The cats struck

After I returned home from my solo run Saturday afternoon, Jason and I went to Lowe’s and picked out our Christmas tree.

This year we chose a Douglas Fir that is absolutely perfect. Since we have a bigger living room, the tree is taller than last year!

I love that we have purchased a real tree almost the entire time we have been together. Growing up, my parents always had a live tree decorated every year, something I wanted to carry on as a tradition for Jason and I.

The smell of a Christmas tree is among one of my favorite parts about this holiday. I love that aroma.

Our first Christmas together, Jason surprised me with an invitation to spend it with his family. Since that invitation was a trip to Illinois and we were not living together at the time, we did not buy a tree.

The second year, Jason surprised me with a little table top Christmas tree that was absolutely adorable.

The third year he took parts of my parents Christmas tree and made us a wreath. Jason even strung some lights on it, which of course touched me beyond belief.

Last year, our first Christmas in Tennessee, we went out and bought a 5 foot Christmas tree. It completely made my holiday. We bought ornaments, a tree skirt and tree topper. It was all incredibly special to me because we began collecting memories that were going to be added to in years to come.

Jason is so good to me. I know he enjoys picking out a tree too. Even if it involves picking out one tree after another, hitting the stump to the ground, so I can see the branches, while making up my mind.

The best thing about Christmas this year, since we are renting a house, we even strung lights outside. Jason absolutely loved adding some holiday cheer outside. I’m sure we will be buying more lights before Christmas to add to the collection of lights outside.

So, after we got home on Saturday, we put the tree in its stand, put the skirt around it and put our adorable reindeer tree topper on. Due to hanging the lights outside, we ran out of Christmas lights for the tree, so it remained half strung before heading to bed.

Night one a success . . . the Christmas tree was still standing the next morning.

I ran up to the store yesterday morning and picked up another box of lights, so we could finish decorating the tree. The ornaments, which are mostly various colored balls, made its way on the tree.

Night two . . . epic fail.

IMG_2681The cats struck while we were asleep. We had one shattered ornament and two more of the balls scattered around the living room. Now the bottom of our tree is bare.

I knew it was going to be a challenge with the cats, but really the first night?

I’m going to have to buy some soft ornaments to put on the bottom that the cats can swat around and play with. Ornaments that I don’t care if they are ruined.

IMG_2679I’m so thankful we put our nice ornaments towards the top of the tree. I would be really upset if they got a hold of those.

Oh the life with so many animals.

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Lucy and our beautiful Douglas Fir.

Surpassed running goal

Saturday turned into another crummy day with barely any sun, which caused really cool temperatures, so our run was canceled yet again.

I have to admit it kind of put me in a funk. I wanted to be outdoors soaking up the sun, but we were stuck inside.

As the day went on, I still couldn’t kick the mood, so I began writing. Yes, writing, not writing articles or a blog, but beginning that story that I have been wanting to write for a few years now. The ideas just flowed out of me yesterday . . . probably because I am writing about my experience. It was fun picking the lead characters name. I’m excited to see where this story takes me.

Oct. 18, 2014

Oct. 18, 2014

Lucy of course was right by my side giving me the inspiration I needed. Hint . . . the story includes this puppy of mine.

As Lucy and I woke today, the sky was definitely overcast and it was rather cool, so we came back inside.

Lucy took a nap and I began reading before a conversation sparked between my mother and I. What started out as exchanges through text messages turned into a phone conversation of well over an hour.  A conversation with my mom always cheers me up. Best part was by the time we hung up, the sky turned crystal blue. No more clouds in the sky.

As I laced up my running shoes a new kind of excitement took hold. Lucy and I were going to a new portion of the Greenbelt today, one that is closer to where we live now. Although I absolutely love where we have been going, it was nice to change-up the scenery.

IMG_20141019_151037We headed to the area around the Boatyard Riverfront Park. A sign that read Kingsport Greenbelt directed me to a parking area off of Neatherland Inn Road.

Although this is not the first time I have been to this portion of the Greenbelt, it’s the first time I have run this path. It’s also the first time Lucy has gone that way. Jason and I went for a walk along this section of the path sometime last year.

We ran until we reached the end of the path. This was our resting spot for the day, around 1.43 miles.

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It was beautiful looking into the distance and seeing Bays Mountain in a slew of different fall colors.

