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Carnival Conquest

2013 Year in Review

  • Run/swim/bike a combined total of 1500 miles. Didn’t happen. I was right at 1,000 miles.. pretty far off. 
  • Run 3 half marathons this Spring. DONE. 
  • Complete 3 tri’s this summer. Only did 2.. stupid injury. 
  • Don’t die during the Ragnar Relay. DONE. 
  • Run a sub 2:15 half marathon. DONE. 
  • Cook dinner every night for an entire week. Totally forgot I set this as a goal..
  • Grow an herb garden and use it! Nope. I have a feeling I will never do this.
  • Balance between my goals, John’s goals, and what’s good for the girls. Reaching goals take sacrifice for all parties, and it’s very easy to become selfish with what you want, and not what’s best for the family. I’d like to think I did this! 
  • Take the girls on a weekend trip.. somewhere fun but within driving distance. DONE. The cruise counts, right??
  • Be able to do the splits. This is laughable that I set it as a goal..
  • Continue with cross training and weight training. DONE… Err… still a work in progress! 
  • Clean up my eating… being more mindful of what I am putting into my body. Still a work in progress…
  • Go to a Pro Football Game. Another one that’s probably not going to happen. 

I haven’t set my goals for 2014 yet.. I’m a little disappointed that I missed so many. Oh well! Let’s take a look back at how EPIC 2013 was.

We started off the year with C turning 4…

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And then I ran Ragnar Relay FLK… I still can’t believe I did that.

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We went to the National Title game… and I was photobombed by my brother in law.

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We had a snow day…
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I ran Mercedes.. and officially crushed my sub 2:15 goal.

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And then 2 weeks later, I ran Tuscaloosa and PR’d again..

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I went to Texas for the final BlissDom…

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C discovered her love of a knee pop..

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I went up to DC and ran Nike Women’s with Molly… No PR for me, but still was one of my favorite races.

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I did another Tri.. this one with J and I placed in my Age Group again.

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We went on a cruise… and had a fabulous time.

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On the cruise, I got this super sweet bruise from an EPIC Dodge Ball game.
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Tried some Energy Bits… loved them so much I became an ambassador. (Use RUNINHIGHHEELS for 15% off!)
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We went to the lake and Addy drove a Sea-Doo…
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I raced twice in one day.. Triathlon in the morning and a 5K at night.

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C found out just how dangerous treadmills can be…
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We had our yearly girls trip to the lake…
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And I got injured… not at the lake. Just injured in general.
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We went to the Georgia Dome and hung out with some Hokies… Hubs photobombed pictures with “number 1″.
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We took the girls on the Carnival Conquest…. and had a fantastic time.
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We went to a few more football games….
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and The Lumineers in concert.. photobombed once again by my brother in law.
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Mom and I took Addy to the American Girl Store in Atlanta.

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I got out of my comfort zone and ran with groups of unknown people… sometimes seeing these gorgeous sunrises over Birmingham.
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I ran a comeback 10K.. and PR’d it.
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Photobombed once again by the number 1…
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And I ran Magic City again.. cursed it until the end and crossed the finish line with C.
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All in all.. 2013 was EPIC.
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2014 has some big shoes to fill… Hope it can live up the expectations.

Are you sad to see 2013 go??


Cruising with the Reds… Part 2

Have I mentioned how much fun we had on the Carnival Conquest?? Well, I’m saying it again…

It was all you can eat ice cream… although, C and I got a little sad when the strawberry would run out, the vanilla always made us feel better about it.

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You know else made me happy? They had Bud Light Lime in the aluminum bottles… hard to find and they taste SO much better.

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I really cannot say enough about our room steward. He was simply amazing. He came and introduced himself within 15 minutes of us being in our room. He was ALWAYS in the hallway and asked about our days and gave the girls hugs and high fives. He told us he had two children back home and I think the girls brightened his day a little bit. I got a little teary eyed when it was time to leave because he looked at me and said, “I’m going to miss you, Miss Rachel.” I’m definitely going to miss you too, Artuwan!!

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Seriously. How precious is this picture? We stumbled across this acoustic duo in the lobby pretty early in our trip and from then on out, the girls wanted to go and listen to them play live music and dance. They were honestly, the belles of the ball. They played everything from Umbrella to Pretty Woman and I loved every minute of it.

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While I will say, our dinners weren’t over the top, the food was delicious! We ate the first night at  The Pointe restaurant and OH MY WORD. It was one of the best meals that I have ever had. They were amazing with the girls and I think they highly enjoyed the fancy food.

I love how caught off guard we are by the flash here…

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The girls loved playing on the balcony… I honestly felt sorry for our neighbors. They would go out there all the time, and sing at the top of their lungs, thinking no one could hear them. Especially when they first woke up. Have I mentioned that my kids wake up early? Like, sleeping until 6:45 is considered sleeping late.

