It’s been a week…or two.

Wow, that’s all I can say to start with.  It’s like at some point you just take a deep breath and wonder how in the world you’ve made it through some of the crazy.  One of my friends from work, Chrissy, put it great on her blog just over a week ago, there are just those days where you’re like WTF.  I’ve had several of those at work lately.  You know, it’s seriously so frustrating and so hard sometimes knowing that most every single problem that we have comes down to poor communication.  That being said, Jacks has gone so above and beyond to make sure that I’m able to unwind a bit.  Ever since I got home last night, it’s been fantastic for just getting relaxed.

We went out for some Indian food at Choolah Indian BBQ in Sterling last night.  It’s one of those fast/casual restaurants much in the style of Cava or Chipotle.  We got a ton of food really cheep, and it was quite tasty.  We sampled some tofu and veggies along with some yellow dal and chana masala.  We also tried the samosas and got whole wheat naan.  It was awesome that everything was marked so clearly as vegan.  My favorite was the chana masala.  Jackie’s favorite item was none of the above.  She was in love with the automatic hand washer.  It really was rather nice.  You just shove your hands in and it’s like you got a nice water massage.

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Afterwards we met our friends Jeremy and Kaitlin for some coffee before heading off to Escape Room Loudoun.  We’d never done an escape room before.  Talk about a great time.  This one was themed around escaping from a creepy doctor.  We worked super well as a team, nobody got edgy with anyone, we all had gifts to add.  Jeremy was very good with the spacial puzzles.  (Seriously I sat there for 5 minutes and he got it in like 30 seconds).  Kaitlin was good with the word puzzles.  Jackie killed it on getting our locks undone and noticing things out of place.  Me?  I don’t know, I just added the engineer mind, I don’t know, it was super fun.  We escaped in about 54 minutes… Oddly we could have been out about 2 minutes earlier, but apparently I’m special with the locked door.  Here’s a great picture of us all.  We really couldn’t ask for having better friends, and they’re right next door.  Bonus.

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It rained all night and a fair part of today, but it’s left the weather perfect.  70ish and a nice breeze.  I’ll take it as a respite from the typical July weather.  This morning I set out for a long run.  I didn’t know how far I was going to go, I just knew I was going to go.  I slept in without an alarm (SO Rare for me any more) and got out there at about 6:45.  I started on a trail that the girls (Jackie and Kaitlin run together) went on yesterday.  Then I crossed Evergreen Mills road and went into the newest section of Willowsford.  I found an absolutely amazing trail system back there.  It gave me a great feel for my 15K that’s coming up in a few weeks.  Because of the rain I got to run in a ton of mud, forded some creeks, saw some deer, but sadly not the bear that has been sighted here lately.  Just short of 11 miles later I ended up back home.  I was either consistent with pace or had negative splits almost the whole way.  It seriously made my day in terms of just relaxing and getting moving. I did particularly love the caked on mud at the end.

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My secret lately for enjoying my runs is the Rich Roll podcast.  If you haven’t heard of Rich before, he’s an ultra athlete that’s plant based.  His book Finding Ultra is one of the better books I’ve read in the last year.  I love that he’s open to hearing about most anything, he just looks for the movers and the shakers of the world.  Whether it’s about how we treat each other, how we can be more compassionate, or looking more at the plant based life, it’s really engaging and makes me feel like I know more after I’m done.  I’d highly suggest checking it out.

After the great morning we headed out to Maryland to hit up Roots Market and grab lunch at Great Sage Vegan Restaurant.  Check out this Jackfruit BBQ sandwich. It was amazing. I haven’t really cared for jackfruit, but this changed my mind. Finally one that wasn’t overly sweet.

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What a fantastic morning.  You want to know my favorite part of all that?  We didn’t play the radio once, Jackie and I had a lot of great conversations about life.  It’s awesome getting to spend time with your best friend.  So now I’m in a better place and feel much more relaxed than I have in awhile.  I’m curious if you want to leave a comment as to what you do to relax?

Side note of what’s been going on in the past two weeks other than work… We did hit up Green Fare organic restaurant for lunch last Friday, that was a really great meal as well.  We managed to FaceTime nearly all our family last weekend, which was nice.  It was especially great to watch Amalia running around.  I can’t wait to see that little chubber again.  Jackie had bible study on Wednesday’s per usual.  Church has been great, good messages and it’s great to serve.  We hit up Trivia at Blend Coffee Shop, where I also had my weekly Men’s group.  Tried to find some time to play some games, grab some coffee/tea and just keep living life.  I did finish Proteinaholic, which was fantastic, definitely check that out.  Oh and obviously, we’ve spent plenty of time walking Olive and making sure she has a great time.

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I think it’s about time to start thinking of some recipes to get up here again.  Or at least a product test Tuesday or something.  But for now, I’ve rambled enough.  Thanks for reading!

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Encouraged to keep telling our story!

So today we we’ve had the great opportunity to have some friends over to the house and talk about our ongoing journey in life.  We’re talking about a both our faith journey and our journey with veganism.  I’ll tell you what, I think that the world is ready and ripe for change.  People want relationships, people want to feel better, and that’s a good thing.

We watched a great documentary  the other night, “What the Health” on Netflix.  That prompted us to share with everyone we know that they should all watch it.  It certainly reaffirmed our thoughts about what we’re doing being right.  It’s also had some of our friends wanting to make substantial changes in their life.  We know how hard that the change was so its pretty fun to answer questions and help along the way.

It’s also been a really fun day.  I started out with an 8 mile run, it’s crazy hot out here in Virginia these days, so it was a bit of a hard run for me.  I had to take a few walk breaks to make sure I didn’t die, and that was even at 6 am this morning.  (For the record, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, and somehow running has become such an important part of my life.  I just get to get rid of so much stress from doing it.  We’ve got a lot of runs coming up and we’ve just done a few races.  One just last weekend was supporting such a great cause, A fight against Human trafficking.  Here’s a race picture for y’all.)

