Monday, May 27, 2013

Snippets of the Weekend

We had a full weekend. And by full I mean overflowing.  It was great!

  • I have a tendency to try to pack too much in. On Friday, I only went to the gym, painted our dining room, ran, took the boys on a play date, cooked dinner (in the crock pot) and went to my sister's graduation and graduation party. 
  • We partied all weekend. Stephanie's graduation party was Friday, we celebrated my mom's birthday Saturday, our niece turned 12 yesterday and we went out to dinner and tonight (after I get off work), we are going to a cookout at my SIL's. 
  • Sometimes, I look at Kevin with the boys and just take a snapshot in my mind. There were a lot of those moments this weekend starting with him painting dinosaurs with them while I was touching up the trim in the dining room.
  • We missed church yesterday. The boys have been dying to go to my parents, so we packed up, picked up some lunch and went to their house. We all had a great time. I always feel bad about missing church though. It's not something we're in the habit of doing, although to our church, it probably looks like it. We went to church at my parent's on Mother's Day and then went to see my sister's graduate recognition program last Sunday.
  • Kevin has his championship softball game tonight. I'm really looking forward to it!
  • My legs need a break. Today marks 57 straight days of running (there have been 4 or 5 walking days). I almost think I can feel my muscle's breaking down. And my running shoes are worn down. I definitely need rest days. Once this challenge is over, I want to stick to 5-6 days of running a week. I can fit in the same mileage and give these legs a rest. I don't want to risk losing speed and I fear that's going to happen if I don't give myself some rest.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Your Questions, My Answers: A Day in the Life

One of the questions I was asked was what our days are like. How do I manage to take care of my family, work and run each day? What are days like when we have the boys at home and when we don't? So, to answer your questions, here's a typical weekday for us.

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

5:35 AM: I wake up without an alarm clock and contemplate going to the gym before work.

5:40 AM: I hear Kaden calling from upstairs and groggily drag myself up to check on him. As soon as I lay down beside him, he's right back to sleep. I decide to lay there a few minutes and hit the gym at lunch.

6:00 AM: My alarm goes off downstairs. I hear my husband turn it off. I get up and head back down to our room and jump in bed for about ten more minutes (If you can't figure it out, I'm not good at just jumping up. I need a few minutes to wake up.).

6:10 AM - 6:40 AM: I take a shower, put on makeup and dry my hair.

6:40 AM: I turn the oven on for cinnamon rolls then head back to our room to get dressed.

6:45 AM: I'm dressed and in the kitchen putting cinnamon rolls in the oven and some sausage links in a pan on the stove. Kevin goes upstairs to wake up the boys. While the food is cooking, I pack my gym bag, get out my shoes, grab some plates for breakfast and pour the boys some chocolate milk. Kevin helps the boys get ready while I'm doing this. (We get the boys' clothes out for the week on Sunday afternoon usually. It really helps in the morning to have them out and ironed. They get ready in our bedroom.)

6:55 AM: Kaden walks in the kitchen, happy, for his breakfast. I seriously think breakfast is his favorite meal of the day. K.C. and Kevin soon follow.

7:05 AM: We're all at the table eating breakfast. We really try to all sit down together for breakfast and I love that.

7:15 AM: Breakfast is done. KT and I put the dishes in the dishwasher, the boys play and put their shoes on and I pack K.C.'s lunchbox as well as mine. (I put lunches together a few at a time so I don't have to make them all every night.) K.C. gets a ham and cheese sandwich cut out like a dinosaur, some chips, a Rice Krispy Treat (with a note on it), string cheese and a drink. I packed some lettuce, taco meat, cheese, guac, salsa, blue corn chips, water and fruit for myself.

7:25 AM: I'm curling my hair while calling for the boys to come brush their teeth. We help them get their teeth brushed, I put my shoes and some earrings on and we double check to make sure Kaden's bag has a snack in it. I throw a banana and some granola in my work bag, pick up my gym back and purse and put them in the car.

7:35 AM: We're loaded in the car, kisses and "I love you's" exchanged and the boys and I are chit chatting on the way to school.

7:40 AM: We're in carline at K.C.'s school. He's talking about what he's planning to do, gives Kaden and me another kiss and he's out, always saying "I love you, see ya tonight!" Kaden and I drive through the bank on the way to his school.

8:00 AM: I drop Kaden off for early morning at his school. He's the sweetest as he gets out of his seat and always says "See you tonight, Anna Belle! I love you!"

8:15ish AM: I get to work, late. These first few days this week I knew I'd be late as Kevin has to be at work at 8 and the earliest we can drop Kaden off is 8. He gets out of school Wednesday, so it's not a big deal. I spend a few minutes listening to She Reads Truth: Nehemiah on my drive and say a few prayers. (This is one area I have to work on - consistent prayer and Bible time.)

8:15 AM - 12:15ish PM: Work. This morning, I proofed a big design job, worked on a few small tasks, went over a project with a colleague and got some things together that I wanted to work on during the afternoon.

12:15 PM - 1:10ish: Since I didn't go to the gym this morning and I know we have a busy night, I know I need to get a workout in during lunch if I'm going to do one. I ran 4 miles on the treadmill (28:12 with five 1/2 mile intervals averaging 2:57 each - starting to do some speed work again) and did 8 Minute Abs before showering and getting back to my office.



1:10 PM: I'm back at my desk and get started on the afternoon's work. With only four work days all summer, I have to make sure I manage my time and get things done. Plus, we're going on vacation soon and I don't like to leave any ends untied. I munch on some guac, organic salsa, blue corn chips (I am addicted - Nature's Place is the brand) and some strawberries and blackberries for lunch.

1:10 PM - 5:25: I spend the afternoon doing a variety of tasks. We're working on an upcoming season, so I do some research for that, look at some advertisements, talk with a colleague about a new project, prepare for a meeting the next day, brainstorm billboard ideas, proof some more, answer e-mails and return phone calls.

5:25 PM - 5:45: Commute. I talk to KT briefly to tell him I'm on the way home and then talk to my mom during my drive. I've found that the best and easiest way to keep track with all my loved ones is to talk when I'm driving.

5:45 PM: I'm home! Finally! We normally have baseball for the boys at this time on Tuesday nights, but since we've had a lot of rain, the games were cancelled. We take advantage of it and have a great night. I give all my boys kisses, ask about their days and sit down for a minute and just listen. I unload the dishwasher and get dinner out.

