To be the best Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Friend, and Runner I can be...God willing!

Monday, January 31, 2011

The boys

It rained last Monday...seriously rained.  Samuel asked everyday to go outside to play.  The answer was no until Thursday when our yard was finally dry enough to venture outdoors. 

Jonah and Samuel took full advantage of this time.  They played every sport imaginable, jumped on the trampoline, and used the zip line.  It was so fun to listen to them play.

The shot went in and then this...

The victory dance...hilarious.
Then it was time for baseball
Samuel was prepared for any damp spots (check out his boots) and he preferred golf!

Getting ready to play
A hole in one!
While the boys were playing the girls were buys looking CUTE!

Elena was smiling which made me so happy!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

100 miles

One year ago this week my out of shape self returned to formal exercise.  I was six weeks postpartum and was thrilled to begin exercising.  I started by going to a boot camp class two times a week and venturing onto our elliptical if time allowed the other days.

The boot camp sponsored a 5K in March and I figured I could do that.  So, I started running 2-3 times a week mid February.  I was not in shape to run a 5K and hoped to get under 30 minutes.  I did and was so happy with myself (29:15).

The running high I felt from that race led me to sign up for the Houston Astros 5K race Memorial Day weekend.  I had wanted to run this event for a while, but the timing was never perfect.   I began running more consistently and finished that race in 26:36.  I was super excited about my improved time.

Around that time I got the crazy idea to sign up for a half marathon, which was in November.  I also agreed to fun the 10K part of a triathlon with my brother in law, Scott.  These two decisions resulted in a serious commitment to running.  I started reading more about running, I researched training plans, and I started to give up sleep in the name of running...crazy I know!

I began keeping track of my mileage the last week or so of July.  I am following my third training program in less than a year.  Almost all the new clothing I have purchased in the last 8 months has been for running...what is wrong with me??!!

In all I could not be more thankful for the "God signs" that were in my path and led to this adventure.  I would not trade any moment of the journey.  I have learned something almost everyday...with all my failures and all my successes.

Tomorrow is the last day of January and for the first time ever I have run over 100 miles in a month!  HOLY COW!!!!!!!!!!!! 

As of today I have run 101.4 miles.  I am in awe of myself and so proud that I have accomplished this goal still happy and not injured!  I plan to run 3.1 miles tomorrow morning so my monthly total will be 104.5.  It is simply AWESOME!!

That leaves 895.5 more miles to run in 2011....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A future runner!

I love to it more than I probably should.  I hope that someday Emma, Jonah, Samuel and Elena love to run or at least love something active as much as I love running.  So, it makes my running heart beat faster when I put Elena in her Nike's.  What makes it even more awesome is that she brings them to me to put on cute!  Since Jonah already told me he is more of a biker (like his Daddy), that leaves me with three possible runners.  Maybe it will be Elena!  Check this out....

Aren't her cute little feet in her Nike's just adorable next to my way bigger Asics feet!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


It has been a while since I posted some pictures.  I have been taking them, but my time in the evenings has gone somewhere.  So, enjoy....

Emma was already at school when I took the cold weather pictures.  Here she is in her cool new coat ready to go outside.  It is a good thing that wet hair does not cause colds because Emma hates to dry her hair!

Emma took these pictures of Elena and one of her new babies.  Elena loves babies so much more than Emma ever did.  It is so cute to tell Elena to love her baby and watch her hug the baby...warms my momma heart!

The drawers under the bed in Elena's room are huge.  The one is empty so Elena and Samuel decided to play in it the other day.  They climbed in and out for at least 30 minutes.  It was fun for me to watch.

Elena can clap...thank goodness.  It took her an entire 12 months to clap, but now she claps all the time.  I love it and was so glad I could answer "yes" to Dr. Irani's question..."Can she clap?"

All snuggled watching tv...probably one of Emma's "shows" as Jonah would say.  Emma is really good at convincing Jonah and Samuel to watch what she wants.  Her current favorite is Full House.

Jonah did not feel well today.  He spent most of the day laying or sitting on the couch.  Poor thing.  Can you see how read his ear is...a sign he does not feel well.  