IMG_20141019_144154Our run would not be complete on the Greenbelt if we did not spot at least one duck in the water or along the path.

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20141019_132858After we took a good break, we were off again heading in the direction we came. I’m so proud of Lucy, she’s such an awesome running partner. The few people and dogs we passed did not faze her at all. Her attention was straight ahead.

Instead of hearing the water and birds, today our music was a train running along the track adjacent to the path we were running on the other side of the street.

I’m not sure if it was the cooler temperatures, my car said it was in the mid 50s before we got out, or running a new path . . . but we ran our longest distance yet. The longest since I began tracking our exercise on a running app on my phone. Previously our longest run was 2.89 miles.

Last night before going to bed I gave myself a goal for our run today if the weather behaved. That goal was  to run at least 3 miles. I am happy to say we surpassed that goal. There is not a greater feeling than going beyond a goal. No better feeling.

We ran 3.13 miles!!!

Now that’s an awesome way to kick off another week. Best therapy in the world, putting on those shoes and heading out for a run.

Last week because of all the rain, we only ran three days for a total of 7.28 miles.

I’m hoping for a sunny week that will allow Lucy and I to run more!!

 

Fall is upon us

IMG_2317Wednesday was a perfect day. Jason had the day off and I was pretty much caught up with all of my writing, so we headed to Steele Creek Park for an afternoon outdoors.

Steele Creek Park is located at 4 Little Lane in Bristol, Tennessee. According to its website the park has more than 2,200 acres, with more than 24 miles of trails, and opened to the public in 1964. The park has a 52 acre lake, which on Wednesday was filld with a ton of ducks, geese, turtles and fish.

More information can be found at: http://www.bristoltn.org/166/Steele-Creek-Park

Although Lucy and I have been heading to the Kingsport Greenbelt daily for our morning runs, Jason and I haven’t had our time outdoors together in a while. So when he suggested we head to the park, I was game.

The only downfall, was my allergies were a little extreme that day . . . It wasn’t too hot until we were more than half way through the hike.

Jason and I have walked a good portion of the path around the lake at Steele Creek Park, but never the entire trail. Since we weren’t pressed for time, we decided to do some exploring and take the long way around the lake.

We were both surprised with what we found. The smooth, paved trail had changed.

IMG_2321As soon as we started walking the path, Jason spotted a sea of red across the lake. I instantly smiled, fall is upon us.

I remember last year Jason and I were so busy that we really did not have a chance to get out and experience the beginning of the changing of seasons. I was shocked to see, Aug. 27, the leaves were changing. It just seems a little early to me, especially compared to last year.

IMG_2326It was really pretty to see patches of the trees scattered with red leaves against a contrast of green. Some of the leaves still had shades of light green mixed in with red.

IMG_2327I love watching nature at work. It has been so much fun experiencing the change in seasons again.

IMG_2331As I was snapping picture after picture, Jason and Lucy kept walking the path until they found a bench to sit and wait until I was finished. I know I can get out of hand with stopping every few minutes because I want to capture that piece of beauty that caught my eye. Although the image was engraved in my memory, I want to have that image captured with my camera as well.

What better way to re-live a certain moment than by having a picture jog that memory?

IMG_2336So what did I do . . .  I stopped and took quite a few of pictures of Lucy and Jason sitting on the bench after I was done taking pictures of leaves.

IMG_2338This manmade waterfall is usually where we stop and start heading back to the car. But, if you keep following the trail and head towards the bridge it will take you to another trail that becomes a little more adventurous. Hence, why Jason, Lucy and I were the only ones on this trail.

IMG_2344Our walk turned into a hike. A hike that had changes in elevation along a narrow path. (According to an app on my phone, the elevation went from 1,492 feet to 2,065 feet, before it stopped recording our walk/hike.) For a good portion of the hike, Lucy led the way until Jason made his way to the front. At one point I took Lucy off the leash and let her trail Jason’s heals as he hiked.

IMG_2347Along this path we spotted more leaves changing, but this time shades of oranges made its presence instead of reds.

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IMG_2343We even spotted a few deer, which I wasn’t able to capture with my camera. It took me a while to find their white tails and by the time I gave Jason the camera they were already heading towards the ridge line.

We eventually made our way to the golf course and a bridge that took us to the opposite side of the lake.