6:00 PM: I warm up some taco meat I had cooked the night before (Kevin's parents ended up sending us some dinner they had leftover from a meal their Sunday school class took them Monday night. It was good!), get plates out and make tacos for all of us. We sit down together to eat dinner. The boys finish first and start playing while KT and I finish our dinner.

6:20 PM: Kevin cleans off the table and does the dishes while I put up the leftovers that he'll probably eat for lunch the next day (Did I mention that his new job is approximately two minutes from our house so he can go home everyday for lunch?). I change into shorts and a t-shirt and throw on some flip flops.

6:30 PM: We're outside. The boys want to play ping pong, so we do on the table that we opened up in the garage. They play, then Kevin and I play (and I got as close as I've ever gotten to winning against him!) while they play a few things. We decide to ride down to the river, so Kaden drives the Gator and K.C. rides his bike. When we get home, Kaden and I stay outside for a few extra minutes.



7:55 PM: We're inside and I decide to interview the boys. I love seeing how their responses change and since Kaden's last day of preschool was yesterday, I asked him about some of his favorite preschool-related things. I then ask K.C. the same questions.

8:10 PM: It's bath time. While I give the boys a bath, Kevin gets their pajamas out. I sit down and check Facebook and my e-mail while they play for a minute. Once they're ready to get out, we get them dried off, I brush their teeth and Kevin helps them get their pajamas on.

8:20 PM: Everybody is clean and the boys pile into our bed to watch some of Peter Pan (their new favorite movie). While they're watching TV, I folded some laundry. I need a few "quiet" minutes each night and folding laundry on the floor beside my sweet family gave me that.

9:20 PM: We take the boys upstairs to bed. This is later than usual, but they were relaxed watching their movie. We read a Bible story, say prayers, and tell a story. I normally stay awake until they're asleep so I can go downstairs and relax some, but this night, I was beat and ended up falling asleep and waking up after midnight to get in bed.

If it happens to be a day the boys aren't home, we have a slightly different schedule.

  • I don't usually get in the shower until about 6:30.
  • I usually eat Chobani yogurt and some granola for breakfast.
  • I run on the treadmill when I get up and/or hit the gym for some weight training. (With my summer work schedule, I haven't figured out yet how to get to the gym in the mornings and get the kids ready and to school. I think I'm going to have to start getting up at 5:30 or 5:45 twice a week to do a weight workout. I'm going to try that to see how it works next week.)
  • I normally run during lunch 2-3 days a week. The other day or two, I spend my lunch eating and doing my Bible reading/prayer, reading a book or magazine or catching up on blogs/blogging.
  • At night, I'll either make something like a steak for us for dinner or we'll go out to get something or get some take out. We usually take a walk or do something active, catch up on DVR'd shows and just relax. We're normally asleep by 11 or 11:30.
One of the questions I've gotten asked countless times is about custody and how often we have the boys. While I don't think it's appropriate to discuss that, I will share the following things with you that I (we) think about in regards to the fact that they aren't home with us 100% of the time. If you have specific questions, feel free to e-mail me at thethingsimlearning@gmail.com
  • I try not to schedule outside things when we have the boys. Inevitably, there will be a work function that I have to attend from time to time (I'm in marketing and PR and have some events that I have to attend and then there are the others I go to because I feel like I should be there.).
  • We don't have set aside "date nights" on nights the boys are home. We have the opportunity to have dates when they aren't home with us, so we don't send them off to grandparents or get a babysitter so we can go to dinner and a movie when they're home. When we have other children and children at home all the time, this will definitely change as I know how extremely important it is to keep your marriage first.
  • While there are the normal household tasks that have to be done each week, I try not to do major cleaning like vacuuming and mopping when the boys are home. With that said, we don't avoid doing these things because it's really important for them to see how we both do things, but rather, I try not to make a habit of doing this every week and weekend they're at home. They both like to help though!
  • I try to get their clothes out for the week every Sunday before they're home so that we don't have to spend time doing this each night. It's also nice to have them ironed and ready every morning. It makes things much smoother. I've tried it both ways and this way definitely works best. 
There you have it: a day in my life! If you've got any tips on how to be more efficient, send them my way! I'm always looking for ways to improve and make things simpler!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Biggest Turtles I've Ever Seen and Some Other Random Things


1. I can't believe our baby boy is done with 3K today. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were sending him off to his first day of preschool. And today? He's walking in by himself like a champ and turning back to wave. I'm so proud of him.



2. I can't believe our big boy will be in first grade next year. First grade. Seriously. I can't believe it.



3. And speaking of things I can't believe, my sister graduates high school in two days. I remember walking in with her to kindergarten.



4. I should have just titled this post "Things I Can't Believe."

5. I've seen the largest turtles I've ever seen in the past week. When KT and I were at the beach on Friday, there was a massive (400-500 pound) turtle floating in the waves. It's head was literally twice the size of mine.

6. Last night, we walked down to the river (really, it's a drainage ditch that runs through our neighborhood, but the boys call it "the river") after dinner. We've been watching some tadpoles over the last few weeks and went to see them. Instead, we saw a gigantic turtle. It wasn't just your friendly turtle wandering around, it was a legit alligator snapping turtle. I may or may not have thrown my cell phone when it hissed at my husband.


7. Kevin is loving his new job. I'm so thankful! He also looks really handsome dressed up for work (not that he doesn't otherwise).

8. I'm still on Cloud 9 from winning my race this past weekend. I'm writing my running story for our run club and the one thing that I notice about myself if that my competitive drive (it's pretty strong) isn't necessarily to beat other people as much as it is to beat myself. I know if I had run the 10K and finished second behind the Olympian Saturday, I would've been happy if I had done what I could do. That's not to say winning isn't fun though. Bottom line is that it's not all about winning. I'm motivated by pushing myself to be the best I can be, not to be first place (but I love that part, too).


9. We started listening to the new VBS music on the way to school this morning. The boys love it. I'm excited to be leading worship for the little kids with my SIL and helping Kevin as a crew leader for kindergarten. It's going to be fun!

10. I'm feeling so blessed. I love my little family more than words can describe. I'm so thankful to have an incredible husband and two sweet blessings to share life with every day!





Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Build 'Em Up: Confidence in Motherhood

I'm linking up with Erin, Jennifer, Kelly and Courtney for Build 'Em Up.

I've always been pretty confident in my decisions and I find some decisions easier to make than others. (Those decisions regarding where to go to dinner are definitely some of those I'm just not so good at making. My husband will agree.) As a parent, I've learned that there are some really easy decisions to make and that there are some really tough decisions to make. But most of all, I've learned that I can't second guess my decisions.

