Thursday, September 25, 2014

Marathon Monday errrr Thursday?

Don't worry...I didn't forget about this week-or climb into bed for 5 days to sleep off the disappointment from my 20 miler, that wasn't :) I am actually feeling one million times better about that run. On Sunday I was reading through my blogroll on Bloglovin and another blogger (who I adore) posted about bad runs during marathon training and she actually looks at them as good luck...she believes that it is better to have your bad run during training and not during the actual race....which made so much sense to me and definitely lifted my spirits! 

I also came across this article "Rebounding from a Rough Marathon Workout" and it was like it was written specifically for me. I analyzed my run (so as not to make the same mistakes again) and I realized that the week leading up to my 20 miler was one of my busiest weeks yet...I have a lot on my plate right now and I needed the reminder that I can't do it all...and I definitely can't do it all perfectly (like the perfectionist that I am really WANTS to do)

So all in all...those two things couldn't have come at a better time. I have pushed that run out of my mind and can't wait to crush those 20 miles this weekend :)

Despite Saturday's rough run, the rest of my runs last week were actually pretty great. I am 99% pain free in my hip/glute which made my runs more enjoyable and allowed me to incorporate a little more speed work (which I love to hate)

Monday (6 miles)

I was still pretty sore Monday morning, but decided to run my planned 6 miles anyway. I was VERY nervous that it was going to be another tough run, but it ended up being a very easy 6 miles. My muscles loosened up early on and I was able to keep up a good pace.

Wednesday- 6 treadmill miles (intervals)

There is absolutely nothing worse that having your alarm go off at 4:45 AM and hearing thunder and seeing lightening through the bedroom windows. I reluctantly (after Googling running in a thunderstorm-YIKES) headed to the treadmill. I had unfortunately left my iPad at school so I couldn't watch a I ended up listening to my audio book (Outlanders) instead. This run went better than I expected. I think messing with incline and speed throughout the workout helped :)  

Thursday- 6 too fast miles

This is the workout that I think partly sabotaged my Saturday run. I ran much faster than my training plan called for. This was supposed to be an "easy" run, but I felt so good (and had a LOOOONG day at work, that only a good run could fix) and I ended up running about a minute faster per mile than I should have....Oops! Apparently training plans know what they are talking about ;)

Saturday- 15 miles 

I won't go into too much detail about this run...I already whined like a little baby here and if you want to torture yourself with my ridiculous complaining about ONLY being able to run 15 miles instead of 20 go for it ;) After posting that I realized how ridiculous it was to say that I could ONLY get through 15 miles....Last year at this time 15 miles seemed was impossible. 15 miles is is still an accomplishment. I can't get all whiny every time a run doesn't go my way. 
*Just because I know this...doesn't mean I won't ever do it again ;)

Well the current week is almost over...I only have 2 training runs left before my ever anticipated taper begins! Marathon Monday for next week may will likely be late again...we are moving this weekend and won't have internet access for a few days. I will try and get something posted and update you on the 20 miler that was...Power of positive thinking right there ;)

Tips for Tapering? Anything I NEED to know before going into this. 
Saturday, September 20, 2014

The 20 miler that wasn't...

Today my training plan called for 18...but because I have had such awesome long runs lately, and I had already done 18 (2 weeks ago) I decided to do 20 today. I thought if I did 20 this week and 22 next week before starting my taper (is it here yet?) I would feel more confident going into the race.

All week I have had a little anxiety about running 20's only 2 miles longer than my longest of 18, but this week was different because I was going to have to run it alone. I usually run with a local running club that sets up water stops every 2 miles. Something about knowing others are out there with me and knowing that every 2 miles I can stop for a few seconds to grab some water is reassuring.

I woke up early this morning and was feeling a little uneasy...I wasn't excited for my long run...and usually I am. I think I am sick in the head...I loooove the thrill of the long run...especially when I am tackling a distance I haven't done before. That feeling of accomplishment is like nothing else. However, this morning didn't feel the same. I wanted to crawl back in bed and skip my run...but I didn't...I pushed all the negative thoughts out of my brain and started through my normal pre-long run routine. I had my applesauce and chia seeds, popped my 30 energybits and headed out the door. The temperature felt great...but I could definitely feel the 97% humidity. The sun still hadn't come up and for a moment I felt that familiar twinge of excitement of an early morning long run. 

