side" run.

Darth Vader came out with some storm trooper friends and pumped up the crowd as he was looking for the rebel spy. I guess someone forgot to tell him that this was the “Light Side” run.

I learned during the 10K race that standing around for an hour in the cool morning can make your feet numb.  I didn’t make that mistake for the half marathon.  I met a really cool lady named Stephanie who’s ran in several Disney half marathons and even completed the Kessel Run Challenge last year – Disney’s coast-to-coast half marathon completion medal.  So jealous.  She and I sat down together on the pavement while waiting for the corrals to “move along.”  It made the waiting so much more bearable.

This is my selfie at the start of the half. There were a total of 13,000 people running this race and I was in corral H. I started about 615 AM.

This is my selfie at the start of the half. There were a total of 13,000 people running this race and I was in corral H. I started about 615 AM.

 

Although the picture didn't come out that great, you can see that every mile there was a clock. Because I started about 40-minutes behind corral A, I always had to subtract 40-minutes from the times shown on the clocks.

Although the picture didn’t come out that great, you can see that every mile there was a clock. Because I started about 40-minutes behind corral A, I always had to subtract 40-minutes from the times shown on the clocks.

The Rebellion symbol was on the California Screamin' ride! How cool is that?

The Rebellion symbol was on the California Screamin’ ride! How cool is that?

Sunrise & the Millennium Falcon. This is also where I stopped to go to the bathroom. Another tip: Go to the bathroom in Disneyland if you even remotely feel like you need to go. Don't try to do it in the port-a-potties along the route.

Sunrise & the Millennium Falcon.
This is also where I stopped to go to the bathroom.
Another tip: Go to the bathroom in Disneyland if you even remotely feel like you need to go. Don’t try to do it in the port-a-potties along the route.

The Official LEGO Shop: The best selection of LEGO bricks in the world!

Posing for Mile 3.

Posing for Mile 3.

Jedi Training was in progress in this race with the cast members.

Jedi Training was in progress in this race with the cast members.

As soon as I passed the Jedi's, Darth Vader made his appearance. Yes I stopped to watch a bit!

As soon as I passed the Jedi’s, Darth Vader made his appearance. Yes I stopped to watch a bit!

One of my favorite photos from the run by the Disney photographers, I got really good at looking for the bright green tents the photographers were sitting under or near to smile for the cameras.

One of my favorite photos from the run by the Disney photographers, I got really good at looking for the bright green tents the photographers were sitting under or near to smile for the cameras.

This was one of the photo stops.  There was one with R2-D2, with a really long line, and I believe there was another that I just zoomed by.  I waited a little less than 10-minutes in line for this photo.

My selfie with Captain Phasma! She appeared in yesterday's race as well, but I was unable to get a good photo. This one came out great!

My selfie with Captain Phasma!
She appeared in yesterday’s race as well, but I was unable to get a good photo. This one came out much better!

After we left Disneyland, we ran around Garden Grove and the Anaheim area.  Someone asked me after I was all done what my favorite part of the race was, and I had to say that it was looking at all the people who came out to watch us run.

I’ve included my favorite selfies and photos of some of the characters who lined the course between miles 8 through 10.

"Prince" Leia - One of the runners in the race with me and he was in full princess Leia garb who was kind enough to take a selfie with me.

“Prince” Leia – One of the runners in the race with me and he was in full princess Leia garb who was kind enough to take a selfie with me.

Sometime after mile 8 there was someone dressed up as Lando Calrissian!

Sometime after mile 8 there was someone dressed up as Lando Calrissian!

22 Stole the Plans Sign

An Imperial Guard along the route took a selfie with me.

An Imperial Guard along the route took a selfie with me.

Another wonderful picture with a crew of rebels. For this Star Wars fanatic, this run was a dream come true. I'm not even kidding.

Another wonderful picture with a crew of rebels. (Photo-bombed by a Jawa!) For this Star Wars fanatic, this run was a dream come true.
I’m not even kidding.

After mile 9 - It's a push-my-body-mind-over-matter thing now.

After mile 9 – It’s a push-my-body-mind-over-matter thing now.