When it comes to parenting, I want to do all that I can do to ensure that our boys grow up to be the best they can be, feel love continually, understand the importance of family and most of all, know Our Father's love for them. I also know that the decisions Kevin and I make in raising the boys may not be the same decisions other people make and that's ok. I know that I don't have all the answers and while I think I know what I'd do in certain situations, I know that I can't be sure.

I'm confident that as a mother, I'm doing my best. While my path to motherhood has been different than many of yours, I don't feel ill prepared. I may have missed out on the infant times, middle of the night feedings and other early things, but I don't feel that's made me any more or less prepared to be a mother. It really just feels natural. And I had a great example of a mother in mine.

I'm also confident that I couldn't be a parent - couldn't be a mother - without God's guidance. Y'all, I can't begin to tell you how many prayers I pray about our sweet boys, their lives, our parenting and our family. My  roles as a wife and mother are the two most important roles I'll ever play and I want to do all I can do to be the best I can be at both of those. Leaning on God for guidance and wisdom is the place to start.

I don't know if it's because I've always dreamed of being a wife and having a family full of sweet children or if it's because I became a mother in the way that I did, I really just feel extra blessed. And because of these three (I'm throwing my husband in there, too) blessings, I want to be the best that I can be.

As it's been said countless times, being a mother is the hardest and best job you'll ever have. I agree 100%. While I know most of the time, my blog is upbeat and happy, full of smiling pictures and fun memories (and though this is true most of the time), there are some tough days. Some really tough days. There are days where we get up on the wrong side of the bed, times when we don't really want to do what needs to be done (this can go for me cooking supper and the boys cleaning up their toys) and there are those times when there's blatant disobedience. But all these things are learning experiences. I'm confident in that, too. I'm confident in the fact that I need to be an example and show love to my family even if I'm having an "off" day.

I know what works for my family may not be what works for you. And that's just fine with me. At the end of the day, I can't judge myself as a parent by what other parents are doing. All I can do is rest in the assurance that at this point in time, right now, we're doing just fine. That's evidenced in the love these two little boys have radiating from them, the apologies to each other when feelings are hurt, the "please" and "thank yous" and "yes ma'ams" and "yes sirs" that are said, the zeal at which they go after everything they do whether it be school work, playing with stickers, building Lincoln Log houses, riding their bikes, playing with their friends and participating in sports, the excitement over reading Bible stories each night before bed and the tight squeezes and kisses we all get each morning. So for right now, I'm confident that we must be doing something right. I'm also confident that I've got a lot to learn, but right now, I'll just take it one day at a time.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The One Time I Ran With an Olympian

This weekend was a great one! It was my second official "long weekend." I have a feeling I'm going to be spoiled at the end of the summer!

Friday morning, after we dropped the boys off at school, Kevin and I went down to the beach to spend the day. We had a great time. We went to his family's beach house where we met his cousin who's visiting from CA. After a quick stop for lunch (and a ticket - no, we weren't driving), we spent the afternoon on the beach. The weather was perfect! I think I fell asleep about ten times.



When we left the beach, we headed to my sister's school for her senior night. We got there late thanks to being stuck in horrible beach traffic, but we enjoyed getting to see her and having dinner with my parents after her program.



Saturday was a big day. It was race day of one of my favorite races. The race is for a great cause and draws some of the top runners around our area. The organizers' lost their son several years ago in a car accident and began this race as a way to carry out his memory and give back to the running community (he was a runner on his high school team and really good from what I understand). They are remarkable people and I love that I've gotten to know them through racing (they also run a timing company).

Originally, I planned to run the 10K. I've only raced two 10K's before and they were both last year. Neither one really showed my true 10K times either. I ran them both in over 46 minutes. I'm running 10K's consistently around the 42:50 mark now. I had a few goals going into the 10K: win, break the 45 minute mark that I need to break in a race in order to run in the competitive bracket at the Cooper River Bridge Run and break the course record. When I found out a couple of days before the race that former Olympian Zola Budd was running the 10K, I couldn't decide what to do. I knew that either way, I'd be running against some really fast, really awesome female runners and I knew there was no way I'd win the 10K. Ultimately, I decided to run the 5K. I thought I had a shot at breaking the record and decided I'd rather try to do that and watch Zola finish than run behind her.

It was really special to have someone of Zola Budd's caliber running in a race I ran. I didn't realize it until I saw the picture Kevin took, but we started out with one person between us. She was so fast! I was happy that I could see her when she broke off on the 10K course.


This race was my best rate to date. Not only did I beat my PR by 13 seconds, I set a new course record of 20:25. I was one happy girl! I finished as the first female and 15th overall. I felt really good throughout the race and stayed with my group for right at two miles. (By my group, I men a few guys I always try to stay with as long as possible during races. They're friends of ours and go to church with us and run sub 20 5K's. Always.).

 I'm so thankful that my husband supports my running and goes to all my races! I love seeing him near the finish line.

With my pirate bobble head trophy after the race. 

I was excited about the bobble head and knew the boys would be, too! I also got $25 for breaking the course record, a gift card to a running store in town (hello new shoes!) and a gift card to Road I.D. If you don't have a Road I.D., I'd like to encourage you to purchase one!

After the race, we went home and while Kevin did some work in the yard, I went for a run around the neighborhood and got the house dusted. We relaxed most of the afternoon and then went to visit Kevin's parents. His mom had her first chemo treatment Friday and did very well. We're so thankful that she hasn't experienced any bad side effects and that the chemo went so well. Thank you for your continued prayers!

Yesterday, we went to my sister's church for her senior recognition service and luncheon. My sister has gone (and been a leader in) the youth group at her church since middle school. She goes to my parents church on Sunday mornings, but is active in the youth at one of the church's where she goes to school on Sunday nights and during the week. The service was great and I almost teared up watching her walk in with her cap and gown. After the service, they had a lunch for the seniors, their families (my parents and grandparents were all there of course) and their prayer partners. Each senior had a couple assigned to them as prayer partners for this year. Throughout the course of the year, Stephanie received so many thoughtful gifts, letters of encouragement and even flowers. Her prayer partners are some of the nicest people I know and it was cool to see that revealed yesterday. After lunch was served, they had a slideshow and her youth minister said something special about each student. She talked about Stephanie's faith and family heritage of faith. It was so nice!