Mile 1 felt pretty normal. It's never my favorite mile because my legs haven't loosened up yet. Well in to mile 2...I knew this was going to be a tough run. I was legs were stiff, my heart was beating faster than normal, and I was out of breath. I just told myself that it was taking longer for me to get warmed up...I needed to be patient and give it another few miles.

Miles 3 and 4 weren't terrible, but they weren't great. I was struggling to breath and I felt like I was working harder than normal. Usually with my long run pace I am not breathing heavy or pushing myself...but today sure felt like more effort than normal.

I told myself I just needed to get to mile 6. I had decided that since I wasn't running with a group that I would stick to 6 mile loops that would bring me by the apartment where I had stashed water and Gatorade. I thought that this would not only be a good way to avoid carrying my hydration pack, but I thought it would break up the miles as well. I finally made it to mile 6 and my water and Gatorade. I popped a few energybits and checked my pace...I was averaging around a 9 min mile pace, which was a relief because I felt much slower.

As I set out for my second loop I decided to take a hillier path...the reason being the awesome down hills ;) and the water fountain on the golf course about half-way through. I think it is a understatement when I say that these miles were ROUGH! The first couple miles felt okay and I stayed around an 8:45-9 min mile pace...but then it was like I hit a brick wall. I felt like I was running through quick sand and the air felt thick... I was having trouble breathing and keeping my legs from cramping up. I started stopping every mile or so to stretch and just catch my breath.

As I got close to home and my water I knew I needed to do something to turn this run around. My clothes were soaked from the humidity and I was feeling light-headed. I decided that instead of just stopping for a drink I would go inside, change my clothes, and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I thought giving myself a few minutes to regroup (and foam roll) might make the last 8 miles a little easier. After changing, eating, and rolling I set out for my final 8 miles feeling better physically and mentally. I made it about 2 miles before I realized that I might not make it to 20. That was when I started bargaining with my body...I told myself I would stop at 18 since that was what I had originally planned. It was only 4 more miles...I could do that.

 ...spoiler alert...I couldn't. Mile 14 found me sitting laying on a park  bench in joke. I felt defeated, tired, and really disappointed in myself. I couldn't make it more than a few minutes of running without feeling like my lungs were being squeezed and my legs were going to fall off. I sat laid there for a few minutes feeling sorry for myself and decided that I would give it one more mile...that if I made it to 15 and I still felt this way I would stop.

Well I made it limped through another mile and realized that it was a lost cause. I was probably causing more damage than good by pushing myself to do something that my body clearly couldn't do today. The worst part was that I was still 3 miles from home...and AJ was out golfing so I couldn't call him to come pick me up. (I always joke that I am going to do this...never expecting that I would actually need to one day) So I sucked it up and tearfully walked the 3 miles home. My legs were screaming at me...and my mind was telling me I was a failure...this was the longest 45 minutes of my life. All I wanted to do was go home and curl up in bed and sleep the rest of the day.

Now here I am laying in bed, with a million thoughts running through my head. I usually like to try and stay positive...and I am mad because I am being so hard on myself. I know I shouldn't be...I know that I am bound to have "bad runs" but why this one? Why my 20 miler so close to race day? I know it can't always be rainbows and butterflies...and that I am going to fall down (metaphorically of course...I've managed to stay on my feet and avoid skinned knees and elbows throughout training thus far, and I would like to keep it that way!) I just need to re-group and get back up...I have to start thinking about next week...

So I am making a promise to myself right's run is over...out of my mind. It will be okay...I am not a failure and I CAN do this. Next week will be better...and the best part is when I accomplish that 20 miles it will feel even better than if I had done it today...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Energy Bits Review {GIVEAWAY}

Disclaimer: I was sent a free sample of energybits to try, however, all opinions are my own and if you know me at all...they are also brutally honest ;) Also...if you are so inclined...skip to the bottom for the giveaway...but I am warning will be missing out ;)

When energybits offered to send me a free sample of their bits to try I was ecstatic. I have been eyeing these little green pills for almost a year. I had stalked their website and put a bag of bits in my shopping cart no less than 10 times...but when it came to process my order...I always backed out.