 Check out the latest accessories to enhance your Verizon Wireless phone today!

26 Half-Mile 11

I set my goal for this race to run it under 3 hours. Remember that I knew I had to subtract 40-minutes, so I knew I was close to my goal.

I set my goal for this race to run it under 3 hours.
Remember that I knew I had to subtract 40-minutes, so I knew I was close to my goal.

I was grateful that the photographer took such a great pic of me crossing the finish line. My husband was there to share the experience with me and I got to cross another item off my bucket list.

I was grateful that the photographer took such a great pic of me crossing the finish line. My husband was there to share the experience with me and I got to cross another item off my bucket list.

I was able to finish the run in 2 hours, 59 minutes and 33 seconds with a 13:42 min/mile pace.

For stopping to take as many photos as I did, I’ll take that time & pace any day!

I RAN THROUGH DISNEYLAND!  I RAN IN A STAR WARS HALF MARATHON!
There’s just not much else I can say.  It was amazing and I’m glad I did it.

Half Marathon Medal Rebel Challenge Medal

Thanks for sticking with this post and checking out my photos.  I love you just for coming and looking!

If you came here for some tips, I hope it helps your future running Disneyland if it’s your first time running there like it was for me.


Today I am Thankful For…. A Month of Being Thankful

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Thankful

From John on Flicker

I love the month of November.

For me it’s a time to reflect on all the blessings – both big and small, and yes, even be thankful for the difficult times in my life that have played such an important role in how I have been shaped, how I cherish life, and how I can see such monumental grace where it seems that nothing could come out of the bad things that happen.

I’m one of those people that believe that nothing “evil” comes from the Lord.

He has anger and has shown anger, yes, but He is not evil.  His is the almighty good.

But, I’m also not here to get philosophical on you.

I’m just a woman with a blog who enjoys writing, with the hopes that one day my children will read the random thoughts of their mother who loves them more than they will ever know.

Here’s what I want you to know from this post:

Today I am thankful.


On November 1, 2013, I wrote the following on my personal FB page:

So it’s the first day of November, 2013.  If you have become a friend of mine recently on FB, some of my friends and I “traditionally” give a status update everyday of something we are thankful for.  It doesn’t have to be a big, in fact, I love the small things I am grateful for.  I encourage you to come up with your own daily “Today I am thankful for…” thoughts especially if you haven’t started this tradition on your own.


Tomorrow, I will be thankful.

I will be thankful everyday of the year – but for one month, I publicly share my gratitude with anyone who reads it with the hope that maybe, you can be thankful to the One who provides it all.

Thank you Lord – for just being.  For loving me, and for allowing me to know you.  I am grateful for the Lord today.


Today, I turn 40 and 25….

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Birthday cake candles cake
Today’s my birthday.

I turn 40 years old today.  But more importantly, I turn 25-years old today as well.

Twenty-five years ago today, sometime before noon, I felt called to give my life to Christ through baptism.  It was during a period of time before everyone had cameras on his/her phones, and I didn’t wake up that morning thinking that I was going to get baptized so I don’t have a record of it except my memory.  I might have a bible with the date in it somewhere, but I also didn’t save many things from my youth so I would be surprised if I actually kept that.

I’ve haven’t shared my story of my baptism before, and I want my children to get to know their mama in every aspect, so I’m putting it in writing for the world to know that as I turn forty-years old, I am also turning twenty-five.


I was born and raised a Christian my entire life.

I knew nothing else.  I didn’t attend other churches of other faiths and thankfully, I’ve never known a life without Christ.

Even during some of my dumbest decisions, I know Christ was waiting for me, in the proverbial hallway, waiting for me to open the door I had shut very tightly and was holding closed by my own two hands.

I have a vivid memory of the day I got baptized.

My cousins joined us at church that day, and although we were always, and that’s always, late to church, I remember the Associate Preacher (or pastor) spoke that day.  I couldn’t tell you what the message was about, and I couldn’t tell you what the preachers name was either.  I feel like the Lord doesn’t want me to remember so that I can only give credit to Him for what happened next.

