Five Things Friday – 5 Spring Things I am Most Excited About!

​I missed last week’s link up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia (to be honest though, my life is so boring I don’t think there are 5 interesting things about it 😉  …), but am excited to get back into it this week!
The topic is Spring and I was excited because it leaves so much room for activities, ahem, interpretation!!
I love this movie!

I love this movie!

Since next week’s topic is Spring Favorites, I decided to stay close to that theme and list the 5 Spring Things I am Most Excited About:
Longer Days – I think everyone loves this. Yes, technically we lose an hour of sleep but we get so much more daylight!! I can’t stand it being dark at 5:00 in the evening – all I want to do is crawl under a blankie with a cat or three and go to sleep!
Races! Spring is the start of racing season, starting with the LA Marathon, then Boston, London and of course the Pittsburgh Marathon!
Game. On.

Game. On.

 

 

Baseball returns! I had high hopes of getting down to Florida to visit my dad this March and since he is also close to Bradenton we had planned to catch a few spring training games as well. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen but I’m still so excited that the regular season is just a few short weeks away!
Let's Go Bucs

Let’s Go Bucs!!

 

Stanley Cup Playoffs! There is nothing like playoff hockey…unfortunately if you are a Pens fan the last few playoff years have been disappointing, but the games are still so fun to watch!
stanley cup
Fruits & Veggies! Slowly but surely so many delicious fruits and vegetable will be coming back into season; I am especially looking forward to asparagus! YUM!
What ‘Spring Things’ do you look forward to?
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Friday Five – Favorites!

Happy Friday! It looks like the weekend is going to fantastic (at this point, as long as the forecast doesn’t include snow I’m calling it fantastic!) for running! I’m joining the Friday Five linkup again with Mar (Mar on the Run), Courtney (Eat, Pray, Run DC) and Cynthia (You Signed Up for WHAT?!).  This week’s topic is ‘Favorites’.  I love topics like these because it’s such a fun way to get to know other people, and to see what their interests are. I had a hard time narrowing down what I wanted to list and as I sit here typing this out I am staring at more snow and dreaming of being able to go outside without elventy billion layers on I decided to go with my 5 favorite weekend/road trip destinations.

So, without further ado, here are my 5 favorite places for a quick day trip, or long weekend trip (in no particular order)

Washington DC. This is a quick 4 hour trip from The Burgh and there is always SO much to do…most of it for free! I made it down one year for the Cherry Blossom Festival, and haven’t been back since so I am dying to go sometime this year! This is great if you have a 4 day weekend coming up; some of my favorite things to do is to:

Walk the Monuments at Night – they are stunning, powerful pieces in the daytime but there is something extra special about seeing them illuminated against a dark backdrop. If you make a trip there, I highly recommend this!  

WWII Memorial

WWII Memorial

Museums. Duh! Most of them are free which is awesome (also means they are crazy crowded sometimes), but my favorite is the Udvar Hazey Center.  My husband is an aviation nut and he loves seeing the planes up close; I am a history nerd who has slowly been drawn into the world of airplanes and I love walking through the WWII sections, and seeing the fighter jets up close! This museum houses 1 of the 2 B-29 bombers, the Enola Gay, that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan (the 2nd is at destination #2!); it’s amazing to see pieces of history like that.

Enola Gay...up close!

Enola Gay…up close!

Arlington National Cemetery. We  walked the entire length of the cemetery from the old section, all the way to JFK and the Eternal Flame and continued on to see the Changing of the Guard. This is a must see. Again, it’s an incredibly powerful ceremony and something that everyone should see at least once in their life.

Arlington

Arlington

Wright Patterson Air Force Museum, Dayton OH. This is another quick 4 hour drive from home, and there is so much to see in the museum that we usually make this an overnight trip. This (free) museum is located ON Wright Patterson Air Force Base (where I supposed to run my marathon last year, and then didn’t)  houses the 2nd B 29 ,the Bockscar, a really nice display commemorating the Doolittle Raiders, and if you are so inclined, can sign up for a shuttle that takes you to a different part of the base to see all of the old Air Force One’s and some experimental planes that never made it to the big time.  The museum is laid out in such a way that you can wind your way through the history of flight starting with the early years, and WWI, then visit the WWII displays, through the Cold War (including an awesome missile display), Vietnam, the Gulf War and present day.  We try to go here yearly, and missed last year’s trip so I am itching to get back there!

Not the Bockscar, but a terribly grainy photo of a P-40...one of my favorite planes

Not the Bockscar, but a terribly grainy photo of a P-40…one of my favorite planes

Gettysburg (Any other Pittsburghers fight the urge to add an ‘h’ to the end of every “burg”??). Once again, it’s about 4 ish hours and there is so much to see that it’s good if you can make this a long weekend trip (3 or 4 days). We really enjoyed walking the battlefields, and stopping in the little mini museums that are set up all over the place.

Pickett's Charge

Pickett’s Charge

One thing we didn’t get to do last time we were there, but would like next time is take a tour of the Jenny Wade house. If you go to Gettysburg, make a reservation at The Dobbin House; this is an original home built in 1776s. Downstairs is open for lunch and dinner and you can see the original exposed beams and wood floors. Upstairs open for dinner, is still layed out like a normal house and you can sit in big comfortable wing chairs by the fire. The waitress dress in period clothing and the bread basket is to die for.  Trust me, and thank me later.

