Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Goals in Review

I can't believe this year is nearly over! It's been a great year in many ways. I thought I'd look back at my goals for 2014 before I share my 2015 goals. 
1. Take at least one beach trip as a family - We spent two weeks at the beach this past summer, one with my side of the family and the other with Kevin's.
2. Spend a weekend away with Kevin - We took two "adult" trips. We went to Birmingham in March for a wedding and then spent a week this past summer in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
3. Take the boys to Charleston 
4. Have our whole family over for dinner at least four times
5. Travel somewhere with Kevin we haven't been before

1. Spend quality time with God daily
2. Read through the Bible with KT - I read through the WHOLE Bible, but we didn't do it together. 
3. Do a devotion and pray with Kevin and the boys each day 

4. Memorize one verse a week myself - I started off the year doing good with this, but didn't keep it up.
5. Memorize scripture with the boys - We did this at the beginning of the year, but didn't carry it throughout the year.
6. Tithe

1. Run 750 miles
2. Run one race a month - I didn't run a race each month, but this counts as completed because I ran a race every month there was one. I finished the year with 19 races.
3. Finish a 5K below 20 minutes
4. Take a class at the gym

I'm not going to share specifics here since this is one of those subjects I don't really share, but I have a few financial goals this year in regards to saving. - I'm very proud of what we did this year!

1. See another lighthouse in SC and NC - We didn't see new lighthouses in SC and NC, but we did see the Baltimore Lighthouse.
2. Finish decorating our room, the boys' bathroom and our office/exercise room - Almost done! This should count. We painted our bedroom and bathroom and got new bedding, rearranged our office/exercise room, and the boys' bathroom (which they don't even use at this point) is basically completed.
3. Read one book a month - I don't know that I read one book every month, but I definitely read an average of one book a month. I'd like to have more time to read.

4. Try one new recipe a week - I tried more new recipes than I ever have, but I didn't do it weekly.

1. Take lunch 4 times a week - I'll just say no to this one.
2. Write regularly on my blog and use social media effectively - I'll try to do better in 2015
3. Start the motivational project I've wanted to do for years
4. Keep up with photo books
5. Scrapbook the boys' school work

6. Scrapbook my race bibs - Not completed, but I need to do this!

Christmas 2014

We had a great Christmas this year and for the first time, it didn't feel too rushed, which was a welcome change. We spent two full days celebrating with our family, and when I say full days, I mean full days!

On Christmas Eve Eve, the boys found that Cookie Pole left them food for Santa's reindeer. They were ready to go to sleep about 6 pm! After baths, reading a few Christmas books (Snowmen at Christmas is a new favorite this year) and the Christmas Story, leaving out cookies and milk for Santa, and putting baby Jesus in their nativity scene, they were ready for bed.

When the kids went to sleep, Santa and Mrs. Claus went to work.

The next morning, the boys slept later than normal (about 7 am) and waited for us to walk upstairs so we could watch them run down to their gifts.

They opened their stockings and then all their gifts from Santa. Minecraft was the major theme for this Christmas. When they opened their last gift from Santa, they discovered that Cookie Pole was holding a poem that instructed them to go outside for one last gift. Their big gift from Santa was a basketball goal!

When we got back inside, Kevin and I opened our stockings and then we all opened the rest of our gifts.

Later that morning, our parents and my sister and her boyfriend came over for breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls, and to see what the kids got, of course.

The boys both agreed that this was the best Christmas ever!

That night, we celebrated Christmas with Kevin's side of the family. We had our traditional fondue dinner and then went upstairs to hide in the closet while Santa came to fill our stockings. While we waited, my MIL recited 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, my FIL read the Christmas Story, and we sang "Silent Night" by candlelight.

When we were done, we heard the reindeer landing on the roof and then bells ringing downstairs in the den. When it got quiet, all the kids ran downstairs to see what Santa left.

After opening our stockings, it was time to open gifts. The boys each got a Nintendo DS3 XL and some games. They loved them!

Later that night, Kevin and I headed to my parents to spend the night. The next morning, we all opened our gifts and then went to my grandma's for lunch with our family. It was great. Two of my cousins who live in NYC now were in town and it was nice to catch up with them.

After lunch, we picked up the boys and went back to grandma's and then to my parents for dinner and so the kids could celebrate Christmas with them. They each got a tablet as their big gift from my parents. Those are going to be fun!

On Friday, we headed out of town for the day to see Kevin's extended family. Two of his cousins were in town and it was great to see them.

This Christmas season was so much more relaxed and enjoyable to me. I feel like we tried to slow down and really focus on the Reason for Christmas and spending time with our family. I feel so blessed to have such a great family and I'm so thankful for the greatest gift of all, God's gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Many Adventures of Cookie Pole

Four Thanksgivings ago, our Elf showed up at our house. The boys loved him and immediately named him "Cookie Pole." Since then, every Thanksgiving night, Cookie Pole has come back to visit the boys. The love him, they talk to him, and they are scared of him all at the same time.