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Gigi was nice enough to send us some treats on the ship.. She sent J and I chocolate covered strawberries and the girls candy. Oh, the excitement was too much from them!! Gigi wanted me to inform how easy it was to order and have this sent to us, even after we had set sail… she just got online and found our ship and typed in our names and voila! Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.

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I really can’t say enough about how awesome this vacation was… the girls are still talking about it and want to go on another ship next year!


*My family and I were given a complimentary cruise. All opinions are my own!* 


Cruising with the Reds Part 1.

Some have asked what there is to do on a cruise with small children… my answer is LOTS!!

We hung out in the EA Sports Bar a lot so Hubs could get his football fix.. Who doesn’t enjoy Jesse Palmer chowing on a sandwich?

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We did a little evening swimming… I think she enjoyed being the only one in the pool and not having to worry with splashing.

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They even had some pool side live music.. which apprently, my kids LOVE live music, who knew?

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I just love this picture… A’s face combined with J photobombing? Priceless.

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More swimming, of course! (In matching bathing suits, no less!)

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Hello Kitty goggles are a MUST HAVE.

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Unless you’re C… and like to wrap up in a towel and play your iPad in the shade… just like her Daddy.

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A little Senor Frogs in Freeport?? Yes, please!

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They loved the mini-golf too!!
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The girls had so much fun and there was so much to do on the ship!


**My family and I received a complimentary cruise courtesy of Carnival. All opinions are my own**


The Reds Take Key West


Our first Carnival Conquest stop was Key West. I told the fam that all I wanted was beignets and Key West and they better give it to me. I thought nothing of the walk from the ship down to the Southernmost Point, but we made it about halfway when everyone was complaining. So, J made the wise gametime decision to rent on of those electric cars. Best $90 he’s ever spent! We were able to breeze through the things I wanted to do in a couple of hours vs it taking all day for us to hoof it.

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Shortly after these pictures, I thought Claire had erased my memory card and I almost cried. Turns out she just created a new album on the CF card. I had no clue that was even possible. I’m really glad I checked before I just chunked her in the ocean or something.

How can you go to Key West without having a slice of delicious Key Lime Pie? And after two stops, we finally found a piece.
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A stroll down Duval Street found us inside the Flying Monkey with a drink of some sort. Y’all would not believe how the kids thought that bar hopping was “the most boring thing ever!!” Let’s just keep it that way, reds.

J and his Flying Monkey… and a drink.
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No one else thought this was cool. Haters. I live with a bunch of haters.

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I’m such a sucker for a souvenir glass and a Tervis Tumbler. Why not combine the two?! Genius, I tell you. Pure genius.
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We made it back on the boat in time for it to start raining… an excellent way to take a nap, if I must say so myself!!


*My family and I were given a complimentary Carnival cruise in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts are mine.*


Bahama Lazy

We are certainly enjoying ourselves in the Bahamas today…doing a bunch of nothing. We didn’t even get off the ship, just enjoying the morning with the pool basically to ourselves. Of course we are equipped with enough sunscreen for an entire pirate fleet and let’s just say that any sunscreen that can A) take off the finish of a Tervis Tumbler and B) Eat off your nail polish (no I’m not kidding) is good enough to keep the Reds from burning in the Caribbean sun.


Of course no lazy day is not complete without a good book (An Echo in the Bone– the 7th book in the Outlander Series) and a Miami Vice, which is a combination of a pina colada and a strawberry daiquiri.

I also taught Addy some sweet stunting moves in the pool. Not sure when those will come in handy, but now she knows. The pools here are salt water and it is always some good entertainment to watch people when they find that out for the first time.


Of course Guy’s Burger Joint is RIGHT by the pool and I can tell you that I have had one of these every day.. the fries are worth every calorie. IMG_8835


We opted not to go to the dining room tonight for dinner and instead ate at Guy’s and watched us sail away from Nassau and sadly, The Atlantis.


So far so good… everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and we haven’t turned on each other yet, although, I think that come Saturday, we may lose J to the EA Sports Bar for football.

The Reds Take New Orleans

We got to New Orleans on Sunday with two things on the agenda: Cafe Du Monde and to get on the boat!

A stop in Jackson Square along the way? Why, of course!

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There was a wait and it was a little hot outside and the girls were in full misery mode… I was just praying the rest of our trip wouldn’t be like that!! At least we had time to snap a few pictures.

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Hubs and the girls…
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Love them.
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I’ll be honest, the girls were not into Cafe Du Monde. At. All. It was hot and muggy and they were ready to get on the boat… until the Beignets came!!

This was their first time ever having them and man, were they good!! They both agreed that they were well worth the wait. We even let them play in all the extra powdered sugar.
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A stop back through Jackson Square for one more pic!
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And then it was on to the Conquest!

She loved playing with this phone.. she thought she was big stuff.



Next up?? Key West!!!


My family was given a complimentary Carnival cruise in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

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