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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hanna's Birthday Carnival and Party

Hanna turned the BIG 5 while visiting us.  Everyday several times a day Hanna would ask how many days until her birthday (it was on Monday 11/28).  I wrote it on the calendar, but she continued to ask.    It was so fun to see her so excited about turning one whole hand!!

To help her celebrate, on Saturday Emma and her assistant Maya planned a carnival for Hanna.  They made signs and posted them around the house.  They recruited help for the games.  The set up the entire carnival.  It was so creative and so fun.  Hanna and everyone else, adults included, had a blast.

There was a puppet show, basketball toss, fishing, bowling, bean bag toss, swinging, rope toss, and jumping on the trampoline.  They had prizes for each game.  They also planned background music for all the enjoy.

Getting games in place
Gathered around the games.  Elena looking for a prize!
Bean Bag toss
Oops...a prop went over the fence.
The birthday girl with her daddy!
So, after all the fun on Saturday we continued the party on Monday---the big day!  Hanna had lunch at Emma and Jonah's school...big stuff!  She went to the park with her daddy, Maya, and Samuel.  She played and ate whatever she wanted all day long.  Oh, and the balloons were everywhere!  We had pizza for dinner and a homemade ice cream cake for dessert (her request).  After opening her presents, Hanna was one tired and happy five year old!

The kids birthday party table
The big girls
Hanna and the boys
Mommy and Hanna
Leah really liked the ice cream cake!

Thanksgiving in pictures

The big kids table...yes paper, but cute!
The adult table with everyone's "Thankful Hand" on the table cloth
The centerpiece "Give Thanks"
Elena and Leah at the adult table
The kid's plates full of yumminess!
On the menu:
Turkey with gravy
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potato crunch
New England Bread Dressing
Green Beans
Cranberry Dressing
Spoon Bread
Pumpkin Pie
Butternut Squash Pie

There were lots of reasons to be thankful this year and these seven plates are high on the "Thankful List"!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday shopping

Yep, we went shopping at midnight.  Crazy...yes!  Fun....yes!

We left for Target just before midnight and waited in line for 15-20 minutes to enter the store.  It was crazy crowded, but everyone was on their best behavior.  We both got everything we wanted.  We left the store at 2:06 am!  It was a late night and a fun experience!!

GE Run Thru The Woods

Scott and I ran the GE Run Thru the Woods yesterday morning.  It was a great way to begin a day of eating...burning lots of calories running a five mile race!

The race was in The Woodlands and began at 8:15.  It was chilly and a little breezy...50 degrees chilly.  The start line was at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion which was a totally awesome race bonus.  That meant indoor toilets and some warmth.

My goal for the race was to run 38:45 and Scott planned to pace me.  Of course we both agreed if feeling great, take off and run! 

The race took us past the mall, across the I-45 overpass and through a subdivision in Oak Ridge.  We then crossed back over 45 and headed back to the pavilion.  I loved the course.  It had enough turns to keep it interesting.  There was decent crowd support.  It was fun to see families sitting in their front yards cheering on the runners.  Crossing back over 45 was killer.  I was tired and did not appreciate the hill/overpass.  Thankfully every climb has a downhill, which allowed for some recovery before the final 3/4 mile sprint to the finish.

Scott and I ran together for the first two miles.  He pulled ahead during mile 3.  I caught back up around mile 4 and we hung together until the hill.  Scott powered up it stronger than I did and finished super strong 7 seconds ahead of me.

Scott finished in 38:12 and I finished in 38:19.  My Garmin had me running 5.2 miles in 38:20.  I was totally psyched about my time.  My splits were:


This is the first time I ran a five mile race and it was lots of fun.  The distance is perfect for a prolonged sprint. 

My official stats were 9/180 for my age great (woo hoo!) and 392/2441 overall.  Scott's stats were 25/120 and 383/2441 overall.

So, what do two tired runners do after a five mile sprint?  We ate pancakes and sausage of course!  Well, Scott ate sausage and pancakes and I ate a pancake.  The Egg and I provided post run food for the runners and it was delicious!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving

Today was such a great Thanksgiving.  Having Kelsey, Scott, and the girls here made the day so much more special for me!

Kelsey and I baked and prepared yesterday so there was not much left to cook today.  The kids worked on some fun crafts:  place cards and a thankful tablecloth!  There was lots of playing outside and a few board games played today.  The men worked on the lights until I asked if we could just watch football. 