We've had a lot of fun with Cookie Pole this year. Here are just a few of the things he's done.

Our little Cookie Pole!

The first night he came, he brought each of the boys a new pair of Christmas pajamas along with a poem.

He had milk and cookies and roasted marshmallows.

He wanted the boys to take him our to play one day after school.

He ziplined into the kitchen.

He got into their cotton candy.

He hung out with Scooby and the Gang.

He tried to skateboard.

He took a bubble bath.

He had a snowball fight...

... and a nerf war with the Nutcrackers!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Year of Running 2014

Today, I'm linking up with Miss Zippy for the Year of Running

I haven't posted much about running lately, but I'm still doing it. I owe you (really, I do it for myself) a few (like 10 or so) race recaps. I'm running 5-6 days each week with typically three weight sessions at the gym. And I've started doing squats. Lots of them. They burn so good at first, but I feel so much stronger.

2014 has been my best race year ever. I PR'd nearly ever race the beginning of the year. I had a very strong summer with my lowest 5K time yet (18:56!) and finished the fall with a PR in the 10K (41:47).  I'm really happy with my year even though I'm not happy with my final race of the season (Thanks to the 102 degree temperature I had during the race. I won, but it wasn't my fastest time, and well, I really wanted to end this season with a bang.). In 2014, I ran 19 races and won all but one (I did a race in Birmingham on a whim when we were in town for a family wedding.). In a few weeks, I hope to have the privilege of sharing with you a really awesome honor I'm pretty excited about.

  • Best race experience?
  • I have a few memorable race experiences from the past year. One of my goals for this year was to break 20 minutes in a race. I'd done it countless times on my own (with my Garmin), but for some reason, it wasn't happening in a race. 
Back in March, I finally broke that mark in a trail race. I love trail races as I grew up running trails, and I was really excited that I broke 20 in that race.

Then, in May, I broke 19 minutes in a 5K which was very awesome. I thought I could get down to 19:30 or so, but the thought of breaking 19 was not something I considered. I had a stellar race that day and have been thrilled since.

My final 10K of the year was also really fun. I PR'd a 10K a week or two prior (41:47), but this race was just fun. I ended up running it from about mile 1 on with a friend from church. It's always nice to run with people, especially in freezing temps and brutal wind. I also broke my own course record for this race, which was cool. 

  • Best run?
  • I had a really good 10K around my neighborhood a few months ago. I really felt like my speed was struggling (my 5K's were around 20 at the end of the summer, but there's that heat and humidity factor in good ole SC) and had been slightly (ok, really) discouraged about that. One night, my husband was cutting our grass and I went out for a 3 or 4 miler that ended up turning into a 10K. I think I ran it around 42:25 and at that moment, on really tired legs due to mileage/workouts earlier that week, I knew I was back.
  • Best new piece of gear?  
  • Hands down, my new Garmin is my favorite new piece of gear. For Mother's Day, Kevin and the boys gave me the Garmin Forerunner 220. I had a 110, but it stopped working and I needed a new watch. 

  • Best piece of running advice you received?
  • Run your own race. I used to have the tendency to stick with certain people at the beginning of each race, but then I realized I needed to run my own race. A lot of people say to start out and build, but that doesn't work for me. I'm much better at maintaining a pace, so I start out strong and I'm usually able to keep up that pace for the whole race. 
    I was also told to remember that it's a 10K, not a 5K when I'm running a longer distance. If you've read this blog for long, you know that I like shorter and faster distances. While I enjoy running 7-8 milers regularly, I'm not a huge fan of the half and I have no desire to ever run a full. It's just my thing. Some people get more enjoyment out of longer races and the training process. I'm not one of those. 
  • Most inspirational runner? 
  • I really like Kara Goucher. She's an elite athlete and a devoted wife and mom. I think she's cool. And Lauren Fleshman is another runner I really like. And to stick with the blogworld, Janae from Hungry Runner Girl is very inspirational. She's an awesome mom and incredible athlete and I think it's be fun to share a run and a donut (or three) with her. 
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Ridiculously exciting and fun!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The First Christmas Party of the Season and the First Santa Picture Ever!

Last Wednesday, my organization hosted it's annual Christmas party for employees kids. It's always a great time and the kids love it. Kaden was counting down the days!

There are gingerbread houses to make.

Faces to get painted.

Food to eat.

Horses to ride.

And Santa to see. But until this year, the boys wouldn't sit with Santa (as in ever in the history of K.C. and Kaden). I don't know if it's that they're older, or the fact that they knew the Santa at the party wasn't the real Santa, or if it was the bag of candy they saw the kids walking out with after sitting on Santa's lap, but whatever it was, for some reason, they chose to sit with him this year. That made for a very happy mama.