Tuesday, November 25, 2014

iPhone Photo Dump with One Sentence Captions

In honor of us (finally!) getting our new iPhones (they were pre-ordered in September on the first day you could pre-order them and are shipping THIS week!), I thought I'd empty out some photos from my ancient iPhone 4. That's right, folks, not even a 4S.

K.C. loves babies, especially Isabelle!

Friends reunited (and I promise I was only 4 feet away and they weren't driving).

My Kaden and his Leaf Man inspired by the book The Leaf Man

Ladies dinner at our church where I, the hostess, forgot cups and nearly forget silver.

He is obsessed with my Uggs and pulls them off of me as soon as I sit down.

I'm reading Proof of Heaven, a quick and easy read that really makes you think and was loaned to me by my MIL.

The boys love packing Operation Chirstmas Child boxes and I love seeing the joy they receive when they write letters and draw pictures to put in their boxes.

This is what happens when you're on a local radio show that airs from a really good restaurant that happens to serve breakfast.

We cleaned out the playroom and donated bags of toys to the House of Hope.

My little turkey with his little turkey!

I went to a retreat for work last week and this haunted house was right beside the cottage where I stayed (and was awake most of the night because Anna = Scaredy Cat).

Big Brother was at home sick (we'd been up all night and in Urgent Care all morning), but Kaden and sweet "Baby Lydia" (as he calls her) still had fun at her third birthday this weekend.

He loves to cook.

Two of my favorites just enjoying talking to each other.

Super Isaac!

My heart!

Singing in the rain... and dancing in every puddle he could find while using his new umbrella running into church late this past Sunday.

K.C.'s first basketball practice last night!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Weekly Thoughts

Life has been busy and full lately, but I've had little time to sit down and put a cohesive post together. So, today, I'll share with you some of my many random thoughts.

1. It is cold. Like I feel like we're in the Antarctic cold (Yes, I know that's an exaggeration.) I did a segment on a local radio show this morning and left my house earlier than usual, and when I pulled out of the garage, my car said "Ice 19 degrees." That is cold.

2. I ordered our Christmas cards this week. And I'm super excited about them. I've used Minted.com the past few years and love the quality, so I went with them again this year.

3. Kaden cracks me up. Kevin said they were talking about how even when they grow up, they'll do fun things together like go hunting and fishing and watch football and Kaden said just as serious as anything, "and our wives will run with Anna." I love it!

4. I've done more Christmas shopping this past week than I ever have before Thanksgiving. It's been good, too. We just need to start wrapping as we buy instead of spending hours at a time frantically wrapping closer to Christmas.

5. I've really been enjoying reading lately. I used to read books a lot, but then life happened and there are only so many free minutes in a day and so books didn't happen, but lately, I've been finding (or making) some time to read and I've been enjoying it. I'll share my latest books in a separate post.

What random things are you thinking on this cold Wednesday morning?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A 10K course record and how I deal with cold-weather running

It was freezing this weekend and I had a race. By freezing I mean it was about 34 degrees at the start of the race. That's cold, especially when it was in the high 60's and 70's only two days before!

I ran the Honda Turkey Trot this weekend. It's always a fun race and it benefits our local food bank. There is a 10K at this race, so I signed up for that. I don't have many opportunities to run 10K's locally, so I jump at the chance to run them when I can.

I really should get another pullover to wear for racing in the winter. I feel like I wear this one (or a similar one that's practically the same color) for every winter race. We just really don't have that many races in the frigid temperatures.

I'm certainly not an expert on running in the cold, but I've found that I need to keep my chest bundled up, my ears covered, and gloves on to perform my best.  For this race, I wore my Reebok pants (I love them - they are so comfortable and warm), a Nike Dri-Fit long sleeve tee, and my Nike Dri-Fit jacket. This jacket is really warm and it has a hood if I need it. I usually unzip it during the race, but not on Saturday. I also wore my Nike ear band. I love this. If my ears are cold, it's just not happening. I can't stand for my head, but especially my ears, to be cold when I run. I also wore a pair of gloves. Though I have running gloves, I really like my $3 gloves from Old Navy, so I usually wear those.

About 10 seconds after we got started and the wind was blowing crazy, I pulled on my hood and wore it to the halfway point.