We have a fun week ahead. Kevin started his new job today (so thankful for this!), K.C. has field day and Kaden has a luau and his last day of 3K (where has the time gone!). As the boys and I left our house this morning to go to school, we were talking about all the fun we have to look forward to this week and all of our blessings. They each have baseball games, Kevin's team plays for the season championship, we have a play date with good friends, Stephanie graduates from high school and we have a party to go to and we're celebrating my mom's birthday this weekend. God is good!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Feeling Thankful.

Do you ever have one of those days where you're just happy and excited and thankful? I'm generally a pretty enthusiastic and happy person, but today, I just feel good. I had a deep post planned for today, but you know what they say about plans. Sometimes, you just have to throw them out the window (or put them in your draft folder).

This has been a nice week. We had a fun night with our sweet boys last night. We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner, played some ping pong when we got home and then K.C. and I went for a run (he was in the jogging stroller) while Kevin and Kaden went for a bike ride. It was a fun night.



I'm looking forward to going to the Greek Festival with my sweet family tonight. I adore Greek food and look forward to this festival every year. Kevin also has his second softball tournament game tonight. I know he'll do great.

Tomorrow is a beach day for us. Kevin and I are going to go down to the beach for the day. I'm looking forward to spending some time with my sweet husband!



Saturday is a big day. One of my favorite races is this weekend. And I found out yesterday that a former Olympian is running the 10K. That should be fun!

I'm just so thankful for my life and all the things (really, all the people) the Lord has blessed me with. I'm so undeserving and so grateful.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Strawberry Picking, Gift Card Jackpot, Redecorating and Some Other Random Thoughts

I'm glad today is Wednesday because that means it's time for another Random Wednesday with Shanna AND I only have one more work day this week!

1. I went with K.C. on a field trip to pick strawberries yesterday. We had a blast! It was so nice meeting his little school friends (he even introduced me to one of them like we'd introduce ourselves) and seeing him in that element. His teachers both bragged on him, too. Of course we know he's special and think he's an awesome child/student, but it makes you swell with gratefulness to hear those same things from two educators who's spent the last 169 days with him.


2. Kevin's church league softball team won their first tournament game last night. My husband is ultra competitive and very athletic and loves playing ball. I'm glad he does. I was proud of them for winning. They had a tough opponent and I somehow missed the fact that they batted second, so I thought they had lost. Super excited for him that they won and that he played so well!

3. I found this little beauty at the beach last week. I love running anyway, but I particularly love running down the beach. After a semi-scary incident involving an early morning run for me, a beat up old truck that passed me no less than 5 times in about a half mile area which freaked me out and a really nice couple who let me walk with them when I saw said truck for fifth time (and kindly took me back to my condo), this girl was not feeling like a run along the road alone. So I did what any reasonable person would do, I ran along the beach when we all went outside. I had a gorgeous view and loved that I found this little conch.


4. I had a rough day yesterday. In more ways than one. I'm unbelievably stressed. 

5. There's not much better than a sleeping baby especially when said baby loves cuddling!


6. I hit the gift card jackpot. I recently found all of these gift cards that I've accumulated over the years (yes, years). One of them happened to be from Cache. On the way home from the beach, we stopped by the mall and I picked up some mint skinny jeans, a cute shrug that matched and a dressy green top that K.C. said I could wear on a date. I wish I had taken a picture when I wore the jeans because they were seriously cute. I also picked up a new bathing suit (I LOVE the new ruffle bottoms from Victoria's Secret) and some running clothes. It was a good shopping day. And that's coming from someone who hasn't shopped for herself like that lately.

7. I'm looking forward to a lunch date with my sister-in-law today! Girl time is always good, even if it's just for lunch. I love my SIL and we love our Tracy dresses!


8. My sister graduates in 9 days. Nine days. I am not believing this. I've tried to stay oblivious to this little fact. I have four programs to attend for her in the next week with the last one being graduation. I really can't believe that this sweet, curly haired little girl who used to call herself "Baby Ah-Ah" (I was "Ah-Ah" because she couldn't say Anna) is old enough to drive much less graduate. And this fall, she'll be moving to Columbia to become a Gamecock.


9. I'm in the paper tomorrow. I was asked to do a "Me and the Arts" section in our paper. I choose "I Like Books" as my topic. Writing it all has me wanting to reread some of my favorites. What are your favorite books and favorite books to read on the beach?

10. I think I've finally decided where I want to start decorating. I have a few summer projects up my sleeve and I can't wait to do them. I'll share a list as well as some inspiration boards on each as I get started, starting with the dining room next week! I'm not a DIY crafty person, but I am pretty good at painting, decorating and pulling things together. I haven't had a chance to do it at our house and I'm excited to have some "extra" time to do it!

11. My husband starts back to work on Monday. I'm so thankful that he was able to find a job quickly and one that he's excited about. I'm also thankful that he's had the opportunity to have some time off and spend some extra time with the boys. It's been nice for all of us. I can't tell you the last time I did laundry - he's been so good at taking care of almost everything. I'm a lucky one!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You Asked, I've Answered: Part 1 {Beauty Secrets}

I had fun reading your questions and now I'm excited to start answering them!

One of the questions I received was about my beauty secrets. While I don't really have any secrets, I'll share with you what I use daily as well as some other favorite products.

I want to fully disclose the following though: I don't take care of my skin as good as I should. I know, it's bad, but it's the truth. I really need to start taking better care of my skin. I sleep in my makeup about half of the week and I run and workout in it more than most of the time. It's bad and I know it. I really want and need to start doing better. Thankfully, if my mom and grandma's skin are any indication of how my skin will look as I age, I'm lucky, but I still need to do what I can to prevent damage. I don't want to be 30 with wrinkles and bad skin.

I use the four products below daily. I used to use the full Clinique 3-Step, but I only use steps 2 and 3 now. The Target (Up & Up) brand of eye makeup remover works better than the ones I used to use by Clinique and Estee Lauder, plus it's about a fourth of the cost. I don't remember when I started using Clean & Clear Morning Burst, but I love it. I really like the exfoliating beads inside.

I can't live without Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. I love most of all Clinique's skin care. I use All About Eyes (not pictured) each night. I also love Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief. This product is great, especially in the summer if I get too much sun. Superdefense and Youth Surge moisturizers are two of my favorites as well.