The Church I have attended for the majority of my life has always had a “system” that follows the basic outline:

  • The preacher preaches a sermon until about 1145 AM or so.
  • The preacher then asks the congregation if anyone would like to come forward to give his/her life to Christ or request prayers.
  • There is a song, followed by a baptism if applicable, and then followed by another song and a closing prayer and church is over by noon.

So on the day I got baptized, the preacher completed his sermon and asked if anyone would like to come forward.

The next thing I remember was sitting in the front pew asking the preacher to baptize me.

Just like that. Bible

Later as I recall the moment in time I “chose” to go up to the front of the congregation to ask to be baptized, I felt as if I was being pushed to go up there. I absolutely knew that I was supposed to get baptized that day.  Don’t ask me how, or why, but I truly felt called.

Now because I didn’t plan it, I didn’t have an extra set of clothes, or anything ready to get changed into prior to getting wet.  A few ladies rushed me in this back room behind the baptismal, gave me an adult sized white jumpsuit, and told me to change into it.

I was asked to confess that I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and came to the world to save me from my sins.

After my confession, I remember not being able to breath.

The way another preacher described the moment later in time as I witnessed ten baptisms in a row was exactly how I felt that day:

I remember feeling like I died.


Now listen – I get it.

You may think that’s crazy, and maybe it is.  But that’s the feeling I had.

For the few seconds my body was in the water, something happened to me and the only way to describe it was that I truly believe my old self died.  I was lifted out of that water a new person, still imperfect, but made perfect through Christ.

After I was immersed, and got out of the water, the same ladies that asked me to change brought me a towel and my clothes and as soon as I changed I took my first communion.

I remember my mom crying and hugging me after I came out from the back.  The church had already ended for the day and a few members waited for me to come out from the back of the baptismal to hug me and congratulate me.

My mom, not being prepared at all, took us to Ole Fri-ole for lunch, even though now I know she really couldn’t have afforded it back then.

I remember getting home and calling my dad, and he was sorry he missed the event.  I told him I didn’t know I was going to get baptized that day, and I know he was happy for me.

Overall, I have very straight forward memories of the day.

I remember being tested in my faith soon after getting baptized, and failing those tests.

As I watch people getting baptized now, I recall that day, more than ever, as a time that I didn’t have control of.  If you know me personally at all, I DO NOT like NOT having control.  I can’t stand not knowing what’s going to happen next.

Now that I get to look back at it 25 years later, I realize I wasn’t in control, and I’m so glad.  I feel so blessed to be able to rely on the Lord for those eternal decisions, even when I feel like I made certain choices about it.

Hopefully you don’t read this blog post and think, “Oh boy – D’Andra believes in pre-destination….

No, I really don’t.  I do believe God has a plan.  You can quote me on that.

And I also believe that we as people make choices, whether right or wrong, that the Lord uses for his glory.

It’s my hope that you know the Lord loves you so much that he sent his only Son for you.

It’s my hope that you devote your life to Christ even though you know you are imperfect.  That’s why I need Him.  Because I’m so very imperfect.

I’m so glad I got to be picked to be with Him for eternity.  I hope you make that choice too.  If you have and/or when you do, it’s how you know you were picked too. 😉

Be blessed today.  I’m being blessed because it’s my birthday.  I get to celebrate two birthday’s today and for that, I am eternally grateful.

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Running in Disneyland – A New Bucket List Item

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Darth Vader Bucket from DisneylandIf you know me personally, and have known me long enough, you know that I am a Star Wars fanatic.

Meaning, more than just a fan and probably more obsessed with Star Wars than most people on the planet and certainly, probably more than you.

Before children, and before I used to have the daily “necessity” chores of cooking, cleaning, running, getting things prepared the night before, etc., I would come home from work (and even before that, college classes,) plug the VHS tape of Star Wars, (later of course the Star Wars Trilogy DVD’s) and watch it (or run it in the background) until I would go to sleep.

My loving husband has put up with this obsession for over 20-years, and has succumbed to the loving & supportive role of bringing balance to my insatiable appetite for the latest thing in Star Wars.  If it weren’t for him, I would be going to comic-cons fully dressed in a cosplay outfit of my own creation, and happily spending money on the latest Star Wars toy, comic book – whatever.

