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Another “Mile”stone

Look who just earned another medal…

You might recall that I finished my latest Beachbody program on Saturday, and since then, I’ve been working really hard to catch up on the virtual races that I’ve had medals and t-shirts sitting around for the last few months.

The Half-Blood Prince Half Marathon was sponsored by the Hogwarts Running Club.  I’ll admit that I was very intimidated by the distance and knew, right away, that I wouldn’t be able to knock it out in one day.

I ran the first leg in June, but then life happened…as in summer life…high temperatures and high humidity, and I just couldn’t seem to get out and run.

Until this week.

I was going to run the final leg yesterday, but my legs were really sore from running Sunday through Wednesday, so I decided to give myself the day off.

Today was the day, though.

I knew I needed to run 4.2 miles to complete the distance, so I set out, a route in mind.

Remember the last race I did…on Tuesday with my friend, Rebecca?  I’d run 3.1 miles straight and considered that a small victory.

Guess how much I ran today?

Out of the 4.5 miles, I ran 4 of them!!!!  I only walked the first half mile to warm up!!!

Y’all, can you tell that I’m a little excited????

I’ve been setting goals for myself, and by the grace of God, a lot of hard work, and a can-do attitude, I’m reaching them!

The Mr. kindly took a few photos of me to capture the moment.

That’s the race shirt, which I wouldn’t wear before finishing this race.  Here’s the back…

He even got a close-up.  He knows I like my pictures.

Here’s the medal up close.

I love that my running club pays attention to details.  Check out the back of the medal…

Even on the mailing labels that accompany each medal, much thought and care is given…

I just love, love, love the message.  Truly, anything is possible.  All you need is the courage to take the first step.

A Ghoulish Run

A month or two ago, I saw a promotion for a virtual run that was going to be hosted by Gone for a Run.

I knew I had to sign up…because I am Auburnchick…the one who runs for bling.

I tagged my friend, Rebecca, and suggested that we do it together.

She was all in and signed up too.

We set a date to run virtually together.  October 25.  She’d be on vacation, and I wouldn’t have to go in and teach teenagers that day because of an all-day meeting.

I received a text message around 2pm my time…

She was about to embark on her run.

Doesn’t she look awesome?!

Meanwhile, I was sitting in a meeting, doing the teacher-nerd thing…

I wanted to be outside so badly, but I knew that my turn would come.

I rushed home, changed clothes, and prepared to set out.

Rebecca texted me again.  She’d finished!  She sent me pictures to prove it.

Meanwhile, I queued up a podcast I’ve been listening to of late…

I’d loosely planned my route…halfway around my neighborhood, around my friend, M’s, and back to my neighborhood and around a couple of times.

A word about the run itself.

I’ve been doing walk/run intervals.  My BIG goal has been, for a year now, to run an entire 5k.  Because I do not train consistently, I haven’t achieved that yet.

I’ve been slowly increasing my run intervals and had gotten up to running 1.25 miles with .25-mile rests.  For some reason, when I exited M’s neighborhood, I’d hit two miles and thought, “Self, why don’t you try for three?  You’re over halfway there!”

And so my tired legs kept pumping, and I ran.

And ran.

And ran.

I did not stop until I got home.

Y’all, I ran 3.1 straight miles!!!!!

With the random exception of a couple of runs two years ago, I’ve never run (not walked) this far before!!!

Woo hoo!  Now, if I can do this in a real-life race, I’d be thrilled!

I sent my own selfies to Rebecca, and we celebrated together, several states away.

Forget Ghouls on the Run.  This race should have been titled “Girls on the Run.”

Love ya, Rebecca!  Thanks for doing this race with me!

Feeling at Home With the Hodgepodge

It’s time for the Hodgepodge!

But first, can we please take a moment to celebrate the fact that MY GRADES ARE IN!  If you’re a teacher, you are totally feeling my pain.  Every nine weeks is filled with the angst of deadlines such as this, only usually, I’m done earlier.  Ugh.  I spent over three hours last night, about three hours the night before, lunch breaks the last two days, and countless hours last week trying to get caught up.

The.  Struggle.  Is.  Real.

But it’s done.  Now all that’s left is the offering up of kleenex to students who shouldn’t be surprised by their grades but will be, nonetheless, because I suspect that they think the grade fairies were magically going to do away with all of the “missing” assignment codes.

Anyhoo…let’s get started on the questions, shall we?  Oh, and here’s the link for Joyce so you can join in on the fun!

