WW: 4th of July Weekend 2012

4th of July this year was HOT and on a Wednesday and HOT. I had a love/hate relationship with it. I loved it because WHOO-HOO! Got a break in the middle of the week. Hated it b/c OH NO! 2 Mondays! And it was HOT! Did I mention that already? It was in 100s ALL week and didn’t “cool” off to the upper 80s until Saturday afternoon.

Still, it was a great weekend. I was off Wednesday and Friday and our awesome friends from NJ came by to visit us! We toured them around our new neck of the woods (though it’s all cornfields once you go beyond a 5 mile radius). We also snuck in a trip to Chicago…perfect timing too as we celebrated our 5th Anniversary :)

Buddy’s 1st trip to the city…I couldn’t stop singing “hot times, buddy(summer) in the city” (you know you’re singing it now too).
Hot Times...Buddy in   the City

Our hotel was kid AND pet friendly – giving them all goodie bags and treats. They even had a kiddie hour where they had popcorn and lemonade set up for the kids along with board games and a Wii station too!

seeeesters
Untitled

And we had the “Palace Theater” lights as our view…
Palace Theater lights...view from our room
Palace Theater

Saturday, we ate a Filipino Restaurant. OH MY YUMNESS! How I’ve missed Filipino(unhealthy) food! We missed it so much, we had brunch there again on Sunday! I was so excited to eat I forgot the “before” pic. Here’s the after…I wish I had more room in my belly!
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There happened to be a street fest going on so we got to go check it out and the girls even got to go on a pony ride! Excuse me as I am ripping Shrimpie’s top…This must have been one of the times she let go and I had to quickly hold her up / tighter:
Shrimpie Pony Ride

Razz Pony Ride

Beans Pony Ride

Thankfully, it cooled off on Saturday and we got to celebrate our 5th Anniversary without sweating every second of just standing outdoors.

Razz & Beans at the Navy Pier w/Pirates and in front of the Ferris Wheel entrance (holy long line batman):
Ahoy Mateys!  ARGGGHHHHH!

Razz and Beans at the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

Here we are in our room before heading out again:
07.07.07  - 5 year anniversary

Grabbing our grub w/Chaprille who drove out from NJ :)
Chaprille came from NJ and spent 4th of July / celebrated our anniversary w/us :)

Dessert – chocolate crepe w/ice cream:
Anniversary Dessert

Walking along Michigan Ave, we spotted our “anniversary” building:
Seven Seven Seven Michigan Ave... 07.07.07 Our Anniversary :)

So, of course, we had to pose in front of it.  Don’t mind my windblown bangs in the windy city…And no, we didn’t mean to match.  I only brought 1 tee b/c I thought it would be crazy hot like the previous days.  He only had this tee to match his sneakers (which he wore this night b/c of all the walking we were planning on doing.  Otherwise, he would just wear his sandals).

777 Michigan Ave - our anni :)

We didn’t take too many “touristy” type photos since we did a lot of that back in February when we went. We didn’t make it to they Skydeck like we had planned. The line was too long and we were supposed to come back, but dinner was so yum and filling that we wanted to walk a bit and then watched fireworks from the sidewalk as the Navy Pier was putting on a show. Sorry, no good fireworks pics here. We were on the sidewalk and had a sign in our view at times.

fireworks from Navy Pier - view from the sidwalk

It really cooled off at night and the Windy City proved why it is called that:
Razz & Beans "windy" city it is

Felt like our stay was too short, as always. Really starting to like Chi-town (though I’m not sure I like saying “Chi-town”…lol).

Join us for Wordful Wednesday by posting a link to your entry over at Angie’s:

WW: Mother’s Day Part 3 – To Jump or Not to Jump…

Um, well, my post has nothing to do with the 4th of July, but Happy Independence Day, anyway! Be safe as you celebrate ;)

Ok, so 1st part of this series is all about how I was on an adventure w/no knowledge of my destination. Part 2 was Training. Sorry it’s taken so long to finish this series…work’s been busy and we had guests and activities and etc…Anyway, here’s the finale…

Training finally concluded.  pDaddy and the girls were there and I was scheduled to be on the 3rd load.  There were 13 students that day and they only take up 2 or 3 at a time.  It was after 12pm.  All I had was coffee, Gatorade and a couple of Doritos that were in my truck.  pDaddy brought me a granola bar to help me from passing out.  I didn’t want to eat-eat until after I was done.

suiting up                                     thumbsup_papap_mobile

IMG_5137

It was almost, probably, over 90 degrees at this point.  It was my turn to suit up and to say I was sweating bullets is an under statement. Sure, the jumpsuit didn’t help, but I was already sweating before that.  Put my goggles and helmet on and my sweat was dripping into my goggles!  Don’t let that smile fool you.

