Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Recital

So I'm a dance mom now.

Didn't think I'd ever hold that title. Soccer mom? Yes. Baseball mom? Most definitely. Dance mom? Notsomuch.

But now. Now I hold that title proudly.

Because of this one...
I left her backstage right before the big recital so I could take my seat in the audience. I hesitated leaving her because there were masses of people and she's so tiny and the stage is so big, but her teachers assured me she would be well taken care of, so I left it to her.

I took my seat just in time for the first performance - a beautiful ballet dance by a group of high school girls.

I promptly began to cry.

WHO AM I??????

When I finally got myself together about three dances in, this happened...
Tiny Dancer took that stage with the authority of a four year old and danced her heart out. She polly wolly doodled all the day.
 And then a few dances later, she was back on stage to dance like a daisy.
After intermission we were going to leave since her part was done, but Tiny Dancer wanted to stay for just one more dance. One more dance turned into the entire second half and she loved every second of it.
I kinda did too.

And they weren't even wearing cleats.

WHO AM I?????????

*Thanks to Mike Brinson for taking such great photos during the performance!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

An April Wedding

We had the joy of being at the Husb's cousin's wedding this past weekend near Atlanta. It was on the grounds of a beautiful mansion on a perfectly sunny and cool April day.  It was every bit as beautiful as her Pinterest board. :)

The girls were asked to bring Bibles down the aisle at the start of the ceremony. One Bible was from the bride's family and one from the groom's family and a third Bible representing the couple -  turned out to be a sweet addition to the ceremony.

 Big Sis stealing a glance at her daddy as she started down the aisle.
Tiny Miss working the crowd.
If Wild Man feels this way about all weddings, then I'm in luck. He'll stay with me forever. :)
Buster is begging to have his long locks shaved off so I had to get one more pic just in case! This Journey of Hair has been long and Mama's not ready to see it go...
 The fam all gussied up...
Papa & JoJo and their FAVORITE (ok, "only") grandkids...

Monday, April 8, 2013

SI or bust.

For the third year in a row, we ventured way south to Sanibel Island - by far our favorite place in the world and one full of memories for our little fam.

Our first morning there was Easter. The Bunny delivered despite the location change, bringing beach chairs, goggles and sunscreen for each. Man that Bunny knows us. :) We had our own little church time in the condo and were able to watch my brother preach on the computer. Definitely a unique Easter experience. Hoping Spring Break doesn't fall on Easter Sunday next year!
We love biking around the island and thankfully The Duo still fits in the seats attached to our big bikes, though they're already begging to ride their own bikes next year.
We inherited Lightening McQueen which provided a lot of entertainment for the boys. We were amazed that it lasted 3 days with only minor revisions (that the boys were glad to fix at their auto mechanic sand shop).
Our whale idea seemed like a great one until we started digging with shovels no larger than the palm of our hand.  It looks simple...and it is...but it took FOREVER. Next year we're gonna make a guppy.
Honestly our condo could have been 50 miles from the beach and they wouldn't have cared a bit as long as there was a pool. Everybody's swimming now so we (us parentals) can enjoy some lazy poolside lounging. Oh how we've longed for this day!
For the third year in a row, we've concluded the trip with a Captiva sunset. The beach is beautiful and the whole community comes out each night to see it set. Everybody quiets down and watches the last minute or two, taking in God's creation at it's finest. My favorite time...and theirs too...
Even got to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary to this guy while we were there. A trip sans kiddos will come later. :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Big Sis is getting even bigger! She turned 8 and celebrated with some great friends at Neptune Park after school.

We let the kids pick their meals on their birthday so she opted for homemade banana bread and sausage. My kind of girl. :)
Meme, D-Daddy, Uncle Henry and Aunt Betty (hiding) were able to be with us for the bday weekend. Big Sis wanted them to experience her favorite Mexican restaurant, Cilantros.
Cumpleanos Feliz!
And finally home for presents time.
We ended the night like we do each year - I crawl up in her bed and retell her birth day story. To me, it seems like yesterday. To her, it was a lifetime ago. Eight very short years ago. And in eight more very short years, she'll be driving. Good googily moogily, stop time now!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thoughts on a half-marathon, part two.