Tuesday is kid's pick and mostly make the meal night.  Tonight was Emma's turn and she selected homemade chicken salad served in ice cream cones and homemade mac and cheese.  It was quite yummy.  She was very proud of her dinner.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jonah the theologian

Yesterday during our "training" run, I was explaining to Emma and Jonah why we were running the Remission Run.  We were talking about Peepaw being in heaven when Jonah and I had this conversation...

Me:  Peepaw is in heaven with Jesus.  You guys will meet him someday a long time from now.
Jonah:  Do you think it is bright in heaven?
Me:  I don't know.  What do you think?
Jonah:  I don't know either, but there is a gold gate.  There will be angels to meet us.
Emma:  We will meet Peepaw when God decides it is time.

I am constantly surprised by the things the Emma and Jonah think about as well as understand...amazing!

By the way, we had our second "training" run today.  Today's run was 0.8 and we did it in 10:17.  They were hustling...and skipping, jumping, walking, and running!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


In two weeks Emma and Jonah are going to run there first official race.  It is a one mile Kids Run at the Bill Crews Remission Run.  This is what the website says about the race and its purpose: 

REMISSION RUN began as a way to celebrate non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor Bill Crews' 5 year anniversary of remission. He discovered he was in remission at the end of January 2004, but because his disease is currently "incurable" he had to continue more than two years of treatments. Following those treatments, Bill returns regularly to MD Anderson Cancer Center for check ups with his lymphoma doctor, Rick Hagemeister. Bill is a marathoner and triathlete. He is a USAT certified coach and Ironman finisher as well. He credits the strength of his faith, his family and his doctor with his survival.started by a man who survived Lymphona and proceeds raised from the race benefit Lymphoma research.

100% of the proceeds of The Bill Crews Remission Run are donated to the Hagemeister Research Fund. Through this fund, the lymphoma tissue bank was established to provide tumor data to researchers at MD Anderson and outside institutions as well. Researchers use this data to develop better therapies which will lead to the cure for blood cancers and other malignancies. 
So, Emma and Jonah (running the Kids' Run) and me (running the 5-K) are running to honor our Peepaw.  In May 2003 Drew's dad died as a result of this terrible cancer.  It was approximately 5.5 weeks before Emma was born.  None of Drew's babies knew his daddy so we keep Peepaw's memory alive with stories and pictures.  And, we honor him when we can through events like this.  Peepaw's name will be somewhere on the race course along with others who has gone to be with Jesus and survivors names as well.  Also, Peepaw's name will be on our t-shirts.  I am really excited about this event for our family!

So, enough was Emma and Jonah's first "training" run.  It was so much fun.  I ran a mile with them in an astonishing 13:15!!!!  We only walked for 3 minutes.  I was so impressed and so was Drew.  We have another "training" run scheduled for tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


One of my focus areas for the year is to use kinder words when interacting with Samuel, Emma, Jonah, and Elena.  I picked several verses as my theme verses and can't say how many times they go through my head each day.  Right after I wrote a post about my focus areas, devotions flooded my email account with similar verses.  I guess other people want to use gentler words in 2011 as well.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification  Ephesians 4:29

Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger  James 1:19

I saw this a sign that I had made the correct decision and was moving in the right direction.  Samuel has definitely been the most challenging two year old least in this house!  He is all boy all the time and I am so not.  He tests and tests and then tests some more.  He wears me out almost every day without fail.  When I am tired my patience is gone and so goes my tone of voice and my word choices.  Thankfully God comes to my rescue!  I keep hearing "Pleasant words are a honeycomb..." (Proverbs 16:24) in my head. 

When I was running last Saturday I had a long conversation with God about my interactions with Samuel.  I felt like there could be no more yelling in our relationship.  Since Saturday I have yelled at him one time....amazing!  I must say it was a little justified since he peed his pants at dinner.  He usually gets up a bunch to go to the bathroom during a meal.  To make it worse I had completed all our laundry that day.  I was so mad!  Of course, Emma had to tell me I wasn't allowed to yell.  Seven year old girls are so fun sometimes!!!