Finally, it was our turn and I was told I would jump first since it was starting to get windy and they wanted the smaller ones done first so we don’t get blown too far off, just in case…and by “small”, it was relative.  Basically, they wanted the “shorties” to go first.  lol.  Anyway, I was a nervous wreck.

plane

Thoughts flooded my head…

What if I can’t hang on long enough onto that strut and fall off before  my Jump Master gives me the GO?  (I was told that was ok and just prepare to arch my back so I don’t swirl and twirl too much).

What if my parachute doesn’t meet the “Is it there?  Is it square?  Does it flare?” perfect scenario?  Will I remember all the things I’m supposed to do to handle the malfunction(s)?

What if I land wrong?  What if I lose radio signal w/the Jump Master on the ground that would help us check our chute’s mobility in the air and bring us in for landing?

So.Many.Thoughts.Rushing through my head.  I guess my Jump Master sensed it so he kept trying to talk to me about other stuff and would slip in a “You’ll be fine” every now and then…

That ascent to 3500 feet was the LONGEST ever.  I felt like we were never going to make it up there.  The more time that passed, the more I was ready to back out.

Finally, we reached altitude and the Jump Master yelled “DOOR” to which we had to respond “DOOR” – acknowledging that he was going to open it.

And there it was…

Open fields right underneath us.  How beautiful it all looked!

I said a quick prayer b/c I knew that any second, my JM (jump master) would give me the commands.  That he did…and what I feared was making me feel like I couldn’t do it

the next few paragraphs are commands and such, but I promise, more fun pics after :).

Command A – GET YOUR FEET OUT

I was given the command, but I couldn’t get my arm on the strut (you’re supposed to hold onto the strut as you get your feet out).  I couldn’t fight the wind.  I realized that I wasn’t pushing hard enough so on the 3rd try, I did it.  I pushed hard and got my hand on the strut and feet on the step.  End of Command A.

Command B – GET YOUR WHOLE BODY OUT  (aka the one that feels like FOREVER)

OMG

This meant I had to get both arms on the strut which also meant I had to turn my body (and feet) from rear facing to front facing and start making my way out onto the strut.

So much was going through my mind that I can’t even remember parts of it.  I just know that I did have a bit of a hard time making my way there.  I was holding onto for dear life – literally.  I was making my way over and almost started grabbing the strut wrong – just like they told us not to do (by wrapping wrist around it).  I don’t know how long it took me to make my way over and I know I didn’t fully make it all the way, but I did end up under the mark for where my head was supposed to be (basically, you need to look up at the wing and make sure you are under an orange dot…picture of the plane and where orange dots are in previous post on this).  I don’t know how long my feet were off the step before I turned to look for my JM to give me the next command.

COMMAND C – DOT (aka GO aka thumbs up).

All I know is I finally looked and he gave me the GO.  I looked up at the mark above my head, took a few deep breaths, let go and arched my back as best as I could.

I almost forgot to count 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 – which is when I was supposed to check for my parachute to be deployed and check for malfunctions.

I finally got back to the moment and checked my chute and put my hands in the toggles (handles) so I could steer and do my mobility checks.  Just then, the JM on the radio came in…

Ok Stephanie.  Let’s do some checks.  Right 360.  Left 360. Flare.

And I did it.

Once that was done he stayed quiet except when he would need to bring me on course so I didn’t drift too far off.

I looked down and just marveled at how beautiful it was.  Granted, it was all farmland and most of the crops were still not in sprout mode so a lot of the land was still brown, but it was still beautiful  none the less.  Simply, AMAZING.

plane and me

AIRBORNE

22

I had mixed feelings b/c I wanted to stay up and float around a lot longer up there, but the straps around my legs were starting to dig in and hurt…then there was a point where I thought I was starting to feel nauseous…probably from nerves or not eating or both.  Next thing I know, he was bringing me in for landing…time for my descent.
descent

and my landing…
Flare Flare Flare
LANDING

5

Pictures prove that I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  I landed softly with a little roll like we were taught to do.  I looked up and saw my class, instructors and pDaddy and my girls.  I heard the cheers from everyone, but none sounded sweeter than my girls.

GO MOMMY!
MOooooooooooooooM!
YEAH MOMMY!

done
WHOOOO!

My Cheerleaders:
CHEERLEADERS
2 Saturdays in a row where my girls cheered me on (the previous weekend, I ran 5k).  How magnificent is that?

One of the instructors helped me w/my Chute and I walked back, still smiling, giving the thumbs up signs and just in awe of everything that just happened.  What a rush!

Holy crap.  I did it!  And I landed safely!  And OMG!!! I JUMPED OFF A PLANE!!!  WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

Now, will I jump again?

If you asked me that day, I would have given an emphatic YES!

That Sunday, YES.

