Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Story of Our Bruce Hall: A Tribute to My Grandfather

After many months of illness, my sweet grandfather passed away early Monday. He was the most godly, loving and compassionate man. He's been described as a true gentleman pastor and friend. I was extremely close to him and am who I am thanks to his shaping (and my parents and other grandparents of course).  To know him truly was to love him. He didn't know a stranger. He exemplified Christ in all he did. If I turn out to be half the person he was, I will be blessed.

Shortly after we talked to my mom Monday morning, I pulled out my Bible to look for his favorite verse because I knew I had it written down. Ironically, the passage I opened to was the one above, 2 Corinthians 5:17. He had preached on this May 30, 2004. Over the past few days, these verses have popped up numerous times including as a local radio station's verse of the day yesterday. These words brought so much comfort. These verses are a testament to how he lived his life.

I wrote this late Tuesday night and it was shared at his funeral yesterday. He will be missed by all. 

The Story of Our Bruce Hall
Bruce Allard Hall
1926 – 2014

To know Bruce Hall was to love him. And if you knew him, you know that he was a story teller. An amazing storyteller in my book. And today, I’d like to tell you a story to honor him.

Born in the late fall heat of 1926, he was the second of five brothers. He grew up on a farm in Maple right outside of Conway. He was a star student, quite athletic, handsome and graduated as the president of his class.

He worked his way through college at North Greenville and Furman all the while helping his family as much as he could. That’s because he was a helper and a giver.

After college, he hitchhiked across the country to Ft. Worth Texas to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. There’s even a story written up about this hitchhiking journey in the Baptist Courier. Don’t worry, he was always sure to tell Stephanie and me about the dangers of hitchhiking today.

It was in Ft. Worth that he spotted a beautiful blonde woman who he immediately fell in love with when he saw her beautiful bright blue eyes. I’m so thankful that he saw her across the cafeteria that day. A few years later, they started their story when they were married in November, 1952. Their love story of the past 61 years of marriage is a storybook and one that I hope my own marriage emulates for our children and future grandchildren just as theirs has for us.

While he didn’t think his story would include moving back to South Carolina, it did. And he came here because the Lord called him to a church in Aynor. After a few years near his hometown, that chapter of his story closed and he started a new one right here at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. That story has continued until this day.

He loved his church, his family, his friends, and most of all, his Savior. For over fifty years, he’s impacted those all around him in this community, and while I’m here telling you this story of his, he’d be the first to tell you that this story is not his, it’s the Lord’s.

Bruce Hall taught me so many things throughout my life. His influence has shaped me, my sister, our parents and so many of you in this story that I call his incredible life. His fingerprints are all over my life. There’s not a day that goes by that doesn’t include something I do that isn’t influenced by him.

Most every memory of my life includes him in some facet and those memories and life lessons will stay with me throughout my life. He taught me so many things including how to drive – and on all those drives – you guessed it – there were stories. Afternoons of stories that I’ll cherish forever. He taught me that the glass is always half full, that good comes from all things, that faith and family come before anything else, that there is always good in the world, that little things matter, that memories are important, that love conquers all and so many other things, but the greatest thing he ever taught me is about our Savior’s love and amazing grace.

It is the love of Christ and His amazing grace that he was able to live his life – his story - the way that he did.

He didn’t meet a stranger and if he didn’t know you, he wanted to. And he wanted you to know His Jesus, our Lord and Savior. He wanted everyone to know that being a Christian isn’t about following some set of rules. He wanted everyone to know that Jesus loves them just as they are. And he wanted everyone to know how they could spend eternity in heaven.

I vividly remember the night I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord as a 9 year old little girl sitting on the floor of my pink room with my Bruce Hall by my side. The joy I felt that day has only increased in my walk with the Lord and that’s what Bruce Hall would want you to know. To know the Lord is to know joy. To know the Lord is to know peace. To know the Lord is the most incredible thing that you can do. And if you knew Bruce Hall, you’d know he’d tell you that to experience this incredible gift – this free gift – all you have to do is to ask Christ to live in your heart, admit that you are a sinner, confess all the wrongs in your life and to turn away from your sins. He’d tell you that God doesn’t expect perfection, He only wants our best. And Bruce Hall strove for perfection in all he did.

