Monday, December 18, 2006

Catching Up

Boy, it's been a while since I've blogged. The last time I tried I couldn't get a post to actually post and I gave up. We'll see how this one goes.....

Since the October post I've logged many more miles and I've now completed my last long training run before the marathon. 24 miles is a long way! I'm only 2.2 miles away from the marathon distance of 26.2 and I'm sure now that I can do it. I'm hoping all the kinks are worked out and that no sickness or injuries happen before I get to do it "for real" on January 7th.

Rather than ramble on and on I'm going to post a few pictures of our latest activities. Big events have included: Cutting my hair shorter than I've had it in many years and LOVING IT!, getting to have my Mom, my sister and her family here for Thanksgiving, Mike's promotion at work, news that my best friend is moving to just outside DC, and the usual kinds of Christmas happenings.

I am working hard to keep the spirit of Christ in our Christmas this year. I got my presents purchased and wrapped shortly after Thanksgiving and have pretty much avoided the stores. It has helped tremendously to keep my thoughts and mind in a spirit of thankfulness for the gift God gave the world that morning over 2000 years ago. As a mother, the idea of a baby arriving who would change the world makes my heart skip a beat. Our children have so much God given potential for His kingdom. I pray that Mike and I would impart the joy of serving the Lord to our children so they may too experience the joy of His provision of everything we need. I pray that the peace of Christ would prevail in your life this season and in the coming year.

Sending all our love to those who stop in to this blog. We really do miss you. As I addressed our Christmas cards I realized how long it has been since we've been in touch. Our relationships with one another are the only things we get to take with us to heaven. I pray that I would not take anyone for granted and that I would strive to continue to keep ties strong.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Today I completed the Latin Classic Half Marathon here in Bradenton. I spent three days this week recovering from last Sunday's back injury. Three visits to my chiropractor and I was cleared to run again Thursday.

For some reason I get nervous before events like this. It was only the second race I have entered and I felt the same way before the last one. A mix between "What have I gotten myself into" and excitement that I can be counted as one of the crazy elite who actually willingly subject themselves to 13.1 miles of running. I was even more nervous before this event because I knew I didn't get my usual amount of running in during the week.

I was up at 5:30 AM, had my Clif Bar, checked the weather (a cool high 60/low 70 forcast for the race), took care of other necessary chores and made sure my gear was ready to go. I made it to the high school (where it started and ended) by 6:30 and quickly found one of my running buddies, Kerry, and several other Galloway method runners from my Saturday training runs.

We started out at a pretty fast clip (for me) of 11 minutes per mile for the first 4 miles. Since we run two minutes and walk one minute that is pretty quick. Especially considering I am usually around 12 minutes per mile for a longer run. Coupling that with my medically reduced running log this week, I was quickly wondering how I could do this pace for 13.1 miles. We kept up about an 11:11 mile for the next 5-6 miles and at about mile marker 10 I was really huffing and puffing. I made it to just before mile marker 12 when my heart rate hit my max (I wear a heart rate monitor when I run). At that point I slowed down to running one minute and walking one minute for the rest of the way. My sweet friend Kerry stuck with me and was encouraging the whole way, even though I was running slower than she needed to. With about .2 miles to go I spotted my cheerleading squad: Mike, Anna, Sarah, and Emily! I rallied up and made it to the finish line in 2 hours, 32 minutes, and 46 seconds. A final per mile time of 11:39.

My body didn't enjoy this run (usually it does enjoy running, honest!) but I am so proud that I made it. I wasn't sure a week ago that I would even be able to run today. My time and the fact that I finished completely amazes me. I am hoping that the work that I did today pays off down the road in increased endurance. Every time I push past those feelings of "let's just walk" and finish a long distance I think of the verse in Philippians: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Chapter 3:13b-14) Pressing myself physically and mentally prepares me for the challenges that life gives me. Life tries to pull me away from reaching the goal of Christlike holiness. The road to holiness sometimes feels like a marathon in which the mile markers are difficult to see and progress seems slow. When I keep my eyes on the prize and press on even when I'm not sure I have it in me anymore I am learning endurance in my Christian walk as well. Consider Phillipians 3:20-21 - But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. I am looking forward to that heavenly body that won't fail me at crucial moments!

