Chicken Mama

After nearly two weeks of quarantine in their new coop, our little flock was let into the yard on Saturday. Cesar jumped out with gusto and ran around in his new found freedom, quickly followed by the girls. We had kept them cooped up so that they would get comfortable with their new home and know where to return for safety at night.

Ten minutes into freedom land those chickens found the ultimate joy: chicken dirt baths in the freshly tilled soil next to their coop. Five birds covered in dirt, flopping and flipping around…it was hilarious!

They milled around the yard while Matt and I finished the cat porch.

And then around 2:30, like clockwork, they put themselves to bed! I was one proud chicken mama.

Now the cat porch is complete, our chickens are happy (and had better start laying some eggs…), the cat litter boxes are officially and forever OUT of the house, and our house is clean. The holidays are over but we are setting ourselves up for a solid start to 2015. I was honestly ready to get back to work. It gives me structure, and an excuse to work out. Both are key right now because I we are in countdown mode to Belize! And I am happy to report that our chicken friends and kitties are all set for the vacation too.

Alki and the Banana

Almost 4 years ago I adopted my lovable, furry faced friend, Alki. She was a mismatched looking shelter cat that immediately stole my heart. She was not the picturesque pick of the litter: missing half an ear, some front teeth, and a crooked piggy ended tail…but she had a heart of gold that immediately melted mine. From the first night I brought her home, Alki and I were best buds. We share great memories of our time as single ladies in the waterfront apartment on Beach Drive. Then of course we met Matt and Lola and became a family.

When I first got Alki, I went to our local Mud Bay and asked about cat toys she might like. The woman recommended the oddest thing: a yellow fuzzy banana. I decided to trust her, and boy was it a hit! That thing is like Alki’s security blanket!

Now that we can close them out of our room, the kitties no longer get to sleep with us (much to their distain). However, Alki feels that it is her duty to make sure we know she is outside out door every night. Banana in tow.

Every night, about 20 minutes after we head to bed, Alki carries her fuzzy banana into the kitchen, drops it in front of the sink, and lets out a very loud “mrouw!?”. Then another one. LOUDER. This goes on until we yell from our room “goodnight Alki!”…then all is quiet.

In the morning, the banana is waiting for us in the kitchen, a gift from our crazy little cat.

Trim the Tree with Memories

Matt and I got out first Christmas tree. Last weekend we tromped through my parent’s “back 40” and found the perfect 8 foot Fraiser Fir. We strapped it on to the mini and drove her to West Seattle where she now proudly stands in our living room, lit up in beautiful Christmas glory.

I put lights on Monday night…and apparently I am far more thorough with my tree lighting than the average person. I thought it was totally normal to use 12 strings of lights on a tree! I wrap every branch individually and make sure all the stings are hidden. Apparently that is more trouble than other people go to. Who knew!

Tuesday night we went to have dinner with Matt’s Grandpo in Tacoma and had the very unique opportunity to go through all his old Christmas decorations and pick out ornaments that we wanted to use. It was very cool to see all the decorations that Matt remembered from his childhood when his Grandma would totally deck out the house. We picked out a box full of ornaments that will trim out tree for years to come. Family ornaments mean so much more than random ones you pick up at Target.

Our tree is beautiful. Full of love, and family, and memories…and symbolizes the start of many trees and Christmases to come for our little family.

Now let’s hope that the cat’s don’t decide to tear it down!

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Apartment Search

I am searching for a new apartment. It is always a semi fun and semi frustrating task. I do not have to be out of my place until the end of March, so technically it is probably still too early to look seriously. All the places I find now will be rented on March 1 or sometime in Feb…so really I just need to sit tight and wait. I am not really keen on moving into an apartment complex, and would love a little house with a deck and yard for Alki to hang out on. I hate hearing neighbors. In the meantime I am trying to enjoy my time on the beach to the fullest and soak in as much of the view as I can!

Side-ish note: craigslist is the most amazing website EVER for finding stuff (especially apartments). I also found a potential new TV stand today…a curved front wood dresser! Exactly what I have been searching for. Now fingers crossed the seller emails me back!

Rainy, Running Saturday (Longest Run Ever!!!)