The story of his life is the greatest thing he’s ever taught me. And while he’s not here with us physically, his story hasn’t ended. It lives on in all of us and we all will continue to strive to live up to the legacy he has given us.

He was an incredible husband to Nana, a wonderful father to my mom and a spectacular Bruce Hall to Stephanie and me. And boy, did he love his boys – my dad, Kevin, and our sweet K.C. and Kaden. He was the light of our lives and the one we could always count on. Our best friend and confidant. He was our Bruce Hall.

I feel so blessed that the Lord allowed us to have him for all these years. We can smile today because we know that his life is now beginning. He’s realized all those things that’s he’s shared with all of us for all these years. He’s in heaven with his Savior and he’s celebrating. He’s lived every day of his life preparing for this day and working to build God’s kingdom. I know that the Lord smiled when he welcomed him home and as unbelievably painful as it is to not have him physically here with us today, we all know that he’s home. He fought the good fight, ran the race and he’s telling stories in heaven today.

So there you have it. The story of an unbelievably incredible man. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend and most of all, Son of God. From today forward, we’ll cherish the sweet memories we have of him and take the things he taught us and showed us and continue to tell his story – the story that’s not really his own – the story of Christ to those around us. And we want you to do the same because after all, that’s what he would want. To know him was to love him and oh how we love him.

Thank you, Bruce Hall, for your stories and most of all, for your love.

May 27, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Little One

A few weeks ago, I told you all about K.C. This week, I want to talk about my little love, my sweet Kaden.

Kaden is growing up way-too fast. He'll finish 4K tomorrow and if I told you that doesn't make tears swell up in this otherwise not-very-emotional woman's eyes, I'd be lying. I can barely pass by his school without a tear. Our baby is going to kindergarten in a few short months.

Kaden is the sweetest child I know. He has the biggest heart and it's full of compassion. When I think of Kaden, I think of sweet things.

Kaden is the first to give you a hug and kiss in the morning or when you walk in the door in the evening. He loves to cuddle, hold my hand and he tells us all multiple times each day how much he loves us.

He's one super popular boy, too. At school, all of his friends' parents tell me how much their kids talk about our Kaden. His teacher's love him, too. And his friends in Sunday School always want to be the ones to play with him or sit by him. I hope he'll always be this loved by everyone and I hope he'll always be a good leader and have a positive influence on the lives of those around him.

Kaden is fascinated by about everything. He wants to know how things work, why they work and many times, he can tell us about them. Right now, he's really into learning about sharks and space.

He loves to color and paint. And he likes to practice his writing. We bought a little workbook last week that has a page for each letter and number. He's already gone through the whole book!

He is our creature of habit. He likes the same things the same way. He notices when things are different, too. For instance, my mom gave the boys one of those little animals that grows in water in their stockings the past two Christmases. This year, we didn't put the cup of water the same place on the cabinet as we did last year. He noticed and made a remark. Me? I wouldn't have remembered where the cup was yesterday!

He loves to play with his trains, Playdoh and cars. He also likes Transformers. Another one of his favorite things to do currently is to play Mario Brothers and Mario Galaxy on the Wii. He's better than I am! Kaden also likes board games. We play the Berenstain Bears game and Pop the Pig quite often. He's our little daredevil, too!

Kaden likes to read, too. He likes Clifford, the Berenstain Bears, the Magic Treehouse series and any books about the earth, space, the weather and the ocean. He also loves to read the story of David and Goliath. Without a doubt, he picks this story multiple nights a week when it's his turn to pick our Bible story.

Kaden loves Jesus and he tells us about it. It makes me heart swell with joy. My greatest prayer is that he'll always have this love for the Lord and want to do His will. When we say our prayers each night, he makes sure we don't leave anyone out and if we haven't listed the people we're thankful for fast enough, he jumps right in. He also prays for the little things like a boo boo. We try to stress to the boys how important it is to pray about everything and how God cares about the little things.

When he grows up, he wants to be a policeman. One day, we were driving along and saw a cop. I mentioned it to him and said something like "do you still want to be a policeman when you grow up?" With almost no hesitation, he said, "Anna Belle, I really just want to be a dad and have a wife when I grow up." He's definitely our sensitive child and so much like his daddy. He also asked me recently if I thought he'd have a pretty wife. Little statements and questions like these make me smile. We talk to the boys about the importance of family and Kevin and I both make a point to say out loud to each other and the boys how blessed we are that God gave us all to each other and what a great husband/wife/Anna Belle-mommy/Daddy we are. Kids learn about relationships and how to treat people from the way their parents are together and it's so important to us that the kids don't just hear how much we love each other and them, but also see it every day.