Scott and I ran a 5 mile race this morning (GE Run Thru The Woods).  It was a great run and I crushed my goal time!

We all ate tons of yummy food and are so full! 

Now, the older kids are making Christmas lists.  The little girls are playing.  The adults are relaxing.

Kelsey took tons of pictures and they will follow!

Happy Thanksgiving to your family and friends.  We are so very thankful for you all!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

MT: Recap Week One

Well, the first week of marathon training was made so much more enjoyable because I was sick (notice hint of sarcasm!).  I am thanking my children for my head cold, which made running more challenging than normal!

I ran 38.5 miles.

My longest run was 12 miles and it was tough.  I did not feel great.  It was hot, humid, and windy.  I really would like for fall to arrive in Spring, TX because running in the 70's is not fun anymore.

I ran on the treadmill one time. 

I did one double run.  Drew was out of town for part of the week so I knew running at night would be easier than in the morning.  I ran 7 miles Wednesday morning and 4 miles that night on the TM.  My legs were fine with the double run so I see this happening again in the future.

My body is feeling good except for my foot.  This will be an issue every week.  The only cure is to stop not happening right now! 

All in all it was a good week!  15 weeks until the marathon!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jonah's first meet

Jonah had his first gymnastics meet on Friday.  It was an intrasquad meet with judges.    I was nervous for Jonah.  He was not nervous because he is one overly confident little boy!

Jonah new all his routines and did them so well.  He had a low grade fever so I was so proud of him for performing well and working hard all night.

Jonah is currently performing level four routines.  He is practicing level five skills.  Until Jonah is 7 he will not be allowed to compete at level five.  At the moment he is at the gym two nights a week and is begging for us to allow him to go a third night.  The boy loves gymnastics and thinks all things are to be used for gymnastics.  I am super excited to watch him compete this season!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Three Things: Sickness, Decisions, and TV's

We are all sick (except Drew...lucky guy) and I am so sick of being sick!  Samuel started this fun party with pink eye last week.  We overcame that and now he has a horrible cough.  Jonah has a croupy cough.  Elena has an ear infection and pink eye.  The poor thing has rubbed the skin under her one eye raw.  She looks like a cute mess!  Emma has a mild cough.  I have a cough and chest congestion.  I don't think any of this is necessary and I hope all the drugs work quickly!  I don't have time for all this sickness.

My big you remember me talking about that?  Well, I can finally say that I am going to be an elder at our church.  It is a three year commitment to serve on session.  I am nervous and excited.  My first training session is in one week!  I just have to keep thinking that God equips the called!

Our old, huge TV is GONE!  Woo hoo!!  NAM came on Tuesday and took that baby away.  I like the new TV very much and I really like that it sits on a cabinet.  We now have much more floor space.  Of course, for the kids that means more playing space!  Even better than that, is Drew also got me (I mean us) a TV for the porch.  I will soon be running and watching TV at the same time.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday's dose of cuteness

Jonah being silly and proud of the boat he made for school.  Very minimal parental help was involved!

Samuel in the "attic"...aka the temporary tv stand.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Making Changes

Deciding to run a marathon is a big deal.  Drew and I talked about the pros and cons of this for a while before I decided to run.  Not only is this a commitment for me, but it is a commitment for my family as well.  There are changes ahead for all of us.

The biggest change is the most obvious.  I will be running a lot and it will take me away from my family more than I like.  To help with this Drew and I bought the treadmill.  I love it and will love it more when there is a television on the porch!  The treadmill will allow me to run at night if need be and at home during bad weather.  I can run during nap time. 

I have to get up early to get in my runs.  I really don't want to miss much family time so my alarm will be going off early!  I actually don't mind this too much.  I like the time by myself and I love watching the earth wake up!

I have to go to bed earlier than I have been.  I stay up late to watch the weather.  I need to be in bed by 10p so I don't get too tired and thus probably sick.  I will have to tape the 5pm weather on Channel 2 (Frank is my favorite) and watch it after the kiddos are in bed.  The bad thing about an early bedtime is less evening time with Drew.

Drew will probably ride less in the coming months.  I will need the time to run and he is okay with this.  He knows it is 16 weeks and then it is his turn.  Unfortunately, right now this is not an issue since his hand is injured.  I am hoping it becomes a scheduling issue for us soon.  I know he misses riding!