The race started out really well. Lately, I've been focusing on not starting too fast on the 10K. I have a tendency to start it just as fast as a 5K which doesn't always bode well at the end. I like to start out around a 6:50 pace and then build. During this race, I just ran how I felt. I wasn't in the front of the pack like normal at the start of the race, but by mile 1, I was only a few runners back from the top male.

My friend Jimmy was running the 10K as well, and by mile 1, I was with him. He's really fast, so I decided I'd stay with him through the race and didn't bother looking at my watch until mile 4.

The first half of the race was great, even though it was freezing. I seriously felt like my face was gotten to be frost bitten. The second half of the race was good, but it was more challenging as we ran the last 3.1 miles facing the wind. Even still, at the 4 mile mark I was just at 27 minutes, so I knew I had the chance to break my record on this course (43:01 from last year) which was my goal.

During the last half mile or so, I pulled off my ear band and took off my gloves. I looked at my watch and knew that I was going to break my record (which turned out to be the course record). Jimmy and I ran across the finish line together at 42:10. Not bad with all the wind! I was really happy with my time. I think I could've broken 41 minutes had the wind not been so bad (the course also measured nearly .10 long).

I finished as the top female and fourth overall. I won an awesome (even though it's not exactly beautiful) trophy of stacked canned goods with a turkey on top, a "Run Like a Turkey" medal hanger, and $100 for breaking the course record I set last year. I was really happy with my time and the way I ran. And it was a great way to end my last 10K race of the year!

All of the runners above go to my church. We all won some kind of award which was cool!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My boys take down trees and other tidbits from our weekend

We had an awesome weekend! It was so much fun and relaxing. I don't know about you, but I sometimes have a hard time totally unwinding on the weekend. If there are things that need to be done, I want to get them done right then which isn't always conducive to relaxation. I'm really trying hard to work on this and I think I'm making good progress. It's all about the baby steps!

When we made it home Friday night, we walked into a ready-made meal. I put a roast in my crock pot at lunch and by dinnertime, it was all ready.

After dinner, we decided to have a family movie night. We bathed the boys and they put on their pajamas and we made a palette on our bedroom floor and popped in Peter Pan. I made a big bowl of buttery popcorn (which K.C. ate almost entirely alone!) and some hot chocolate that we enjoyed during the movie. It was so much fun!

Saturday was another fun day. We decided to go to my parents for the day and had a great time. The boys love going there and playing outside, but during the fall, we don't really have as many opportunities to go with all the sports we play.

My mom made lunch and both my grandmas were there to eat with us. After lunch, we visited some and then went outside for the rest of the day. My dad is in the process of building this clubhouse and stable. He's doing it himself and it's looking really good. The boys had a great time playing down there.

My mom was keeping my sister's little dog, Ollie, and we all had fun playing with him. And no, I still don't want a pet. We also rode the mule around. I was really proud of my mom, too! I've been trying to get her to do a 5K with me for forever and on Saturday, she started doing some intervals. We did about 15 minutes of running/walking in 30 second bits. She did great! She texted me yesterday that she had done intervals for 30 minutes yesterday. I'm proud!

After dinner, we bathed the boys and headed home. Our little one always falls asleep in the car, so we wanted him to be all clean and ready for bed when we got home.

K.C. and I went to church Sunday morning. Kevin and Kaden have both had a bad cold and weren't feeling super when they woke up Sunday. It was our Sunday to teach Sunday School and K.C. decided he wanted to sit in class with me and help instead of going to his own class. He was a good little helper! My MIL also helped. We usually have 10-11 five year olds who can be a little rowdy, but this Sunday, there were only five kids and they were the sweetest ever!

After Sunday school, we had a joint worship service under a big tent. We are going to build a new sanctuary and we had a special service for it. The music and sermon were both great.

We had a covered dish lunch after church. I asked K.C. if he wanted to stay or go home. His response: "Are they going to have sweet tea?" Why, yes, there was sweet tea, so we stayed.

When we got home, Kevin and Kaden were feeling a little bit better. We decided to go outside later in the afternoon and take a walk through the woods behind our house. The boys also decided they wanted to cut down a tree.

It was a small tree, and they kept bending it back and forth until finally, they had it on the ground. They were so excited!

It was a really nice weekend!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Confessional Friday

A little weekly confessional is always good for the soul.