Why, you ask? Well, there are 1,000 bits in each bag...and I just can't make that kind of commitment to a product without at least trying it a few times first. So the sample size tin was exactly what I needed :)

I received my sample almost a month ago. has taken me this long to actually write a review. And while, yes...I've been busy...I also wanted to make sure I had a chance to try the bits several times on different types of runs before writing my review. I wanted to make sure that I had all of the information I needed to write a thorough and accurate review :)

After receiving my sample I immediately wanted to try them. I had a speed-workout planned for that day and had to do it after a long day at work. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to put them to the test.

Run #1 with bits: (7 mile tempo run)

Thoughts: They were a great pick-me up and helped to make my usually torturous after school run a little more bearable. After a long day I struggle to have energy to keep my pace up where I usually do. I didn't seem to have a problem this day, I was able to keep my tempo pace around an 8 min mile pretty effortlessly.

Run #2 with bits: (17 miles)

Thoughts: HOLY WOW!!! After this run I headed straight to the website and ordered myself a full size bag. I was on cloud 9...I had just run my longest run yet...and it was most definitely my best run so far of marathon training. My pace was great...but the best part was the rest of the day and the following 2 days I had little to no soreness in my legs. This is unheard of...My legs are usually pretty tired and sore the day of and up to 2 days after a long run. Not this recovery was  immediate...which was actually really surprising because I was out of town and didn't go through my normal post long recovery routine. I was expecting to be really sore and for my muscles to be tight. Nope...not at all!

Run #3 with bits: (18 miles)

Thoughts: After run #2 I could have written a glowing review for energybits...but as a runner I know that there are so many factors that can contribute to a good run. I wanted to make sure that it was truly the energybits that made my run/recovery so pleasant so I decided to use them for my run the following weekend. I wasn't sure this was even possible, but this run was even better. 18 miles that included plenty of tough hills...and I felt great! I didn't have that normal "my legs are going to fall off" feeling around mile 14. I felt strong and confident through the whole run...and yet again, my recovery was quick and no post-run soreness. This is when I knew it was the bits :)

Run #4 with bits: (Scout Strong half marathon)

Thoughts: As if I didn't already have enough proof that energybits were awesome...I used them this past weekend during my half-marathon. Not only did I almost PR, but I placed 3rd in my age group!! I took 30 bits pre-race...and then 4 or 5 every couple of miles at aid stations and I just minutes after taking my bits I felt a surge of energy. I kept waiting to get tired...I kept waiting to hit the wall...but I  never did. I managed some of my fastest splits on the last few miles of the race. I crossed that finish line feeling great! Also, the bits were SO easy to use during my race. I had no trouble getting them in and out of my FlipBelt, and it was honestly much easier and cleaner (yes...I'm a sticky mess with GU) and it didn't slow me down at all! It was also really nice not to have all of that bulky energy gel in my belt.

Final Thoughts: I honestly cannot imagine fueling with anything other than energybits from this point forward. 4 great runs, all with one thing in common? It is definitely not a fluke! The only issue I had while running with my bits was the container the sample came in, it was a metal and the bits bounced around and made quite a bit of noise and the lid was almost impossible to take off with my sweaty hands :) I switched over to a zip-lock baggy after my first run with them and it was much easier. Luckily, when I received my full size bag I got 2 little zip-lock baggies that worked even better!

Not only are the ENERGYbits an amazing fuel for running, but I have been using them here and there for little pick-me-ups throughout the day. I'm a teacher and my schedule this year is a little tough...and I am desperately in need of a little extra energy at the end of the day. Since I never try not to drink soda these have been a life-saver. The few times I have used these (7-10 tablets) I have noticed I feel more alert and less "can I just take a quick nap under my desk" tired.

I also try so hard to limit my sugar and eat as healthy as possible. However, with the fuel I have used in the past the ingredients didn't always fit the bill. That is quite honestly what drew me to energybits in the first place. Their ingredients (or lack therof) are incredible...they have 1 ingredient (and 1 calorie per tab) 100% spirulina algae. Sounds gross....yes...but instead of putting excess sugar in your are fueling with food...not a supplement.They contain no sugar, caffeine, chemicals, gluten, soy, or additives of any kind. Seriously....I haven't found a "cleaner" fuel out there than this.  I feel confident that my body is getting the best of the best when I fuel with energybits :)

Seriously...take a look at energybits compared with other "food items" I was absolutely shocked...I knew that my energy gels and protein shakes weren't the absolute best for me...but this really put things in perspective.