For "Thoughts on a half-marathon, part one," go here.

The Trip
We decided to make what was going to be a girls weekend into a full on family affair. The closer we got to the big day, the more we realized we wanted our main dudes there too. Two other friends were running with me...Kelly being a multi-marathoner and Rachael fresh off of baby #3. We were all in it to make memories with Rach and I hoping to still be in the upright position at the finish line.

The Expo
I'm thankful the lines were long and the crowds were outrageous because had they not been, I would have bought every race trinket there. We did get to taste test every flavor of Luna Bar and see some princesses and find the perfect Sweaty Band for the race. And of course we had to pose like goobers for a pre-race photo.
We even got all of our kiddos involved since they were NOT loving being dragged around from booth to booth while we scoped out running gear and the latest greatest products that would turn us into rock star runners.
I waited in line at Race Relations on a whim that I *might* could get my Corral moved up. When I registered for the race I had not yet run a mile so I gave my estimated time as the highest it would allow. Big mistake. After all of that training, I didn't want to be stuck with the walkers. Once I proved my time for a recent 5K, they moved me up to Corral B!!! From Corral H. That was a HUGE boost for my motivation. I was with the real runners now.

The Race
The night before, I very carefully packed my bag for the race that I would be checking at the start line. Thankfully I had Kelly's expertise to let me know what I would need immediately after (food, food, food, powerade and a jacket!). I laid my head down on the pillow at 10pm and stared at the ceiling until my alarm went off at 2:15am. Up and at 'em!! I felt a little nauseous with that up-all-night feeling I remember so well from college. We drove to our destination and felt like we were entering a rock concert! Stadium lights were blaring and a DJ was gettin funky on stage with huge screens projecting race finishes from years past. The magic had begun.

We spent about an hour milling about and even resting on the pavement some while I watched everyone eat their granola bars and bananas, while slightly panicking that if these hard core runners were eating, maybe I should? No, stick to the plan. Dinner the night before was my last meal and it would sustain me (race proved this to be a FABULOUS DECISION).

The girls and I made the 20 minute walk to the Start. We huddled up, prayed together, jumped around in excitement and finally split to our 3 different corrals.
I couldn't believe how close I was to the front. The end of Corral A was just ahead of me and I could clearly see the start. 
I turned around and WAY in the distance could see the end of my corral (the orange sign below the words), knowing there were 6 more corrals just as big behind there. 25,000 people hanging out in the streets of Disney at 4:30am!
The fireworks blasted and Corral A runners shot off in the dark. 5 minutes later the next set of fireworks exploded and I was off!
"OH HECK YES!!" was all I said for the first mile. THIS WAS IT. 6 months of training had finally led up to this exact moment and here I was on mile 1 of this 13 mile trek. OH HECK YES!!

Everything in me wanted to sprint in excitement but my head was so trained that thankfully it overpowered and kept saying "Lock it in. Lock it in." I made a last minute decision to NOT turn on any music or have my mapmyrun app turned on which would tell me what mile I was on and my pace. I knew there would be plenty of music along the way and signage for miles, but I didn't think about not knowing my pace. 2 miles in and I thoroughly regretted that decision. Running in the dark and running in packs was throwing me off and I didn't know if I was running 9 minute miles or 12 minute miles. And at that point I refused to stop and fix my phone. I just kept going, hoping my pace was on par with my usual training.

The first 4 miles were a blur - fairly quiet and backroady and pretty easy. At about 5 miles we were entering Disney and the people were everywhere. Signs and yelling and cheering. I felt like Rudy coming onto the field for Notre Dame (and Rudy/Sean Astin really was there!). Running down Main Street and through the Castle with HUNDREDS of people cheering was probably my favorite part. I notice a man running beside me around mile 6 (which was notable as there were not many men running the PRINCESS race) and HELLO, it's Jeff Galloway, the famous runner who is the official runDisney trainer. I was giddy. We stayed together for about a mile and then he stopped to walk. She-Ra was back. I gave him the "peace out" symbol and tore past him like my 6 months of training could whoop his 40+ years worth. BOOYAH BOYEEEEE.