But alas, reality does set in, and although #coffeeismylovelanguage, my heart truly loves to hear “Let’s watch Star Wars mommy!”

When George Lucas sold the Star Wars franchise to the Disney machine, my heart broke.

I know, it sounds stupid.

It wasn’t shocking or anything, because Lucas had made it clear that he didn’t only want to be known for Star Wars, wanted to run his company, his way and was getting yelled at and ridiculed for the Episode 1-3 movies.  He also had stated that he didn’t want to make any more Star Wars movies, so I knew there was a possibility that the books were going to be the only way to find more about the Universe and it’s hero’s.

But, it was a bit scary because the mouse I had grown to despise from my youth (I have many issues) had now entered my life in a completely unfamiliar way.

I had to become a Disney fan in order to maintain my love of Star Wars as I did before.

I knew the new movies that were planned were going to be good.

But I also knew that Disney’s mission statement includes making money, and I have always had issues with that on a deep, emotional level, tied to my mother and being poor when I was young and all kinds of relatively insignificant things to the majority of the population, except to me.

But ~

I had to get over it.

Companies change and companies will do almost anything to make money.

I had to put all my personal issues aside, so that I could become a Star Wars Disney fan.

I’m looking forward to the new Star Wars land opening up.

LA Times put up a great article about the new Star Wars land in Disneyland.

Here’s an slightly interactive map of the new Star Wars land in Disneyland too.

I’m looking forward to the next movie – Rogue One and the next installment of the Star Wars series, Episode 8.  It will be dark, amazing, and I will buy movies, and merchandise, and I will run in the half marathon offered at Disneyland with the Star Wars theme.

Oh yes, I will run.  And I have paid for the privilege to run inside Disneyland in January 2017.  In fact, I’m looking forward to it.

The training plan offered by runDisney is 20-weeks long for an “experienced” runner (hah!) like myself.  But the real kick-in-the-pants part of their training plan, is that the longest run is 17-miles.

Seventeen miles.

SEVENTEEN MILES!

I know I can do it you guys.

And because I’m a glutton for punishment, I signed up for the 6.25 mile race on Saturday and the 13.1 mile race on Sunday.  It’s called the Rebel Challenge and you get an extra medal for running both races.

Yup.

Why in the Lord’s holy name,” you may be thinking….

I’m doing it for the medals. #medaljunkie

I’m going to try to do it for the satisfaction of getting it done. #Ds40Before40

I’m doing it because I believe I can. #DreamingofDisneyRuns

It’s Star Wars.  It’s running through Disneyland.  It sounds so cool.  And I added it to my bucket list to check off.

There, I said it and wrote it down.  It’s a goal now, with a date and a plan and everything.

I leave you with this – the heart pounding “Celebration” trailer for Rogue One – the new movie in the Star Wars Universe that is coming out in December 2016.  To say I am “looking forward to it” is a complete and total understatement.  I have no words to describe how this clip makes me feel, other than, I feel like I’m a kid again ready to watch the next Star Wars movie in a theater.

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Cub Scout Campout at the Sequoia National Forest

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Cub Scout Troop in front of General Sherman TreeAs a Cub Scout family, and as a family that enjoys each other’s company while sleeping in a tent with no television, limited cell phone service and a spirit of adventure, taking a trip up to the Sequoia National Forest was a sweet beginning to the new Webelo 2 year for my oldest.

Webelo 2-boys have a set of requirements to earn badges, and in general, just have to do outings and such to promote to a Boy Scout by the end of the school year next year.

One of the things that my husband and I recognize for our three children is:

This is the time of their lives.

They will never be this little again.

They will never have this chance to be with their parents, at this age, to do these fun things while my husband and I are able-bodied and younger, again.

We are not taking that for granted.

Friday

I took a day off of work on a Friday and we headed up one of the mountain ranges that surround our valley in California.Kids and parents packed

In discussion with the Cub Scout leaders, we knew that Saturday was going to be our big day together as a group, so we worked our meals and our plans around the group activities.

Three days and two nights in a beautiful, mosquito and bug infested setting.