Yesterday evening I had another massage up at Run 26 in Lynnwood…oh it was painful but felt so good! I had them specifically target the pectoral minor under my left collarbone, it has been really painful for a few months. Ooo it hurt to have it worked on (probably will bruise is my guess) but it should help. I arrived in Lynnwood with about 45 minutes to spare so I went to Nordstrom to check out shoes. I have been searching for a pair of good brown pumps, but they did not have any that I loved. I did find a pair of amazing yellow, scale print leather stiletto peeptoes that had to come home with me. I am not usually a walk-in-and-buy-it-at-full-price gal, but this was my Valentines present for myself. Tomorrow is the rest of the shopping trip to find some new work clothes.

After the massage I was wiped out. All the released toxins had given me a headache and totally stolen my energy. I came home to eat dinner, and barely made it though a movie without conking out. I slept like a rock.

Good thing too…this morning I had a 140 minute Team in Training team run at Cedar River Trail in Renton. I got up, grabbed some breakfast and headed out the door. I got lost going there, but I still made it in time to leave with the team. I ran with my friend Felicia and we had a good time chatting and working on our pace. We used the middle section of our run to pick it up a bit and push our pace, then backed down for the last segment. After not running for two weeks because of my cough, my endurance is nothing like what it used to be…not to mention this was my longest run yet. My body felt ok (little sore here and there, but generally good and pain free) but I just got tired on this run. 140 minutes is a long time. Felicia introduced me to Shot Blocks…they are so much better than Goo! I am going to have to get some next time I am out. After the run we went to breakfast at Portage Bay in South Lake Union. I had never been to this Seattle breakfast hotspot…and was VERY impressed. I got pancakes with eggs and bacon, and fully utilized the toppings bar for fresh fruit and whipped cream. A perk of running is this is a guilt-free breakfast!!! Next time I am temped to get the Banana’s Foster French Toast…

I finally came up with a great fundraising project for the marathon! My mom was going to come along on race weekend and take pictures for LLS/TNT for marketing photos, but why not make it into a fundraiser? I am going to sell compilation CDs of race and pre/after photos to my teammates. They will be way cheaper and way more fun than a $30 5×7 from the race. Finally, a fundraiser idea! I am making progress towards my $1500 minimum and $2000 goal…but still have a ways to go. My aunt had the coolest idea: she just celebrated her birthday but asked for donations to charity instead of gifts, and recommended my running for LLS as a suggestion. Thanks Aunt Betsy!

I am spending the rest of today chilling out with my cat. It is rainy and grey and my legs need some relax time. I cleaned my apartment and things feel back in place. It is kind of neat looking out the window today at the Sound. Big waves brought up tons of debris last night so there are logs and sticks and random things floating all over the grey water. The sky and water are the same color, and the islands and peninsula are just slightly darker. I guess that is what the world would look like if you did not have color vision.

Cat Watching TV

My cat likes to watch TV. Sometimes it is from my lap, other times she will just sit on the floor about 2 feet from the screen intently watching. I think it is fun to watch her ears…you can tell she is listening because the dial around like little satellite dishes.

I am almost done with my second week of being a real employee! Really, that just means that I am excited to get my first real paycheck tomorrow. I am going to celebrate being single and successful by shopping on Valentines Day. Figured that was more productive than sitting around eating ice cream like a mournful lonely girl (not that I would, just saying). It was really rainy all day, so I opted for doing a yoga/pilates video at home instead of running. I know, kind of lame, but I am still nursing a cough so running outside in the cold and wet did not sound that appealing. I need to get back into running. I need to kick this cough!!!

The marathon is coming up quick! We are approaching recommitment…basically where we sign on the dotted line that we are committing to the minimum fundraising level for Team in Training. All the money goes to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society…running for a good cause! The minimum is $1500 but my personal goal is to break $2000. I have just passed $400 and have a long way to go. I would love your support as I run to reach my goal. Please donate at my fundraising website. Your donation makes such a huge difference in the lives of blood cancer patients.

http://pages.teamintraining.org/wa/eugene10/lcarterjoi

Date Night with my Kitter-Cat

Last night I left work early enough to squeeze in a sunset run along the beach. Wonderful, beautiful and felt great. I came home, had some tamales for dinner, then sucessfully put together my new TV without even calling a boy for help! Alki and I curled up to watch a movie, eat some ice cream and have a girls date night in.

It is getting significantly colder here, nothing compared to my past four winters in Pullman though! I am not missing walking home in -14 windchill that is for sure! In a week I am heading to Kawai, Hawaii with my parents and brother for a family vacation. Beaches, sun, relaxation…sounds pretty nice. My parents are pretty cool for always wanting to travel and being flexible enough to throw trips together last minute! I am looking forward to a family vacation.