There is so much information on how amazing these bits are and their other types of bits, such as recoverybits, vitalitybits, and even make sure to check out their website to find the product that is perfect for you! While you are there if you decide you want to give any of these bits a try for yourself use the code: Blog and receive 30% off your order!!

However, if you are like me...and you can't make the committment just are in luck! Energybits has given me 2 sample size tins to give away...all you need to do is complete one or all of the following options below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Marathon Monday 9/15

This week was MUUUUUCH better than last week! I think it was might be because it was my cut-back/pre-race taper week...but regardless of the reason, I don't hate running anymore...which is always a plus :) 

Another good thing about this week is I think I can confidently say I am injury free. After 6 weeks of treatments and running with some sort of pain...I am now running completely pain free and feeling great! My goal when we started treatment was to run my half-marathon pain free...and guess what!?!? I did :)

Dr. S said that for the next several weeks (I think he said something like 16 weeks) I am more susceptible to re-injury so I have to continue with my exercises and stretches...which doesn't bother me one bit. I will do anything to keep that pain my in behind from coming back :) I have my final "re-evaluation" appointment with him on Thursday, and I think at that point I will discuss with him a plan where I continue to see him (less frequently) up until my marathon. I don't want to tempt anything and I have had great results with his plan and I would like to keep it that way :)

Monday- Rest day since I did my long run on Sunday

Tuesday- 4.5 miles

This was a GREAT run! I had a great appointment with Dr. S right after work and then came home to run some of my fastest splits since I hurt myself. I was definitely feeling good after this run! I have taken quite a bit of time away from speed work, so I am not sure how realistic my goal of a sub 4 hour marathon is anymore...but these splits have me somewhat hopeful :)

Wednesday- Another rest day...because I can...and because I was cutting back my mileage this week in preparation for my half on Saturday.

Thursday- 5 early morning miles

I honestly don't even remember this was early in the morning and I was probably half asleep :)

Friday- Rest day and Carb loading :)

Saturday- Scout Strong half marathon

Friday all day I was feeling kind of yucky...I could tell that either my allergies were bothering me or I was getting a cold. By the time Friday night came around I was full on miserable and I knew it was more than just allergies. I took some cold meds, prayed to the running gods, and went to sleep around 8:30. I woke up Saturday morning not feeling much better...popped some meds and off we went. I wasn't sure how I would do in the race since I wasn't feeling the greatest...but somehow, thanks to the cold-meds and the excitement of the race atmosphere I was able to almost run a PR and place 3rd in my age group! I was SHOCKED...I had no idea I had it in me! 

I was ecstatic with my time...I was hoping for a PR, but honestly the fact that I felt so great running this race (all while having a head cold) it didn't bother me that I missed it by less than a minute (yup...I missed my PR by LESS THAN A MINUTE!!) I have to admit that last April when I ran my fastest half yet (1:48:26) I thought it was a fluke and I honestly thought I would never get close to that again. So getting as close as I did, while feeling under the weather was an awesome feeling! Now I know for sure I can beat my PR someday!

The weather was absolutely perfect for the race. I know not everyone agrees, but I think running is so much more enjoyable when it is a little chilly. I wore a long sleeve shirt planning on taking it off a few miles in...and I didn't end up having to take it off until about mile 9, and even then I could have kept it on and not had an issue...but again, like I said I enjoy being a little bit cold while I am running. 

This is probably one of my better race photos...I was about to cross the finish line (ON...yes ON Kansas Speedway) and I saw the photographer. You better believe I made sure to smile my cheesiest of smiles :)

I was so excited to place 3rd in my age-group, but a little disappointed that they were only giving out awards to the top 2...especially since I was only 9 seconds behind the girl who got 2nd. I always seem to be one place away from receiving an award. I place 4th A LOT in races...and while I don't need an award or anything would still be kind of fun :)

Even though I was/am disappointed that I missed out on getting an award by one place...yet again, I am still incredibly proud of myself and how I did on Saturday. I had awesome splits and ran some of my fastest miles towards the end. I am hoping all of this is a good sign for my upcoming marathon. 

After my race this handsome guy and I rushed home, cleaned up and drove 4 hours to Hays, Kansas for a wedding. We, as usual, had a blast, but I have to say I was definitely worn out by the time the whole weekend was over...I am more than ready for marathon training to be over (or at least begin tapering) and for life to slow down a little bit :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Marathon Monday: Is it over yet?

