Becka’s Birthday Blog Post

My sister turned 30 this week. The milestone birthday plus the overall impressiveness that embodies who she is warrants an entire post dedicated to some of my favorite memories.

Growing up, I always wanted to be just like Becka. I mirrored my interests after hers from loving to read to wanting to take music lessons to sports. We had active imaginations and spent countless hours creating lives for our Barbies and other toys. I learned later in life that Becka played Barbies much later than the “expected age” and probably past her interest simply because I wanted to, and I’m thankful for that.

When I played rec league basketball, Becka taught me how to post up and drop step to the basket. (Side note: I used to be tall and play down low. This is now laughable as I haven’t grown since middle school.)

Becka and I would jam out to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack while driving to church on Wednesday nights, attempting to harmonize and hit the high notes.

Sometime in late middle school or early high school, Becka and I started a Thanksgiving tradition where we run through the neighborhood in Christmas clothes and decorations. I think we have only missed 2 years in the last 13.

Becka introduced me to Ender’s Game which is still one of my favorite books today.

When I was a senior in high school, Becka took me on a road trip to see one of her friends who lived in Canada. She had the 7th Harry Potter book with her (neither of us had read it yet) and whoever was the passenger had the task of reading out loud to the driver.

Becka is my best cheerleader. She’s made me smile during painful races with her shouts of, “Be the cheetah!” and “That’s my sister!”

Becka is the best person to visit or accompany a trip. She spent the summer in Ecuador a couple of years ago, and I got to experience so much of the country thanks to her planning. She is a bus navigation expert and will find the best hikes or adventurous excursions in the area.

She is a great dance partner, especially when your husband is less than fond of weddings. And dancing.

Just a few months ago when I got sick on a family trip near Christmas, Becka literally picked me up off of the bathroom floor and let my feverish head lay in her lap on the plane ride home.

She’s a beast! Becka’s goal was to do 5 pull ups in a row (actual pull ups – not chin ups and not only going down to when your elbows are 90 degree angles – all the way down), and I was able to witness her meeting this goal for the first time a couple of months ago.

Those are just a few memories of many. I am very blessed, and Becka being my sister is certainly one reason why.

April is Almost Over

April is almost over. The month I spent most of March fretting over. The month where we bought a new house, embarked on the adventure of making repairs and improvements, moved, and sold our old house. When it was still March, I kept thinking ahead to April and planning everything that had to happen, usually ending up overwhelmed. I felt like April would never get here, and now it’s almost over.

I certainly had some moments of feeling stressed where time seemed to move slowly (the day I was sure the painters were behind on the job). Now as I look back on April, it’s like a blur. All of the repairs (that require professionals at least) are done, moving was far easier than I imagined, and we no longer own two houses.

Time moves forward whether you’re ready for it (or stressed about it) or not. We are only 2 days from being 1/3 of the way through 2017! I hope to spend the rest of the year using my time better than worrying about the coming weeks.

Customer Service is Important

We’ve all heard the adage, “Be kind. You never know what someone is going through.” The profession that likely deals with this the most is customer service. The best CS reps (God bless them) internalize the adage and treat each customer with patience and care to help them with their problem. I encountered one such woman today.

I had a prescription for pickup at the pharmacy and decided to go get it after lunch today. I was already meeting a friend for lunch near the CVS, so it worked out nicely. There was terrible traffic to get to the pharmacy. I eventually pulled into a parking lot and walked the rest of the way there. I’m not sure if I would have even made it to the next traffic light by the time I was walking in the door. There was a long line, as there tends to be at any typical errands-type stop during the lunch hour. When it was finally my turn, I gave the woman my information, and she got my bag ready to give to the pharmacist. It’s a face cream that has to be mixed at the time of pickup, so it’s your usual grab and go situation.

“Oh – are you aware of the price? It’s [muffled] 46 dollars.”

“I’m sorry, what?” I asked her, slightly panicking because I thought I heard her say it was $346.