I'm thankful I wasn't familiar with the course or knew what to expect for if I had, now would have been the time to call it a day. THREE overpasses came and went. THREE. I had heard there would be one, BUT THREE??? I live at sea level so these were mountain ranges for me. I hunkered down and owned those suckas.

I finally made it into Epcot to finish it off. At this point I started to choke up a bit, mostly from the overwhelming emotion I'd held in for the last 12 miles. It quickly started to turn into hyperventilating because I didn't have a lot of oxygen left for boohooing so I literally had to talk out loud to myself. "Hold it together. Hold it. Hold it."
And then I rounded a corner and there was a full-fledged gospel choir singing me home. There was no way they'd put a gospel choir anywhere but the end so I knew this was it. Rounding one more corner and I saw the Finish Line. They called my name over the loud speakers as I was coming through and Minnie Mouse came at me with a high-five.

I was done. I freakin just ran 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 22 minutes. 
There was no wiping that smile off my face. EVER.
And I'm ready to do it again. :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Thoughts on a half-marathon, part one.

It IS possible.

Before that phrase even became true for me, I had already hit the "make payment" button on the Disney Princess Half Marathon website to secure my spot for a 13.1 mile race 6 months later. Why? Because I needed something huge. It was a quick decision (a rather costly one I might add) and once the payment was submitted, I retreated to the bathroom to lean my head over the toilet. I ain't kidding.

Once I got my head out of the commode, it was go time. I formulated a plan as best I knew how and I set out to achieve the biggest physical goal I had ever made.

Couch to 5K

I knew I needed to go S.L.O.W.L.Y.  I'm old, ya see. Though I still very much feel like I'm 22, I know that my body revolts against that statement. It has born a quad of babes, had a myriad of innards removed and grown cobwebs on all athletic muscles and joints due to lack of use.

I chose the slowest, easiest program with attainable goals first. I downloaded the app to my phone and had 9 weeks to get myself to 5K status. It was half-funny to me because in years past I really could pull a 5K out of my bohonkus if needed. But alas, I am NOT 22 and my bohonkus would throw it back if I tried. The walk/runs were not really my style. I wanted to immediately be able to run 20 minutes, but I just couldn't. The program warned that jumping ahead could result in injury, so I stuck with it - exactly as it said (except for once when I was feeling good I added 10 more minutes and consequently dealt with shin splints for the 2 following weeks - lesson learned).

9 weeks later, I ran a 5K on Jekyll Island in 30 minutes flat. I was She-Ra, Princess of Power...for a day at least.

Hal Higdon, my other man

I had a week to revel in my glorious 5K-ness and then it was time to hit the streets for a 12 week program designed by the notorious Hal Higdon...or as I like to call boyfriend who beats me.

This one consisted of 2-3 "short" runs during the week (averaging 3 up to 5 miles toward the end) and a long run on the weekends. Other days were for stretching, cross training, and resting...of which I only did the third option - RESTING!

Not gonna lie. Higgy Baby kicked my tail. Everything about it was stressful. Figuring out when to run gave me unbelievable amounts of anxiety. I did NOT like running with the double stroller (two 35lb dudes in there), but most weekday runs were with them. Because all training was in the winter-ish time, Husb didn't get home until after dark so nighttime running alone wasn't an option. And he leaves in the morning while it's dark, so that was out too. I last about 14 seconds on a treadmill due to EXTREME AMOUNTS OF BOREDOM so the kiddos and I had to find a rhythm (and a playlist!) we could all agree on. We changed up routes frequently, huffing and puffing all the way.