Kinzua Dam This is a good day trip, and is gorgeous! In the spring/summer the mountains are a lush, beautiful green, full of fire red, yellow and orange leaves in the fall, and a blanket of white in the winter. I grew up about an hour from here and loved taking day trips there with my parents. They have plenty to see and do, including self-guided nature trails! I haven’t been in ages, so I have no pictures of my own, but I snagged one from the Google machine.

Source. It really is even prettier in person

(Source). It really is even prettier in person

Ohiopyle Admittedly, I’ve never been here before but I have heard so many great things about it I know that I need to see it! Much like Kinzua, the scenery is beautiful and there is something for everyone!

(source) I can't not go see this!!

(Source) I can’t not go see this!!

 

 What’s your favorite weekend destination? I need to add to my list!

Friday Five – 5 Things I’m GRATEFUL for!

So, at Jennifer’s suggestion, I’m joining the Friday 5 Link Up with Mar on the Run, Cynthia (You Signed Up for WHAT?!) and Courtney of Eat Pray Run. Wahoo! I’m excited to start adding some more content to my little blog space and I think this is a fantastic way to connect with other bloggers!  I was especially  excited to see that today’s topic was a “You Pick” because it will allow me to highlight something that I’m passionate about.

 

GRATITUDE. 

This seems to be a popular topic these days, and for good reason; when you are grateful, great things happen! I very strongly believe in the laws of attraction, the power of positive thinking and the idea that the more grateful you are for the things in your life, the more things you will have to be grateful for. Sounds a little cheesy, yes. Definitely sounds a lot like The Glad Game in Pollyana, and it kind of is. You should always find the good in something…especially the small things. It helps give you some perspective and to see the big picture.  For example, my kitchen has not been updated since approximately 1950 so there is no dishwasher (first world problems to the extreme, right?!). I wash everything by hand, usually a few times a day: after I make breakfast, all of my Tupperware containers from my lunch, after dinner clean up, etc. There’s a lot! I could be a brat about it and bitch and complain (full disclosure – sometimes I still do), but when I catch myself going down that route, I stop and think. Washing all of these dishes means that I had plenty of food to eat today. It means that I have clean, running, HOT water to wash them in. It means that I have a job that allows me to buy the food. I could go on and on, but when you turn things around and look at it from another angle it really makes you think twice.  I’m sure we all have minor things that we complain about; next time you catch yourself complaining about washing the dishes, or paying a bill, or whatever….find the good in it. Makes a big difference!  I also keep a Gratitude Journal, which I use every day to list things that I’m grateful for.  

Starting the day with coffee and gratitude is always a mood booster!

Starting the day with coffee and gratitude is always a mood booster!

So, now I’ll get off of my Gratitude soapbox and tell you the 5 things that I’m grateful for now.

My Tall One.  His birthday is this weekend, so I’m making sure I show the love! I am grateful for this guy every.single.day. I hate to get all cheesy on you, but I know that what we have is special. I love him to pieces!   He always knows how to make me laugh, even when I don’t want to.

He doesn't like taking pictures in general, and he really doesn't want his pictures on-line, so here he is utilizing my Christmas present from my mom.

He doesn’t like taking pictures in general, and he really doesn’t want his pictures on-line, so here he is utilizing my Christmas present from my mom.

He’s been my rock through a lot of things over the years, especially this past summer, and not only is he always looking out for and taking care of me but now he also looks out for my mom and makes sure that she is taken care of. No matter what need done, he is right there. He is one of the most selfless people I know and would do anything for us.  I’m not sure where I would be without him, but I know that I don’t want to find out.

This little blog and the people that I’ve connected with because of it! When I first started this blog, I wasn’t looking for much other than a place to track my training and maybe have one or two people to share advice and training with. But, between this blog and fun stuff like Daily Mile (you should be my friend! Add me!) I have started meeting and connecting with so many other runners and bloggers in the area! I have a whole new network/support system that cheers me on when I have good weeks, and give me pep talks when I’m having shitty weeks. I’ve met a few in person and am always meeting and hoping to meet more (who is going to be at the Spring Thaw race tomorrow?? If you’re there, say HI!!!) Awesome runners! I’ve made not just a running friend, but a real friend (sorry Jennifer, you’re stuck with me!) and now that I have the opportunity to make many more!

 

I used to refer to us as "running buddies" or "running friends", but now I think it's just friends! :-)

I used to refer to us as “running buddies” or “running friends”, but now I think it’s just friends! 🙂

 

My Kitties. You think I was going to list 5 things and NOT mention them? NOPE! The title Crazy Cat Lady is not an exaggeration. These furry guys ARE my babies and I love ‘em! They bring so much happiness to our little home and we are obsessed with them.  Each one has their own personality, attitude, and quirks that make them unique.

 

These guys are too much!

These guys are too much!

 

Remote Start.

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Hello, lovely!

 

First World luxury? Yes. Am I still grateful for it? Abso-freakin’-lutely! With as cold as it has been lately, my remote starter has been a lifesaver!

 

My Health! I am so grateful that overall I’m a healthy, happy person. The gift of health is so fragile, and often times we take that for granted until it’s lost whether that be to a brief illness like the flu, or something more serious.  Training for a marathon during cold and flu season has made me hyper aware of every sniffle and sneeze that I hear during the day and I’m very grateful that I haven’t had another run in with the flu virus this year. *Knock on wood* I had some troubles early last year that wiped me out, and I learned very quickly how fast you can lose your health.

So, as you can see my list is a mix of some big time things and also small things that you may not even think about on a day to day basis.   Tell me something (or a few somethings) that you are grateful for!