“It’s $246. Let me see if it’s running through your insurance.” She clicked a few buttons and then came back. “Yeah – it is. That’s the price with your insurance. Do you still want it?”

I could feel my heart rate rising. I really wanted my face cream, but not for $246. I’m used to the $20 copay I had with my old insurance.

“Umm…I don’t know. I might come back for it,” I stumbled through telling her this before briskly walking toward the door.

As I was walking, I could feel my throat tightening and my eyes watering. I just wanted to get to my car and call Josh and ask why his insurance was so expensive for prescriptions. When I got into the parking lot, I realized that I needed to walk a couple of blocks back to my car, and another wave of “I might lose it” hit me.

Disclaimer: I cry easily. None of this was a big deal, and I knew it. Sometimes I just react with tears. It’s definitely not my favorite thing about myself, but if I can catch it and control it before I actually cry, it’s not so bad.

I settled on texting Josh since that allowed me to continue calming myself down. He told me what I already knew – that I needed to call the insurance company.

I settled into my car, found my insurance card, took a few deep breaths and dialed the number. After going through a few prompts, I got to talk to a real person, and she was great at her job.

It turns out the policy is set up to use a mail order pharmacy instead of a retail store. We pay full price at a retail store but typical copay amounts if we use the mail order. She looked up the prices of both of my prescriptions and offered to walk me through requesting them online if I was at a computer. I told her I was sitting in my car, so she did everything for me on the phone. She sent the request to my doctor to have the prescription filled via mail order. She updated my address since we recently moved. She set up my credit card to be on file for future orders, and she gave me the call in number for the doctor in case I wanted to follow up with him about where to call in the refills from now on.

In addition to all of that, she answered my questions thoroughly. Not just the short snippets of what I needed to know and not condescendingly by overexplaining like I was an idiot. She had a perfect balance of full information and a kind tone that had me completely calm by the end of our call. I thanked her and told her how helpful she was before hanging up.

She had no idea I was having a mini-freak out just moments prior to calling her, but I have no doubt she knows she helped me. She just doesn’t realize it was in more than one way. It’s true that everyone is going through something you likely don’t know about. Be kind and be helpful. You might just be the one who turns around a low moment for them.

Which Came First: Being a Morning Person or Being a Light Sleeper?

I’m a morning person. It doesn’t mean I’m chipper and want to have a full conversation with you the moment I get out of bed, but it does mean that I get up when my alarm goes off. You have more control over your day when you get started early. I start my morning with a run because that’s the surest way I can guarantee fitting it into my day. I suppose night owls can make a similar argument – you just stay up as late as it takes to get everything done for the day – but I find it less stressful to start early. Making my run the first priority of my day means that I don’t have to plan my meals or meetings around a running break, and there’s no danger of an unexpected project or emergency to pop up when I want to go run. Those don’t tend to happen at 6am Eastern. 😉

I’ve also always been a light sleeper. For years I used my watch as an alarm because the soft beeping was enough to wake me up. I also still have a clock radio, and the slight noise it makes right before it goes off usually wakes me up before the radio does. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve hit the snooze button. An extra 9 minutes has never been enough for me to fall asleep again, and I seriously don’t understand the concept of setting 4-5 alarms starting an hour before you actually need to get up. That is my definition of sleep torture.

College roommates and marriage increased my tolerance for noise and ability to sleep through it. I’m still a morning person, and Josh and I manage his love for multiple alarms by me always getting up earlier than him.

12 is the Best Number for Workouts

As I warmed up for my 12×300 track workout this morning, a thought popped into my head I’ve had many times: 12 is the best number of reps for a workout.

Almost every rep is a new, generally recognizable fraction. Rep 3 (1/4), 4 (1/3), 6 (1/2), 8 (2/3), and 9 (3/4) all bring a new milestone. You really shouldn’t need a milestone for your first or second rep, and once you hit the 10th rep, you only have “one more ‘til one more.” Then you finish the 11th and let the elation of the “last one” carry you to the end of 12.

