Tuesday, November 19, 2013


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,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy Veterans' Day!

 Last Friday T and his fellow first-graders dazzled us with a sweet Veterans' Day performance.  I enjoy chances like this to highlight one of the kids particularly.  So often they are part of the mix and don't get special recognition!  Not on Friday--T was the star!
 T was so excited to see us in the audience--Mimi, Papa, Daddy, Mama, and V, all there to see him!

T had a special role in the performance, getting to say some lines about our nation's flag.  "Our current flag has 13 stripes, 7 red and 6 white.  These stripes represent the 13 original colonies that created our country." He did a fine job and said his part well.

Afterward, the kids sang a military medley with each of the branches of the military represented.  Mimi, Papa, and GG all stood and were recognized when the Army portion was sung.  Family military pictures played in the background on a powerpoint--it was really special!  I am so proud of our family's military heritage!

T and his teacher, Ms. Johnson

Thanks for the special day, T!  Love you!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

October In Review

Golly jeepers!  Has it really been over a month since my last post?  I am failing in epic proportions these days…  Time marches on, yet motivation to get on the computer after a full day is just about the last priority on my list.  No worries yet, I still love having the blog and won't be ridding us of it anytime soon!  How else can I keep my peeps across the country updated of our latest and greatest (and not-so-greatest?!)  Here's a re-cap of the fun we had in late Sept/October:
This little lady is becoming quite the personality.  She is a talker (wonder where she gets that from?? ;), a lover, a drama queen (what 18mo isn't?), a caretaker, a keen observer, and a contributor (in noise, opinion, etc.)  She will not be the forgotten baby! ;)

Case-in-point: take a look at our little photo bomber, crashing her big bro's first Cub Scout shot!  We are excited M has committed to Cub Scouts this year.  So far, so good.  He has been camping with our Eagle Scout Papa as his escort, has earned his Bobcat Badge and a few belt loops!  It has been a really cool opportunity for him.

The weather here has been so beautiful and the boys have been playing oodles of football and soccer games in the backyard.  Occasionally they'll swing too.  This is what happens when three boys are left to their own devices.  lol.  Mom to the rescue, but only after I snapped a pic and J uttered a few cries! ;)  These boys are silly beyond belief, especially when they're together.  I love it.
And the girls go along for the ride.  It's cute to see these two begin to emerge as friends--that's if one isn't stealing something away from the other.  They speak the same peaceful girl language and will most likely become best frenemies.

Did I mention she's a ham?  Oh Lordy, she kills me!

Here is another fun sibling game in the works--lightsaber LIMBO!  J is not making the cut in this shot.

To see the games they come up with…  I love it.  Fun is always to be had in G-Ville!

M conducted his first big science project for class.  He was curious which would taste more sour--a lime or a lemon?  This involved polling our whole family and having us taste Sample A and Sample B (mom knew which was which!)  The final tally was 4 in favor of lime to 2 (Mimi and J) in favor of lemon.  M seemed to really enjoy the project and seems to be a budding scientist.  (This thrills his mother, the dormant science teacher!! :)

J learned to ride a 2-wheeler!!  It helps that his best buddy learned a few months ago.  J was bound and determined to join the neighborhood kids riding without training wheels up and down the block!  He spent an afternoon or two learning to coast without pedals and then added the pedals and was off!  Way to go, J!

October was not without a pretty fall Sunday trip to the pumpkin patch.

MG and I were in pursuit of the perfect pumpkin.

Here's Daddy and his sweet girl

And another nice one of Daddy and the middles

We got this fun family pic--notice anyone missing?  M was at his Cub Scout campout with Papa.  We were sad to be without him and definitely felt his absence.  4 is not nearly as flavorful as our 5!

The next week the boys participated in their annual Golden Shoe Competition in gym class.  They run for 6 minutes and try to log as many laps as possible.  Here was M with some buddies.

He ran well and achieved 4.75 laps.  I was impressed that he never stopped and just kept up his steady pace even when others were getting tired.  Mama and little sisters were cheerleaders extraordinaire!