As far as my everyday makeup goes, I use the items pictured below. My mom has always worn Clinique, so when I started wearing makeup, that's naturally what I started wearing. I wore it and only it until three or four years ago when I branched out. I've tried Estee Lauder, Merle Norman, Bare Minerals, Mary Kay and Urban Decay. Mary Kay is by far my least favorite makeup (and I'm sorry if you sell it). It makes my skin feel weird. I switched backed to mostly Clinique a few months ago and I'm glad I did.



Victoria's Secret Shimmer Eyeshadow Trio - Uninhibited (I haven't been able to find this one online)

Even though I list the above as my "everyday" makeup, I use these same products for special occasions. At those times, I just make my eye shadow darker. 

Other Eye Shadows I Like:
Strawberry Fudge
Like Mink
Double Date

Other Products I Like:
Victoria's Secret Shimmer Eyeshadow Trio - Uninhibited

There you have it: my beauty secrets! Not to sound cliche, but I believe true beauty comes from within. When we carry joy in our hearts, makeup less or not, we're beautiful!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Everything is better by the beach and Mother's Day Weekend

Thank you for all of your questions! I got so many great post ideas from them and I can't wait to answer them all. If you have anymore, send them on!

Last week, we decided to take a spur of the minute trip to the beach. If you've hung around here any length of time, you know that my family loves the beach. We really do. In fact, the boys ask us to tell them beach stories from when we were growing up almost every night. Fortunately, we don't live too far, so trips are easy to pull together.

Kevin starts his new job next week and sadly, he will more than likely not be able to spend a full week with us at the beach when we go with my family in a few weeks. His mom also starts her treatments this week, so we decided to ask his parents to go with us and have a nice extended weekend at the beach.

We rented a place in a condominium community we've stayed in several times before. It's on the inlet and has a huge walk way and dock which the boys love as well as a nice, wooden walkway to the beach.

We went down late Wednesday afternoon and as soon as we put our bags inside, we went down to the beach. Due to erosion that happened over the winter, the dunes were huge. The boys loved sliding down to get down to the beach.


After we walked around and watched the boys play, we went back inside to get ready for dinner. We went to Texas Roadhouse. If you haven't been there before, they give you huge rolls with a cinnamon honey butter when you get there. K.C. loves these rolls and specifically asked to go to "the place with the good bread." After dinner, we shopped some at Marshall's. We only have a Ross and TJ Maxx where we live, but love to go in Marshall's at the beach.

We spent most of the morning and early afternoon on the beach both Thursday and Friday after our great breakfasts. One of my favorite treats of the beach with Kevin's parents are his dad's breakfasts. He's told me how to make bacon like his time and time again, but I can't seem to get it right. It was a treat to have some bacon, pancakes and french toast for breakfast while we were at the beach.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous Thursday and Friday. I don't think we could have asked for better beach days. The boys had a blast and were full of energy, too. I think they would've lasted even longer on the beach had we let them.



Thursday night, we went to California Dreaming for dinner and then went to Sam's Corner. If you've ever been to the Garden City/Pawleys Island, SC area, then you should know about Sam's Corner. If you haven't, you're missing out. Sam's Corner is actually like a short order grill, but there's also an arcade that we all love. We had a great time watching and playing with the boys. I even got the high score of the day on the alligator smashing game! It lasted all of two minutes thanks to my talented husband who beat me. Of course.



On Friday, Kevin's cousin from CA who was down to visit family came over to see us. I know the guys had a great time catching up. The boys had some fun of their own with a play snake and spider that they played and played with. I was also pretty excited when I found my first ever conch (by myself) during a run along the beach!

Friday night, Kevin, the boys and I went to Carraba's for dinner. It was kind of an early Mother's Day dinner for me. We had fun and sweet Kaden fell asleep during dinner. He ended up sleeping about two hours! While he slept, K.C. and I ate some ice cream. It was good! Later that night, we met up with Kevin's cousins and played a round of putt putt. If you know me and Kevin, you know we're both really competitive people. It doesn't matter what we're doing, we both like to win. I was so excited as we were putt putting because I thought I was going to win. I shot a two on over half of the course, but the last six holes or so, I started slipping and got some 3's and a 4. I ended up losing by 3 strokes. It was funny though because as the strokes were being tallied, I really thought I had won!



Saturday was our last day at the beach. After we packed up, we took the boys down to walk on the pier. They wanted to see some big fish and sharks. We didn't see any, but we still had fun. After we left the pier, we stopped by the mall and shopped some. We got a few things for the boys and I came home with a new bathing suit and some clothes from Cache thanks to a gift card I found that was at least five years old.

After shopping, we met up with Kevin's parents at Fuddrucker's for lunch. Kevin loves that place and I'm glad we got to eat there for him. On the way home, we made a few more stops to shop. I ended up with some new running clothes from the Nike outlet that I love.

We got home late Saturday afternoon and the boys gave me their Mother's Day gifts and cards they made. They were so sweet! Kevin let them pick out gifts themselves which I loved. I got a beautiful red necklace that K.C. picked out (he said he liked it because it looked like shark's teeth) and a new wallet (I may have steered them towards that one). They wrapped the gifts themselves and K.C. even wrapped his card. I also got a new pair of Costa's. It was so sweet. The sweetest part of all was spending such good quality time with my three guys!



Yesterday, we went to church at my parents' church and had lunch with them and my grandparents. (And my mom gave me a beautiful vase of pink roses in honor of my first official Mother's Day.) After lunch, we just lounged around and enjoyed visiting. We did have some excitement though. We heard this loud whoosh/boom sound which ended up being a huge old oaktree falling on a shed. It was crazy!


Last night, we went over to Kevin's sister's to celebrate Mother's Day with his mom. We had a great time! We are both blessed to have such amazing mothers and grandmothers in our lives!

I don't know about you, but there's nothing I love more than being with my family!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To my mother.


Dear Mama,

Happy Mother's Day! When I was growing up and dreaming about the future as I often did, I always wanted to be so much like you. I had an amazing childhood and it was all thanks to you (and of course Daddy, too). Thank you for always being you. Thank you for being involved. Thank you for baking cookies, taking walks, reading with me and teaching me the things you taught me. Thank your for hours and hours of Andrew Lloyd Weber music-filled Sunday afternoons, for barbecue chicken on all my "occasions", for teaching me the value of preserving memories and finding joy in the little things. Thank you for all the shopping trips, dinners out and late night talks.

I am the person I am today because of you. I am the wife I am today because of you. And I am the mother I am today because of you.

