Where We’ve Been

I’m a terrible blogger. I haven’t written a post in almost 2 months. I’ve thought about writing many, many times, but never actually sat down at my computer to do it. Currently, I’m putting off the inevitable cleaning of the apartment. There’s nothing like overcoming procrastination by procrastinating on other tasks.

Life the past two months has consisted of many things:

1. Many, many photo shoots. I’ve done many portrait sessions and a couple of bridal showers and it looks like we will be entering a busy summer at Tandem Studios! I know I’ve said it before, but I truly love what I do, so it’s been so exciting for my sister and I to see our business grow with each year.

 

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2. Lots of Louie time. I continue to take care of my nephew, Louie, two days a week. He’s almost 20 months old and learning new things just about everyday. He talks all of the time! Whether you understand his language or not is a different story, but among his favorite words are ball, firetruck, dog, and kitty. He’s learning to share and not to throw things that aren’t balls. That last one is proving to be a tough one. 🙂 He can shoot (and make!) baskets and give his cats and dogs a hug. My point being, Louie is an awesome kid to hang out with.

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3. Bridal Shower & Dave Matthews Band Weekend x2. I was fortunate enough to be one of the hosts for both my best friend’s and my sister Elissa’s bridal showers on back-to-back weekends. Not to mention, Miles and I attended a Dave Matthews Band concert during both weekends as well. My best friend Sarah lives near Saratoga Springs, New York, so we headed out for the weekend and went to the concert in Saratoga on Saturday night with Sarah and her fiancé, Chris. My no-shame thru-hiker self most definitely came in handy that night when the bathroom lines were so long, I knew it would be about a half-hour before I could even enter a stall. I found a nice tree, as did many others, and just did what I had done countless times on the AT. No shame. And I got out just in time before the security guards started stopping people from relieving themselves. I’m sorry. But if you’re not going to provide enough bathrooms for concertgoers at your events, then yes, I am going to pee behind your trees as humans and animals have been doing for centuries.

Anyways, we couldn’t have had a more perfect shower for Sarah on a hot, sunny Sunday afternoon complete with a crepe and mimosa bar. Pinterest ideas were in full action.

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And the next weekend we enjoyed seeing our first Dave Matthews Band show in Bangor, Maine. They haven’t played a show in Maine for 17 years, so it was great to be able to enjoy the show with my parents. And then it was time for my sister’s shower in Bucksport. Another hot, sunny Sunday and another awesome shower.

4. Dirigo Bound. We were most literally Dirigo Bound a couple of weeks ago when we headed up to Dirigo High School in Dixfield to do a presentation to a freshman English class. Their teacher, Karolyn, incorporates the Appalachian Trail as part of their curriculum. She had been following my blog during our hike and last fall asked us to come into her class to speak with her students. They usually go out on a service learning project at the end of the year on the AT, but being pregnant, Karolyn knew that they wouldn’t be able to do that this year, so it was great that we could come in and talk to the students and show them our video. As we headed out the door that morning at 5:30, I thought about bringing our AT map hanging on the back of our apartment door. I decided not to bring it and it was definitely not necessary, as Karolyn had a HUGE map of the AT hanging on the wall.

We really enjoyed being able to talk to students again, as we hadn’t done a presentation about our hike since December. It sure makes you want to hike again. The kids were quiet, but they did prepare some great questions for the Q&A at the end. Sometimes, you can be unsure of how you have made an impact on your audience; however, the unknown was answered when we received a large envelope stuffed in our tiny mailbox last week Inside the envelope was a thank-you letter written by each student in Karolyn’s class! I was so impressed with their writing and thoughtfulness. I want to pull a few of my favorite quotes from the class to show just how cool these kids are:

“All of your stories and pictures were very interesting and I could have gladly sat there all day and never got bored.”

“All-in-all your presentation gave me hope. I feel more inspired to do something meaningful in my life.”

“Since you came, I’ve actually talked to my parents about hiking the whole trail. I’m going to ‘hike my own hike.’

“Miles, you are going to make a rockin’ history teacher!”

“Thanks for everything. I think it’s super cool of you two to come speak to our class.Thanks for filling my head with knowledge about the AT.”

“First off, I just wanted to let you guys know how much you inspired me to not give up and finish what I start. My favorite part of your whole presentation is the point where you wanted to stop but then you found the passion again and finished it…Thank you for teaching me to never give up.”

Not to mention one kid wrote, “Dear Miles Per Hour and Flash Gordon,” which made me laugh out loud and one girl signed her letter, “Your Fangirl.” Awesome!

Karolyn, we just want to say thank you so much for allowing us to come in to speak to your class and for having your students write letters to us. Reading 18 letters first and foremost made me want to speak to students about the AT as my job (oh how I wish!) and to thru-hike again VERY, VERY soon. Like, within the next two years. The positive effect the trail has had on our lives is like nothing else we have experienced. It has connected us with people all over the world and close to home. At this point, I can’t imagine not thru-hiking again. We were able to inspire a few young souls, but their thoughtful thank-you letters have inspired me to continue “inspiring.” Thank you, Ms. Buotte’s 9th grade English class!

Those are the main highlights of life, but a few notes from the past week as well. My sister, Elissa, and I ran the Sea Dogs Father’s Day 5K this morning. It was sunny and 70 degrees and we finished the race inside Hadlock Field. A very well organized and fun race! I reached my goal of an 8:00 minute mile average…well it was technically 8:01, but I think that’s close enough. And after much debate over the past couple months as to whether I wanted to train for another marathon this summer, I decided that I’m going to stick with my original thinking two years ago and focus on shorter races. I plan on doing at least two more 5Ks this summer and have decided to run the Maine Half-Marathon on October 5th right here in Portland. I ran the marathon in 2011 and 2012, but actually ran my first half in 2010 during my senior year of college. I enjoy the shorter, more intense training of shorter races versus 20 mile marathon-training runs. Half-marathon training begins tomorrow…my 25th birthday! What better way to start out your mid-20s than the official start of race training! Well, maybe dinner with my family and some gelato would be nice as well.

And is there really a better way to end my 24th year of life than watching the Season 4 finale of Game of Thrones!? Nope. Nothing could be better than that.

The Starks know what's up.
The Starks know what’s up.
At a friend's wedding in Castine on Memorial Day weekend.
At a friend’s wedding in Castine on Memorial Day weekend.
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Post Bridge the Gap 5K in April with my sister, Elissa, my dad, and best friend, Hayley.
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Dave Matthews Band in Bangor.

 

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