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Then we went off to our favorite Doughnut shop.  Glory Doughnuts in Frederick, Maryland.  Check out the dough and my BBQ Tofu Club.  What a breakfast.

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We went from there off to Root’s Market in Olney, MD.  Our favorite grocery store shopping ground.  They have so many great products that we can’t find anywhere else and they are almost always the first place to get to roll out new vegan products.

Now it’s a restful afternoon, we’re having this great conversation, yes I’m blogging while talking, but hey that’s because these friends have all encouraged me to do this again.  In the mean time, here’s a few other pics for you all to know that we’re still alive and doing well!

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Hopefully we’ll catch y’all again soon!

#blizzard #jonas

These two hashtags certainly were trending over the weekend here on the east coast! You know, I moved to Virginia thinking that I’d see just a little bit of snow over the winter, and laugh at how much people freaked out about it. But no! God certainly has a sense of humor! Evidently this area gets hit pretty darn hard every 5-6 years, and we moved the year that it was bound to happen. I have never, ever seen this much snow at one time. Now, being from Iowa I’ve seen my share of snow, ice, and cold, but this is something out of a movie. The final total for our city was 36.4 inches. 36.4 inches! I still can’t believe it.

We had plenty of warning for this storm, so we were prepared and got all of the necessities early in the week. I had to laugh on Friday morning because we stopped at Whole Foods on the way home from a doctor’s appointment, and the Califia case was demolished! There were maybe two containers of cold brew coffee left. I guess the vegans are afraid of running out of “milk”, too! Nick happened to have this past Friday off, and so after our Whole Foods run we ran a couple of last minute errands (not essential, but we had time, and it hadn’t started snowing yet anyway), and made sure to have lunch at our favorite Chinese place. We wanted some tasty leftovers!

We were just about 4-5 blocks from home when we started to see flurries. We got home, pulled the car in the garage (my car was safely tucked in at the town center parking ramp), shuffled everything upstairs and by the time we took Olive out a few minutes later it was full on SNOWING. They had said that the storm would start quickly, and they weren’t kidding! So after it started snowing it just kept snowing, and snowing, and snowing until late Saturday night. We woke up Sunday and it was beautiful. So white and peaceful. Thankfully, Nick had done his best to keep up on the driveway, so we were able to tag team it yesterday and get it down to the cement. It only took about 2 hours, but we did it! Oh! And when we sold our house in Iowa we left our shovels as part of the agreement. We bought one back in November thinking we’d never really have to use it. HA! Yesterday I shoveled it into a large rubbermaid and Nick hauled it over to the large mountain across the alley. (he also started a trend – all of our neighbors were seen doing the same thing shortly after!) I guess we might want to grab another shovel sometime in the future…just in case!

Now for some pictures!

After taking Olive for a walk on Saturday morning, Nick snapped a selfie in the middle of the action!
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This is a view from our balcony – this was taken Saturday afternoon while the storm was still raging on!
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Olive was a little upset with the amount of snow that covered the balcony. Her favorite spot in the house is her bed that sits right in front of the balcony door. And the snow totally overtook her view.
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Nick had to make himself a seat to take a break while throwing some balcony snow onto the driveway below. (taken Sunday morning)
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There are cars under there!
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Oh, you know. Just a few drifts and mountains of snow…
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I tried to get Olive to wear her winter hat yesterday, but she was not too excited about it.
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A lot of friends wondered how Olive liked the snow. She LOVES the snow. She had experienced snow last winter in Iowa, but she’d never seen so much! She loves the snow, but on Saturday, the cold, biting wind made her mad. She just kept shivering. Once she caught on that she could go back inside as soon as she did her business, it was a lot better for everyone! But yesterday while we were shoveling, her friend, Millie came over to play and they wrestled and played in the snow in our driveway. She’s happy today to be back in her spot looking out the window keeping tabs on the neighborhood. 😉

Nick’s office is closed today, and he feels confident it will likely be closed tomorrow so he’s working from home. We have no way of getting out of our neighborhood anytime soon. The roads are still completely snow covered. Every now and again you’ll run across a path made by a bobcat machine, but overall? There’s no way to get out. It’s been a good reminder to slow down and realize that we don’t need to be on the go all time time.

Nick and I were laughing the other day that we’ll be those people that tell our nieces and nephews in years to come, “Well, when were living in Virginia and winter storm Jonas hit in 2016…” Haha!

Did you experience any part of winter storm Jonas? I’d love to hear about it!

Santa Paws

Our favorite local pet store The Happy Hound was hosting an Christmas event this last Saturday, and we were so excited to take Olive. She’s super social, and loves to meet everyone. They had adoptable dogs, the Grinch, Santa Paws, and all kinds of treats and Christmas-y things. She met so many new friends, and could not contain her excitement. We waited in a line a few minutes for her picture with Santa Paws, and I have to say, I am so happy with how they came out. They’re so funny! Olive is so expressive, and she was not so sure about a giant dog sitting next to her.

Here I feel like she’s thinking, “What in world is that? That is NOT a real dog.” Lil Sis said she was giving him major “side eye”.
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Okay, so now she’s giving him a chance. Figuring maybe he can’t be too bad because Nick doesn’t seem to be afraid of him. 😉
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Now I think she’s thinking, “Okay, I sat here long enough. I’m ready to go and sniff other dogs and eat stuff off the ground.”
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We had such a fun time, and she totally passed out when we got home. It’s definitely super dog-friendly around here, and it’s so fun that there are so many great opportunities to get Olive out and about. It’s so great to see her having so much fun. 🙂