Working out with a team in college meant workouts full of comradery. There’s something about suffering together that forms solid bonds of sweaty friendship. The phrase “one more ‘til one more” came from that group of girls, and we used to sing (between gasping breaths) Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” once we reached the halfway point.

Now that my workouts are solo, I use fractions and other internal motivations. But sometimes, all you can focus on is the interval you are currently running. There’s a great passage in Once a Runner where Cassidy is running a terribly difficult workout (I don’t want to spoil it for you) and talks about focusing on one rep at a time – to slay it and then it’s brother after, over and over. There are times when it’s rough early – when you’re struggling much earlier than expected – and you have so far to go. If I can only focus on the rep at hand, I use rhymes.

One is for fun.
Two is for you.
Three is for free.
Four is a lore.
Five I’m alive.
Six is for kicks.
Seven I’m in heaven.
Eight is great.
Nine is mine.
Ten is (almost) the end.

Sometimes – everything goes well, and the rhymes are just for fun. Those are the best days.

Oh – and one more reason 12 is the best number? This guy wears it.

Tips for Getting More Vegetables in Your Diet

Disclaimer: I am not a scientist or registered dietician. I am armed with little more than the common sense knowledge that you should include vegetables in your diet.


I grew up eating relatively healthy. My mom made us balanced meals for dinner, you had to eat your fruit before you could have your cookie, and we could drink one soda per weekend – usually splitting the can between Saturday and Sunday. Despite the introduction to many vegetables, I struggled to like them. I was distressed when my mom told me that corn and potatoes (my two favorites) were technically starches. Here are some ways I’ve learned to include more vegetables in my meals.

Bribe yourself. I love mac and cheese – not even the homemade stuff. I’m talking about the orange powder packet kind of mac and cheese. Now that I work from home, I face the temptation to make it for lunch on a regular basis. This is obviously not the healthiest option, so now whenever I want mac and cheese, it comes with strings attached, and those strings are broccoli. Broccoli, like most cruciferous vegetables, is not my favorite, but mixed with mac and cheese? It’s not so bad, then.

Learn new techniques. Did you know you’re supposed to massage kale? The first few times I made a kale salad, I didn’t massage it, and I thought kale being popular was a conspiracy theory. I couldn’t believe this was the superfood so many people were fawning over. Then I learned if you sprinkle some salt on kale and massage it, it actually tastes like food rather than roughage.

Mask them with stronger flavors. I got the cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow for Christmas, and my friend Keri raved about the “Can’t Beet Me Smoothie.” Beets have an incredibly strong flavor, and I knew from smelling them that I probably wouldn’t like this smoothie. I choked down the first few batches, and then I adjusted the recipe. I added a higher ratio of blueberries and almond butter. Those increases plus the fresh ginger overpowered the beets, and now I get all of the benefits of beets without holding my nose while drinking my breakfast.

Add them in unexpected places. Another great recipe from Run Fast, Eat Slow is for the Superhero Muffins. In addition to normal ingredients like eggs and oats, these muffins have shredded carrots and zucchini as well. The shredding is a bit labor intensive, but these muffins freeze well, so it’s worth it to make a batch and defrost them as needed.

Thankfully there are vegetables that I like, so I don’t have to employ a trick or bribe every day. And if any of these stop working, the internet is full of recipes!

Pros and Cons of Having a Decent Memory

I have always been able to remember things pretty well. When I was a phone-a-holic in middle school, I had all of my friends’ numbers memorized. I still had a Lisa Frank address book, but it was just for backup. When I began running cross country, I could tell you the finish time and place for almost every race I ran. It is a normal occurrence for me to recite and entire conversation that Josh and I have had in the past of which he has no recollection. Of course, it served me well in school as well – where most of what is asked of you is to remember formulas or facts. I don’t have a photographic memory, so I still had to study to remember those facts, but it matched with my learning style well.