Kaden definitely has the sweet tooth in our family. He told me one of his wishes when he blew out his birthday candles was that we'd let him have all the candy in the world whenever he wants it. I think he'd eat candy for every meal if we'd let him. I try to give in to his sweet tooth in healthier than candy ways by giving him FiberOne Chocolate Pretzel bars. He likes these and they're not bad for him which makes this girl happy. He nor I have been able to quit our Nutella dates though.

Kaden looks up to and loves his big brother so much. In his eyes, K.C. is it. I'm so thankful they have each other and pray that they will always be as close as they are now.  He is a spitting image of his daddy at this age.  

He brings so much joy to our lives each and every day. If you don't have a smile on your face, he'll put one on it. He's funny, smart, sweet and charming, and his hazel eyes sparkle with his smile. I love to hear him talk and when he tells me secrets (he's not too good at keeping them though!). He loves to give and most of all, he gives to us each day with his sweet little self.

He's my favorite five year old in the world. I hope he'll always have the sweet spirit that he has today. I'm so proud of the big boy he's becoming. Along with K.C., he's our greatest treasure. I pray that he'll always know what a treasure he is to us and what a blessing and privilege it is to be his Anna Belle.

I love you, baby boy, more than all the chocolate in the world!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Home Tour Tuesday: Our Den

I've been meaning to do a home tour for a long time, but I haven't ever gotten around to it. Today, I thought I'd start with a peek into our den.

Excuse the glare from the TV. I should've turned off the flash.

This is the view into our den from our kitchen. We have a great open downstairs. It's really nice. The playroom (really, a sun room) is off of the den. The boys' spend the majority of their time playing with their toys from the playroom in the den. I love it because even if I can't be sitting right there while I'm cooking dinner for instance, I can still talk to them and see what they're doing. Plus, they love to drive their cars and trucks in the kitchen which means I sometimes get to dodge those while cooking. Love our boys!

Our den looks entirely different than it did a few months ago. I've talked about our built ins, but haven't ever gotten around to posting a photo of them until now. Prior to the built ins, we had a chair on the far wall along with an armoire for our television and an end table. 

I love bookcases and my husband wanted a larger tv, so the perfect solution was to add in built ins. They really change the whole look of the room.

When designing our built ins and finding a contractor to do it, my number one request was that the shelves were large enough to easily store our 12x12 photo books. If you've been around here any amount of time, you know I love to make Blurb photo books and I make the coffee table size. Kevin's request was to have a space for a large tv. I think we both got what we wanted.

We chose to do cabinets on below the shelves. These hold DVD's, other games like the Playstation and some regular photo albums. We used to keep our Wii in our room, but we moved it to the den. 

The shelves hold books, obviously. While I could have filled them up completely with books, I chose not to. The boys have bookcases in their rooms that hold most of their books, we have another bookcase in our living room and there's a place for books in our office/workout room/upstairs play room. I also have some sentimental things and pictures displayed on the shelves. I don't really like to buy knick knacks that don't have meaning, so most of the things you see, have meaning behind them. The oyster shells were found on our honeymoon. I brought them back knowing I wanted to keep them, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them. I think they look nice. The lighthouse is a replica of one we saw on our first anniversary getaway to Sapelo Island. There's a conch we found on our honeymoon as well as several Kevin and his grandmother found. Things like these are special to us. (And if you can't tell, we like the coast!)

If you were to sit on our couch, this is what you'd see. I'm just keeping it real with the toys in the background. The playroom/sun room stays clean, but there are toys in there and I'm not one for hiding everything in bins. I will admit that we need to have a major purge though. A big one.

I redid the arrangements on either side of the mirror a few weeks ago. I picked up some hydrangeas, peacock accents, a few other things that I don't know the name of and peacock feathers at Hobby Lobby. I am not a florist by any stretch of the imagination. My SIL had made these originally and I just took out a few things and replaced them with a few new things. She is the go-to person for everything artistic!

This is the view from the corner of the room. I should've zoomed out. I ordered the Chevron pillows from Joss & Main and picked up the seaweed ones at TJMaxx.