After the run I enjoyed a free post race massage. I highly recommend those!! My hamstrings were the tightest I've ever felt them when I completed the run. After the massage they felt normal again. I even got a medal for finishing. Enjoy the pictures. The camera ran out of batteries at the finish line so we don't have a picture from then. The running picture is with my friend Kerry, taken just as we spotted Mike and the girls.

Praise God for all His strength!

Monday, October 02, 2006


My body doesn't always cooperate well with my plans for it. Today was another (in a series) of reminders that what I want to do is not always in line with what it is willing to do.
My sweet husband was up in Gainesville to recruit new blood for The Firm. I was on my own to take the girls to a birthday party. A grand time was had by all three and then it was time to load up and go home.
I was asked to hold two, still slightly wet, ceramic art masterpieces, three goody bags, Emily's baby doll and diaper bag, my purse. I got the ceramics pieces and bags safely in my right hand and bent to pick up Emily with my left. As I was rising with her in my arms something went "boing" in that spot in my back that periodically does that. I immediately knew I was in trouble.
It was painful to carry Emily's 25 lbs (just weighed that morning, how convenient!) to the car and then transfer her into her car seat. I tried to "take it easy" last night - read: No picking up of toys or mopping of floors and dinner was hot dogs and french fries picnic style in front of the movie Dumbo. I was praying that a night of rest was all that was needed to be straightened out by morning.
This morning I saw an, unfortunately, familiar reflection in the mirror that reminds me of that crooked man nursery rhyme. You know, the one that goes "There once was a crooked man who lived in a crooked house......" I only had a defined waist on one side. One shoulder was higher than the other and my hips didn't move properly.
I called my trusty chiropractor for an early appointment as I drove the girls to school. I was optimistic about her ability to "fix" me and wore my gym clothes, hoping to head to the gym to at least walk on the treadmill. It was definitely wishful thinking.
I'm not to run until at least Wednesday. I am still very tender and have iced twice already today. All this just 6 days before my half marathon. Please pray for my back to heal quickly!!!!!

Friday, September 29, 2006

The latest

Hurray! As of today I have $1731.97 in my Joints in Motion account. That is a huge relief. Only $268.03 until I've met my $2000 commitment to the Arthritis Foundation. The biggest donation so far has been my portion of the profits from our group garage sale last weekend. Hurray! The other girls have a little further to go with their fundraising so I'll be joining in to help them meet their goal. I'm also halfway there in my running miles too. Next weekend is my first half marathon. I've done the distance before (two weeks ago) so I'm confident that I'll at least finish.
Fall is on the near horizon here. I've been listening to another friend who blogs go on and on in bliss over getting out her cordoroy pants and wearing comfy soft jackets. She has the benefit of living where there are more than two seasons. I am contenting myself with the drop in humidity and a wonderful coolness in the air in the morning. I know beautiful Florida weather is around the corner. While I am jealous now that she get to wear cute "fall clothes" I'll be glad in January when I'm wearing a light layer in the morning and enjoying short sleeves in the afternoon! I've been reminded from several places that my dream home is in heaven. Being contented now with where God has placed me will make the wait seem more pleasant. Besides, how could anything on Earth possibly top what God has created for me in heaven?!
I've found myself frustrated recently due to a busy schedule that prevents getting more than the most basic errands run. I've had some things on my shopping list for 6 weeks or more just because I don't ever make it to the right part of town at the right time of day. However, I've decided that there is a blessing there. As I have made it all this time without those items I realized that I don't necessarily need those things (although once I am able to get them I will enjoy them!). It has also been good for my budget because those stops to pick up something on the list always result in things that weren't on the list coming home too. So, I'm praising God today in the blessing of the schedule he's given me this fall. It has definitely made more time for me to spend with Emily at home, taking care of my home, and being ready for the girls when their school day is over. Thank you God for when you say "no" and "wait".

