Monday, January 24, 2011

Bear Down

The last week has been pure luck and drama. One of the better moments happened on Tuesday.

For the longest time, I've wanted to do something special with B. I was considering concert tickets to see The Decemberists when I got an email from my friend Katie about how her boyfriend was going to attempt buying NFC Bears v. Packers tickets at 2pm. I really didn't think much of it, except... "good luck on that one." My sister had just bought tickets the day before through ebay and paid through the roof with the rest of the crazies. No way was anyone going to get them through ticketmaster (at face value!).

Out of curiosity, I signed on at around 2pm to see the price of the tickets. When the ticket options popped up, I went to the next step and tried to see where the tickets were located. To my complete and utter surprise, two tickets appeared in a decent section and for a very reasonable price. Without hesitation, I purchased them and then went to my twitter page to brag.

On Sunday, I had gotten up extra early for a morning run. Since I have been diligent about planning my runs every week and sticking to my schedule, I knew that Sunday morning would be met with a bone chilling outdoor 2 miler. I was all ready to lace up my shoes and head out the door when I looked out my window and saw the massive amount of snow that had fallen (and was still falling). The fact that it was snowing outside got me excited for an extra scenic run, but I was not ready for the icky conditions.

With yaktraks on, I turned the corner for my regular path only to find that it was wayyyy too slippery. I turned around and headed down the main street. Luckily, I live next to a major university that sits on the lake, so I figured I would run their lake path, snow be damned. As the minutes ticked down, my legs were really struggling to push through the snow, and my pace was about 12:30 and slowing. As soon as my shins started aching, I turned around, ran about 300 more yards and walked the rest of the way home. It was a 1.5 mile run in 22 minutes. Obviously not my best since I consistently run a 11:15 pace for about 2 miles or more, but I continue to remind myself that at least I got up and did it. 3 months ago, I would never have dreamed of running in 10 degree weather, in extremely snowy and icy conditions, but I did! VICTORY!

After I came back from the run and showered, boyfriend B and I got ready to go to the Bears game.

Here are some pictures:

I actually wore about 4 layers of pants and shirts, three layers being what I wore for my early morning run. The sun went down around 4pm, and thank goodness we were so layered up because my toes were not happy with me come the second half!

The walk to the stadium from the Red line is about a mile + and the path wraps around the museum campuses. But you can see all of Chicago from the walk, including the stadium. It was actually a great additional workout, as when we were heading back to the CTA stop, we had to jump over some poorly placed fences. See, I can even do hurdles now!

View from our seats! We could see pretty much all the plays as they happened. We were sitting by some low key and equally intense fans. Since my comprehension of the game is in the medium range, I'd say that being around crazies made the game even more enjoyable. But I totally miss the atmosphere of a crazy soccer game with the unified chanting and singing! This stadium needs a megaphone-d leader and some tifo displays asap!

B and I certainly are not a picture happy couple, and we always fail at taking our own. This one, in my opinion is adorable. Plus, he still has his beard, and I LOVE THE BEARD!

They're doing burpees down there... which is exactly what I did when I got home for the CAMO (my Biggest Loser team) football challenge. The deal was that we had to do 10 strength training exercises per touchdown scored by the opposite team. 3 Green Bay touch downs = 30 pushups, crunches, squats, and burpees. It certainly got the circulation back to my legs.

... and one last cute one of us! This is before the screaming and chanting started, so we look pretty calm. It was a great, exciting game, even if the Bears lost.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Story For Princess Madison

Once upon a time, there was a princess. For entertainment purposes only, we will call this princess Aunt Michelle. But she was a princess, and quite beautiful, to boot. She should also add that her sister was a mermaid:

Princess Michelle and Mermaid Angela had an older brother, not quite a prince... as you can tell by past family pictures:

As Princess Michelle, Mermaid Angela, and Backwoods Brother Matt grew up, they always wished there would be another addition to their family.

Years passed and Backwoods Brother stopped crossing his eyes long enough to learn how to play music. He was good, though Queen Patty would also say that his playing stage presence left something to be desired.

Those sick musical skills came in handy when he met and wooed a Fair Maiden from a different royal family. Some would say it was love at first sight. Though, Princess Michelle worries for the sanity of the Fair Maiden. I mean, look at Backwoods Brother!

But, love is blind (or cross eyed) and soon enough, Princess Michelle, Mermaid Angela, Backwoods Brother, Fair Maiden, and the rest of the gain (Queen Mum Nanni, Queen Patty, King Al, and Duchesses Phil and Jo-Jo) were excited to welcome the newest member of their clan!

One cold day in January, King Al took Princess Michelle out for her first driving lesson on Nanni's old steer. He was quite terrified because Princess Michelle had just received her driver's permit and had never been behind the wheel before. It was also not a bright or sunny day and there was still snow on the ground from Christmas. But off they went...

Soon, King Al received a call on the royal cellular phone.

(It was only 2002... cell phones were obviously not as small or functional back then)

It was Backwoods Brother calling to say that the new Princess was arriving at that very moment! King Al panicked and forcibly pulled Princess Michelle's horse over and took over the reigns. Off they went to the hospital!

After King Al's crazy drive over (which included almost being pulled over by the kingdom's sheriff), Princess Michelle was super happy to see that all of the royal subjects had gathered in the comfortable waiting room. "Any minute now..." she thought, "Any minute and we will finally get to meet the newest little princess!"

Well, minutes passed... and then hours... Princess Michelle became restless and resorted to reading hospital pamphlets and watching old episodes of Maury.

But just when she thought she couldn't wait any longer, the newest Princess arrived. Princess Michelle could have sworn that moment she knew that Princess Madison had arrived, trumpets sounded and parades went by (but it turned out it was just Mermaid Angela practicing). Either way, everyone in the Kingdom were so happy to welcome such a beautiful baby- maybe one of the fairest she will ever see. (she got that fairness from her mom)

As Princess Madison grew up, Princess Michelle could only love her more. She knew that one day, she would grow up and do great things. Maybe be a pilot of a huge plane:

Or a famous dancer:

But Princess Michelle knew that she could do anything because, on the day she was born, Princess Michelle knew that she was special. Princess Madison was everyone's wish come true. And, even when she was too young to speak, she could make anyone smile, even the often grumpy Mermaid Angela.

Today, just happens to be Princess Madison's birthday. And even though Princess Michelle is ruling over another kingdom far away, she thinks of Princess Madison every day and counts down the days till she gets to see her again. But, in the meantime, she knows that Princess Madison will always be kind to others and take care of those in need- including Prince Alex. She will be a good student and an even better friend. And in the next 9 years, she will learn to drive, go to high school, look at colleges, figure out long division, and maybe even meet a worthy boy to take to dances.

So here's to Princess Madison's "Happily Ever After!"