This chair is my all-time favorite piece of furniture. It's so comfortable. I love to curl up in it. I love blues as well and this just adds a new pop to our den. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Race4Taylor 5K Recap: A New Course Record

This Saturday was the Race4Taylor, one of my all-time favorite races. It was the third year that I've run it and the fifth (and final - makes me sad) race.

Last year, I set a new course record at this race. My goal this year was to run strong and break my record.

My legs were feeling pretty tired Saturday morning. My Fridays off have unofficially become longer run days which isn't a great combination with a Saturday race, especially one I want to run fast.  That said, I ran seven relatively easy miles and did a gym workout Friday, which meant that I ran 17 miles in the three days leading to the race. Not the smartest decision ever, but I won't complain because I really had a great run Friday morning.

When we got to the race Saturday, I ran a brief warm up and stretched really well. My run club sponsored me in this race, so I wore my singlet which was really comfortable. I'm pretty loyal to Nike dri-fit racerback tanks, but this singlet felt surprisingly good. I also wore my new Mother's Day gift: my Garmin Forerunner 220. I'll do a full review of it later.

This race attracts around 400 runners each year and all the top runners from anywhere remotely close were there on Saturday.

I didn't get as fast of a start as usual. I somehow got lost in the bog of the runners from the second and third row. If you race often, you know that everyone, regardless of ultimate pace, runs fast at the beginning. This is great and by about half a mile in (at the latest), the crowd has thinned. My slower start hurt me at this race though. I like being out in front from the beginning.

I ran the first mile great, albeit a little slower than normal in 6:13. My first mile has been right at or under 6:00 for my last few races. It's around this point that the 5K and 10K broke off, so once this happened, it was me and a little boy with a few men in front of us. I always watch this small group of guys who run faster than me and feel like if I can see them at certain points, I'm doing well.

Mile 2 on this race killed me. Flat out killed me. It's when I started feeling the previous day's miles. It's also the mile of rolling hills. It's relatively flat where I live, but this course has some hills. Not a steep up and down, but rather a few nice, long rolling hills. If you're into that sort of thing. My legs weren't feeling it Saturday. I looked at my Garmin at some point on this mile and had to give myself a pep talk because at that point, I didn't quite know for sure whether I'd even beat my record from last year. I wasn't looking for a sub-19 like last week, but I did want to be somewhere below 20. I ran this lovely second mile in 6:38, 25 seconds slower than my first mile.

Mile 3 was better. While the road did look like it was going on for days, I managed to give myself a big enough pep talk to finish the race with a 6:18 mile for a total of 19:45. I also broke the course record of 20:25 which was my PR for most of last year. I was first female and eighth overall. I was happy with my run!

I won another bobble head trophy - seriously, is this not the best trophy? There were also pirates running with us and anyone who beat the pirate got an "I beat the pirate" cup. I got this as well along with a gift card to a local running store and a cash prize for setting a new course record.

I really hope this won't be it for this race. It's a great race, but an even greater family is behind it. The family who owns and operates our local timing company began it after their son was killed in a tragic auto accident almost six years ago. I've gotten to know and love this family through the incredible sport of running. They are an inspiration to all of us. Through their foundation, they've given tens of thousands in scholarships. I'm thankful to have crossed paths with them and know that I don't speak alone when I say running means more because of them.

Friday, May 16, 2014

#20x31 Week in Review

If you're not a part of #20x31, you're missing out. My friend Jen and a few other awesome bloggers and I are hosting this challenge to do 20 minutes of exercise every day of May. I've been posting on my running blog, but thought I'd share this week's recap here.

JVKom Chronicles

4 miles (3.1 mile race/18:56)

2.5 miles - 2 miles of quarter mile repeats, speed work

Active rest day running around

Active rest day and baseball

7 miles
Strength workout at the gym - arms, legs, upper body, butt, abs, back

 3.1 miles
Ab work

7 miles
Strength workout at the gym - arms, legs, upper body, butt, abs, back

Total Miles: 23.6

Next week, I'll talk about active rest days and what I do then. I usually don't take two days in a row off from running, but after an 8 miler last Friday, a fast race Saturday and speedwork Sunday, I decided to give my legs a rest as I have a big race tomorrow that I want to run well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day Weekend 2014 and an 18:56 5K!