Tent set upFriday afternoon we set up our tent after we arrived and we took a brief walk around the camping ground to see what we could find.

The paved road led us to a small stream, where we were able to cross it at a fallen tree that had clearly become a little bridge for hikers.

The stream had several small fish in it, and the kids just seemed to love hanging out with their daddy, despite the mosquitos and bugs.

There were small fish in the stream running along the campground. The kiddos love hanging out with their daddy!

There were small fish in the stream running along the campground. The kiddos love hanging out with their daddy!

But alas, all good things must come to an end.

Our precious 6-year old got a headache, and right away, I knew she hadn’t been drinking that much water – primarily because of the drive down.  (Yes, we purposely don’t give them water bottles in our vehicles when we drive for more than two hours. Don’t judge.)

She ended up crying when we got back to the campsite.  We started giving her water, and after the crying she sat in my lap about to fall asleep.

We continued to give her sips of water and about forty minutes later she said her headache felt better.  I suggested that she lie down and as she took her shoes off to go into the tent, she threw up.

Now, I look at that as a blessing.

Go with me – she threw up outside the tent.  WHEW!  She felt immediately better and continued to drink water as we sat in the tent together looking up at the canopy.  My husband cleaned the outside while I cleaned her up inside the tent and she was ready to eat after about twenty minutes of hanging in the tent with mom.

Our planned dinner consisted of hot dogs for the kids and steak for my husband and I.

Steak and Hotdogs for DinnerThe meat bees were few (praise God!) and the chips went well with the steak.  As this was a Cub Scout event, no alcohol is allowed, so we didn’t have a drink on this trip – but that’s okay.  We want to teach our children that alcohol isn’t needed to have fun anyway (right?)

Saturday

The breakfast we planned was cereal and milk, and we also brought bagels and cream cheese.  I had pre-packaged lunch bags (just gallon Ziploc bags with granola bars, beef jerky, goldfish crackers, etc.), except for the sandwiches.

I made the sandwiches that morning and although I didn’t take a photo of it, one thing I know to do was to put peanut butter on both sides of bread before putting the jelly in the middle.

Helpful hint: The air in the mountains dries out bread within a few minutes so ensure that for every piece of bread you take out, you close the bag.  😉

DeAndrasCrafts kids on the shuttleThere’s a fantastic free shuttle system in the park that travels from the campground to various locations throughout the park, to alleviate the parking problems during the weekend.  Now that I have experienced it, I have a few general bits of wisdom and observations: ShuttleRouteMap_2012_web-Erika

  • The shuttle goes slower on the curves – this helps for a child (like one of mine) that feels nauseous when on curvy roads.  Yes, this also means it takes a little longer to get from one point to the other, but it’s still convenient to get around.
  • The Saturday afternoon shuttle lines were insane.  We waited at least thirty minutes to get on a shuttle from the Giant Forest Museum stopping point to Lodgepole Market, but the kids went inside the museum while some of the moms saved a space in line.
  • The shuttles are extremely full.  They (ahem) push the limit of passengers in one shuttle, but it also means that a large group like ours was able to ride one bus.

But overall, the shuttle was the easiest way to get around, and certainly didn’t cause any headaches of transporting kiddos anywhere.

The entire group all started out on the climb to Moro Rock. The beginning steps of Moro Rock

Per the National Park website, it’s a 400 step climb up to the top.  All my children (ages 10, 6, and 5) were able to do it, but the little girl did not want to get close to the edge and was frightened of the heights.  There’s a bench at the top that she sat on with her older brother while my husband and youngest and I all took photos at the top.  It was a wonderful view and site.

This is my youngest climbing to the top of the stairs before looking over to the top of Moro Rock.

This is my youngest climbing to the top of the stairs before looking over to the top of Moro Rock.

On the top of Moro Rock, there two "ends" of view, and this is one of them overlooking some of the valley.

On the top of Moro Rock, there two “ends” of view, and this is one of them overlooking some of the valley.

