man, am i tired

All that traveling has really taken a toll….

I’m pumped mentally to start sorting/purging/packing for the BIG MOVE in a couple weeks, but I think I’m a little overwhelmed into inaction…at least this morning.

There are still SO MANY other random things on my mind, like, “Should I get new bedding for the guest room?” and “How am I going to lose these sneaky pounds that have crept back on before the wedding?” and “I wonder if that English class I took at PSU will count for the Diversity credit at Buff State?”

And, will I ever get together with Regina for her birthday?!

Thankfully, Andrew kept the house pretty clean–dare I say, spotless–so at least I don’t have a ton of THAT stuff to do today.

But, before all that, I must clear my brain and enlighten you with details of my trip!

Let’s see, where did I leave off….?

Oh yes!  A gas and coffee stop on Wednesday morning after leaving the driveway in the dark at 4:58 a.m.

And this is what greeted me upon my arrival in Carmel at 1:30:

A happy grandma and a light lunch!

We ate a bit, then we both snoozed (I think) before heading out to dinner at Seasons 52 with the Richters.  I got Ahi Tuna but it was too done.  Next time: RAW seared only on the sides!

We filled the subsequent days with lots of shopping, errand-running and yummy food. Here are some snippets:

Lunch at Le Peep, where (in true Holly-fashion) grandma and I split an omelet and blueberry pancakes.

Later that night we ordered Bazbeaux Pizza (the Genova–with eggplant and goat cheese!) with salad while watching…

…the opening ceremony of the Olympics!  I am, four years later, STILL disappointed I didn’t catch the Beijing opening ceremonies.  Note to self: carve out a night in July four years from now to watch the next summer Olympics’ opening ceremonies.  (I did view a few YouTube videos, though, to satisfy my curiosity.)

We’d picked up cheesecake to-go, so we enjoyed some of that while watching what was going on across the pond.

While in Carmel, I got some Chick-Fil-A…my usual: a one-strip kid’s meal with fries.  That concoction you see below is a ketchup/light mayo/hot sauce mix.  I dare you to give it a try!

We spent my last afternoon at the movie theater, seeing Brave.  I really enjoyed it–it was funny and touching.

That evening I headed out of town and stopped in Dayton to stay with our friends, Jen and Dave, and see Emily and Dan, who just moved into their first house!

After I took an early-morning tour of the place, all seven of us headed out to breakfast at Mimi’s (because, and I quote Emily: “Andrew isn’t here to veto it.”)  I miss this crowd!

all together now

After I left State College, I drove to Warminster (located in Bucks County, which is outside Philadelphia) to stay with my sister and Mommy, who is visiting.  This is what I saw in the kitchen!

My sister lives in my parents’ house right now, so it’s kinda neat “coming home” to visit her.  Interesting note: the original house my dad bought is the left half of the existing structure.  I barely remember this, but he bought the place right around the time he and my stepmom were getting married, and for some reason she didn’t see it beforehand.  It was teeny tiny with a pepto bismol-pink kitchen, dirty navy blue shag carpeting and brown walls.  She cried.

Needless to say, they gutted the kitchen and actually doubled the size of the house with a two-story addition (the right half of the house with the front door) to add a master bed and bath, as well as laundry, a half-bath and a living room on the main floor.

Mommy and me 🙂

After three mornings of running in a row, I took the opportunity to do some (hot) yoga.  I tried using Allison’s beginner yoga DVD as a guide, but it was going too slowly and had too much talking for me, so I clicked on some Pandora yoga radio and did my own thing.  Got SUPER sweaty–it is humid here!

After cleaning up, Mommy and I went to Bucks Bagels (Andrew’s favorite) and Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee. Side note: Dunkin’ Donuts are EVERYWHERE around here.  Like, one at every intersection.  I love their coffee–and so must everyone else–since every time I visit there are more instead of less.  (Let’s just say that in three days, both the staff at Bucks Bagels and the closest Dunkin’ memorized my order.)

Mommy and I spent the afternoon in Doylestown so she could walk around and see the quaint little shops and things.

Look!  I parallel-parked!  And on the first try!  (This is, for me, a HUGE accomplishment.  Have you seen the size of my car?)

Actually, it was a testament to God’s provision the entire afternoon.  First, He got us to D-town without a hitch (I’m here so infrequently that I get turned around a lot and never quite know where I am…), placed a parking spot right in front of me, helped me parallel-park, and then allowed Mommy and me to return to the spot with just 6 minutes left on the meter (even after totally getting side-tracked in a store along the way), as the meter maid was coming down the road writing tickets!

We had our rehearsal dinner here at Paganinni’s, although until I walked up to it I didn’t remember the name.  Isn’t that terrible?

One of my favorite store: The Paper Unicorn.  Go figure; they feature stationery.

This journal really spoke to me.  The colors are exactly me, and the phrase sums up my need to slow down and enjoy the season I’m in.  It’s something I’ve really been thinking a lot about lately; not rushing through things so I can move onto the next thing, which is something I do all the time.  It is SO HARD for me to just chill and enjoy the moment.

Allison, Ray and Danika met us in Doylestown and we all enjoyed the shade in a small park for a little bit before Mommy and I headed to our last stop: Artefact.  It’s an antique furniture store just up the road from where we live.  It’s definitely a “mommy” place.