I had a great Mother's Day and weekend this year.

My weekend started early with my first Friday off. While the boys were off at school and Kevin at work, I went to the gym to work out and ran 8 miles. When I got home, I put up the hammock, made a green smoothie and sat outside and had some Jesus time.

I picked up Kaden from school and he and I went home to eat lunch with Kevin. After lunch, we went out and did a little Mother's Day shopping before we picked up K.C.

Once we picked up K.C., we went to the library. The boys love to read and I love books, and one day, I mentioned something about getting a library card. They latched on to this and chose to go to the library for our first fun Friday of the summer. A few minutes and 8 books later, they had library cards and mine had been updated.

My sister was over at her boyfriend's grandmother's pool and they invited us to go swim, so we did that for an hour or so. I was pleased with how well the boys did swimming because it's been a while since we last swam.

That night, we had our third baseball game of the year. They did a great job!

We got up early on Saturday morning for a race. I was thrilled with this run and PR'd with an 18:56! I didn't go into the race expected to PR as I had tired legs from my run the day before, but I did and I am still walking on air!  Kaden particularly liked this race because there was cake!

Yes, I am aware that I look more excited about my 18:56 than the winners of the Boston did.

We had brunch with some friends after the race and my goodness, it was delicious!

We spent a few hours at home doing nothing, then ran out to pick up some last minute Mother's Day gifts before going home for dinner.

I woke up early Sunday morning and decided to go ahead and get ready for church while Kevin and the boys were sleeping because I knew we had a busy day. When I got out of the shower, Kevin had cooked breakfast and the boys had made the sweetest cards. He did a themed "championship" breakfast. It was cute! I always eat scrambled eggs and cinnamon toast before races and that's what he'd cooked. He'd also put a few recent trophies on the table and we all drank out of race cups.

Kevin and the boys gave me a new Garmin Forerunner 220 which I am loving. The boys also picked out some jewelry by themselves. The cutest thing, though, had to be the clay pieces they made. K.C. asked me to get him some clay last week because he had made something for me in art for Mother's Day, but his art teacher couldn't find it. We got clay and he spent some time Saturday afternoon making a cup bowl (what he called it) while Kaden made me a pizza and chocolate chip cookie. While I love and will always treasure the other gifts, the cute handmade things like this just make my heart smile brighter!

After church, we celebrated with our families as my SIL hosted lunch at her house. We hung out by the pool all afternoon and just relaxed.

Kevin and the boys sure make me feel special and loved every day and Mother's Day was no exception! I love my boys!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

To my boys who made me a mama: My life got infinitely sweeter the day you walked into it. I couldn't have imagined a love like the one I have for you. You make everyday sweeter, the big things bigger and the ordinary, little things precious memories etched deep within my heart. I am so proud of you and I thank God everyday for choosing me to be your Annabelle! I love you more than all the stars in the sky!

To my mama, my first best friend: Thank you for always being selfless and loving me unconditionally. You gave me a wonderful childhood and I hope to do the same for our boys. Thank you for the little things like french toast on the back porch and the big things too numerous to name. Thank you most of all for being you, loving me and teaching me how to be a mama. You are loved more than you'll ever know!

To my mother-in-law and the mother of my favorite man: Thank you for raising such an amazing man. We all know the saying that behind every good man is a good woman and this couldn't be more true. Thank you for the example you set. I love you!

To my grandmothers: Thank you for the influences you've had and continue to have on my life. You are great examples of godly women and mothers. I love you!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My big boy.

I love to remember big things, but the little things, the ordinary every day things are just as important to me as those big events. I look at our two boys and I see them growing so fast and while it makes me almost cry, at the same time, I'm just so incredibly proud of them. I know we lump them together as "the boys" so often, so I thought I'd write about each of them separately over the next few weeks.

K.C. Where do I even begin? K.C. is changing by the day it seems like. I can't believe he's almost finished with first grade and will be seven in a few short months.

K.C. is our independent boy. He likes to do things on his own and quite frankly, he's pretty good at putting things together by himself.

He's interested in learning about everything. Lately, he's been bringing home books about space. He's intrigued by the stars and planets and of course, rockets. Kaden got a little at-home planetarium thing for his birthday and his brother loves it. We watch videos on YouTube of the shuttle blasting off and he likes to look at the stars.