Monday, September 04, 2006

My Latest Hobby

Fall is my very favorite time of year. I love feeling the temperature cool down, anticipating the holiday season, and anticipating the fresh start of a new school year beginning. This year I am eagerly anticipating that cooler weather in the morning! Since April I have embarked on a brand new type of activity that took on monumental porportions quickly! I signed up to run the Disney Marathon on January 7th, 2007 as a way to raise funds for The Arthritis Foundation. I'm running in honor of my grandmother who has arthritis in her shoulder. The part that makes it pretty crazy is that I hadn't run more than a mile since, oh, college about 13 years ago. I am following the Jeff Galloway program and running 2 minutes, walking a minute which is a fabulous way to run distance in my opinion. Over the last five months I've worked up to running eleven miles, as of this last Saturday! The biggest challenge is temperatures at 6 AM being close to 80 degrees and humidity in the 90's. This last week I also have had to deal with Red Tide (which causes respiratory discomfort - exactly what you don't want when you are running).
Two weekends ago I ran in a local 5K to benefit a 4-year-old with a rare brain cancer. I finished in 32:06 minutes, not too bad for my first race ever. In two weeks I'll run 13 miles and then on October 8th I'll do my very first half marathon (13.1 miles) at the Latin Classic, a local race.
My biggest problem with running in the past has been experiencing a lot of shortness of breath. A feeling that my legs could keep going but my lungs were done! I've discovered that I have Exercise Induced Asthma and with 2-3 allergy medications I can actually manage it. The other issue is that I often injure myself when I begin a new athletic endeavor. I've been very careful this last year to learn proper technique and take things slow and so far any little aches and pains that have popped up have resolved with little intervention. Prayer is always helpful!
So far I am on track with fundraising. A HUGE thank-you and hug for everyone who has generously donated so far. Your donations and notes of encouragement have given me the little boosts in confidence I need just when I need them most. I've raised $1145 of the required $2000 so far. December 15th is the deadline for the full amount.
My running friends and I have organized several fundraisers, the biggest of which is a HUGE garage sale scheduled for September 23rd. We're taking donations and raiding our own homes and attics to find saleable items. Please join me in praying for God's provision of funds, faith, and perseverance.
When I am searching for motivation to take another step or go another minute when I am running I often think of those I know who are experiencing their own life "marathons" of either arthritis, cancer, or heartache. I think, "If they can persevere through their tough experience right now, I can surely find the energy to finish this run (or race) that has a known end point". I've found so much inspiration from observing those around me who persevere with joy through really tough circumstances.
So, there you go, a little peak at a huge part of my life right now. I never knew that running could be so rewarding on so many different levels or that I would ever like it! I'm so glad I took the leap of faith to try it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Peace. Quiet

Today is the last day of the first week of school. Emily is happily engaged in Blues Clues (sitting still for 20 minutes!). My two big girls are at school. Sending them off to school was bittersweet. I was ready for them to go so that my house could manage to stay somewhat neat and the fighting could be limited to between 3 PM and 8PM instead of ringing in my ears all day. But that all comes at a price and I'm missing having lazy mornings, hanging out in the pool for hours, basically having the "down time" with my girls. Now we are out the door by 7:45. Anna and Sarah asked every day for the last 2 weeks before school began "How many more days until school, Mommy?." My big girls are now in First Grade and K4. Sarah was was never nervous at all despite the fact that it is a new school for her and she will be there five days instead of the two she did last year. While I was driving them up to the school the first day I asked Sarah if she wanted me to walk her to class or if she wanted to get out in the drop off line. Our school has a fabulous system worked out where teachers meet you at your car, open the door, assist the children getting out, then escort them to the play area to wait for their day to start. This first week the moms of the K4 kids have permission to walk them to their classroom. So, when I asked Sarah she said "No Mommy, I don't need you to walk me to class, Anna can take me." Let me tell you what a lump in my throat formed when she said those words and just hopped right out with her huge Disney Princess backpack on her back and walked away, hand in hand with Anna, hardly a backward glance. I couldn't stand it and jumped out of the car to give them both kisses and hugs and tried not to let them see the shine of tears in my eyes or hear the strain in my voice as I tried hard not to let them see that I was about to cry. It is the tug between excitement to see them growing and developing as they should and wistfulness in remembering how much they used to need me. Their babyhood was not that long ago! I'm going to need some serious support when Emily heads off to school.