1. I confess I've spent too much time (and probably money) in Hobby Lobby lately. I'm not super crafty, but Hobby Lobby can make even the least craftiest of us look good. I get sucked in to all of the cute things. I guess it's a good thing we have two boys because I'm totally in love with all the pink and gold I've seen in there recently, and in a house with three guys, I can't get away with that.

2. I confess that I haven't eaten candy in forever... until this week. For some reason, I haven't wanted candy at all lately. I don't think I've eaten any that amounts to anything since probably last Christmas. I didn't even eat the Reese's Cup my sweet boy gave me on Halloween. But, Saturday night, I ate a whole Butterfinger and it was good. And last night, I may have had a mini Musketeer and Milky Way. And you know what? I haven't missed it at all.

3. I confess that I don't know if we'll ever find a kitchen table. We need one, badly. We have one, but we need a new one, preferably that seats six. We did a bit of furniture shopping when we took the kids to the zoo on Tuesday, but we couldn't find anything we both like that will work. I did, however, find a really lovely dining room table that seats 12. Unfortunately, it won't work in the kitchen where I need it to go. My preference is a round table that seats six and can be expanded to seat 8-10 with a leaf. If you know where I can get one, let me know!

4. I confess that I'm totally and completely in the mood for Christmas. I really want to watch Home Alone while I drink hot chocolate. I'm usually not in the Christmas mood until that socially acceptable time right after Thanksgiving, but I can't wait to put up our decorations and enjoy the Christmas season.

5. I confess that I can fall asleep literally anywhere. I have this problem that's called I get up early and run, have my work day, do fun family things, cook, and homework and all that goes with taking care of your family each night, and then once I sit down, I am out as in it doesn't matter if my husband's watching a game with his friends, I'm at my in-laws, or my sister is over. At a certain point, once I sit down and get comfortable, I'm out.

6. I confess that I think call waiting is one of the rudest things ever. I rarely take a call if I'm on the phone with someone else. If my husband calls, that's one thing, but if I'm talking to someone, I wait and return the call when I get off the phone. When I was growing up, we didn't have call waiting where you could see who was calling and we survived.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

November goals and an October Recap

I can't believe we're in the next-to-last month of this year. This year has really flown by! I love October and I love November almost as much. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, family time, and lots of fun. With all of that also comes a few things I want to accomplish.

1. Order Christmas Cards. I've decided to use some photos we took at the beach this summer for our Christmas card photos. I think my boys are all happy they don't have to take Christmas card photos this year.

2. Finish our photo books. I was able to get a good bit done on our books in October and I want to finish them by the end of the month, mostly so I can take advantage of the great deals offered around this time of year. My preference for photo books is Blurb.

3. Get most of our Christmas shopping completed. As of today, everyone in my immediate family has at least one gift! I have a really good list going for everyone, too, so I feel good about that.

4. Make a Thankful Tree with our family. I love this little tradition of ours. Even though we're thankful every day, this time of year really makes me think more about thankfulness.

5. Read at least one book. I bought the book Wild a few weeks ago, but I haven't started it. I can't wait to get started.

Now, for a look back at October. October was much more productive than I thought it was which makes me really happy. I still have a few things to finish, but I made progress on everything.

1. Finish the office/playroom/workout room. It's totally reorganized and all that's left is to hang some art on the walls. I'm going to leave this one gray. I've rearranged and organized, but I still need to hang up some pictures. 

2. Organize the playroom. Kevin and I have been hard at work on this one this week. We have totes full of things to donate and trash bags full of things that are broken. I am happy to say this one is done! It may have taken about a month, but it's finally done. We have to use the times the boys aren't home to do this, so that's why it took so long. Last weekend, we finally finished. We donated five or six bags of toys to the House of Hope, threw away another bag or two full of things that were broken or not in good enough shape to donate, and packed a few totes in the attic of toys we think we may want to use again or we couldn't bear to send away.

3. Finally get our mirrors framed. I'm ready to go on this project. I hope to get the molding painted tomorrow and Friday and get the mirrors framed on Saturday. It's going to look good! This is done and it looks great! (I'll share this project next week. I just need to put the finishing touches on my blog.) It was a lot easier than I anticipated it being and adds so much to our bathrooms.

4. Make progress on photo books. There's no way I'll finish in October, but I'd like to have more done than I have done now. I am really happy about this one! I was able to nearly finish K.C.'s six-year book and have about half of Kaden's four-year book complete. 