K.C. also loves sports. He has gotten quite aggressive in his young age. During soccer this spring, we saw a competitive side to him we hadn't seen before. He's gotten confident and shows that confidence while he plays. He loves soccer, but he also loves baseball. He's playing his second season of coach's pitch (with Kevin and me as the coaches). He hit from the pitcher both times during his first game. He likes to run, too, and I can't wait until we can run a real race together. He's going to be my fast boy.

K.C. has an understanding of things that seem beyond his age. I'm not saying this in a biased manner, but sometimes, I feel like he understands things better than I would've expected at his age.

His little personality is evolving right before our eyes. I used to think Kaden would be our talkative child at school, but it turns out his big brother is quite the talker himself. He is well-loved by all of his classmates as was evidenced big-time on a field trip I chaperoned last week. He's a funny little dude!

K.C. loves to go to Sunday School now which makes this girl's heart happy. He loves learning about Jesus and asks many faith-related questions. One of my greatest prayers for the boys is that they'll have an unquenchable thirst for our Savior. He loves David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lion's Den and how God parted the sea for Moses.

Our big boy is a great role model and encourager for his little brother. K.C. isn't crazy about playing video games (I'm glad), but his brother loves Mario. K.C. constantly roots for him when we let them play. He's also so sweet with Kaden in the morning. Many mornings, the boys' will come downstairs and be in our bed while we're getting ready. Most days, K.C. snuggles Kaden and tells him how much he loves him. It makes my heart happy.

He loves to play outside, build things, paint things, read (he's really into The Magic Treehouse series), play sports, do everything with our family (he's a family guy like us which tickles me), spend time with all of his grandparents, drive the golf cart at Grandma's and play with his cousins. His tastes are changing which means our formerly sweet-crazed boy will pass up cake and most sweets these days (don't worry - he still loves ice cream!).

K.C. is a saver, too. A saver of everything. Grandma gave the boys' money boxes at Christmas and K.C. has his filled. He's saved every penny he's gotten and started crying when we talked to him about putting his money in the bank. He thinks it's safer with him (and he may be right). He says he's saving his money to buy a beach house. He also saves every note I write in his lunchbox. He's collecting baseball cards and coins and has them all stored in his money box along with some rocks. He's quite the sentimental child.

Lately, he's really gotten into clothes. He loves his "ducky" shirts (Southern Marsh shirts) and wearing a belt. He likes to dress up more than his brother and when he picks out his own clothes, he usually chooses a polo or ducky shirt with shorts and his Sanuks. When he's gotten home at night a few times recently, he's gone and put on his dri-fit t-shirts and shorts, his comfy clothes.

This month is the last for a few years that the boys are at different schools. Kevin and I each take one and I so enjoy those few minutes of one-on-one time with my boys, whichever one is with me on a given day. K.C. and I always talk about our day, practice a few spelling words (yes, I'm that mom) and end with a quick prayer for the day as we sit in carline for a few too many minutes. I won't complain about those minutes though because some of our most precious conversations happen in the car. I love the kisses I get before he gets out of my car and the wave and blown kiss I get from the sidewalk.

He's my best little friend and my favorite 6 year old. I cherish every little smile, hug and kiss. He still likes to hold my hand walking into school on the rare occasion I walk in with him. He likes to snuggle after we read stories and say our prayers each night and falls asleep playing with my hair and cuddled under my left arm. His eyes remind me of big blueberries and we call them his "blueberry ocean" eyes.

He is an awesome little person and I thank God everyday that He chose to make me his Annabelle. And as much as I thank Him, I ask Him for the wisdom I need to teach, shape and mold these precious little hearts. I hope they always know how loved they are and how special they are to us. They're one-of-a-kind miracles and they teach me as much if not more than what I'm teaching them.

To my precious little boy, I love you to the moon and back.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mondays are for water balloons

Somedays, you just need a good water balloon fight. Kaden got some water balloons for his birthday last month and we broke them out last night.

I kid you not, by the time we were done, I think we had filled over 150 balloons.

They had fun and we were all soaked by the end of the night. Random things like this unexpected fun on a Monday night make me smile.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A weekend with some firsts

This weekend was full of firsts.