While there, we found a couple of these multi-colored fruit baskets that were made in Italy.  Mommy told me that her mother had given her one that her father had brought back a long time ago.  Then, we saw this purple and teal one.  I died.  (Well, not really, but I liked it a lot.)  It wasn’t so pricey that I couldn’t just up and get it, but I thought maybe I should ask Andrew first, so I snapped a photo and walked away.

We walked next door so I could get Mommy her first taste of Rita’s, and what do you know?  Out she came with my purple fruit basket as a surprise!  She said she wanted her daughter to have one from her mother, just like her.

The next morning, I grabbed coffee from Dunkin’ (again) and attempted to get another blueberry bagel (our favorite), but Bucks was out!  The nice lady remembered me and wrote up an order for two for the next so I could be sure to get some.

I was forced to try the new bakery that opened up just down the road from the house, The King of Tarts.

I grabbed a bag of their English Tea Biscuits and an icing-filled donut to share.  Yum.  Afterward, Mommy, Allison and I headed to Goodwill (a favorite), a used-toy store (where I picked up some wooden frog and fish pull toys for Danika that were a huge hit) and Target.

And what would a trip to PA be without a Silvio’s cheesesteak?  WORTHLESS, is what it would be.

They make their own bread and their cheesesteaks are to die for.  No kidding.  Mommy and I split a cheesesteak hoagie (add mayo, lettuce and tomato) with sauteed onions and mushrooms.  Hey, no one said it was healthy.  And Grandma Utz’s handcooked chips–seriously good.

I took the afternoon as an opportunity to do my nails on the deck while Danika played with the hose.

Us girls took a walk and I showed Mommy the first house in which I babysat some kiddos when I was 12:

And the Moland House, which is next door to my parents’ house, is where George Washington and his troops camped in 1776!

That night we made popcorn in their little popcorn maker (it was great) and then watched “Mimi’s Adventures.”

Mommy goes by ‘Mimi’ and has made some videos for Danika and Caleb (my nephew) of her going around Albuquerque to places like the zoo or the aquarium, and during the Balloon Fiesta and such. I really enjoyed watching them.  It’s right up her alley; she used to make videos of Allison and me to send to dad when he was deployed.

Morning number 3:  I grabbed Dunkin’ coffee (yet again) and added a blueberry cake donut (our absolute favorite) and our blueberry bagel from Bucks.  We shared a blueberry yogurt to round out the meal.  Think we like blueberries much?

I walked to the bakery earlier in the morning and look what I found!  A pineapple-shaped cookie!  I got one for mommy for her plane ride home.

Mommy is headed home and I’m headed to a girlfriends’ house before I head out of town as well.  I had a wonderful with with both Allison and Mommy.

Goodbye Allison!

one happy (valley) girl

Well, where did I leave off?  (I realize I’m two days behind… I’ve been a busy, traveling girl!)

When I woke up Sunday morning, this is what was waiting for me on the table:

Awwwww 🙂  When Adam had asked me what I ate pre-race, I mentioned toast, peanut butter and banana.  And he got organic–double awwwww 🙂 🙂

Here we are, before:

I got the tank to match the neon pink trim on my shorts!

And can I just say that it was like 90% humidity and that State College has WAY MORE HILLS than I remembered?  Like, a ton.  It was as I was rounding the golf course hill that it all came back to me…

(Check out the building behind me in the above picture–that totally was not there when we went to school!)

And here we are, after:

Adam was DRENCHED and I was pretty sweaty, too.  Hot and steamy, it was!

And guess who WON her age group?  YOURS’ TRULY!  A 10k in 46:56.  Not too shabby.

I’d love to say I was shocked, but I wasn’t.  Perhaps surprised is more accurate.  I definitely wasn’t feeling fast that morning and was, as usual, intimidated by the field.  I have to admit; all this winning is still really new to me (let’s just say running wasn’t my sport of choice for, like, my entire life), but I’ve placed in my age group enough now that I feel like I can’t leave a race until they’ve posted the results.  It’s weird.  Awesome, but weird.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it.  I mean, I don’t even really look like a runner.  At least not the fast ones.

And I have a theory: I’m in what I’m calling a “sweet spot” right now.  I’m in the 20-30, or sometimes 25-29, age group, which is just older than the super skinny, super fast high school/college ‘elite’ runners, but I’m younger than the ‘been-running-for-twenty-years-post-kids-competitive’ group.  More times than not, I’ve noticed that the ladies finishing just ahead of me are older, but don’t win THEIR age groups.

Apparently, my 15 minutes of fame is limited.  Or I’ll just have to get faster.  (I think I’ll take the latter.)

And the perfect end to a fantastic weekend, a great run and a win?  The Waffle Shop!

It’s a State College mainstay and super famous.  It now has three locations–the original being right on College Ave.–and always has a line around the building on weekends.  I’ll admit that Andrew and I weren’t regulars here while we were students, but it is the first place I had chocolate chip pancakes, and for that I will be forever thankful.

Adam, Andrew and I met up with Abigail and waited outside as the temps started rising.  We made it into the air conditioning just in time!

I ordered the “mini platter” and was able to request chocolate chip pancakes instead of plain.  Thank goodness for substitution-friendly establishments!

After our delicious and very traditional PSU breakfast, we all parted ways and I headed toward Philadelphia, while Andrew and Abigail went north back to New York.  I’ll be on the road through Thursday–more photos and updates on my travels soon!