Later that week we had the chance to root on T in his class' race.

T was determined...

and victorious!  He beat his personal best with 5.6 laps.  It was a great effort and he was so relieved to be done.  Definitely a chip off the old block of nerves here!!

I was able to capture a few shots of J and his best bud, Cooper, who is our neighbor and also his classmate.  These two are peas and carrots.  They argue like brothers and play like they've known each other since birth.  Cooper's mom, Christy, and I enjoy catching up during preschool carpool.  She saves my sanity many-a-day!  We talk and the boys get to play…  Aren't they cute?

Speaking of cute, here was our little love after spending some time at Mimi and Papa's house one afternoon.  Daddy was out-of-town seeing college buddies, so the crew and I landed on M/P's doorstep that Saturday evening.  We ate pizza and the kids enjoyed playing trains and legos.

The next week was spent in preparation for Halloween.  The kids all designed their pumpkins...

but left the gooey grunt work to mama.  Yuck!  I seem to always get stuck with the cutting.  Next year, it's Daddy's turn!! ;)

The outcome was worth it, though.  Our original plan was to have 3 Duck Dynasty brothers and two girl ducks.  We ended up with 2/5 following the plan.  T was Uncle Si and V was a duck.  J decided last-minute he wanted to be Spiderman, so I scrambled to find a costume that would fit (hello pajama section at Wal-Mart on Halloween?!)  M chose to don an old ninja costume from years prior (we've gotten SO much use out of those ninja suits for any and all occasion).  MG switched with 10 minutes to go to trick-or-treating--thankfully I have an upstairs closet pretty much devoted to old costumes.  A purple butterfly, it was.  As I've said to some, she's lucky she's cute. ;)

My littlest lover has a hankering for sweets.  Not surprising in the slightest!

So does her big sis!

And with that, we wrap up a wonderful October 2013.  
It was a great month and was exceedingly full.  I look back at these pictures and am humbled God has given me such a bountiful life of goodness and blessings.  With the good, comes hardship too and October was not without a little of everything.  As I mentioned before, at the beginning of the month we lost the boys' piano teacher.  He was a 40yo father-of-three who contracted a virus during a dermatological surgery and didn't catch it in time.  The boys handled it surprisingly well and we all attended his viewing to pay our respects.  The piano stood still for a good month in our home and has just started making music again.  M and T began lessons last week with our former teacher's brother and we are seeing God use this new start to help inspire their love for playing again.  Our new teacher is encouraging 6 days/week of playing, so I'll let you know how that really goes in a few… ;)

Blessings to you,

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Typical Saturday

Most Saturdays come and go as follows...
With lots of smiles
and awesome Daddy coaches
Lots of soccer determination and good hustle
Sporting red cheeks and supporting each of our soccer stars
Lots of little sister patience and spectating
Plenty of sibling fun on the turf
The baby being the most popular play toy
And best of all, everyone spending quality time together
For me there's truly no more enjoyable way to experience fall than by watching my kids play ball and sprint up and down the field.  M has a great team this year and I've really enjoyed watching him mature as a player and learn his strengths in helping his team; he's also been more positive and encouraging toward his teammates and that always makes a mama happy.  T has been enjoying a third season with coach Daddy.  His team is a bit older and very good for the league since most will age up before the end of the season.  For T it's all in his mind--he can be explosive and a real force if he's motivated.  All a matter of cracking that inner drive.  We'll see what his soccer future holds--perhaps a return to taekwondo?  We shall see.  And J has been continuing to play hard and tough for Team Lasers.  He is probably the best ball handler in the family and very aggressive, which doesn't bode well for his opponents.  He also loves having Coach Daddy on the sidelines.

MG, V, and me, well, we have the pleasure of migrating to all the games and giving our best cheers.  Mama doesn't hold back--I love yelling for my boys!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How's It Hangin'?

A family shot from the wedding...

Dear friends.  Dear, dear friends...