5. Start Christmas shopping. Every year, I say I'm going to shop around the year and that doesn't ever happen. I want to start this month so we have time to just relax and enjoy the holidays. I can't believe I'm saying this, but this happened! I bought two small gifts in October, but they are for Christmas, so I'm giving myself green on this one. 

6. Make a list of everything we want to do this fall. The boys like to make lists (guess who they get that from) and Kaden asked me last week if we could make a list of all the things we want to do this fall. This didn't happen. I have a list of things in my head and we're doing them, but we didn't make an official list.

7. Get my speed back. My speed has disappeared this summer. I mean, it's still there, somewhere, but this heat and not running or working out as much has not helped. I'm still (for the most part) running substantially faster than I was this time last year, but I haven't broken 20 minutes in a race in a few months. I want to get that back in October. I think it's safe to say this happened. I actually didn't race in October, but I upped my mileage and that seems to have paid off. 

A 10K PR and how to take embarrassing race photos

This past weekend, I ran the Pecan Festival 10K. This is always a fun race for me. The past few years, I've run the 5K, but this year, I decided to do the 10. There haven't been many 10Ks lately, so I jumped at the chance. This course, which is traditionally one of the fastest, has not ever been that way for me. I haven't broken 20 minutes on it in the 5K (my PR is 18:56), so I wasn't expecting a super fast time, but I felt I could break my 10K PR (43:01) which I set about this time last year.

It got cold Friday night and was freezing Saturday morning. The race started at 9, and thankfully, by then, it wasn't raining. We got up and I ate breakfast (two scrambled eggs with toast and jelly) and then drove to the race. We got there at 8:52 and I still had to get my packet. Talk about getting there last minute! My warm up consisted of darting from the car (before Kevin parked) to the gym to get my packet and then running to find my husband so I could give him my bag. I stretched during the announcements.

I typically start out fast when I'm running 5Ks. I have a harder time building in a race if I don't start out fast than I do starting out fast. On Saturday though, I had a specific goal: break my PR, so I was careful not to start out running a sub-6 minute mile. I started around 6:30 and then slowed down to 6:40-50. The first two or three miles felt really good. The weather was great and I was even second-guessing my decision to wear two long sleeve shirts.

The course wound through some old neighborhoods and was relatively flat until about mile 4 where there were a few hills. My fourth and fifth miles were slower with the hills, but even when I looked at my Garmin at 4.2 miles in, I knew I was going to PR. At that point, I had somewhere around 15 minutes left to my PR. I decided not to push too hard because I didn't want to burn out (even though it was only a 10K) and I wanted to finish strong. My last mile was my fastest.

When I turned to head back to the finish and had about .2 miles left, I knew I was going to PR big time. I saw my husband standing on the corner taking pictures and yelled to him that I was PR'ing. When I rounded that corner, I saw 41 minutes on the clock and knew I could break 42 (not something I've ever done in a race - I was wanting to break 43 and would have been satisfied with a 42:50). This excitement caused me to raise my arms in the air and yell "I PR'ed" to the event timers who are also friends as I was going across the finish line.

And when you do things like that, pictures like these happen:

And then you get really embarrassed. Especially after someone tags you in them and you've warned everyone around you that has seen them not to tag you.

But it was fun. And I PR'ed (if you hadn't already figured that out!): 41:48!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween 2014

I'm warning you - it's picture overload today.

We had a great Halloween. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays and now, with kids, it's just as fun if not more fun than it was when I was younger.

The boys decided that they wanted to be ninjas for Halloween this year, so when we were in Walmart over a month ago and they had their first costumes out, they saw ninja ones they liked and we bought them. 

We started our Halloween celebrations off last Wednesday at the Fall Festival at our church. This is always such a fun night and we had a great time. 


The boys took these cute treat bags to their friends at school. The inspiration is from this pin.

After school and work on Friday, I picked up the boys and we went home to carve our pumpkin. I know, better late than never, right? Kevin had a 4:00 meeting at work and we had family coming at 4:45, so we had to go ahead and carve it. Kaden was really into it, except the cleaning out part! K.C. was our photographer.

After we finished our pumpkin, I got the boys ready and we waited to trick-or-treat. Our two youngest nieces came and trick-or-treated with the boys.

And I just have to say, I already knew I had the best sons, but this sweetie gave me his first piece of candy - a Reese's Cup - because he knows it's my favorite.