Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Indys first Chanukah

Last year, Chanukah began on Dec 20, 2011 (when Keith and I were already on our honeymoon), so Indy has never had the chance to really celebrate Chanukah!  We are pleased to be celebrating it this year with a new toy/surprise every day.

Grandma Rosalie picked out many toys over Thanksgiving, and even saved up Toilet Paper rolls for him to play with!

The pyramid we created for Indy to play with.  Video of subsequent description should be coming soon. 
And the destruction.  He is very proud of himself!

For the 3rd night, Indy got a squeeky beer bottle toy.  He loves running around the house with this, which is a HILARIOUS sight.
We are using two Menorahs this year. One that I received for my Bat Mitzvah (16 years ago!) and another that I got for my birthday a few years ago.

As you can tell from his ears, Indy knows that he is not allowed to be up on the radiator.  He tends to avoid the area near the candles entirely.  

For the second night of Chanukah, I made latkes.  They were delicious, but unfortunately I burned her arm on the splatter screen.   (I am doing fine now, but was very unhappy this night!)

Indy is getting really good at his latest trick, STEADY.  We can put a treat or some small toys, on his nose and he will stay still until we give the release, OKAY.  He is getting better and better at holding still so that I can even capture a photo!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

More Flat Jackson

When Flat Jackson was with us this Spring, he had a few more adventures than made it into our letter.

Flat Jackson was pleased that he finally tamed Indy:

Flat Jackson is still with us in my computer!

Flat Jackson and Keith and Rebecca's House

We sent Flat Jackson back to his school with some new flat friends... Flat Keith and Flat Rebecca!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rebecca's First 5k

Many of our friends have been running 5k's for years.  Three years ago they all decided to train to run the BAA 5k, a plan which I stubbornly refused to participate in.  Well, watching Alan and Caroline run the Boston Marathon this April finally inspired me.  I wanted to run a 5k.

Keith and I found the Monster Dash, a fun costume oriented 5k.  I thought this would be a good first race because it was raising money for a good cause (Team Ortho) and it would also be a race that many would not take seriously.  I knew that if I was doing a "fun run" then I would feel a lot less pressure.  I didn't want to dress in costume (it was my first race, after all), but Keith and I put temporary Halloween themed tattoos on our face and hands.

Keith and I ran together a few times in preparation for the 5k, but mostly I ran with Indy.  (If you ever ask him "do you want to go for a run?" he will start squeeling and jumping around, pretty cute.)  Even Keith isn't as fast as Indy, but Indy and I found a good pace together.  Rather than running large loops, we run from home to an empty field that is ~0.5 miles around and do laps.  This gives me the opportunity to push myself further if I feel up to it, knowing that I can still manage to get home if I start to become too tired.  

Running was not an easy thing to add to my daily routine.  My CFS treatment plan is to provide balance and to not overexert myself.  By pushing myself harder with running, I was tipping the balance to doing a little too much each day.  I needed to compensate by doing less of my other activities (knitting, blogging on ChemKnits) and taking more naps.  Ultimately, it is worth it to keep my heart healthy.  

Nevertheless, I am proud to say that I finished the 5k, AND felt that I could have run a bit further!  (Keith's Garmin watch thought we had run less than the course, so the finish line snuck up on us sooner than we expected.)   We finished with a time of 33:50!   And the fatigue?  I did well until we got to the car where I started to crash during the ride home.  The nap that afternoon was a good one because it was filled with victory.


The race was the week before Halloween... and I haven't run since.   I DO plan to run more in the future, but the cold weather has gotten a little in the way.   I cannot wait for the 2013 race season to begin, I plan on signing up for more 5k's.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Flat Jackson

So I've been really bad about posting.... but here are the adventures from our Honeymoon (Dec 2011) as told by our little stowaway, Flat Jackson.

Hello! My name is Flat Jackson and I went to Illinois to spend some time with my family, the newlyweds Rebecca (my cousin) and Keith (my buddy.) Flat me wasn't able to go to the wedding (I had not yet been laminated), but the 3D version had a lot of fund dancing at their wedding at the New England Aquarium in Boston.

Evanston, IL is a quiet college town just North of Chicago. I thought that I was in for a quiet relaxing vacation... but then there was a wild beast! (Just kidding, the American Eskimo Puppy never tried to eat Flat Jackson.)

Shortly after arriving in Evanston, Rebecca and Keith were going to leave for their Caribbean honeymoon. Guess what? They invited me to join them! I spent the trip traveling in the outside pocket of their suitcase, sleeping inside a Kindle Case so I could stay nice and flat.

We started our adventures on the Island of Saint Maarten, an island that is half owned by the French and Dutch (this is the World's smallest island owned by two sovereign nations!) Many different nations have sovereignty in the Caribbean, which leads to multiple different currencies being used, including US dollar, Easter Caribbean Dollar, European Euro, British Sterling and more. (Thankfully, most places were happy to take US dollars at a great exchange rate, 1 USD = 1 Euro!)