Yep, it's Wednesday. That right there tells you all you need to know. Life has been a little busy insanity...between teaching full time, chiropractor appointments twice a week, running 30+ miles a week, and trying to hold on to the last bit of my social life and sanity...saying I am short on time to blog is an understatement :)

To say that this last week of training was my least favorite might be an understatement. I knew I was bound to have a week or so where my runs weren't as great or a week where I would feel tired of running but my "over it" hit me like a brick wall last week. I had to force myself out the door...I had to force myself to keep running, and I had to force myself not to throw my running shoes in the wood-chipper. (That last one is a lie...I don't have a wood-chipper)

I didn't want to go run, be running, or be sweaty post run. I had a bad attitude. I was angry that I had to spend my free time running in the miserable heat, I was upset that I had to miss out on doing things with friends and family...I was just plain mad at running in general.

 Can you tell I was a little very whiny about it all? ;) The good news is my slump didn't last long. Last week's long run was incredible and left me on cloud 9 and feeling good about my training...and running again.

Monday- Rest day/travel day
After spending 11+ hours in the car driving home from Minnesota it would have probably been good to get out and stretch my legs with a good run...but like I said "I just didn't want to"

Tuesday- 4.25 miles
This was the first of my "I hate running" runs of the week. It was hot...It has been a LOOOONG day back to work after vacation and I was supposed to do sprints at the end of my run. By the time I reached my 4 miles and it was time to do my sprints all I could muster up was one short burst...I quit early...judge away ;)

Wednesday- 7 miles
Thinking about it now...this swim run was flat out comical...but at the time I wasn't laughing. The heat and humidity had me sweating by .25 miles and it felt as if I were running through quicksand. I almost got hit by a car (a woman who made eye-contact with me at an intersection, seemingly saying "go ahead")  turned right, when I thought she was letting me cross and almost hit me in the process. I seriously started run crying...yes, that's a thing...and unfortunately not a first for me. A few miles later I came up behind what looked like a very intoxicated man...who I saw turn to the side and start digging in his pants. I am sure if I had been any closer I would have seen something I could have never unseen....a few miles later I was sure I was going to die of dehydration and stopped at a gas station for a Gatorade. The only kind I wanted (yep, I was being bratty) was in a big bottle...well, try running with a giant bottle of's uncomfortable. Luckily I was only about 3/4 of a mile from home and I managed to get home without looking too ridiculous. After this run I was pretty sure I was never going to run again :) 

Friday- 5miles
Surprise, "never running again" lasted a whole day ;) I got up early Friday morning trying to beat the heat. I got outside and went to start my watch and realized it was on upside down...this was also the day that I didn't realize until I got to work that my underwear were on inside out...yep, I have got this thing called life completely figured out.

Sunday- 18 glorious miles

Seriously...if it weren't for Sunday's run I might still be in my funk. After running 18 miles on Sunday morning (and living to tell about it) I realized that this is what it is all about. This is the goal I am working toward. I am asking my body to prepare to run 26.2 miles...I can't expect it to be easy. I can't expect to completely love every run or every week of training. I am going to have those down moments...but I will also have these up moments that make me realize that it is all worth it :) 
I also reminded myself of the feeling I had 6 weeks ago when I thought I might have a marathon ending injury...I need to be grateful that I can run and that I can continue to train for this amazing goal I have. Sunday's run got me excited to run this race (in 37 days!!!) and it made me realize that I CAN do this. I WILL be running 26.2 miles and the feeling I will get as I cross the finish line will be worth all of the pain and stress that came with the training. Okay...sentimental runner moment over ;)

Also, on Saturday I hit 800 miles...this was definitely a morale booster :)

I ended my tough week with snuggles with my favorite little maniac. Whenever I am with her I am reminded that all is right in the world. I am so lucky to be her aunt and I am even luckier that her parents trust me to babysit ;) 

Have you ever been in a running funk? What helped you to get out of it?

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Marathon Monday: Road Trip Edition

This is my view right now....the flat nothingness of North Dakota. I'm not a huge fan of road trips...and luckily for AJ I sleep most of the time. The rest of the time I am either singing loudly with the radio, eating, or complaining about riding in the car. He sure puts up with a lot ;-) 

I'm writing this post on my phone on the way home from a fun filled family reunion weekend...which was fun and this will be another short and sweet post. I've always got some sort of excuse right? ;-) 

Monday- Rest day! 