1.  Besides your very own house, describe a place where you feel most ‘at home’?

The beach is my home away from home.  The Mr. and I spent many a Saturday from Spring Break through the summer at the beach down the road from our house.

Even the birds feel at home here!

2.  When did you last ‘hit a home run‘ with something? Explain.

Take a look at the Vegan Pumpkin Scones I made the other night!  I even whipped up the Maple Glaze you see on top.  So.  Delicious!  My non-vegan friends even gave them a thumbs up!

3.  Tell us about something you love in your house or kitchen that is ‘homemade’. 

I have some trinkets around the house that the kids made when they were in elementary school.  They sit on top of my dresser, and every time I see them, I remember that special time when I was a stay-at-home mom.  Those were probably my favorite years of all. ❤

4.  ‘A man’s home is his castle’…which of the world’s ten most captivating castles (according to The Travel Channel) would you most like to visit and why-

Mont Saint-Michel (France), Edinburgh Castle (Scotland), Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany), Glamis Castle (Scotland), Windsor Castle (England), Chateau de Chambord (France), Hampton Court Palace (England), Prague Castle (Prague), St. Michael’s Mount (England), Leeds Castle (England), and Swallow’s Nest (Ukraine)

Oh goodness!  I’d love to visit Scotland and England.  I’ve read so many historical novels about both places, and I’m fascinated with the royal family.  I vote for two trips to see the castles in both countries!

5.  What’s a recent or upcoming plan or project that’s required you do a little homework before getting started? Did the homework cause you to abandon your plan or adjust it in some way?

I’m working on a new knitting project.  I always do my homework beforehand to ensure that I get the right needle size and find errata that someone else has fixed.

6.  In your opinion, is homework an unnecessary evil or a valuable practice? Should schools be done with homework? Why or why not? I think it’s valuable practice IF it’s not too overwhelming.

Teachers sometimes forget that.  Kids need to be taught that to succeed, they are going to have to put in a little extra work.  Nearly every professional career requires it.  However, they shouldn’t be required to do hours of homework.  That’s just ridiculous.Personally, I rarely assign homework because the reality is that my students won’t do it.  I’d rather oversee their work, help them fix errors on the spot, and move on.

7.  Share a favorite memory of your childhood hometown. 

I grew up in a tiny town in south Alabama.  My favorite memories involve lazy summer days…laying in fresh-mown grass as the sun is going down.  It was always quiet and peaceful.

8.  My Random Thought

Y’all, I’m doing the teacher thing hard-core right now.I might have mentioned up above that I’ve been in grading purgatory for eons, it seems.Yesterday, I was ready for work early, so I took advantage of the time to grade a few more essays.

My name is Auburnchick, and I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’m a teacher nerd.

Psycho Ice Maker

Last year, the Mr. and I bought a new refrigerator.

I have loved it, let me tell you.  The LCD lights inside make it easy to find things, and the freezer has more space because the ice maker is in the door.


A few months ago, before Rooster left for Basic, the ice maker decided to quit making ice.

I tried everything that my searches on Google said to try, and then I set up an appointment with Sears.

A couple of days before they came, the ice maker started working again.  I canceled my appointment and thanked the Lord that we wouldn’t be forking out oodles of money for a repair.

Fast forward to last week and the sight that greeted me one morning…an empty ice maker.


So, I tried to remember what steps I’d taken the last time.

I checked the tubing to make sure it wasn’t frozen and even got out the hair dryer and blew hot air on it for a few minutes just in case.

I also vacuumed the vent in front of the fridge.  I forget to clean this regularly, and with three dogs in the house, hair builds up quickly.

I turned on the accelerated ice feature and checked on it in the morning.


I googled, pushed the refrigerator away from the wall to check for other blockages, and hit the freezer with more hot air from the blow dryer.

For awhile.

Then I waited a couple more days.

The Mr. bought a bag of ice while I tried to remember if I still had ice cube trays…the old fashioned kind…in one of my cabinets.


When I checked the freezer a day or two later, I found this…

I had ice cubes!  There weren’t many, but hey, they were new!

I texted the picture to the Mr.

His response:  “Psycho.”


But then there was nothing else.

For several days.


I bought a new bag of ice to get us through the weekend.

I began to pray.

No kidding.

I laid my hand right on the ice maker, blew more hot air on various parts of the freezer, and prayed some more.