Thank you for always loving me, trusting me and believing in me. The life of faith and dependence on Christ you instilled in me, the confidence you built within me and the love you've always filled me with are just three of the many things I hope to pass on to my children. You always told me, particularly when I didn't agree with you about something, that I would understand when I was a mom. I don't know if there are many truer words spoken than those.

For these things and many more, I am thankful. I thank God for you everyday. I was certainly blessed when I was born into our family with you as my mother.

I love you more than words can say!

Anna

Friday, May 10, 2013

Increasing Your Speed

Last week, I was talking with some friends and fellow runners about speed. I've gotten dramatically faster since my first race in November 2011 where I finished a 5K in 23:58. My 5K PR which I ran about three weeks ago is 20:38 on the same course. That's 3:20 faster than a year and a half ago.



As I've started running more, I thought I'd share my tips for running your best race.

1. Amping up mileage makes you faster. As I've started running more, I've gotten faster. I used to always shoot for 15 miles/week, but now I go for 20. This past week, I ran 20.4. While that's certainly not as many as a lot of runners run, it's still more than I normally ran as you'll see below. (There's a man in the run club in my town who logs around 100 miles a week - that won't ever be me - but so impressive!)
 

2. Longer runs make your shorter races faster. I used to run around four miles, max. I still ran about 15 miles a week, but for the most part, my runs were 3.1 to 4 miles each. I've noticed a definite improvement in my race times as I've increased the distance of my runs. I typically try to run a longer run (10K - 7 miles) each week and for the most part, most of my runs are above 3 miles. (I should add that I'd like to run 20-25 miles a week, but that's not always possible with everything we have going on. I'm happy to be able to get in the runs I do.)

I track my workouts and runs and while writing this post, I went back to look at my stats for the prior months.


As you can see, I drastically increased my running days in April. To be fair, I should add that a few of those days, particularly near the end of the month, were short half miles or miles as I was dealing with a ton of pain in my leg This also decreased my average run length. As we're one week into May, I've already run 20.4 miles and I feel great. I want to keep it up!

While I was looking back at my stats, I decided to look at my average 5K time. In January, four of my runs were 5K's. In February, two of my runs were 5K's (for some reason, I don't have the times recorded for those). Five (or exactly 1/3) of my March runs were 5K's and in April, I only ran two 5K's which were both races. 

What does this mean? It shows me that when more of my runs are longer (as was the case in April and January), my 5K time is better.



3. Treadmill running makes me faster. I've run more on the treadmill lately than I'd like to admit, but the truth of the matter is I'm not running outdoors by myself early in the morning (when I squeeze in many of my runs). I've noticed that I'm running substantially faster outside than I am on the treadmill. I really think this has helped. 

I always start out at 8.2 mph and increase from there, generally to around 9 mph. I sometimes kick it up to 10.1 mph (the fastest my treadmill at home will go) and run some intervals.

 

4. Train like you're racing. When I run, I run like I'm racing. I don't run a 7:30 pace. I know that there's a lot to be said for training runs and pacing yourself, but for me, I've found that I race better when I've been running like I'm racing. 



There you have it: My tips for running faster. If you have any to share, please send them my way!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Are there things you'd like to know?

Do you have questions? 

I know you're probably tired of the wedding pictures, 
but I'm still enjoying looking at them!

I've got answers!

I get some questions via comments and e-mails about all sorts of things and thought it would be fun to do a little Q&A session! I haven't ever done one of these before, so I'm looking forward to it!

Ask away!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Truth About Step-Mothering

In honor of Mother's Day, I want to share this post. It's been on my heart for a while. It's hard to really put into words though, so please bear with me as I write from my heart about my little hearts.

The first night I met my sons, I also met my future in-laws and my husband's best friend. While I remember July 5, 2011, as a night all my nervousness faded away and a night that held much anticipation and excitement as I was meeting everyone for the first time (except my husband that is), that night will be forever etched in my memory because of a certain little blue-eyed boy named K.C.

Three years old at the time, he was a ball of energy and full of smart words. When I walked in the door and met him and his precious brown-haired brother who still had his chunky baby cheeks at barely two, he played and showed me some toys and talked about the Wii. Those little memories are vague, but the one that stands out the most to me was the one that happened during cake and ice cream (I should have mentioned these first introductions took place at a birthday party for Kevin's dad.).

It was while I was eating some cake and ice cream that this little blue-eyed boy who most say has an uncanny resemblance to me, crawled up in my lap and asked me to feed him his ice cream. I quickly complied and he stayed in my lap even through the opening of gifts.

After everyone left (and my now sister-in-law jokingly told my husband to lock the door), we played some Mario Kart Wii and I read the boys a story or two before leaving to go home.

What may have seemed like such a small event holds an enormous space in my heart. It's because it was the night I met my sons.  Since that night, it's been the four of us and I haven't ever looked back.

Kevin and I knew pretty early that we were going to get married. While I had prayed to not date anyone else until I knew it was the man God created for me, he wasn't in a rush to get married. I guess you can say I was too good to pass up! (ha ha)

One of the things we talked about early on was the whole "step" thing. I don't like the word "step mom" and I haven't ever used it (except in the title of this post). Kevin felt the same way.

My whole life, what I've wanted more than anything is to be a wife and mother. While my mothering hasn't come about the way I thought it would, I wouldn't change it at all. Being a mother is so much more than carrying and birthing a baby.

I would literally give my life for these two boys. They are my chief concern and top priorities. I care about their well-being, happiness and life more than I care about my own. I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility for them because I consider them to be my most precious gifts (and of course I consider my husband to be the same, but we're talking about mother/child love, not husband/wife today).

And they are a gift. I'm humbled every day that God chose me to be their Anna Belle. It's not an easy job. Mothering isn't. But it's the best job in the world.

As a step-mom, you'll often get unsolicited advice about your children and your relationship to them much as any biological mother gets the same advice during pregnancy and beyond. But when you're a step-mom, you often get to hear things like this:

It'll be different when they're your own.
You'll feel different when you have your own children.
When are you going to have your own child?

And to those people, I want to say, "These are my children." And they are. Just because I didn't birth them doesn't mean I don't love them like I did. Just because I didn't carry them for nine months doesn't mean I don't have a bond with them. Just because I wasn't there during their first few years of life doesn't mean I love them any less. Just because they're not biologically connected to me doesn't mean they aren't mine.

I love them, feed them, clothe them, teach them, play with them, help them, pray for them, bathe them, shop for them, read with them and do everything else with/for them in the same way I would had I birthed them. 