I can definitely say that my changing behavior had made a difference already in my relationship with Samuel.  We are having more fun playing together.  In general he has been better behaved.  Even potty training is better...more the moment.

So, I am following God's direction on this focus area.  My words are calm and purposeful.  I am not yelling (except for that one time).  I can do this....

“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.”  
I Timothy 4:15

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Catching up...

I have been so busy this past week and have not posted as much as I planned.  I can't say for sure what has taken all my time, but I am pretty sure it has something to do with Emma, Jonah, Samuel, and Elena.

Last weekend we watched the Eagles game with our friends Mike, Eileen, and Patrick.  We had yummy chili and a fun visit.  One of the gifts I gave everyone for Christmas was new Eagles gear.  We dressed the part.  Too bad the Eagles did not play their part.

All sporting our Eagles gear...(family pic #2 of the year)
Eagles fan Texas style!!
The other thing I wanted to post about was my baby....Elena.  She is not so much of a baby anymore and I am quite sad about that, but excited to see how she is growing.  Elena is almost close!  She is getting braver by the day.   She is talking more.  She does not have any new words, but what she does say is more clear and purposeful.  And, she can climb.  Check this out...

The little stinker was standing on a stool trying to get food off the counter!

The day after I took this picture, I caught her standing on the stool playing with the stove knobs.  Oh, no in a big way!  I now pay way more attention as to where the older kiddos put the stool!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When cold hits Houston

A cold front busted into Houston this week!  I do mean has been below freezing three nights in a row and we are having another freezing night tonight.  The daytime highs have barely been in the 40's!  It is cold and I love it.  Houston is not built for cold.  Not all of our plants are hearty enough for the cold and the news talks about busted pipes all time.  So, when cold comes this is what we see in the neighborhoods, which I think is so funny.

Drew and I have covered our plants before, but not this time.  So far so good....

The other thing that comes with cold is all the gear.  Jonah loves the gear.  Samuel would rather wear a sweatshirt and call it done.  Mommy disagrees.  Elena can not stand gloves.  Still, they look so cute all dressed up for cold.  Emma had already left for school, but she is with Samuel.  Cold weather gear is not her favorite thing either, but she does like her new winter coat so she is more willing.

The other problem with the cold is our house.  It is drafty and cold especially downstairs.  So, this is what I did hoping to stop some of the drafts.  It has worked some.

Yep, those are dish towels stuck in a drafty door.  Cute, isn't it?
Despite the drafts and all the gear, cold weather does mean a few things that I love.  First is soup and we have had soup three nights for dinner.  I love to run in the cold.  I have done that three mornings this week.  Finally, I get to wear my heavy that!  I wish it was cold here more often.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Big News

Since the day Samuel was born he has loved a paci.  I should say paci's because he prefers one in his mouth and at least one in his hands.  It has been his form of comfort for almost three years. 

Well, last week during a few gross potty training moments, the paci was taken from him.  For two naps and two sleeps in a row there was no paci.  So, we just continued down that road to no paci's at all.  Friday night we had a good-bye paci party.   Samuel picked out the ice cream flavors (vanilla, chocolate, and butter crunch), the kind of cone he wanted (sugar), and we put a candle on it.    We sang a good-bye paci song and NO MORE PACI'S!  Woo hoo!!!!!!!!

Paci party ice cream sundae
Now, there will no longer be any pictures looking like this
13 months getting ready to play in the snow in UT

From now on I hope to get pictures with this
A great big smile!
It has been exactly one week since this adventure began.  Tonight was the first night he did not ask for his paci at bedtime.  I am so thankful this journey had ended!  I am so proud of Samuel for being so brave!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


As the new year approached I began thinking about my goals for the new year.  As they came together in my head, I realized that goals was not the correct term.  The word goals implies tons of pressure and the possibility of failure.  I can do better some days than others, but I can't fail.  So, I decided these are my focus areas for the year.  These are areas in which I hope to improve, grow, strengthen....

Then, as I was thinking about my focus areas, I read a P31 blog about aligning new year's goals with scripture.  I thought that was a brilliant idea and decided to follow this recommendation.  How great to think that my focus areas are supported by God's word!