As days go on, hmmmm….I really do hate that walking and moving up the strut part and fighting the winds and umm…hmmm…so my answer, MAYBE, MAYBE NOT.  BUT, I’ve done this once in my life and I’m happy about that.

Cross this off my Bucket List!

(now do I add free fall solo on there?  hmmmmmmm  that does mean I would need to do this about 7-8 more times so hmmmm)

 

~~~~~~~~to see other WW entries, checkout Angie’s blog and link up!~~~~~~~~~~~

 

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Gotcha…

Finally did it.  Week 5 Day 3 (aka the 20 minute run) is elusive no more!

I slept early last night…well, I tried.  I fell asleep around 11:30 only to wake up an hour later then got back to sleep around 1-ish.  Ever since I wrote my post yesterday w/that challenge to myself, I’ve been psyching myself out to do this 20 minute run and I must’ve subconciously been thinking about waking up early to do it b/c I actually woke up before my alarm (5:30…my alarm’s set for 5:50).   Of course, I kept going back to sleep so I actually didn’t get out of the door until almost 7:15 and OFF I finally went!

Beautiful morning – cool and breezy…partly cloudy in the low 70s.  Perfect.

I surprised myself and did relatively ok with the whole thing.  It was the last 5 or 6 minutes that hurt because I had to go up-hill for about 3 minutes before going back down.  Plus, my right sock was slipping off and so I was getting my first blister (not counting one from years ago 08?  09?).

I’m glad I challenged myself.  I’m glad I got out there.  It’s 8am.  I feel great.  I need to just eat well and keep up this momentum and that should keep me on the bandwagon again :)

According to my Garmin (not counting warm up and cool down), here’s my Week 5 Day 3 breakdown!
Time:  20:00.77
Distance: 1.7 miles
Avg. Heartrate: 174
Calories:  196

Warmup
Time: 5:01.49
Distance: .27
Avg. Heartrate: 130
Calories: 33

Cooldown (stopped too early):
Time: 3:36.78
Distance: .09 (I was walking back and forth the same block. Does GPS get all messed up?)
Avg. Heartrate: 151
Calories: 29

Elusive W5D3 – Couch to 5k

I have attempted Week 5 at least 3, no wait, 4 times now.  Each time, I wus out on W5D3 because it requires you to run 20 minutes straight, something I have never done.

Instead of me getting psyched up to push myself and test my boundaries, I get scared.  Scared of hurting my shins again…scared of NOT making the full 20 minutes and feeling like a failure.  The longest I’ve ever run straight was probably 13 minutes when I ran that 5k in May.  So instead of getting out there and running, I lay in bed and think I should get up and go already, but in reality? I lay there and think about it more than I put an effort to doing it. I ran Week 5 Days 1 and 2 again 2 weeks ago when we had guests over. My last run was 2 Fridays ago. That’s right, no runs (or any form of exercise) at all last week. I don’t know if it’s because my body just wanted to rest after hosting guests, but I think it had more to do w/the heat and being scared.

So, I haven’t lost any weight, in fact, I think I gained a few pounds (especially not doing anything last week). I should be at my ideal body, or close to it by now, IF I just stuck to working out and eating better. Why, oh why do I always fall off the darn wagon??? At least I haven’t gained too much weight back. I am going to try this darn 20 minute run this week. Although, I may need to start Week 5 all over again so as to not shock my body/legs, but by golly, I will try the 20 minutes straight. I mean, what is my problem??? If my shins start to hurt, then fine, I’ll slow down or start walking it. I just need to move!

Couch to 5k – Week 5

I keep thinking back to that 5k in May and feeling so accomplished…totally opposite of what I’ve been feeling lately.  I need to get on it and just do it.  I need a boost in confidence…a better, more fit, body so I can feel confident.  I’m not trying to be a size 2 again, I’m not.  I just want to feel healthy and not so flabby and floppy and sloppy and blah.

I will do the 20 minutes this week (holiday week and all…weekend getaway and all).  I will do it.  This is my weekly challenge.  I have too many cute summer clothes I want to wear and if I’m looking and feeling flabby, no amount of cuteness is going to do anything to make me feel good or look good.

Genetics

I have to have one of the worst genetics of the modern world…ok, maybe First World.    Between my 2 parents, I have a slew of checks all over the “Family Health History” section of any Dentist/Doctor questionnaire.

High Blood Pressure?  Check.  Heart Disease?  Check.  Cancer?  Check.  Diabetes? Check.

That’s just to name a few.  Add in my grandparents and I can check off more:  Glaucoma, Alzheimer’s or Schizophrenia or ???  At least, that’s what we think…she refuses to go to the doctor and keeps thinking she’s in the WWII era (with enemies and soldiers surrounding her house.  She refuses to leave and doesn’t really let people in.  She forgets people.  She hears people – dead people.  Maybe she’s just got the “Sixth Sense” going on).

