Sunday, February 16, 2014

Can you guess where we've been?

We finally made it!
On our way at o' dark thirty for day #1. Chef Mickey's, here we come!
A delicious meal was had by all… MG did great seeing all the characters. V was only truly afraid of  Goofy. T amused us by returning from the amazing buffet line with a dry plain bagel on his plate.  Oy vey, that child!
Magic Kingdom, Day 1
So excited to ride Space Mountain (we did it 3 times that day!)
Papa was an excellent babysitter--how sweet is this?
GG and I had the chance to take the bigs back that night. Queen B and her Prince came with us!! 

One of my fave shots from the trip--bravo, GG! Day #2: Epcot
Waiting for our princess lunch at Akershus Hall
Can you sense her excitement?
Thank goodness one of our little princesses agreed to wear her dress. ;) 
Animal Kingdom on Day #3 was the coolest! We also celebrated M's 9th b-day that day!

M and I loved identifying bird species on a nature trail at AK.  How fun it is to share nerdy times with one's children.
By Day 4: Hollywood Studios, we were getting bushed!
We hung in there and gave it our best shot!
The Star Tours ride was a family favorite. Sadly, our Jedi training was rained out. :(
Who's sweet and happy kids are these? Still smiling after 4 straight days of Disney!
Mama and Queen B were given the royal treatment later that night. It was a birthday gift from my clan--awesomeness and so fun to do with QB!
What an overwhelming, awe-inspiring, exhausting, exhilarating week. GG described it to a friend perfectly--"it was the most fun form of masochism devised by man." Lol. ;)

We rocked. We rolled. We got a little bruised. But boy did we have fun doing it. Wow! As the boys and I looked through an old Disney pamphlet the other day, we were in agreement how much we missed the place. I can't believe it, but I can't wait to go back...

Cheers to the most wonderful, fly-by-the-seat Mimi and Papa ever. We had so much fun with you, making memories. And now it's back to real life, including snow days and more missed school. Oops!! Oh well, it was worth it!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The G craZies

The last two weeks have been very atypical for us, G's. As for many of you, the weather here has been cold and snowy, throwing our local Virginia town into chaos. We just can't handle snow like the northerners. We're years out of practice and don't invest resources to prepare... 

Alas and yet for us, rather fortunately (remember my wannabe-homeschooling status), I had my babies home for all but two days of school these past two weeks! We had warm, happy times. We cooked and baked (mainly T and MG, who take an interest in that sort of thing). We had friends to play and sledded a few hills one morning. We met our peeps out for lunch a time or two. We even ventured to the gym so mama could get her endorphin fix while the kids played. And don't get me wrong-- the crew definitely enjoyed the days of our lifted  weekday media restriction. iPads and Disney are mama's friends when the weather turns rough... But we tried to fine balance and rhythm.

GG still trudged into work despite our best efforts to distract him and keep him home. A big work deal had him keeping late hours this week, so we were sure to text him some evening craziness just so he wouldn't feel left out. I give you G fam mule rides, courtesy of M, the family pack mule. What started out as carrying brothers quickly turned into sister rides, which were much cuter (and lighter!) Anything for entertainment around here. :)



So come on over, friends, and feel free to join in the fun. Just be careful when you walk in the door, you might step on some children.

God bless,

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Night View

A Sunday night view from mama's new iPhone... Moving up in the world = more posts for you! ;)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Yahoo! It's 2014!!

I've really done it this time--going almost 2 months with nary a post!  Yikes!

Suffice it to say, we are well.
We had a wonderful, joy-filled Thanksgiving and Christmas, complete with family (mine at T-giving, Geoff's and my parents at Christmas!), good food, and cheer.  It seemed like one holiday rolled right into the other, which meant despite my best anticipation, I was still very busy right up until the end.

Thanksgiving: My sister and her family traveled from Ohio and my parents from Florida to all be together under one roof for four days.  It was so great and we all reveled in time with one another.  Everyone had his own space, so we thankfully didn't feel on top of one another and the kids had a blast.  Turkey started off with the annual Turkey Bowl, held across the street from our house in an open field. Afterward we cleaned up and headed over to GG's parents' house, where we feasted and merried and rolled home many hours later. We can't wait to do it again. ;) Talk is already underway about making Virginia the permanent T-giving location.  Yahoo!! Bring it!

Advent: We blinked and it was Advent.  Then we blinked again and it was almost Christmas! One fun tradition we started this year was taking all the girls to see our city ballet's Nutcracker performance.  MG, Mimi, and I dolled ourselves up and went to have lunch beforehand at a fancy hotel.  The show afterward was so fun and MG did great and surprisingly did not wiggle too much or fall asleep! I always have such fun with GG's mom--she is a gift to our whole family ;). Love you, Mimi! We can't wait to bring V along with us one of these years.  We thought we'd make it a girls-only tradition, but then T asked me why he didn't get to go? Oops! Maybe we'll allow the boys to come once or twice ;).

Birthdays: Mimi and GG both celebrated birthdays on December 22nd, which meant we had the fun of going out to dinner to celebrate them.  This year we had the added bonus of having GG's bro, C, and my new SIL, M, with us.  They are so thoughtful, warm, and loving toward one another and all around them.  It was a real treat to have us all together.