This is the other end of the top of the rock. Behind us is the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

This is the other end of the top of the rock. Behind us is the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

 

The left hand side overseeing the south of Moro Rock  The road to the south valley of California.  The right side of the south valley

One of the best things about this trip was the challenge of the hiking.  The Cub Scouts have to hike a certain amount of miles with a group, even if it’s family, and our scout was able to accomplish all his hiking on this one trip, even though we know he’ll get more hikes in throughout the year.

Going down the stairs was more precarious than coming up it seemed at times on Moro Rock....

Going down the stairs was more precarious than coming up it seemed at times on Moro Rock….  It did go much faster though, as expected.

The next thing we did was take the shuttle to Crescent Meadows.  We had planned on eating lunch there and then dispersing as individual families, but a few of the families stayed together and walked the Crescent Meadow loop.

That was a two-mile round trip hike, that for us included a visit to a tree that the Scouts and siblings were able to climb into.

Cub Scouts in a TreeThe next cool thing was Tharp’s Log, a home built inside a log.  You can find more information about it on Trip Advisor.

My youngest was trying to get out of the photo and instead, ended up being the center of attention while walking in front of the group! Tharp's Log in the Sequoia National Forest.

My youngest was trying to get out of the photo and instead, ended up being the center of attention while walking in front of the group in front of Tharp’s Log.

We also got to see a bear.

That’s right, a bear.  IN THE WILD.  It was awesome, even if you can’t see it in the photo I took.

There's a bear in the center of this photo. It's brown in color, but a California black bear trying to find food, nonetheless. We saw it along the Crescent Meadow.

There’s a bear in the center of this photo. It’s brown in color, but a California black bear trying to find food, nonetheless.
We saw it along the Crescent Meadow.

As I stated above, the toughest part of the whole day was the shuttle ride back to our camp.  After the Crescent Meadow hike, the families went their separate ways and ours chose to have ice cream outside of the Lodgepole store.  We sat around and people watched for about 1/2-hour, which my children have told me that it was one of their favorite things about the whole trip.

<Big sigh.>

Everyone is different, I know.

Dinner on SaturdayWe ate pizza that night that my husband learned to cook on our cast-iron skillet, and all of us enjoyed a restful night of sleep after a big day.

Sunday

My children sleeping in the tent after an exhausting day.

My children sleeping in the tent after an exhausting day.

I had a great night of sleep that night, unlike the first night ~ probably because I was exhausted too!

My children woke up around 7 AM, which is relatively late in the day for all of them.

We packed up camp and had planned to hike to the John Muir Grove in the morning as a family.  We left a little later than we wanted on that hike, but overall, we were able to hike the distance with three children and probably six to seven stops in about three hours.

That includes the time we spent hanging out at the grove as well.  We almost gave up, but ran into some people that passed us and told us it was “around the corner.” It was about a quarter mile away at that point and it was totally worth it!

This is the trail to the John Muir Grove. We started out at Dorst Campground and walked with our children to the grove. I tracked our hike and it was easily five-miles.

This is the trail to the John Muir Grove. We started out at Dorst Campground and walked with our children to the grove. I tracked our hike and it was easily five-miles.

Image source: RedwoodHikes.com

A family selfie on the trail to the John Muir Grove.

A family selfie on the trail near the beginning to the John Muir Grove.

On the way to the grove, we saw one deer, on the way back from the grove, we saw a deer and two babies! They were all around this beauitful, but mosquito infested meadow.

On the way to the grove, we saw one deer, on the way back from the grove, we saw a deer and two babies! They were all around this beauitful, but mosquito infested meadow.

This is where we stopped to eat a snack-type lunch we packed of granola bars, fruit snack, drink plenty of water, and stack some rocks. My daughter is in front of our pile. It's a beautiful overlook where you can see the final destination from the south west view.

This is where we stopped to eat a snack-type lunch we packed of granola bars, fruit snacks, beef jerky, drink plenty of water, and stack some rocks. My daughter is in front of our pile.
It’s a beautiful overlook where you can see the final destination from the south west view.

This enchanted piece of the hike had birch trees hanging over the trail almost as a beautiful entry to the John Muir Grove.

This enchanted piece of the hike had birch trees hanging over the trail almost as a beautiful entry to the John Muir Grove.

An fallen tree on the trail becomes a fun, adventurous obstacle to go under or around.