In other news on the homefront Sarah aquired the confidence (out of the blue!) to swim without her floaties. We've been trying to coax her all summer to let go of them. We started slowly deflating them a few months ago and she was doing great but wouldn't take them off, even when they barely had any air in them. She got down to wearing just one, half inflated. One day I asked her if she was ready to take it off (like I did everytime we got in the water) and she thought for a second, and said "yes"! Just like that she wasn't wearing floaties anymore. Within the hour she was swimming all over the pool with her face in the water. Sarah tends to do things when she is ready and not a second before, no matter how much coaxing you try to do. Hurray for Sarah!

Emily gave up the ring floatie early this summer and is now swimming with just a pair of arm floaties. She bobs around and kicks to get where she wants to go. I am constantly asked "How old is she? She sure talks a lot!" She has become quite the chatter box and repeats everything she hears. She's putting short sentences together and is eager to communicate. She is also becoming a master at getting our attention. If we're busy and she wants us she will do whatever it takes even if she has to go from one "no-no" to another until she has your full attention!

Last, but not least, I finally got to bring home my pottery "babies". For Mother's Day Mike and the girls gave me 5 nights of pottery class. I managed to make 6 peices. Five were thrown on the pottery wheel and one was a "coil pot". They didn't turn out exactly like I expected (what ever does?, but the whole experience was really great. The best part was when I was at the studio, for three whole hours I was able to dive into creativity without having to keep an ear, an eye, and a significant portion of my brain trained on someone else. I was able to devote my full attention to creating. It was really freeing. I hope I can do it again sometime. Next blog I'll update you on the marathon.

Friday, August 04, 2006


There are certain pivotal moments in a mother's life when it is clear that your child is "growing up". Of course we realize that every day there is a new thing learned or a new accomplishment but certain moments just kind of stick out as momentous. Today I experienced one of those. I have know for a few days that my little Emily, nearly 18 months old, wasn't fond of her highchair anymore. She fussed when I put her in it and wanted out as soon as she was done eating. I still like the high chair because it has a nice big tray to contain her mess and she is contained within the confines of the chair, restricted from spreading her mess all over the dining nook or being able to reach anyone else's plate or cup.

Today, I set her in her chair for her customary Nutrigrain bar and milk and left to do a few more morning chores. Soon I heard her fussing and a sweet strained voice saying "'tuck......Mommy!.....'tuck".....MOMMY!!" I took a peek and found her like this. I had to agree, she certainly was stuck!

So now she'll be joining us at the dining table in a booster seat (with straps!) and the highchair will find a new home. I will be glad to have the space back in my nook and I won't mind not having to clean its nooks and crannys anymore, but I am a little sad to see hard evidence that my baby has taken another step away from babyhood.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Girls Night

I'm getting SO excited!! My friend Carrie is coming to town on Thursday. There are so many wonderful thoughts associated with that news to me. Carrie and I have been friends for 15 years. There is such peace in hanging out with a friend who has known you for that long. We can relax and enjoy without pretense or trying to fill the silent moments. Friday we are headed to St. Pete for a night of all things girly. Museums, pedicures, chick flicks, salads, fruity drinks, soaking in the hot tub, get the picture. A total disconnect from my everyday life.