When people say these types of things, it makes me cringe. If they really knew me, really knew us, they would see. Because you can see the bonds we have. You can see the fun we have. You can feel the love we have. And it's no different than what you can see and feel with other children and their mothers.

I'm often asked when I'm going to have children. Being a newlywed and all, I guess it's a given that I'm asked this on an almost daily basis. Yes, more than anything, I want to have a baby or two (and I'm not ready for that yet just to clear up any wonderings about that subject), but it's not because I long to fill some child-shaped void. I want to have other children because I want another child, because I desperately want to share that with my husband, and because I just do. I don't worry at all about the boys and a new baby. They're incredible brothers to each other and I know that they'll be incredible big brothers to their younger siblings if we're blessed with other sweet ones. They've both expressed a desire for a sister though - K.C. because he already has a little brother and Kaden just likes girls. It's not something we've talked with them about, but rather something that they've both said to me when I'm telling them things like how thankful I am that God picked me to be their Anna Belle and how blessed I am to have two sweet boys to love for forever (they like to remind me that I have 3 - Kevin included!).

With that said, having a biological child to me will not be "having my own child." Rather, having a biological child means we're simply expanding our family and adding another precious child to our family to love. Much like I prayed for Kevin (without knowing who he was), I've prayed for my future children - all of them - since I was a young teenager.

So the truth about step-mothering? It's no different than mothering.

As I'm sure I'll have some questions/comments, I want to clarify that I in no way intend or try to take the place of the boys' mother. And while I don't talk about things like this on my blog, I would like to stress given the nature of this post, that she and I have what I consider to be a very good, above average relationship. We really are blessed. I want nothing more than for the boys to know how incredibly blessed they are to have the love of three people. I hope and pray that they also know and feel my love for them and know that they are mine just the same as any other children will be. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Coming Unglued

While I like to think I always have it together, that's really not always the case. There are some moments when I feel "off" of my normal cheery disposition and instead, feel "unglued." Unglued moments for me happen when I've overloaded myself with things to do, when I'm unorganized, when I'm running on little sleep, when I'm running late and when I'm upset because I haven't gotten everything done. Thankfully though, these moments happen very rarely and don't last long.

I can't stand coming unglued. I really can't. I don't like to feel "off" and I don't like to be unglued in front of or with my husband and kids. But everyone is human. We all have moments when we're not our best. After all, if we were always 100%, we would have no room to improve and if you know me, you know I'm all about becoming the best version of yourself in every aspect of your life. Thankfully, I have a husband who reassures me in those unglued moments that me at 90% is better than no me.

When I think back to my most recent "unglued" moments, they've happened when we've been trying to rush out of the door in the morning or when I've been disappointed that something didn't go my way. Now don't think I'm one of those women who wants my way all the time and gets mad when I don't get it because I'm not. At all. Far from it. I'm pretty sure my husband would tell you the same thing. We both tend to have the same interests and really enjoy spending time together. I like to support him in the things he likes just as he does the same for me. The only thing that sometimes takes us a while to decide is where to eat (and we can blame that on my aversion to Chinese, Japanese and until recently, Subway!).

But back to the "unglued" things.

I'm not a yeller. I don't scream. I don't explode. I tend to keep it all in and then get cold shouldered. If you want to know how to perfect the cold shoulder, you can learn from me. I almost feel like it's a defense mechanism I use to avoid getting hurt or upset. And trust me, I've had many occasions to use it in my life. But it's not good and it's not something I should do.

When I'm unglued, I also tend to get frazzled and hurried and feel bad for myself. And there's nothing I dislike more than people (myself included) feeling sorry for themselves. But sometimes,albeit very rarely, it happens. In the "unglued" state, I find myself thinking about the fact that I seem to take care of my family, myself and work and put others in front of myself. I think about how I really care about how others feel about certain things but that isn't always reciprocated. And I tend to chalk it all up to "Anna's always smiling, happy and nice and she'll get over the little things." But in reality, sometimes the little things matter the most. Just because I'm happy, smile and I'm optimistic doesn't mean I shrug things off and don't let them bother me.

When I start to feel "unglued", I know there are three things I can do:

  1. Pray - I sincerely feel that our enemy is out there trying to get us wherever he can. We've been learning about him and his tactics in our Sunday school class recently and I've also been reading a book I'd highly recommend called Interview with the Devil. I know he's on the prowl and he's going to try to penetrate whatever he can to make me not feel like myself - to cause me worry, doubt and stress. To cause me to become unglued. Knowing this, I can be on the lookout for his tactics. When I start to feel this way, I know I need to take a step back and pray (although that's sometimes the last thing I really want to do).
  2. Run - Running is a huge stress reliever for me. If I'm feeling unglued, I like to pound the pavement. It always makes me feel better.
  3. Write/Talk - I don't like to burden others with my thoughts or worries, so I often write. My husband is a great listener and can tell when things are bothering me which always causes me to talk. I'm not the best at talking yet, but his encouragement to talk really helps.
Most of all, when I feel unglued, I like to think about the cause. Am I unglued because we're rushing in the morning? Was I rushing because I hadn't gotten my clothes out the night before, packed my lunch or ran a little too long? Am I unglued because something bothers me that I have no control over? Do I recognize I don't have control and just pray? Am I unglued because I've set unrealistic expectations for what I want to accomplish is a very limited amount of time? Did I think about the time constraints when I was planning my mental to do list?

I believe that when we know what causes us to come unglued, we can take the steps to improve it. We've started getting the boys' clothes out for the week on Sunday as well as packing their lunches then. I've started squeezing in a run before work and transitioning it to lunch if I can't get it done in the morning. I've started really trying to pray consistently about those things outside of my control all the time, not only when they're bothering me. 

Coming unglued is inevitable. It's always going to happen. But my response to my unglued feelings is what matters. It matters because the way I deal with things determines my attitude and even more importantly, the way I respond sets an example for the two most precious little ones. Just as Kevin and I always reassure them that it's ok to get upset when your brother steals your toy from your hand, but the way you respond to that is what matters, the same is true for us. Being disappointed or upset about things is natural, but it's the way we respond to those disappointments and things that cause distress that shows what we're really made of. I don't know about you, but I hope my life shows that I'm far from perfect, but that I lean (although it doesn't always happen) on the One who is always there when things are just coming unglued. He's the Only One who can take the pieces, pick them up and put them back together without leaving any cracks.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Our Weekend and a Race Recap

We had a great weekend!  Our weekend started off with the boys' baseball games Friday night. K.C. played really well. He's really enjoying baseball!