An fallen tree on the trail becomes a fun, adventurous obstacle to go under or around.

My children posing with funny faces in front of one of the first trees we found in the John Muir Grove. These trees are amazing and are only found in California.

My children posing with funny faces in front of one of the first trees we found in the John Muir Grove.
These trees are amazing and are only found in California.

Sometimes, the giant redwood trees need no caption. This is my husband in front of one.

Sometimes, the giant redwood trees need no caption.
This is my husband in front of one.

I've been blessed to see these trees over the course of my life here in California. They are impressive and to me, are a testament to the Lord's greatness. Plus, this hike made me feel strong. ;)

I’ve been blessed to see these trees over the course of my life here in California. They are impressive and to me, are a testament to the Lord’s greatness. Plus, this hike made me feel strong. 😉

I have a love for these trees that I can only imagine was similar to John Muir himself. I want to see them again.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my comforts and enjoy the advantages of living in a home in the city, but there’s truly an un-tapped component of doing a hike like this and looking up at these trees.  It’s indescribable.

My only suggestion is that if you haven’t gone to see the redwoods, then I hope this post helps you try to plan to see them. I can promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

The tops of the redwoods

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#DreamingOfDisneyRuns

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RunDisney Virtual Shorts MedalsDuring the months of May and June, 2016, I intentionally ran three separate 3.15 mile runs for the Inaugural Disney Virtual Running Shorts Series.

What does that mean,” you ask?

Well, Disney has the ability to put on anything and everyone will flock to it because it’s Disney.

The RunDisney website wrote up a blog post here: Announcing the Run Disney Virtual Running Shorts Series, and I chose the package that included running at least three 5K (3.15 mile runs) during different date periods.

Personally, I’m a medal junkie, so I wanted a piece of the Disney action at a relatively expensive price – but – the medals did not disappoint as you can see in the photo.

I also purchased the tumbler, just for opportunity to say “I WAS THERE, DID IT, and I got the cup to prove it.”

This is the Inaugural Run Disney cup with the four medals for the Virtual Running Shorts Series Disney put on in summer of 2016.

This is the Inaugural Run Disney cup with the four medals for the Virtual Running Shorts Series Disney put on in summer of 2016.

 

I was able to run the distances during the time frames they gave and have my notes below.

My first 5k for the Run Disney Virtual Short Series was on May 25, 2016, where I got a breathtaking view of the sunrise and a good run in for the first of the three virtual races.

My first 5k for the Run Disney Virtual Short Series was on May 25, 2016, where I got a breathtaking view of the sunrise and a good run in for the first of the three virtual races.

The yellow shoe medal for the first run between May 15-June 1, 2016. #runDisneyShorts

The yellow shoe medal for the first run between May 15-June 1, 2016. #runDisneyShorts was the hashtag for the event.

My Red Shorts run for the RunDisney #RunVirtualDisney Shorts. It was a better time than the first one!

The second run was my Red Shorts run for the RunDisney virtual races.
It was a better time than the first one!

Magical New Arrivals at Disney Store! Shop Now!

This is the virtual race red-shorts run for Run Disney. I did this run on June 7, 2016. My word of the year is printed on it.

This is the virtual race red-shorts run for Run Disney. I did this run on June 7, 2016. My word of the year is printed on it.

This is the Red Shorts Medal from Run Disney. It's beautiful, just like the other three!

This is the Red Shorts Medal from Run Disney. It’s beautiful, just like the other three!  It was for a run between June 5 – June 18, 2016.

Of course, in all my over-achieving-ness, I ran a 4 mile distance for my last 5K, what was supposed to be a 3.12 mile run. Oh well. The best thing about this run was having negative splits!

Of course, in all my over-achieving-ness, I ran a 4 mile distance for my last 5K, what was supposed to be a 3.12 mile run. Oh well. The best thing about this run was having negative splits!

The White Glove medal from Run Disney was for running a 5K distance during June 19-June 30, 2016.

The White Glove medal from Run Disney was for running a 5K distance during June 19-June 30, 2016.

This is the finishers medal that was included for completing all three races. Summer time checklist for these medals complete!