Christmas Whirlwind: We headed to Mass Christmas Eve at 4:15 for a 6pm service. Yow! It was beautiful, though, and worth the wait.  My girls were also pretty well-behaved, which meant I was able to enjoy the whole Mass.  Thank you, baby Jesus!  Mimi made a delicious dinner and the kids performed a most tear-jerking Christmas Eve performance that night. It had been M's idea as a gift for GG and me.  He conspired with Papa and the two of them put together the re-enactment.  The boys processed out in shepherd costumes while Uncle C read scripture and Mimi played piano.  The rest of us sang along with carols.  GG and I had no idea what to expect, but as my sweet boys processed out to the tune of Angels We Have Heard On High, I didn't know whether to cry my eyes out or laugh at how precious they looked. I think I ended up doing a lot of both…  It was so precious and a true gift to us.  Someday if my sons are reading this, you really did a fantastic job and stole our hearts.  We love you and thank you for making us feel so loved.

Christmas morning began at our house at 6:20am *sharp!  The kids were not allowed to be out of their beds until then (we had to make this rule hard and fast after hearing the boys conspiring to wake each other up at 2am!!!) They were allowed to come wake us up no earlier than 7am and then we were all to open stockings at 8am after the family Christmas photo. Mimi, Papa, C, and M were to arrive at 8:30am sharp when the opening would begin… and for the most part, that's how it went.  The excitement was palpable and the kids were pumped too ;).  They really make the day so fun.  We ate ourselves silly all day and had a Christmas feast that night. Many thanks to my mom for all her help in preparation! We had such a nice time cooking together as mom and daughter.  Even though she doesn't love to cook, hopefully our time spent together made it just a little bit more enjoyable;)!

New Years: On a whim we drove to DC for the new year to see friends of ours from our law school days.  They were opening their home to our whole family.  It was grand fun for all of us and we had the surprise of seeing another dear family we love that night too.  I drank it in, it was so heartwarming. Seeing all of our oldest children together who had once been in a baby playgroup was totally surreal and amazing.  Gosh, I love those families!  R family in Alabama--we are Fedex'ing you all to the next gathering. I think I would fall over from happiness. :)  We all stayed up way too late playing a fun game, woke up early the next day, and headed to Mass.  Our drive back was joyful because we had such a nice time.  What a wonderful way to usher in 2014!

Since then, we've been cherishing our final days before school started. We've had some really great family moments of late, where I stop and say, "I think we really like each other." lol. One of our recent goals has been to get through the big Disney classic movies so that the kids are more familiar with them when we trek to Disney in Feb.  Snow White and Beauty And The Beast are next on the list.  All the kids are now enjoying listening to the Tangled soundtrack at bedtime. Very sweet. ;) That's a whole other post to get to...

For now, thank you, Lord, for blessing us with all the moments, all the in-betweens that shape our life and remind us to always look to you.

God bless,

*pictures coming...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Success!

I did it.  1:35:10
Goal accomplished and thank goodness it's over!

The race went just like I imagined, despite the early rain that fell just minutes before the starting gun.  A friend and I managed to find a dry spot in a local hotel, use their potties, and warm up under their carport.  Perfect.  I easily found the 1:35 pace group at the start and worked with them until mile 6.  At that point we entered a midway park that had a lot of rolling hills.  The pace group began to spread out, but I stayed with them, would fall back a little, and then reel them back in again.  We were at mile 8 when we exited the park and I was feeling it.  I am not a very strong hill runner and hadn't been doing much (if any) hill training.  Yikes!  I was also feeling like the pace we were going was one I couldn't maintain.  Then I looked down at my watch--6:47min/mi pace!!  Double yikes!  I was supposed to be running an average of 7:15's and knew I had to slow it down.  I let the pacer go and started running right around 7:15 and much to my relief, I felt an immediate difference and SO much better.  Whew!

At that point I was at mile 10 and felt empowered that I was going to run the race MY way and probably do a better job than the pacer.  That idea gave me spirit and it was a great mile… which I then paid for during mile 11. :)  By mile 12 I knew how close I was to finishing and knew I just needed to hang on as fast as I could.  And by the end, a sloping downhill carried my tired body into the finish.  Awesome!  I knew I was done and my legs were totally shot.  They gave me a fleece blanket and a medal and immediately I saw my sweet family there to greet me--never a sweeter sight!  I had tears in my eyes seeing my babies and so grateful for a successful race, goals accomplished, and a family who supported me so.  Thank you, dear ones!  It was a euphoric high for the rest of the day...
At mile 12.5

12.5--my friend took me by surprise and brought a smile to my face!
My wonderful groupies--best husband ever and 5 charitable children, who came out in the rain to cheer on their mama (even if it was slightly begrudgingly so, I appreciate it!)

My legs were beyond sore on Sunday, but the satisfaction of good race kept the smile on my face!  Now maybe a marathon in the spring??  We shall see.  I need to make sure GG is on board. ;)

Thanks for your support!
God bless,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pre-race Jitters!

I feel like I'm back to my old cross country days.  I would start getting nervous mid-week and it wouldn't let up until after the invitational on Saturday…  I remember my dad would always offer consolation--"Your nerves help to get you ready to race and get your adrenaline flowing."  Good dad. ;)  I repeat that to myself often!

The reason for the jitters this week?  I am running the Richmond half-marathon on Saturday morning!  This will be my first legitimate race in years.  By "legitimate", I mean the first race for which I've trained and set some real goals for my performance.  Darn goals!  If it weren't for them, I would be coasting right now. ;)  My former PR for the half is 1:39:45.  Saturday I'm planning to keep pace with the 1:35 pace group (7:15min/mi).  I'm going to go out with them and see if I can hang for the 13.  My training has gone pretty well and I've been doing sub 7 tempo work and a few long runs at a 7:30 pace. We'll see…

Of course the kids have been wrestling with a horrible head cold this past week and I've been trying, trying, trying to stay healthy.  I have a bit of a runny nose and sore throat, but am hoping I've staved off the worst of it.  There's no telling how things will go on race day, but I'm hoping to have good news to report!!

Cheers to motherly aspirations!!  You can do it, mamas!!
God bless,