Tuesday- Every year my school hosts a "Back to School Night" where the parents come in and we give presentations about what they can expect in our classroom and from the school year. I personally LOVE this night...however, even after 7 years of teaching I still get a little nervous talking in front of a group. I'll talk in front of 23 third graders all day...but thanks :-) The good news is I usually have a great group of kiddos and an even better group of parents. This year was no exception. The only negative part is the long day and late night. I knew I needed to get 6 miles in and there was no way I going to be able to do it after (around 8:30PM) so I got up at 4:45 AM and got my run done first thing in the morning. I'm not going to was rough and made for an even rougher day. Needless to say when my head hit the pillow Tuesday night I was out....immediately :-)

Wednesday- I felt like I had a million things going on this week and Wednesday was probably the busiest. I taught all day, prepared for 2 days with a sub in my classroom, went to the chiropractor, took the pup to her "sitter" for the weekend and then barely mustered up enough energy for a "tempo" like run. I managed to keep 5 of the 7 miles at a tempo pace...but they were the wrong miles. I started out fast and then I may or may not have taken a short walking break at mile 5 and was hot, I was tired, and I just couldn't push through. At first I was really upset with myself...but then I happens...and it's not the end of the world. 

Thursday-Rest Day/Travel Day 

We left bright and early Thursday morning for Minnesota. We broke the trip up into two days and stopped at Minneapolis for the night. We used to do this every year when I was younger so I've been to the Mall of America several times, but AJ had never we decided to spend the evening exploring.

The Mall of America is massive! You could shop here for days and never hit every store! 

One of the coolest parts is the theme park. They have 3 roller coasters, a zip line, a log ride, and many other rides. 

Lego land is also another favorite of mine :-) 

Friday- Travel day #2 started with an early morning run on the treadmill in the hotel gym. 

I wouldn't mind having a continental breakfast every day...I mean seriously it would make early morning runs so much better! 

Travel day #2 was only about 4 hours and included one of our favorite "landmarks" in Pelican Rapids. This town definitely takes the Pelican to a whole other level. 

Saturday- Long Run (17 miles) 

I had been a little stressed about this run all week. Not only would I be running my longest distance yet...but I would be running it in an unfamiliar place. The lake roads are narrow and there wasn't really a 8 1/2 mile out and back run friendly instead, I took off from our campsite and ran out a mile and then ran back...and then...did it again....9 more times ;-) I thought it would be awful, but if was actually great! I'm not sure what was so different about this week's long run...but it was enjoyable! I'm sure the cooler weather helped, along with the flat roads and I have a sneaking suspicion the new product I tried (Energy Bits) played a big part in it as well! (Look for a full review later this week) Not only did my run feel easy...but I recovered much quicker and my legs weren't quite as sore as they usually are...which is amazing considering I didn't have my foam roller or stretch as well as I usually do post run! Spoiler alert...I love Energy Bits ;-)

The view of the lake was gorgeous at 6:00 AM. 

Exactly one mile from our campsite at my turn around point was this can of Coke...coincidence? I think not ;-) 

This was my very interesting scenery! I ran by campsites and the lodge 9 different times and may or may not have said good morning to the same people over and over again...they probably thought I was nuts! 

My post run "ice bath" in the lake was by far my favorite part of this week's run. The water was COLD but oh so perfect for my tired legs :-) 

After getting my long run out of the way early I was able to enjoy a great day with my family! 

My mom and I

When you are in Minnesota you never know if you will need a fire to keep you warm at 2pm ;-) 

This guy and I can't ever take a nice selfie...usually I am the one smiling nice while he makes stupid faces. This time I gave home a taste of his own medicine ;-) 

The kids still managed to have some fun in the sand and water...even with the cold! 

This little maniac is my favorite! She is so entertaining ;-) While playing ladder golf she put these on her head and told us she was listening to her "beats" 

These are some of my favorite people. My auntie Bev and Uncle Teddy are two of the best people I could have in my life :-) 

Our last night in Minnesota and the sun finally came out and it warmed up a bit. This is such a special place to me...and it seemed only appropriate that I say "see you next year" with a beautiful sunset! 

Have you ever been to the Mall of America? 
When was your last road trip? Where did you go?