I have to eat better.  Running all these miles requires lots of fuel and I plan to fuel my body properly.

I have to drink tons of water.  This is a challenge when it is cooler because I don't notice my thirst as much.  Although, since it is still 80 degrees in November it may not be a problem.

My long runs are on Sunday.  I will have to attend a different church service so I don't have to get up at 4am.  I am okay with that and am excited to experience the Journey Service at church.  I can also run Sunday afternoon, but I really like to run in the morning.  We shall see.

Perhaps, the biggest thing is to listen to my body.  I have to rest if something aches.  I have to cut out runs if something hurts.  I have to take care of me so I can get to starting line in one, healthy prepared piece!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let marathon training begin

Yep, today was the day!  Marathon training began!

I have been thinking about this day for months.  I have looked at my plan for weeks.  I think about running the marathon almost every time I run.  I was ready for today to be here!

I have a 16 week plan. 

I will run 5 days a week with an optional 6th day each week.

Week 9 will be the first time I run 50 miles in a week.  It will be the first time ever!!

My highest weekly mileage will be 54 miles and that will occur twice.

I am scheduled to run a 26.2km run in February.  It is a simulator marathon, but in kilometers.  I am also running it at race pace...yikes!!

In total I am scheduled to run 673.7 miles in 16 weeks.  At minimum I will run 613.7 miles.

Marathon day is 3/3/12...that is a super cool date!

Of course, this assumes my body cooperates and I remain injury free.  I say BRING IT ON!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

We Are.....Penn State

Penn State played Nebraska today.  Penn State lost 17-14.  It did not matter at all.

I have never been more proud of Penn State players, coaches, and fans ever!  I have never cried before a game like I did today.  I have never cried after a game like I did today.

Picture from my cousin Megan.
Penn State is a family.  It is a family of 100,000+ strong, faithful, good people.  The team has great young men who play with heart and pride every Saturday.  Today that decency was on display like I have never seen before and will probably not see again.

Megan took this picture of the pre-game prayer
The PSU players entered the field arms locked walking as one to the sideline.  They walked onto the field as they always do between the band, but today was a little different.  The PSU family grew by an unknown and super large number of past players and they created the rest of the tunnel. That was enough to overwhelm me, but then the PSU and Nebraska players met in the middle of the field for a prayer!  A Nebraska assistant coach lead the players and snooping media in prayer.  A stadium of 100,000+ people were silent...SILENT!  It was a powerful moment and it brought me to tears.

The signs in the stadium expressed love for the children and love for Joe!  It should not be, but it is.  A new season has begun at Penn State.  I wish it was not the case.  I wish one man was not such a horrible man leaving a trail of destruction behind him that is unreal.  But, it is not to be.  Penn State is a new place.  It will be a better place.  Today was the beginning of healing.

I am still grieving the old Penn State.  I am still wishing for the rolled up pants and black Nike's on the sideline.  I am still wishing for the band to play "Joe plays a mean football".  But, wishing gets me nowhere.  I am forever a PSU fan and a proud fan.  I was so proud of the men on the field today.  The won in my eyes.

I dressed all my sweet children in PSU gear as I do every Saturday.  I thought maybe someone might make a rude comment to us, but I decided it would not matter.  My family is PSU proud and this is what we do on football Saturdays.  A lady at the race today came up to Drew with tears in her eyes and said "We Are..."  Drew said "Penn State" and she replied and "We always will be!"

The Penn State family is large and proud and I am so thankful to be a part of it!

WE ARE..............PENN STATE!!!!!!!!
Thank You.......You're Welcome!


 Team Red, White and Blue

Who We Are

We do not view success in terms of dollars raised, but by relationships maintained.

Team Red, White & Blue is a non-profit organization that brings athletes together. We are a veteran support organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of wounded veterans and their families. Ultimately, we aim to transform the way wounded veterans are reintegrated into society when they return from combat and exit their position in the Active Duty force or National Guard.

Our intent is to create and support a unique community of veterans, their families and friends, and endurance runners to develop the sort of one-on-one, meaningful relationships that transcend short-term fundraising efforts. We feel it is time to give back. It's our turn.

Isn't that wonderful!  I was so excited to run for the benefit of veterans the day after Veteran's Day! I was equally excited that my family could be at this event to see how running can help others!