IMG_2352We walked a good 5+ miles that day. It was definitely a walk that worked up a sweat.

IMG_2359Jason and I have been talking a lot about our move to Kingsport last May lately. I’m so glad we decided to make that move. Yes, things haven’t always been easy, but we found a love that is undeniable. That love . . . nature.

Spring is in the air

Ever since we brought Lucy home, our new adorable puppy, I have been outside every few hours. I thank this little peanut for making me go outside so often to witness this pure beauty.

Spring is my new favorite season. I love watching the trees outside our door transform from only branches, to buds, to beautiful flowers and then into a gorgeous green.

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According to my landlord, this tree is a cherry tree. It began blooming after the Bradford Pear started, which is planted on either side of the cherry tree.

IMG_1471I thought these little flowers were pretty . . . until they continued to open and turned into this.

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IMG_1539Jason says they look like carnations. When they first opened they had a beautiful fragrance.

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Stunning

The last week or so, a particular tree has caught my attention alongside a doctor’s office parking lot.

Well, today I decided to stop and snap a few pictures with my cell phone.

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I absolutely love the contrast of the two colors. It’s absolutely stunning.

Oh how I love the spring!

It’s the little things, like the beauty of nature, that make me smile.

Spring is here

IMAG3042This morning when I went to the gym I had to stop and take pictures of the beautiful trees. Thank goodness for cell phones.

Spring is here, oh spring is here!

Although I enjoyed winter, well, let’s be honest, after we had our good snow in January I was ready for it to be over. Winter has its own beauty, especially when snow is covering the tree branches. But, after a while you want the trees to come alive again.

I want to see that stunning green that Jason and I experienced when we first moved to Kingsport.

So, with all that said, you can only imagine how excited I am to see the colors of spring. The light and darker pink tones against the dark of the branches is absolutely stunning.

I’m in awe once again. It’s breathtaking to see what nature is capable of producing.

I’m so glad Jason and I have had the chance to experience the seasons once again.

Needless to say after seeing and experiencing the beauty, that beauty of nature’s cycle of life, I was in a great mood before walking through the doors at the gym.

Frozen

This morning Jason woke me up as the sun was rising, so we could see more of Kingsport covered in snow. He’s so good to me, on his day off he woke up much earlier than on the days he works, just so I could see the sunrise.

It was beautiful, oranges filled the sky as the sun slowly made its way up. I don’t know if it was the sunrise that made me smile, or that the sun was actually making an appearance today.

IMG_1025After driving downtown, Jason took me to one of my favorite spots, the Kingsport Greenbelt.

One of the ducks was laying in the snow, which instantly made me cold. IMG_1033

Every time I see and hear the ducks it takes me back to when I lived on the farm in Illinois. Mom had a duck, pure white, named Matilda. It used to lay on the pool cover in the winter and talk to Mom all the time. So Mom, you consumed my thoughts this  morning, you were with me as I watched the ducks do their thing.

Shortly after I spotted the first duck on the bank, I heard quite a few more chatting as the swam. A cluster slowly made its way down to where I was standing, sinking in the snow.

IMG_1034Part of Reedy Creek was frozen on the Greenbelt this morning, which only reminded me just how cold it was outside. It was really pretty to see snow around the creek and on the trees. Another beautiful moment created by this Winter Storm Leon.

IMG_1026  IMG_1027  IMG_1030  IMG_1031 IMG_1028Since we don’t have boots and I was only wearing my running shoes, my toes started to get really cold. I took a few more pictures before heading back to Jason’s warm car.

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I’m glad Jason woke us up early so we could see more of the snow that swept through the area yesterday. That same quietness that I heard last night, surrounded me again as I stood by the creek this morning. As the sun made its way through the trees, the white glistened, promising a beautiful day. A spray of snow started to sweep off the trees as the sun began to melt what accumulated on the branch, creating another beautiful sight to see.

I’m glad Jason and I moved to the mountains and got to experience the seasons this year. The fall was absolutely breathtaking with the change of colors and the winter, well I still don’t know how to put into words the beauty that it holds, that white coverage.

When we arrived back home, Jason’s car said -2 . . . yep this Florida girl had enough of the cold for a couple of hours. I think I might just admire the view from the windows of our warm home for a little bit.