For starters, on Friday night, I coached my first ever baseball game. The boys are on the same team and Kevin was the assistant coach, but when the head coach quit, Kevin became the coach and I somehow became the assistant coach. It was fun! Our team did fantastic! I think we were both thrilled! We have our next game tomorrow night and I can't wait to see how we do.

On Saturday morning, I ran the Petal to the Medal. It was a trail race through one of our state parks. It was beautiful. I love trails and feel like I thrive on them (even if my time isn't a PR). I finished this race in 20:29 (6:36 pace) and was first female and fourth overall. You can read the full recap by clicking here..

The best part besides the actual race were the fresh grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate milk at the finish line.

Saturday afternoon was another first for us. My sister's boyfriend loves to fish and they invited us to go bow fishing with them Saturday afternoon. If you don't know what it is, it is exactly what it sounds like: fishing with a bow and arrow. I almost jumped off the boat when they caught the first fish - a gar (a trash fish) which looks like a swordfish. I attempted to take a turn, but when I walked to the front of the boat, the fish disappeared. My sister and I soaked up some sun on the back of the boat while the men fished.

Sunday afternoon was another first in a long time for us. We slept late, went to church and lunch and after lunch, took a nap. I'm talking multiple hours. It was nice! I also finished my first book of the month, Swimming Lessons.

Friday, May 2, 2014

5 x 5

It's Friday which means I have a few random things to share with you. Some confessions, some favorites and just some other random thoughts for your weekend.

I confess...

1. Sometimes, we eat cupcakes in bed. And sometimes we eat cupcakes in bed while we watch high-quality reality shows like Southern Charm.

2. I have an addiction to Nike Tempo shorts and dri-fit racerback tanks. Case in point: We just had an Academy Sports open and I may or may not have bought new shorts and tanks (and that's after Kevin just gave me quite a few for my birthday). What can I say? I love my running clothes.

3. I dislike social media sometimes. It's not that I dislike social media all the time, it's just that it takes away from life. (And I know the importance of it thanks to my job.)  Have you ever noticed how many couples are out to dinner and either one or both of the people are playing with their phone the whole time? And how about families when they're out and they use the iPhone as an entertainer for their kids until dinner makes it to the table? (I know we're guilty of that one.) I can't for the life of me stage an IG photo every day. I pull my phone out to take pictures some, but I make it a point not to be on it at home in the evenings during family time. That said, how cute is this recently IG'd photo of our Kaden? He wanted me to touch the lizard he caught while counting insects for his homework.

4. Sometimes my heart feels like it has a dagger in it. Kaden mentioned to me the other night that it was almost time for me to go with him to Muffins for Moms at his school and they had started some things for it. One of the things he had to do he said was to answer some questions about me. He said he didn't think he got my age right (props to K.C. for shouting out 28!). Times like these make my heart hurt. I love my boys more than life itself and I respectfully don't go to this one event even though they both think I should be there at their schools. And that's really when that ugly word in front of mom royally sucks (and I don't really care so much for myself because I know how they feel, but I care for them). And you know I don't talk like that.

5. I almost exploded blueberries all over our kitchen this morning. I am on this green smoothie kick and this morning, I decided to add some frozen blueberries to my smoothie. Word to the wise - the fill line is there for a reason. Follow it!

5 Happies for your Friday

1. My big boy and I went on a field trip yesterday. We went to Pirates Voyage down at the beach. It was fun. He jumped into our bed at 6 am yesterday (he's our sleeper) and was so excited! On the way down, he looked at me and said "I am so, so happy, Anna!" It made my heart smile!

2. We had an awesome Saturday. Last Saturday was just so much fun. It started with a race, then a fun day looking around ArtFields and ended with us seeing my sister and her boyfriend before prom and dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

3. TODAY IS MY LAST FRIDAY WORKING FOR 3 MONTHS! I don't think I really have to say anything else about that. Let the Fun Fridays commence!

4. I got to watch my husband play softball this week. I got to watch a few of Kevin's games this week. I love to be able to support him. He is great!

5. I'm looking forward to this weekend. It's the first weekend in many that we haven't had a ton of plans. I have a race in the morning, but other than that, not too much is planned. I'm hoping for some relaxation, maybe a movie and just spending time with my handsome husband!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April in Review and Goals for May

I set 10 goals specific to April this past month. Some of those I accomplished, while others, I did not. I'll be moving some of these goals over to May and hope to get them all accomplished.

