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Yes.

Last Tuesday we survived a rare earthquake in DC, and this weekend we braced ourselves as Hurricane Irene swept through with high winds and an incessant downpour.

So yesterday, when the sun was shining and the sky was blue, after a necessary afternoon nap, we had to take advantage of the day. Hugh and I ventured out to the batting cages at Woody’s in Reston where I proved to Hugh years ago that I haven’t lost my eye-on-the-ball talents and am not too shabby in the batters’ box.

Hugh showed everyone up in the “very fast” cage while I took blurry pictures of him and fielded compliments from on-lookers on his skill (not kidding).

And then Hugh made fun of me for looking crazy in Woodys’ helmets and complaining that the batting gloves smelled like feet.

I think I was impatiently waiting for someone to get out of my favorite cage, the slow softball pitch (I said I could hit, I didn’t say I wanted a challenge). Look at this professional [blurry] stance:

I got really intense as I started hitting line drives up the [imaginary] left field line.

When we’d both hit twice and I was sufficiently grossed out by Hugh’s batting gloves, we headed back to the car so that we could make it to Manassas in time to have dinner with my parents (and borrow their truck for our move this week!). While I was sitting half inside the car changing out of my sneaks and into my sandals, Hugh suggested that we take a walk to “see what’s in the woods over there.”

Sure, Hugh. Whatever you want to do.

There, we were actually surprised to find grills, picnic tables and this old camp site complete with a triangle for summoning the cowboys to dinner.

And a path leading to who knows where.

And while I was poking around, investigating the area, Hugh said

Well, Lauren.

I turned around to find him on his knee, reaching into his pocket and shock set in as he recited a modified version of the speech he’d prepared (he admitted to having forgotten most of it in the moment, understandably so), which ended with

Will you marry me?

I was in shock, I think I said “oh my gosh, really?!” a few thousand times before Hugh reminded me to answer him.

I of course said, Yes.

Before the whirlwind of calling family and friends began, we spent some time reveling in the excitement and each other, and I asked Hugh a few times if he was sure.

He of course said, Yes.

True to form, before we left I had to take some self-timer photos to commemorate the moment and the spot in the woods behind Woody’s batting cages where we decided to take on a pretty significant adventure together.

We celebrated over a home-cooked dinner and a bottle of champagne with my parents.

It was perfect.

PS: Who wouldn’t want to marry this?!

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When You Think Tim McGraw

My stress level the past few weeks has been slightly through the roof. I love my new job working in development for the non-profit I’ve been at for nearly three years, but it’s truly the first time since I started here in 2008 that I’ve felt like a fish out of water. Or a mediocre swimmer treading water. Or something about water.

It’s not that it’s that hard or I’m that slow, it’s just a lot to pick up at one time. New people, procedures, software, databases, a whole new focus that has very little to do with my publications background. It’s refreshing and challenging and frustrating all at the same time. In a good way.

So as this week drags on and I try to keep my head above water and get a million and one things done I can’t help but miss Saturday Lauren who sat on the lawn at Nissan Pavilion (it will always be Nissan to me) content and carefree.

We were so excited — we got there early and got to see The Band Perry and Luke Bryan before the main act. Luke Bryan was awesome. He covered Taylor Swift and best of all Enter Sandman in the middle of a song. I jumped and screamed and got goosebumps and yearned for Lane Stadium.

And then.

And then there was the man himself. Tim McGraw.

Now I’ve never been an especially huge fan of Tim McGraw, but after staring at him and singing with him last Saturday night I was so, so happy.

It had been a long day and I was pretty tired (see above) but so happy. Thanks Mom for the tickets and Jessie for being my date.

Oh and thank you Barrs for coming straight from a day of car shopping!

Now I just want to go back to that lawn with those people and loud music.

 

Running Update: I Did What?!

This is what I looked like when I finished my run last night:

I looked down at my Endomondo app on my phone and it looked like this:

If you think my faulty screen shot (photo credits: Hugh) is fooling you, this is what it looked like on Endomondo online:

I ran 4.06 miles in 46 minutes, 39 seconds. The speed is clearly not what I’m excited about (I’m slow as they come, plus we stopped for a bit to play with a golden retriever puppy named Bentley).

It’s the 4 miles part that’s got me doing cartwheels.

Remember when I was excited about 3 and I knew I could do more? Well my most recent run (a whole week ago, in Tulsa, OK) was rough. I had to walk after about 2 miles — the Oklahoma heat and sparse shade was too much for me. See my so-so progress (for the runs I’ve tracked with GPS):

So it felt extra good at 3 miles tonight, that I was able to say  to Hugh (who could run a 10K without ever training at all), “Let’s do one more little lap!” He eventually stopped at 3.62 miles, because I said my app’s distance was a little behind his and I wanted to finish the same distance as him. But as I rounded 3.62, I was thinking, why not just make it count all the way to 4, just to see it?

So I ran laps in my apartment’s parking lot, back and forth past Hugh, until the GPS tracked up to 4 miles. And I could have done more. Again, I realized that this 10K — excessive heat notwithstanding — is totally doable. And that’s a really, really good feeling.

The endorphins help a little.

Memorial Day Weekend Down by the Bay

I feel so very blessed to have a family outpost in the Northern Neck of Virginia on the Chesapeake Bay to call a weekend home every now and then. The summers I’ve spent there with family and friends for the past four or five years have been rich with joy and an occasional sunburn. So it was nothing short of fitting to kick off the summer at the Rivah.

I only had my camera out for one day, but with Jessie’s help, we documented Sunday pretty well.

We tend to make a waterfront camp by the dock in front of the house.

Some awesome people, keeping cool with a beverage. Hugh got that hat for $5 from Eastern Market a few summers ago… I just use sunscreen.

We had two unplanned but totally welcome visitors show up Saturday evening. We had to cram a whole weekend’s worth of fun into Sunday for Jessie and Troy, so we took a spin on the jet skis, did some swimming and jumping off the dock, and took them for a thrill ride on the tube.

Jessie was grinning this big her whole time on the tube, because I’m that good of a driver.

It looks like Mom took some pictures, too. I’m going to need to see those pictures, Mom!

The adults hung out on the boat, where the radio was turned up.

Harry was a trooper, hanging out with us old folk while Dylan was MIA for a while. Hey Harry!

Troy did some serious kayaking — you’re making wake in a no-wake zone, Troy!

I didn’t get Saturday night’s seafood fest on camera, but it was epic. Mom and Dad went to a local shop and picked up tuna steaks, shrimp, scallops, mahi mahi and oysters and I made pasta salad and cole slaw. De-lish.

I also don’t have action shots of the skiing that happened Saturday — Clayton is always the most fun to watch, especially when he asks to be towed back sans skis. I got up on my first try and Dylan took me for  a quick ride out of the cove, across the channel and back again. Since my back was already sore after that, I quit while I was ahead and let Hugh take a turn (he also did great).

Foot note: my back was still sore from skiing when Hugh talked me into the 10K. Something must be off kilter in my brain.

I probably need more vacation.

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