I also added a note to my to-do list…”Call Sears.”

And I prayed again.

And then the next day, I had a few more ice cubes!

Then, I began hearing the sound of an ice cube or two dropping into the bin and the refrigerator’s ice tray filling with water.

This happened in regular intervals until I found this two days ago…

The psycho ice maker had a Come to Jesus meeting with the One who hears prayers.

Runday Sunday

I am ever the planner, that I am.

When I got up on Sunday, I knew exactly what I’d be doing after church (admire the good hair and makeup day I was having).

It wouldn’t involve eating.

It would involve doing something about this…

Y’all, those are four racing medals that I have not allowed myself to unpack because I haven’t run them yet.


Hi, my name is Auburnchick, and I’m a sucker for race bling.

And charities that buying race bling supports.

Two of those medals are my Hogwarts Running Club races.  The other two are from Gone for a Run.

Sunday was going to be my Runder the Sea race day.

Originally, I thought it was a 5k.

I think I audibly groaned when I saw the actual distance…

Yes, people.  That’s a 10k…double the distance.

Please note the “suggested” run date.

I was woefully late to the party.

Hey, better to be late than not run at all, right?

See, I like the way I think.

So, I got all gussied up in my race tank and set out.

The weather in Florida is seriously to die for right now.  I started out wearing a long-sleeve top.  By the time I got to the entrance of my neighborhood, I had tied it around my waist.

I’ve figured out a good route for my longer runs.  Whatever song was coming through my ear buds said something about being miles from home.  It was fitting.

There was very low humidity, so sweating wasn’t an issue.  Just my legs, which started hitting a wall around mile three.

Yeah, I know.  So much for being fit.

I have a cardio playlist, but when it finished, I put on one of my new-to-me favorite artists…

I love his storytelling…except for the song that just today I noticed was about a girl stripping for him.


I love the run toward home.  It’s all downhill.

But first, a side trip through my friend’s neighborhood.  She and I work together and, conveniently, live almost across the way from each other.

Then, I made my way around the perimeter of my neighborhood and back home.

I was really pleased with myself.  I cannot do entire runs as just that…runs.  I do, however, alternate walk/run intervals.  I try really hard to make my run intervals as long as I can.  Yesterday, I was able to run 1.25-mile intervals.  That was huge for me!  My walk intervals were between .25 and a half mile each.

Apparently, my excitement got the better of me.  I ran between 6.7 and 6.9 miles, depending on which app I checked.  I liked Charity Miles’s version…

The Mr. was kind enough to snap a few photos of me…

I love Gone for a Run.  They include fun race shirts, bibs, and pretty medals.

But wait…there’s more!


As if that run wasn’t enough, I headed back outside after my little photo session and scooped dog poop so I could mow.

Between the two activities, I burned a little over 800 calories!  I added them with the calculator on my phone.  Ha!

As you can see, Sunday was all about running and definitely not about resting!

Goal Setting

A little over a year ago…September 7, 2015, to be exact…I took a BIG leap of faith and began taking control of my health.

That was the first day of my first Beachbody program.

It was ugly, y’all.  Although I didn’t look out of shape to most people, I felt so yucky.  I knew that I wasn’t where I needed to be.  I was getting very little exercise, except for a few weeks the summer prior, and my eating, although not terrible, was a bit random.

I followed the program pretty much to the letter, began using portion control as a nutritional help, and worked out five or six days a week (I can’t remember if I got one or two days off during that program).

The weight came off very quickly, as did the inches.  By the end of eight weeks, I’d lost fourteen pounds, and my measurements around all of my body parts had decreased.

I was hooked.  I was stronger physically and more confident emotionally.  Shopping was fun when I saw myself fitting into clothes the way I knew my petite body was supposed to.

I did TurboFire next.

This program was all about the cardio…so different from Piyo, which had focused on core strength and flexibilty.  I spent six months doing TurboFire and continued to chisel my body.

Next, I jumped into Hammer and Chisel.  Oh boy.  What a tough routine.  This was all about building muscle, with a healthy dose of cardio mixed in.  When the kids were younger, I had a gym membership and spent hours getting buff.  I knew it would be painful.

The Mr. bought me a set of weights, along with a workout bench, and I went to town…in my home.

I saw the changes I’d been looking for.  My abs finally decided to make an appearance.

Of course, I had to jump into a new routine when I finished, so I started 22 Minute Hard Corps.