Kaden, on the other hand, slept. He fell asleep eating a snack before the game (you should see the cute picture Kevin sent me) and didn't want to wake up and play. I help him on the sidelines for about twenty minutes hoping he'd wake up and want to bat, but he was tired and that was fine by me. I won't ever turn down time holding a sweet, sleeping boy. He assured us he'll be ready to play in his game tomorrow night.

I ran a race on Saturday morning. It was fun, but cold! We're having crazy weather (think 50's in MAY), so I ended up wearing long sleeves for the run. Here I am nearing the finish line. I finished second overall (20:48/6:43 pace) and was the first female. A good friend of ours who races most of the races I run finished in front of me. While I don't think I'll ever beat him (he finished about 28 seconds ahead), I'm always happy finishing right behind.


It's bad for me to admit this, but I think I can go a little faster than I go. When there aren't any other girls super close to me though, I just enjoy the run. This was the first time I've really gone all out since I've had that discomfort in my leg, so I didn't want to push it, but now I wish I had because I was only ten seconds from my PR (20:38). Kevin always laughs because a lot of the time, there will be three or four guys that basically just snake me at the end. I don't hear them behind me nor do I hear Kevin telling me to speed up because I always race listening to music. In this race, I took my headphones off and listened.

For proof that I ran hard at the end, a totally embarrassing photo!


After the race, we had some lunch with Kevin's parents and then went home to get some things done. Kevin worked in the yard and I did some inside work like dusting. Is it weird that I always feel accomplished after I've dusted and folded clothes?

Later Saturday afternoon we went to get frozen yogurt (or ice cream as my husband almost has me calling it). I don't have a picture, but imagine a large bowl filled with raspberry pomegranate and New York Cheesecake yogurt topped with a few healthy things like mango, kiwi and granola and then a whole lot more not so good for you stuff like Reese's Cups, cookie dough, sprinkles and chocolate covered sunflower seeds.

We also went fishing Saturday afternoon with Kevin's best friend. While I'm the world's most impatient fisherman, I do love being out on the water. I had a good time talking, snacking (yes, snacks are crucial when fishing) and flipping through a magazine while the guys fished for a few hours. 

Yesterday, we took Kaden to a birthday party for one of his friends. It was at Chuck E. Cheese, a place we usually try to avoid, but he had a blast and it wasn't too crowded. 


 I love weekends like this! Now if only the spring/summer weather would decide to come back and see us!

 

Friday, May 3, 2013

What I Learned in 30 Days of Running

Last month, I listed "run every day for a month" as one of my 27 at 27 goals. I decided to make April that month. This past month, I ran every single day. I ran as many as 7 miles and as little as half a mile, but no matter the length, I ran.

I averaged 2.25 miles/day for a total of 67.43 miles. While I would have liked to have run more, I'm very happy with what I did, especially after a challenging last week of running. Thanks to Google, I self-diagnosed a gluteus minimus strain. I think the combination or running and a machine I use on my glutes at the gym caused it. Whatever it was, I'm happy it's feeling better even though I haven't run more than 2 miles per day in the last week.



During these thirty straight days of learning, I learned some things:

1. Determination is key. While I've always been a determined person, setting out to run 30 days straight when you usually only run 4-5 days a week is something you have to be determined to do.

2. Discipline is required. Doing something for thirty straight days definitely requires discipline. There were a few days where I just thought "I'll do this later," but then I remembered how much I wanted to cross this goal off my list, so I did it anyway.

3. Planning ahead makes everything go much smoother and ensures I get to run. I'm married, have two children, work full-time and I'm involved in a lot of other things including the kids' activities, so actually finding the time and making the time to run and workout is essential for me. If I don't plan ahead, it doesn't happen. That means I may run into the gym for a 20 minute weight workout after I drop K.C. off at school and before work. It means instead of going out to lunch or spending an hour relaxing in the middle of the day, I run (and I've successfully determined that I can run a 10K, shower and make it back to my office during lunch). And it means that I sometimes even run upstairs on the treadmill while I have dinner cooking. Running and exercise are very important to me and I know how much better I feel when I'm active, so I may have to make sacrifices to ensure I get in a workout and I may have to do a shorter workout and run than I'd like many days, but I do something.

I want to take these three things I learned and apply them to some other things I'd like to get in the habit of doing.

This week, I've started month two of thirty days straight. The running club in my town is having a challenge named after one of our great runners who hasn't missed a day in nine years. Yes, you read that right, nine years. While I have no desire to run the next 3,285 days, I do want to finish this challenge. I've run two a day since Wednesday (13:59, 13:12 and 13:38) and I'm looking forward to the next 27.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

A List of Thanks.

It's been a while since I've done a Thankful Thursday post and today seems like just the day to write one.

I am thankful for my husband. I didn't ever think I'd experience a love this sweet.


I'm thankful for our boys. They are the lights of my life and the love I have for them amazes me. They teach me knew things about myself each day.


I'm thankful for my family. Each and every family member is so special to me. I feel so blessed to have the parents, sister and grandparents that I have. I'm also blessed in that I married into the family that I did. I don't consider them in-laws, but rather family.


I'm thankful for my friends. I don't get to see my best friends that often as we all live different places now, but I'm just as thankful for them now as I was when we saw each other and talked to each other daily. I'm also thankful for the new friendships that I have and those that are forming.

I'm thankful for my job. I don't talk about it on my blog because I like to keep that separate, but I'm so thankful for the opportunity I was given to do something I always dreamed of doing. I love my work and my co-workers and going to work doesn't feel like work at all. I'd also like to add that I'm thankful that I have Fridays off all summer.

I'm thankful for running. I love to run. I'm thankful that it's something that I can do. I mentioned before that during my last race, I really started thinking about Boston and how during that run, I just thought about the people who have that love who may not ever get to experience that runner's high again. I'm thankful that this hobby of mine is not only something that I love, it's something that's good for my body and something that sets a good example for our boys.


I'm thankful for the little things. I think the smallest things bring me the most joy. Laughing, little notes, hopes and dreams, bubble baths, a good book, snuggles and kisses, chocolate, afternoons in the hammock and so much more.

I'm thankful for Grace. God has been SO good to me. I know that I'm not worthy of His love, grace and mercy, but yet, He's freely given it to me - to all of us. I'm so thankful for my Savior.