This is the finishers medal that was included for completing all three races.
Summer time checklist for these medals complete!

Virtual races are a way I reward myself for running.  I know I’m supposed to look at the health benefits and all that good stuff, but the medals are the real prize in my eyes.

My husband has recognized this new obsession as a healthy one and we have a line item in our monthly budget for the medals now.  I love him.

What’s up with the <hashtag> #DreamingOfDisneyRuns now?

Well, that will be another blog post….

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Five Years in the Making: My Amish Print Afghan

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Amish Print Afghan - Five Years in the MakingAccountability.

That’s how I was able to complete this afghan (or blanket if you need to hear that word instead) after it sat in my garage for the past five years.

How do I know it’s been five years?

I don’t.  I don’t know how long it’s been sitting around.

What I did know was that I got the pretty bag the squares sat in at least five years ago.  (I have a thing for purses and bags so that’s more memorable.)

For all I recall this project was started 10-years ago and I put it in the pretty bag five years ago.

The point is, THAT IT DOESN’T MATTER.

It’s done.

One less unfinished project in my garage and more yarn used up from my yarn hoard.

How did I do it?

I joined a Facebook group ~ a small one, but convenient nonetheless ~ that exclusively discusses and allows creators like myself to be honest with our WIP’s (works in progress) and struggles of completing projects.

I counted many of my Unfinished Objects (UFO’s) on a previous blog post, and this was one of them.  Out of the six projects listed in that post, two of them are now complete.  <Whoop, whoop!> 😉

Here’s the link to pattern if you came for that: Amish Print Afghan

The Free Patterns Website is under the blanket (see what I did there) of Annie’s.  Shown below are some photos of my work-in-progress.  I am most proud of the fact that after sitting in my garage for at least the past five years, I completed the blanket in about 5-weeks.

Be warned!

There is the exact same pattern for sale on Craftsy for $2 AND THAT’S NOT RIGHT!  I wish people wouldn’t do that when the pattern is clearly free on Free Patterns.com

Have a creative, crafty & crochet-love Wednesday friends.


Color nature with Copic markers!


These are the squares I had in a bag in the garage before working on this crochet project over the course of 5-weeks to finish it.

These are the squares I had in a bag in the garage before working on this crochet project over the course of 5-weeks to finish it.

This is a close up of the square for the Amish Afghan pattern. What I liked the best was the use of so many colors.

This is a close up of the square for the Amish Afghan pattern. What I liked the best was the use of so many colors.

I took this photo after the first week of trying REALLY HARD to work on completing this blanket. I gave myself a timeline of completing a row of squares each week.

I took this photo after the first week of trying REALLY HARD to work on completing this blanket. I gave myself a timeline of completing a row of squares each week.

the beginning square process

I would work on three to four squares at a time during lunch and break times at work. I would complete a row of color on all the current squares, before moving on.

All those square had to be joined somehow and all those colors have to have ends weaved in.

All those squares had to be joined somehow and all those colors have to have ends weaved in.

The Amish blanket really tested my patience. I believe this was done around week 4, and what really got to me mentally was trying to convince myself to sew all the squares together. I ended up staying up one night and finishing it.

The Amish blanket really tested my patience. I believe this was done around week 4, and what really got to me mentally was trying to convince myself to sew all the squares together. I ended up staying up one night and finishing it.

Here is the Amish squares all sewn together and ready for the edging.

Here is the Amish squares all sewn together and ready for the edging.

Here are my hands crocheting the edging around the Amish Print Afghan (blanket.)

Here are my hands crocheting the edging around the Amish Print Afghan (blanket.)

I am so in love with the colors of this blanket. I used many different types of yarn from my yarn stash so the colors are similar in many instances, but not the same.

I am so in love with the colors of this blanket. I used many different types of yarn from my yarn stash so the colors are similar in many instances, but not the same.

The edging is definitely a compliment to the blanket itself. I'm so glad it's complete, and now, to decide what to do with it!

The edging is definitely a compliment to the blanket itself. I’m so glad it’s complete, and now, to decide what to do with it!

Crochet Patterns & Supplies at Annie’s