I’ve learned there can be some downfalls of having a good memory, though. Granted, most of these have more to do with personality than the actual memory, but it’s still a fun illustration.

I feel betrayed if I lose something. Do you ever have moments where you go on autopilot and close the garage door or put away groceries but can’t actually remember doing it? Those moments scare me to death, especially when I lose something. I am so reliant on my ability to recall information that I freak out when there’s a blank spot or worse – a false memory. If my keys are missing but I know I hung them on the key ring when I got home, I can dramatically extrapolate that to my entire life being a lie. What else have I been misremembering? Can I ever trust myself again? Obviously this is an overreaction, and I calm down and become rational again eventually…usually after I find whatever I’m looking for.

I remember other people a lot more often than they remember me. There have been a number of times where I am meeting someone for the second or third time, and they introduce themselves as if we’ve never met. The worst times are when I can remember when and where we met and what we talked about, and after an awkward occasion or two of explaining this to someone (getting a blank stare or alarmed look in return), I usually just go with it now or offer a brief “I think we’ve met before?” It receives a much better reaction.

The vast majority of the time, I am grateful for the way my mind works and think it’s pretty cool. I love that Josh and I can have stereotypical sitcom moments where he can’t find something, and I know exactly where it is in the house. It’s convenient (and dangerous) for online shopping to have your credit card information memorized. I love remembering friends’ birthdays and anniversaries, and I cherish the fact that I can remember time spent with loved ones. As long as I have systems in place, my memory is a great tool in my skillset. It’s when you rely on it alone and don’t have a system that is can get you in trouble.


I Can be Bad at Weekends

The last month has been all about cleaning, packing, getting the house ready, moving, and unpacking. When I finished up my run this morning, I was met with the pleasant realization that I didn’t have to do anything today.

I am a planner and a scheduler. During college I used to tell Josh 3 months in advance what weekends I could come visit him to make sure he would keep them open. At my old job I traveled a lot, so I had to plan ahead for which races/weekends I wanted to be home. I still enjoy planning, but I often find it hard to see past a certain large event (like moving). Once that event is over, I sometimes have a rough transition period back into normalcy.

Not knowing what to do with myself this weekend reminded me of a time last year where I jokingly suggested to Josh that I needed to Google “what to do on weekends” after a long stretch of traveling. Obviously there are always things to do, and I spent today doing a mix of productive (hanging decorations, cleaning the moss off the mailbox, reading a few chapters of my book) and fun things (afternoon nap and dinner with friends).

I kept such singular focus on getting to April 15th (moving) and April 21st (selling our old house) that I ended up feeling isolated over the last month. It was certainly self-imposed. I didn’t answer or return phone calls and had far fewer interactions with my friends than I usually do. Knowing that it was my own fault didn’t assuage the loneliness, either.

Having dinner with a group of friends this evening broke the final strands of solitude. We caught up with each other while devouring various dips and countless bowls of chips, and I left with a full heart (and stomach).

Farewell to Our First Home

We sold our house today.

As far as putting your house on the market goes, we had a pretty ideal situation. The listing went live on a Thursday morning, and we had showings Thursday through Sunday (when I was out of town, so I wasn’t even inconvenienced). We got multiple offers that weekend and went under contract on Monday. Bing, bang, boom.

We lived in the house for nearly 2 years and had the unique experience of watching it go from a bunch of dirt to fully built. New construction is fun. You get to pick all the details down to the color of the grout, and if anything breaks within the first year, the builder will come fix it. Plus, everything is new and clean!

Watching the house come together (with literally no effort on our part) built a lot of great memories. Josh and I would drive to the neighborhood after church every Sunday to check out the progress. I was out of town the week most of the framing went up, and I can remember excitedly showing my co-workers the pictures Josh sent me.


Now we are moved into our new house, and despite my disposition toward sentimentalism, I don’t feel sad. I feel settled. And that’s a good feeling.