Weekend long runs were my favorite because I never did them alone. Not one. I never once quit on a long run despite rampant stomach pains, grindy ankles, knee pain, callouses, etc because I did not want to let my partner down. So...Kelly, Bub, Kara and the stranger I met on my 9 miler...I thank you!!

The Game Changer

I bombed my 7 mile long run. Mind you, I completed it, but every ounce of it was bad. Everything hurt and I ate too close to the run (I later learned I had to be 5 hours removed from food to do a long run) giving me crippling stomach pains. I was hunched over and darn near tears for the last couple of miles. My only thought when I finished was there was NO WAY I could ever add 6 more miles to that. EVER.

My final long run - a 10 miler - happened to fall when we were going to be out of town visiting the in-laws. I was panicky. I didn't have a running partner and the last time I'd run in that town I got chased and bit by a dog. Awesome.

The Husb and I developed a plan. I would run and he would bike so he could have my water bottle, G2 chews (LOVE!!) and mace (little doggy you're going blind if you mess with me again) without me having to tote them along. We mapped a route that would take us from his parents house in the country to his sister's house in town. It was epic. We planned to start at 2pm and at 1:50pm I'm standing at the window watching rain pour from the heavens. I wanted to cry.

I had tweaked my eating/drinking that day and the day before in preparation for this run. I was starving and knew I needed to hit the road before I got the shakes. At 2pm, I looked at the husb with defeat written all over me. He said, "What are you waiting for? LET'S GO!!"

The temperature was 41 degrees and the rain quickly turned into sleet. I had to laugh to keep from crying and within the first half mile I'm pumping my fist yelling "I AM SO HARD CORE RIGHT NOW!! LOOK AT ME TOWNSPEOPLE, I'M A ROCKSTAR!!" Yes, I had officially lost my mind and we'd barely begun.

I focused in on my pace and my rhythm wanting to lock it in for the long haul. The Husb gave me plenty of space and stayed a good ways in front or behind, always hitting me up with encouragement at just the right time. I remember saying "Cake" over and over on mile 8 because for the first time ever, I felt like the whole half-marathon hubaloo was actually attainable. The final sprint came at the end of mile 9 and I screamed up ahead at my biker boy, "LOOK AT THIS PACE!! I AM SO MONEY RIGHT NOW!! LOOOOKKKK ATTTT MEEEEEEEEE!!" If my attitude was anything at that moment, it was humble.

Stay tuned for part two: My Princess Coronation.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My lil' elves

I hear that it is supposedly Christmastime, but with my family in shorts and tshirts all weekend, it seems a bit "off". I realize we're very close to the Florida border, but c'mon, we're still Georgia and Georgia can get COLD!

Despite our little, and hopefully short-lived, warm front, we have been able to get our Christmas on. The house is decorated, lights are on outside, Pandora's Christmas station runs 24/7 on our tv, and we've spent some significant time with Santa and his lady.

Our favorite pottery studio Color Me Happy hosted a fundraiser for Morningstar that we were so excited to be a part of. The kids got to paint, have cookies and milk, and most importantly, have some serious discussions with one important man...
Every time there was a lull in photos with other children, these four would find their way back into their laps.Then they just pulled up chairs to sit and chat. Kinda wish we could have them over to hang out, but I guess it's a busy time with toy making, reindeer training, list checking, etc.
We followed up Santa's visit with a little tree hunting. I asked Tiny Miss to find us the "Perfectest Tree Around" and she spotted it quick, though, in the end, we did opt for one a smidge taller against her discretion.
This is the most amazing oak tree I've ever seen...and there's more than our fair share of these in coastal Georgia...but this one takes the cake.  We found out from the farm owners that it dates back earlier than the Revolutionary War (to save you the Wikipedia time, that's prior to 1775!). 
I couldn't believe The Duo actually posed for a picture. I think it was followed by a wrestling slam, but hey, I'll take what I can get!
 Even the shop got a Christmas makeover from Big Sis (aka the Santa Intern). HO! HO! HO!