St. Maarten was only the first stop on our Caribbean adventure. We went on the Windstar cruise ship the WindSurf. This one of the largest sailing vessels on the ocean, and we spent a lot of time traveling under sail power. From St. Maarten, we traveled to 5 other islands: Martinique, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and St. Bartelemy.

The layout of the boat looks confusing, but thankfully Rebecca and Keith were on this ship before for Mediterranean cruise so they were able to easily show me around.

Breakfast and lunch are almost always eaten outside on the deck. The ship was only about half full (~200 passengers) so there was never any trouble finding a place to sit.

Our room (called a "State Room") has two little porthole windows so we can see the waves.

The boat is small for a crusie ship, but it is still very big compared to many other boats. We weren't able to dock on many of the islands, instead we were anchor in the harbor and then take a tender (a small boat) to shore.

Every island was filled with breathtaking views....

It was also really relaxing to be on the boat.

Unfortunately, since I am not yet 18 years old, I was not able to go Snorkeling with Rebecca and Keith. But they did bring me along so I could watch!


On Antigua, we had a lazy beach day.

Technically I was not a guest on the ship, I was more of a stow-away. This is why I didn't get listed on the honeymoon certificate!

I was sad to see our trip end... funny to see palm trees decorated for Christmas.

I thought my adventures would be over when we returned to Chicago... but in fact they were just beginning.

Rebecca told me that she is happy we had these cyber adventures. Now as they mail me back to Massachusetts, I haven't really left them at all!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Keith ran a Half Marathon!

I recently finished the Chicago half Marathon! The weather was perfect I was able to finish in 1:49:18! Huge thanks to Ryan for giving me a Garmin GPS watch, it was super helpful in training. It makes it very easy to both adjust run lengths on the fly and maintain a set pace. It was hilarious during the race there were the telltale beeps from all around me at each mile. There also was an especially hilarious sign a spectator was holding saying, "Don't worry baby, if you pass out I'll pause your Garmin." 

I based my training on the Hal Higdon novice program condensed into eight weeks with the Wednesday cross training as intervals. The hardest part was consistently making time to run four times a week, but the miles added up, I ran 105 miles in August! 

I have no plans for doing a full marathon, but some friends and I are going to do the hot chocolate 15K  in November and I'm really excited to run a run the Monster Dash 5K in October with Rebecca. Costume suggestions anyone?

--------------------------------- Did you take any pictures at our wedding? Please send them to us!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pooch Park

We have gone to the Pooch Park many times since this video was filmed. Indy continues to love Agility but he is now afraid of the balance beam. I think it has a lot to do with him jumping off at the top a few times (including one epic leap into my arms.)

The park is fun when it isn't filled with mud. Sometimes our very white puppy comes home brown!

Normally everyone at the park is very friendly, and Indy has a lot of positive interactions with dogs and people. Indy is too shy to drink out of the public water bowl (he takes possession seriously) so we bring a water bowl for him. He will growl if another dog attempts to drink his water. He also can be "protective" of us at times. Unfortunately, last weekend these two issues combined in a confrontation with a chocolate lab which resulted in the lab accidentally biting my leg. The two dogs where growling/snapping at each other, Indy under the bench and the lab on the other side of me. The dog wasn't trying to bite me, I just happened to be in the way. The owner of the lab was really friendly, and the bite didn't break the skin (although I have a nasty bruise) so we did not need to seek medical attention. This is my first first-hand experience with a dog bite, and shows that even the most friendly dogs may accidentally bite someone. I still plan to go to the dog park, I will just avoid sitting on the bench!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Keith's Birthday

February is the month of birthdays and we celebrated accordingly. Rebecca gave me a lego star wars advent calendar which meant I got to open something almost every day in Feb. The picture below shows some of my bounty (including a subscription to a pickle of the month club!).

We ended up celebrating on the 27th with some delicious Mexican food as I had a big presentation that day and taking the day off the week before didn't seem prudent. Rebecca gave me the new Uncharted game which is great because it plays like a movie and is therefore fun for her to watch (and really fun to play). For a cake she made frosted star wars shaped brownies and cupcakes!

In other news ,the final two first author papers from my graduate work came out recently (here and here). I'm still working to publish some of the work I did with undergraduate researchers, but that's almost wrapped up too. Life in the new lab has been very different from my graduate studies, but a great learning experience. 


Did you take any pictures at our wedding? Please send them to us!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Evanston Public Library

I finally took the time to join the Evanston Public Library. The library is located in downtown Evanston so I walk by it every time I have an errand in town. I have been meaning to do this for MONTHS. The best part? I didn't have to jump through hoops to prove my residency, I only had to show my driver's license. There are so many benefits to have your legal address be where you are actually living!

I found the COOLEST book, Knit Your Own Dog. There are fairly accurate representations of many common breeds. (Unfortunately, no American Eskimo, Newfie or Golden Retriever...) I haven't looked at the book options online yet, but I am excited to be able to request books online again!

My friends Caroline and Alan are running the Boston Marathon in April to raise money for the Museum of Science Traveling Programs. Please support them as they train to run for such a worthy cause by donating in honor of Alan's birthday!