Don't get me wrong, I really LOVE getting away with my husband. We have a lot in common and we enjoy many of the same things. He likes to shop. He'll watch chick flicks. He doesn't mind salads. I never have to twist his arm to spend time with me. In fact, he seeks out time together for us and has helped to keep our tradition of a weekend away for our anniversary alive for the 9 years we've been married. I feel reconnected with my husband as a wife and reminded of why I married him to begin with.

Girlfriend time is different though. It is refreshing and renewing in a different way. It is just as important time to me as time away with Mike. After time with a cherished girlfriend I feel refreshed and renewed. Ready to recommit to both my husband and my kids. I'm reminded how much they mean to me and puts the everyday mundane and boring into the right perspective. I rediscover why I love being a mom and a wife and find myself excited to come home and do exactly the same things I was doing before I left for a brief while. The girls squabbles aren't so serious. Their hugs and kisses are sweeter. My husband is even more dashing and handsome than before.

I praise God today for dear friends whether close or far away!

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel. Proverbs 27.9

Friday, July 14, 2006

Dinner is Served

Wow, two posts in one day.

I was looking back over my old posts and remembered my first one. I was bemoaning the frequent chore of putting food on my family's table. Don't get me wrong. I love my family and want to provide well for them. I also enjoy cooking and I love good fresh food. I just get tired of the work involved in getting to the "fixing it" part. I have found a solution to the most detestable parts of that process which is even better than the book previously mentioned. It's called Thyme for Dinner. A wonderful new concept in providing dinner for your family. I went with a friend the other night to create 12 large dishes to serve my family this month. I can't remember when an hour and half of my time has saved so much time and headache!!

According to the description on their website Thyme for Dinner has prepped 13 meals (of which you can choose 8 or 12) ready for you to show up and prepare in their commercial kitchen.

We arrived at 7:30 to 6 stations already prepped with everything I needed to make 12 main dishes. Such wonderful food as BBQ pork, Salmon with spinach, feta, and sundried tomatoes, Bourbon Chicken, and Pesto Artichoke Chicken Pizza. Enough to feed my family with plenty of leftovers. I didn't have to plan for, shop for, measure or chop a thing. And, best of all, they did all the clean up. I got to go home with a cooler full of wonderful things to keep in my freezer, ready for a delicious meal. I'm a complete convert and I haven't even eaten any of it yet!

Now I just wish I had thought of this idea first. I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to try this. This particular company has 6 or 7 locations and I know there are similar concepts out there. I'd highly recommend finding and trying one near you. I'll let you know later how delicious it really turns out to be. Until then, feel free to call me at about 5:30 because now I'll have the time to talk!


Oh help us all!! Leggings are now back according to the store ads I am seeing for fall. I also noticed that "skinny leg" jeans are "in style". Is there anything new in the fashion world? Why, oh why, are we recycling 80's Madonna looks in 2006? Slouchy shirts with belts, tunic tops, granny boots, the list goes on. Next thing you know they'll be touting that we all need to wear jelly bracelets from wrist to elbow and tying our hair up with bandanas again. Do you think sky high bangs with a can of hairspray will make a reappearance?

I gave up trying to find any new shorts this year. They all seemed to be the long Bermuda style. I'm not sure who those look good on but its definitely not me. Maybe next year fashion will morph back to something reasonable. Not all the way back up to peek-a-boo cracks or cheeks but somewhere halfway isn't too much to ask is it?

I like to look stylish and "put together". I try to look my age. You know, not like my mother and not like the high school/college set. However, as I look back at my old pictures, those styles weren't so great on me when they were first popular in the 80's so I feel pretty certain they won't look great 20 years and 3 kids later. What is a girl in desperate need of a wardrobe to do?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I'm not a clean freak, REALLY!