My faux pas?  I didn’t take care of myself better, earlier.  I spent way too many days not eating right – whether it’s junk food all day or skipping meals or what have you.  I had my fair share of drinks.  I smoked for over 10 years.  I drank too much coffee (cigs and coffee just went better together).  I used to, and sometimes still can, get stressed beyond belief either by things around me or thinking too much.  What things around me?  Before it was going to school and work at the same time.  Then it was added drama over boys then crazy work hours (which, apparently, can still happen b/c i worked 12 hours this past Saturday).   There were times I used to drive home and see the sunrise and it wasn’t because I was partying all night long.  Nope, you could have called me at work in the wee hours of the morning and I would have answered my phone at my desk….but I digress.  What else?   I cared too much about what people thought and stressed myself silly trying to please EVERYONE.  I mean EVERY.ONE.  I realize now how idiotic I must have been.  I remember that I got an indirect insult and laughed it off with a “ha ha…whatever…no, it’s not blah-blah-blah” or something along those lines instead of telling that person off.  All so I wouldn’t cause a stir and have an enemy.  I’m also a crazy worry wart that worries about everyone and everything.  I’m better at this now though, I just worry about my own and not everyone else.

So now?  These years of not taking care of myself have caught up to me.  I’m overweight. My skin is horrid!  No amount of make-up can cover my adult acne scars and large pores.

pic courtesy of nickjr.com

My hair is thinning…doesn’t help that my dad went bald at a young age (around mine actually, I think…mid-30s).  He only has hair on the sides of his head.  Much like “Ye Ye” on “Ni Hao Kailan” (see pic on left).  Ye Ye = Grandfather in Chinese.  When the girls first saw an episode, they started saying “Ye-Ye” looks like their “Lolo” (grandfather in Tagalog…I just learned that “Ye Ye” is for paternal grandfather, but they were referring to mine).  Anyway, it also doesn’t help that my mom’s hair is thinning out, but she’s at least 63 and not 34.

My acid reflux is making a mean come back (I was diagnosed w/Esophagitis in my early 20s).  I have heartburn and acid to the point where I feel like I’m going to throw up once I have anything that triggers it.  My heartburn is also throwing me off because now I think I’m having chest pains.  Not messing with chest pains so I finally found a doctor around here that is accepting new patients (just to recap, we moved from NJ to IL this past Fall and finding doctors/dentists is never a fun, or easy, task).  I didn’t realize you had to be “accepted” by doctors.  I had to ask if they took new patients.  Then, the Dr.’s receptionist got my info and called me back 2 days later saying, “OK, Dr. So-and-So will accept you as a new patient”.  Wow.  Seriously?  Did they have to check if my insurance would pay out enough???

In any case, knowing that my genetics, pretty much, suck, I really need to start taking care of myself better.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m giving up anything just yet.  We’ll see what the results are (after I even take any of tests.  First appt isn’t until 1st week of July). I loves me some steak and I’m too stressed (with work) lately to give up me beers, mateys!  When it’s time to unwind, not going to front, I haves me a beer or 2 (or wine if I’m crazy stressed in the colder months).  Then, sometimes, that reflux kicks in…ah…can’t win.

Posting from the Park

Been so crazy busy w/work (and other stuff) lately that I can’t even just add picture links to the posts in draft mode….like the finale to my Mother’s Day Surprise.  I’m glad I wrote that draft when I had a bit more time because it’s a wordy one, y’all…anyway, seems like my only “free” time to post (via phone) is now – while “watching” Beans at pre-ball practice.  I guess, technically, I’m still not “free”.

Being busy has definitely worn me out. I ran all of once in 2wks, but I can’t even call it that.  I woke up late Monday and was just able to get on the ‘mill for all of 15mins…still on week5 in couch to 5k.  I think I gave mysef an anxiety attack about running 20 mins straight for week 5 day 3 that I just stalled myself…grrr…get a grip, Steph!

I really, really need to step up this workout thing.  My midesction is still looking like I’m 7months+ pregnant, but I popped my last baby a year and 8 months ago.

Being busy has also messed up my wannabe fashionista comeback.  I’m back to jeans/shorts and a tee and sneakers (bc my toesies are in desperate need of a pedi!).  Such a shame bc I’m loving some of my new purchases that finally came – jewelry and new jeans, etc.  I did have a non-tee outfit last week, but of course, we were rushing off somewhere and hen we got home, it was back to work for me….

Hopefully things will let up soon…I’ve got some crazy big news up my sleeve ;)

Overwhelmed-ness Continues

As in the week was crazy busy w/work and after work “to do’s”…as in I am working NOW!  For the past 8 hours!  On a SATURDAY!  Too bad I don’t get paid OT.  Can’t complain much though, I do work from home :)

Hope next week frees up a bit more…feel like I’m about to explode w/blog posts swirling in my head!