The first day was no joke.  There wasn’t a day that went by when I wasn’t sweating and sore.

I am so happy to say that I FINISHED this program on Saturday!!!  I had gained a couple of pounds between the end of Hammer and Chisel and the middle of 22 Minute Hard Corps, so I did a gut check, literally, and reined myself back in, losing one of those pounds before Saturday.

As you can see, I lost some muscle definition in my abs and back.  I understand why, though.  This program didn’t use weights too often.  It was more about functional fitness, as Tony likes to say in his videos.

It was about building stamina and agility and body strength in a different way.  I definitely gained all of that.  I can do gorilla crawls and mountain climbers like there’s no tomorrow.  I’m pretty good at pumping out some push ups too.

During the time I did this program, I ran two or three virtual races and was able to do longer run intervals.  I have yet to run an entire race, but I’m not training exclusively for running, so I get it.

I have my next program ready to go, but first, I’m dedicating a couple of weeks to running some virtual races I’ve fallen behind on.

I think it’s important to take time out, though, to travel down memory lane.  It helps me remember what my goals were…to lose the flab and, originally, run a 5k…and to see what I’ve accomplished.

Although I still can’t run the entire 5k, I’ve done one in real life and will be doing another in a month.  I’ve done quite a few virtual races since last fall.  I’ve also accomplished every single other goal I set for myself.  I reached my target weight a few short months after I started exercising and have maintained it, with the exception of a pound gained and lost here and there.

With all of that said, I don’t necessarily advocate Beachbody, per se.  I don’t sell it.  I don’t want you to think that this is just a big pitch for it.  It just happens to be what fit into my life and personality (I love the calendars that come with the programs).

What I do challenge whoever I talk to about fitness…and I talk about it a lot…is to first decide what you want.  Then, create a plan.  Carve out time for it.  I’m all about the early-morning workout.  I know that I won’t have the energy in the afternoons to do it.  I also know that I need to do school stuff…lesson planning and grading…when I get home.  I make exercise a priority, which is a big reason why this has worked for me this past year.

Then, you have to watch what you eat.  That’s tough.  I keep up with my food log via the MyFitnessPal app.  I keep up with the calories I burn with my fitness watch.

Staying in shape is sooooooo much harder than it was when I was in my 20’s.  In a way, that’s not a bad thing, though.  I am so appreciative of what I’ve accomplished.  I know that blood (yes, there’s been blood…when I’ve fallen when out running), sweat, and tears have been a necessary part of the journey.

For so many years, I was that person who talked about doing something but didn’t stick with it.  I’m not that person any longer.

Something Magical

Something magical is happening.

I don’t know why this surprises me because it’s a recurring event every year.

My students are reading.

And enjoying it.

They are selecting books they never thought they would read, and they are finishing them.

These aren’t little books either.

They are two, three, and four hundred pages.

They aren’t middle school books but every bit high school level.

Oh sure, my students started out reading the smaller ones, but it didn’t take long for the allure of the pretty covers, enticing plot descriptions on the back covers, and my book talks to lure them in.

I started a new thing this year.  I’ve begun taking pictures of my kids with the books they finish.

A few have been shy, yet they always comply.

Here are a few from this past week…

These aren’t my Honors babies, y’all.

These are my struggling readers.

They are reading books about very mature topics…drug addiction, brain injuries, and school shootings.

They are reading books that feed their imaginations and challenge their thinking about society.

The young man who read Crank wanted to give up a few times.  I encouraged him to push on.  By the time he started getting tired, he was nearly finished, and I wanted him to experience the joy of finishing something.

On Friday, when he finished, he told me, “I didn’t like the way the book ended.”  We then had a discussion about what he’d said.

Progress, y’all.  He’d invested himself in the book and made connections…enough to form a judgment about the plot.

There are so many tough things about teaching…so many things that cause me angst.

The scale tips, though, when I get to walk alongside my precious charges as they explore new worlds…choose books they never thought they would enjoy…express feelings of shock and joy as characters make choices they agree or disagree with.

One young lady, not pictured above…I’ll grab her picture on Monday…finally moved on from Bluford series books to a new book, Scars.

This girl is one tough cookie…probably among the most challenging that I’m teaching this year…but I recognized early on how much she loves to read, and I often have to ask her to put away her book so she can focus on the whole group lesson I’m facilitating that day.

There’s some real magic happening in my room these days, and I am honored that God is allowing me to be a small part of it.

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