I'm going to share one of my frequent complaints. How in the world do you impress into your children the joy of a clean living space? You see, when the youngest in the family is a 17-month old who is constantly looking for new ways to get into trouble, the mess is a major hazard!
I've tried so many different techniques. Dire punishment for a room that is not made tidy within x amount of time. A reward for a room made tidy in x amount of time. Loss of toys/priviledges/timely dinner if room is not tidy. "Don't you know that it is much easier if you put things away when you are done with them instead of waiting until the piles are so big that you have to hurdle over them to get from one side of the room to the other?!". Each day I probably clean up half of their mess for them out of sheer exhaustion over trying to get them to do it. At least twice weekly I am tempted to empty out half of what they have and give it away. Bi-monthly I am already getting in there and purging what hasn't been played with in six months.
What is left is played with but maybe they don't need enough dishes and plates for our whole neighborhood. Maybe they don't need 20 animals and baby dolls. Quite possibly 10 is enough. I've put a moratorium on any new toys. 90% of their artwork is admired for a day and then sent to decorate the recycle bin. Polly Pocket is EVIL and must be destroyed - -ha ha ha (said in a sinister voice). No really. Whoever thought a tiny doll with parts you could accidentally inhale and choke on has a sick sense of humor. Any Polly parts left on the floor are fair game for the broom and the vacuum cleaner. I've invested in lots of storage containers and rearranged for the best flow and play space.
Seriously though. When your girls happily (or mostly happily) play together, using their imaginations, and don't whine every ten minutes saying "I'm bored", it is hard to get super upset about the mess. The problem is the mess still has to be cleaned up and they'd rather do anything but clean. So, how to motivate? That is my question today (and almost everyday!).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Rain and Ramblings

It is so weird to have huge downpours of rain in July. Since living in Florida I've experienced more rain in this month of the year than any other (apart from hurricanes). We've logged at least 1 1/2 inches in the last 24 hours. That doesn't include the most recent rainshower that just left. The rain is precisely the reason we planned our new landscaping installation to take place a few weeks ago. We love free water!

We just returned from our annual "Tour of the Southeast US" on Wednesday. We logged 4038 miles on our mini-van, bringing the grand total of mileage on our '98 Sienna to 145,000! Our girls were unbelievably good on the road. The biggest difficulty was poor Emily popping 3 new molars while we were gone. (Imagine lots of ibuprofen, teething tablets, a pint-sized middle-of-t he-night bed companion, and a few good cries.) I miss our friends and family already but I am loving being in my own house and not driving anywhere that isn't necessary. I'm perusing summer sales via the internet so I can avoid going anywhere. I am desperate for a new swim suit now that I've got a hot summer and lots of time.

Speaking of swimsuits, one of the beautiful things about our Florida house is that I get to swim in my own pool. I can cool off with the girls, get a teeny bit of a tan, and never worry about who may view me (or parts of me) in my suit. I don't worry about beachwear. I've seen the suits that people of all sizes wear at the beach. I look better than some and worse than some and that is just fine with me. No reason to worry when I've already got my man and my girls are more interested in covering themselves with sand than parading up and down the beach!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Blue Skies

Blue Skies

Grocery shopping is a terrible way to spend several hours. I really don't like the whole process. I don't like making the menu, writing the list, or going to the store. Especially if I have to take more than one of my daughters with me. The only good thing, in my opinion, is that it ends the chore for at least a week and I don't have to think about it. It would be wonderful if food just appeared in there once a week and a menu was there pinned to the door.

I tried online grocery ordering once a few years ago. Aside from being a little expensive I thought it was great. At least it didn't require pushing a cart with a bum wheel and then hauling everything out from the car to the kitchen. They were nice enough to even put my groceries on my counter.

My newest saving grace is a book called "Saving Dinner". it has 6 menus and a list for everything that is needed to make all those dinners. They are usually pretty quick and straight forward to make and my family likes them. They are also healthy and a good way to stay on track with my weight loss plan.