How does time pass so easily with nary a post on here?  It is baffling to me until I begin to think through the weeks and the blur and I start to realize that I can't differentiate much from the last month of our lives, we are moving at such a fast pace!  Such is life with 5 kiddos.  When we're not scheduled or running somewhere, we're scheduled here at home and running and playing in this beautiful fall weather.
The sweet flower girl of the untamed hair

The past weeks have ushered in the start of homework... and lots of it, especially for M.  His new hw perch is in the dining room and he chooses whether he'll plop on a chair or our exercise ball to bounce while he works.  He calls it his "brain machine" and after seeing him rattle off a list of 20 spelling words the other day in record time while sitting on the ball, I'll say it stimulates his brain activity!  He even makes zapping sounds with visual effects to the show the ball providing power and knowledge to his brain.  Love that creative one.

We have also ventured into the world of orthodontia with M having to wear a special retainer to correct a cross bite.  Our dentist caught the glitch and we were on it immediately, which was very fortunate because it means less time for him having to wear it.  And thanks be to God, the whole process has been seamless.  I never know how my #1 will respond to situations, but thankfully he's weathered this change-up like a pro.  He wears the retainer 24/7 (even while eating) and only removes it to brush his teeth!  Hearing him talk at first was interesting (and a little worrisome as I imagined what his peers would say), but he adjusted quickly and friends thought it was "cool" when he returned to school.  Excellent.  I can already see the teeth moving, so it's only a matter of time before he's done with it.
GG's Aunt MK, MG, and GG

Soccer season has also been in full swing here and the boys have been enjoying it immensely.  GG is coaching both J and T's team, which gives him plenty to do on Saturday mornings.  We all gather for J's game and then scatter to the other two venues.  All in all, it's been a great start and everyone is falling into good routines.  M has also added Cub Scouts to his list this year and is eager to be involved in the year to come.  GG is nervous about the time commitment, but willing to help in his awesome-super-dad way.  They head to meetings on Monday evenings, T's soccer is Tuesday evening, and M's soccer is Wednesday.
My parents, the uber-extraordinary babysitters, and our clan

Have I mentioned I'm still tutoring?  I am.  I have 6 students so far this year and will probably limit any future additions.  I've never been this busy, this early, so perhaps creating my future tutoring co. business model isn't a bad suggestion??  We'll see.  I'll get to that when I have the time. ;)  That said, I am so grateful to have the chance to work with these students.  They are vibrant and fun.  They stretch my brain and keep me young.  And I can make my schedule to fit my needs.  Perfecto!!
Papa and our dancin' fool, J

The last update I hesitate to write...  M and T have also been continuing on with piano, something we've committed to indefinitely and something I always imagined for our younger ones to eventually enjoy.  We love our teacher--he is the best, most sensitive, talented, caring man, father-of-three.  Because of our great love for him, we were absolutely shocked and devastated to lose him this past week.  He died suddenly of an unknown virus that docs believe he contracted while having a pre-cancerous skin lesion removed a few weeks ago.  Our last lesson with him was Thursday, he had organ failure Saturday, and passed Monday.  By the time I went to bed last night, my eyes were so tired from crying, I could barely keep them open.  Please pray for this wonderful man's family and the repose of his soul.  It is just heartbreaking to think we will never have another lesson with him.  He had such a gift working with children and I can't believe he's gone...

The boys handled the news well.  M was concerned for my emotions and T was quiet and introspective.  I could see the wheels turning in their heads... no more lessons... no more practice.  I explained that from here until we find another teacher, they will be playing in honor of Mr. Jake.  They  will be playing for the love of music and not because they have to get a certain number of minutes in.  We plan to take them to services at the end of the week.  I don't doubt that feelings and thoughts will surface as the weeks pass.  Mr. Jake was a special man and we were so lucky to have 3 wonderful years with him.

On that somber note, I bid you adieu.  I offer peace to you and yours.  Hug the ones you love tightly.  
God bless,
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