April Recap

1. Finish decorating our bedroom - Our bedroom is pretty much done. I want to do a throw pillow with our monogram, but Serena & Lilly doesn't sell the pillow I want in the size I want. I'm going to see if my mom can patch one together for me using the packaging from our duvet cover and shams. I know, pathetic, but I think it will look good. I'd also like to get the canvas below to hang on our wall. Come Thou Fount is such a special song and the fact that we had it sung in our wedding makes it even more special to me.

2. Finish decorating the built ins - Done! I really need to do a reveal of this for you all. We're so happy with the way they turned out. 

3. Get a new kitchen table - fail. We didn't even look in April. This isn't really even a want. It's more of a need. We need a new table because we're using a dining room chair at our kitchen table because our fourth chair broke. fail. We will find one soon. 

4. Finish the boys bathroom - I didn't finish this, but I know what I need to do.

5. Finish our 2013 family book and Kaden's four year book and start on our 2014 family book and Kaden's fifth year book - I don't even want to address this one. 

6. Go through my clothes - nope. It's on the list for May.

7. Run 100 miles - Now this, I did. 

8. Continue to add in core work and strength train at least twice a week - Check. I did good with working out at the gym and at home in addition to running.

9. Try five new recipes - I don't know that I tried five, but I did try some. The winner is stuffed peppers. (Excuse the non-plated peppers. This was right after they came out of the oven.)

10. Organize our pictures - We put a good dent into this, but they're not quite finished. 

May Goals
I'm very fortunate that I only work four days a week during the summer and those four days start this month. Granted, I work a little longer each day, but 45 minutes a day extra is more than worth a full day off. With that said, I have a few projects I want to work on during my days off until the boys are out of school. Once school is out, our Fun Fridays commence, and boy, do they have some fun things planned for this summer!

1. Finish our bedroom, bathroom and boys' bathroom - I'd like to put molding around the mirrors in our bathroom and the boys' bathroom. I'd like to get some pictures framed for the walls of the boys bathroom and get their towels monogrammed. And I need to decide what I want to do about the above mentioned print for our bedroom as well as the pillow.

2. Get clothes hemmed - I have a dress and a few skirts that I need to have heemed.

3. Make a plan for the workout room/office - I know I'm fortunate to have a treadmill and space for it in its own room, but our upstairs workout/office/playroom is not very organized. It's not that it's messy - it's really not. It's just that it's not finished. I'd love to put up some photos of Kevin surfing (Did you know my husband surfs), the boys playing at the beach and doing sports, some motivational quotes and some running photos. Kevin keeps his surfboards in this room as well. We've also talked about setting up the desk area as a place for the boys to use the computer (K.C. has computer-based homework each week). Regardless, I'd like to get a plan in place for what we're going to do and get started on this room. I'd like it to be inspiring and relaxing all at once and be a good place for the kids to play, too.

4. Finish our 2013 Family Book, get caught up on the boys' books and start Kaden's four year book

5. Get the boys school things scrapbooked. I have K.C.'s 4K papers srcapbooked, but his 5K and first grade isn't along with Kaden's 3K. I'd thought about doing ArtKive and even have a book made for each of them, but then the thought of throwing out some of the precious papers just makes me sad, so I've decided to try a different route. I'll let you know how it works and show you if it's good.

6. Paint the front door and railings on the porches and get a new kick plate for the front door - This is a work Friday project while the boys are still in school.

7. Organize our closet and go through my clothes - The amount of clothes I have is a sin. Really. I would show you a picture of our closet, but I'm too embarrassed. We both have a lot of clothes. Couple that with the kids shoes and dress clothes being stored in our walk-in closet and there's definitely a need to straighten up.

8. Get a kitchen table

9. Get caught up on the Old Testament - You may recall one of my ongoing yearly goals is to read the Bible through. I'm doing great following the plan I'm using and I'm on track with everything except my Old Testament readings. I want to get caught up during May.

10. Run 100 miles - I really enjoyed running 100 miles in April and I want to do it again in May.

I have to say that I'm really looking forward to this month. Fun Fridays start again, Kevin and I are going to hear Jack Johnson, some of my favorite races take place this month, we have a few birthdays to celebrate, Kaden gets out of school and it's closer to our annual beach trip with my family.

What do you like about May?