This is a very small event...probably less than 500 people total between the 5K and 10K.  I like running smaller events and feel quite lucky that I have many options in this area. 

The day started out chilly, but the sun was shining by the start and it was warm.  The course was nice with lots of different scenery.  The crowd support was minimal, but for such a short distance it was not a big deal!

As I said earlier this week I hate 10K's.  They are tough for me.  I had a positive attitude and felt I would do well today.  I did and I am so happy with my effort.  At least for now, I have erased the 10K demon, but it is still my least favorite distance.

The first four miles were easy!  I felt strong and was feeling great.  The last 2 miles were killer.  It was definitely a battle of wills to keep pushing.  I am so thankful that I filled my mind with encouraging scripture and people before the race began.  Thinking about those things helped push me to the finish.

I finished 6.2 miles in 50:05.  I am bummed I missed going under 50 minutes, but it is a 2:30 PR and I will take it!  I finished second in my age group and received a medal for my efforts.  Overall, I would say it was quite a successful day for me!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Running is hard.  It takes tons of work and dedication.  It takes lots of time.  Besides being challenging physically, it is mentally hard.  If the brain quits so does the body.  When the body quits, the brain can often will more energy/effort out of the body.  Crazy how that works!

My brain has quit on me during runs long and short.  My brain has also quit on my during races.  My first experience was my first half marathon last November.  I got my revenge the next month.  My second was a 10K last winter.  It was awful and I hated every minute of that race (well at least five miles of the race).  I have the opportunity to redeem myself on Saturday.

I don't have anyone to redeem myself to except me.  It is important for me to prove to myself that I can run the distance well.  I don't like the 10K distance because do I sprint and if so how hard.  Do I just run semi fast and go all out at the end.  I can never decide.  The 10K is hard.

At the Chosen Half I tackled the demons of hills.  I actually conquered them!  I was nervous about running on such a hilly course with so very little hill training.  I knew I could run well, but did I really believe it.

I opted to spend my time before the race reading scripture that I picked out and one Drew gave.  I created a playlist with many inspiring Christian Rock songs.  I had encouraging words in my head the entire race!! I know it made a difference.  I believed in myself and I created a plan to help me succeed!

I had a PR at the Chosen Half.  I plan to run another PR on Saturday.  I BELIEVE I will.  I KNOW I can do it.  Mentally I am ready!  Will my body show up...let's hope so!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday

In light of my continued heavy heart because of the situation at Penn State, I have no choice but to focus on my blessings.  I must remember to be thankful.

I admit that I woke up this morning in a foul mood.  I was grouchy with everyone in my house and it was completely unfair of me to act this way.  After a good mind clearing run (always good for me!), I re-started by day and changed my mindset! 

Today I am thankful for:

My children and their silliness
My husband who is a great provider for our family
My friends and a fun lunch with Kim today (a special treat)
Being able to do some Christmas shopping online (no lines and traffic!)
The smell of homemade applesauce in my house
The cool, crisp, sunny fall day
Being able to open my windows and have fresh air in my house
A leg that I think is on the mend!
Doing three loads of laundry and getting it all folded and put away in one day (small miracle!)
Watching Samuel cute!
Having doorknobs on our new cabinets
Being able to pick-up my race packet this afternoon
Playing Christmas music

So, despite my heavy heart I have much to be thankful for and I did not even list everything that came to my mind!  Following God's instruction really does work!!

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No Words

Wearing our PSU proudly and we always will!
That is an ironic title for this post because I have lots of words spinning in my head, but I do not know how to organize them.  My brain and heart are overwhelmed by the tragedy unfolding at Penn State.  It is almost more than I can process and definitely more than I want to think about, but I don't have a choice.  I pray that by writing them down I can feel a greater sense of calm about the situation.

I love Penn State. I always have and I always will.  I wanted to go to college there for my entire life until my young 18 year old self realized how big the campus was.  I had to pass on that dream, but my love continued.  I adore central PA, State College, Happy Valley, the mountains, the people, the way the people talk, the way the people live....I love everything about it.  I also happen to love Joe Paterno and think of him as a member of my family.  I am pretty sure that when I was born, my mom dressed me in blue and white.  If she didn't, it wasn't long after I was born.  I know all four of my kiddos had a very early infancy picture taken all decked out in white and blue!