So, I have four focus areas for the year.  One is to focus on different areas of my relationship with Drew.  That area is between us and God!

The next area is to be purposeful about the words and tone I use with Emma, Jonah, Samuel, and Elena.  Four children can be frustrating...sometimes more one minute, hour, or day than the next. I want them to think of me as a mom with a fiery spirit, but not a mom with mean words or a mom who yelled.  God has LOTS to say about this in the Bible.  I could not pick just one scripture for this area.  My choices are:

Ephesians 4:29  "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." 
Proverbs 21:23  "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity."
Proverbs 16:24  "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
Psalm 19:14  "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."

My third growth area is to further my relationship with God!  I plan to read my emailed devotions with more concentration and commit more fully to my Good Morning Girls Group.  Funny thing about this area is my choice of scripture. It is from James, which I decided upon before learning that the GMG material for the Spring was focusing on James.  Proof to me that God supports this goal.

James 4:8, 10  "Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up."

My last focus area is my personal health and running.  I want to eat better....specifically sweets.  Those darn M&M's get me every time.  I have to learn to love them less!  I also have goals (definite goals in which I can fail) for running.  The Bible does not have scripture about running, but it does talk about taking care of one's body.  The Bible also speaks about caring for others and so I have decided that at least 80% of the races I pick to run support a worthy cause.  I want my registration money to do good for others and not just get me a semi-cool t-shirt!

Hebrews 12:1,2  "...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us...let us fix our eyes on Jesus."
Romans 12:1  "...offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God."

New Year's resolutions usually don't last.  People are gung-ho for a month or so, but then life and old habits get in the way.  I am not going to let this happen.  I don't have resolutions.  I have focus areas.  My focus areas are supported by scripture.  And, as it says in Proverbs 16:3  "Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed."  My plans have been committed to the Lord and discussed with Drew.  I am accountable to others...not just me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

We are flying...not really!

Look what Meemaw gave Emma, Jonah, Samuel, and someday Elena for Christmas....

Emma on our new Zip Line
Jonah on the Zip Line
Daddy helping Samuel on the Zip Line
Drew and Jonah spent last Sunday putting up the Zip Line.  Jonah was beyond himself excited to help Drew, to use "cool" tools, and to finally use it!   These pictures were from the first few "runs".

Jonah's new favorite way to ride the Zip Line is upside down and backwards...oh, my heart watching that!

Elena has a few years until she can ride it so this is what she is doing in the meantime....

She is pretty mesmerized by it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 is here!

We rang in 2011 with a bang...Drew and I were in bed asleep by 11:30.  We must be getting old!  In reality, we were tired from a great party with our friends, some fun fireworks, yummy food, and good drinks.  Even though we live in the Central Time Zone I still think of New Year's Eve occurring when the ball drops in NYC.

I started off the New Year by running my own 5K.  It was a  fantastic morning for a run.  We then headed to our friends the Hasslers for a New Year's Day brunch.  The food was great and the mimosas even better.  We headed home for naps (the little ones) and PSU vs. Florida.

The game was typical 2010 team one series and another team the next series.  Penn State lost.

Then, it was off to our next party. I finally remembered my camera and took tons of pictures.  It is tradition to ring in the New Year with pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes.  Yummy barely describes how wonderful this meal is and Kim did a bang up job!  I ate tons of mashed potatoes and sauerkraut so here's hoping for lots of good luck this year!

Jonah, Samuel, Kim, Connor, Nathan, Braden, and Elena getting ready to eat
Kim and Connor
Nathan and Braden
Samuel was a little excited about dinner!
Miss Elena
Me, Elena, and Jonah
Emma wanted to eat with the daddy's...Drew and Scott.  Jonah sat with them for a while too!
 Kim, Scott, and the boys are from PA as well.  So, they are good PSU fans and know all about the New Year's Day meal.  We share this day with them whenever our travel and visiting family schedules allow.

After dinner the kids ate the Hamilton Gingerbread House.  They all thought it was a great dessert!

See the cute little house?
See what they did to the cute little house?
We had a great beginning to 2011. I know that God has great plans for our family as individuals and as a family this year.  I am ready for the journey!