I know all that may sound just a crazy as it comes, but it is true.  I love Penn State football and all it represents.  Joe Pa has been the coach for my entire life and that all changed today.  What the program represents has changed too.  I feel like I am grieving a huge loss. 

I am so saddened and angered by the scandal enveloping Penn State.  One man caused all this to happen and no one cares about him.  The media does not talk about him.  All I hear about is Joe Paterno this and Joe Paterno that.  Really!  Really!  Really!

Yes, Joe Pa knew something happened and he reported it.  Could he have done more?  Should he have done more?  Those are questions that only he can answer.  It is not up to the media to cast stones, but they will repeatedly all day long.  It is not their job.  It is Our Maker's job to decide. 

I believe that Penn State and the State College community lost a giant today.  The football program will continue and this will all seem like a bad memory by next season.  There will be another scandal to take its place.  And, that is what is truly sad.  The media will drop this as quickly as it started.

I feel for the players.  They will play their last home game under Joe Pa's leadership on Saturday.  I watched a video today of the player's reactions to the news of Joe Pa retiring.  It was heart wrenching!  Those players are losing a coach, a leader, and a father figure.  The media can say whatever it wants about Joe Pa.  He is a legend in my eyes and in my heart.

I pray for Joe Pa, his family, the players, the State College community, and the lives of the boys effected by the horrible acts of one man.  None of this would be happening it he had been a decent man!

Picture day

I just love these two sweet faces!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Encouragement when I needed it

Today at MOMS I discussed how challenging it can be to invite two other children into our home.  It takes away from my time with my kids, I am feeding more children, I am refereeing more situations, and the list goes on.  I am exhausted when they leave.

I was reminded that I am being called to help.  I am being called to help this family during their great time of need and to minister to these children. 

I was reminded that my children will survive this season in our life and learn from it.  I was reminded that serving others will teach my children more than I could do playing with them after school on any given day.

I was reminded that God will equip me to meet each child's needs (all 6 of them) each day.  God will provide if I call on Him.

I was reminded that this is just a season and it will end.

These were wonderful things to hear today.  The encouragement carried me through my evening of never ending needs and feelings of pure emotional exhaustion.  Pray also helped!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Three things the late edition

Samuel - He asked me these questions on our drive home from the gym, which takes all of five minutes.

How can God be in heaven if he is in my heart?
Why did Jesus die?
What does God look like?
Does God still like me when I am bad?
Will Jesus have to die on the cross again if I am bad?
Jesus is God's son?
How does God know when I am bad?
Why will God forgive me? (apparently I did not answer question #2 very well)

I was totally brain dead by the time we arrived home!

Food - The foods I made today completely rocked...homemade applesauce, homemade pumpkin granola, and Penne with pumpkin Gorgonzola sauce!   I am really full after eating all that yummy food.  The best part was Samuel and Elena helped make the applesauce and granola.  I love cooking with my kiddos when I allow myself to forget about the mess and just have fun!!

Running - Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday!  I have not run since Monday morning and it is time to get moving again.  I took three days off on purpose just to rest and to let my body (read hip and foot) heal!  I cannot wait to hit the pavement again tomorrow.  I think my family will be happy too (read less grouchy mommy)!

Halloween in pictures

Halloween was a weekend for us...not just one day!  The kids went to two trunk or treat parties, the Annual Albertson bash, and then of course, trick or treating.  Samuel also had a Halloween Carnival at school. We now officially have enough candy in our house to last until next Halloween.  Here is our weekend in pictures!

Samuel picking out his pumpkin.
Elena as a PSU cheerleader (one of her 3 costumes) and her pumpkins
13 kids in costume at the Albertson Bash
Jonah the gymnast, Elena an Eagles cheerleader, Emma the cowgirl, and Samuel as Spiderman

Jonah with his "modest" pose
So excited to dress up at school
Getting ready to go trick or treating...a cowgirl, a gymnast, and two skeletons
The pre picture with our neighbors
Jonah and his friend Connor
Elena and her friend Carmindy waiting patiently!
Handing out candy and maybe eating some!
Samuel in my favorite Samuel costume of 2011...a pirate!
Halloween was a blast, but I am glad it is over for another year! 

Yesterday's picture a day late

Elena did not feel well Sunday night and she was having a hard time falling asleep.  So, lucky for me and Drew we got to cuddle with our sweet girl.  Of course, I had to take pictures!

Not so happy about having her picture taken
Much more willing