/> SLO in Arkansas: March 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Busy Bees

I don't know what is going on with my computer, but I cannot get my pictures to post right now. So sorry in advance for a pictureless post! Anyway, life is chugging along full steam ahead as usual. I love it:) I have picked up quite a few more hours at work, which has given me a very full plate right now. I work at the church doing counseling on Mon, Tue and Thur afternoons. I am seeing clients for my other couseling agency on Wed afternoons and Thur mornings (sometimes just every other week though). I have also added a new job to my crazy life....office manager! A very handsome young man in town was needing some office help for 4-6 hours a week and it just so happened to fit right into my schedule while the boys are in Mother's Day Out, so I applied! For those who don't know, yes, I am talking about Silas! I have to say, this is my favorite job at the moment:) I love that I get to spend time with my husband away from the house and kids. I am doing simple filing, organizing, cleaning, as well as learning how to operate Quick Books, do invoicing and sales orders, and payroll. It is such a welcome change from the emotionally draining work of counseling, which is nice:) I also feel great about helping Silas keep his office under control and reduce the amount of stress on him, so it's a win win all around for us. If you ever see me on Thursdays and I look a little wild eyed, it is because I actually work at all three of those jobs that day! Thank goodness I am organized:) I have spent some time doing a little reflecting since running the marathon. Initially I thought running one would be something to check off my bucket list....one and done kind of thing. Not so much! While it was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done, I like a good challenge, and will most likely run one again. What I have realized is that now that I have one under my belt, I am not intimidated by wondering "if" I can do it, which takes a lot of the stress off. Secondly, I trained so minimally for that thing, I now realize it is a miracle I finished and did as well as I did! With that being said, I know I can do better and plan to in the future. Just not sure when that will be:) We are slowly working to spruce things up around the house and yard which is also keeping us busy. I am terrible with patience and want to make huge changes all at once and be done, but of course yard work is never that easy:) We are enjoying working outside as a family though, and seeing things progress is exciting. I am still working on organizing the house and doing some spring cleaning. Silas and I purged a huge amount from our closet recently and it feels so good to de-clutter! We continue to try to simplify our life as much as we can, and I am enjoying the process of letting go of things we don't use or need. Life has a nice pace to it right now:)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Growing Up

The kids are growing at warp speed, as usual. Tyson has taken a serious interest in reading books, spelling, and writing. He continues to expand the number of words he can spell verbally. He is starting to recognize words the more we read his books too. It is pretty exciting to watch him learn! I haven't worked with him much on paper, as my kids tend to be more verbal or gross motor oriented than fine motor:) We started working on writing his name one day at nap, and he did an excellent job! The top picture is the first time he has written his whole name. I did help him with the "s" but other wise he did it all on his own.
Here he is so proud of his work! He still can't hold the crayon correctly and makes his letters in very interesting ways, but at least they are recognizable for the most part:) I am so proud of the little guy for his hard work, and mostly for his enthusiasm to learn and practice new things. Not bad for a 3 and a half year old:)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this time of year:) Sunshine makes me happy:) We are having plenty of it lately too, which is awesome. We are sitting in the mid 60's-70's most days and it is divine weather for sure. Silas and I are not big do-it-yourselfer's inside the house, but we love us some good yard work and outdoor projects. When we bought this house a little over a year ago we inherited over 13 years of neglect in the overgrown and wild yard. Fun! Last spring I would literally start crying when I even walked into the backyard because it was such a mess and out of control I would get overwhelmed and not even know where to start. Silas has prodded me along this past year and we have slowly been working on small sections over time to start trying to even find the ground!
I am happy to say the hard work is finally paying off. We found the ground recently and I like it! We have tons of trees out back, so raking is a must. We have raked leaves all year and are finally able to see the layout of the yard and begin to redefine some of the space out there, and actually make it useable again. If you know Silas at all, the first thing we do is build a fire pit. We love fire and must have a nice place for it:) There was actually a small dogwood that used to be right where the firepit now is, but it never bloomed and was pretty tiny, so we took it out last fall. Of course this is just the beginning of getting the area like we want it, but it is such a HUGE improvement from what was there and we are so excited. We have dumped all the leaves we rake in a gigantic pile in the back of the yard. Silas is going to built a compost bin for me and we can keep everything a bit more contained back there once that gets finished. Of course we continue to battle the bamboo forrest, but that is just an on-going thing, so its no big deal. Now that we have the actual yard cleared and raked, we are starting to define the areas and will get new edges, rock, railroad ties, etc to replace all the rotten ones we had to dig up.
We are also tackling the actual landscaping on the sides and front of the house too. It's awful to say the least! The existing plants are ones that do not thrive in the areas they are planted, and haven't been trimmed for a decade it seems. Poor things! We are working to pull everything out and start from scratch, as Silas thinks most are not able to be saved. The yard is a huge project and one we will work on for years I am sure. Luckily we love this kind of work, and it is something the whole family enjoys doing since we can be outside. The boys love to dig in the dirt and drive their trucks and tractors around, or swing, while we do the grunt work. I am very excited at the transformation so far, and I know we have only just begun:) I may even have grass in my backyard this year or next!! The front yard is greening up and I am ready to pull the mower out soon. Spring is definitely here!
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Return to Running

I took 10 full days off from running after the marathon, which my body desperately needed! I was only sore for about 3 or 4 days, but my ankles ached for over a week. The joys of having weak ankles and pounding the pavement for almost 5 hours straight:) Anyway, last night I headed out in almost 60 degree weather for a nice easy 3 miles. The weather was perfect, and it felt good to get back into the groove. I felt a little stiff at first and was just good and loosened up by the time I was finished, go figure. I even did something very strange for me...I didn't even wear my watch! I just wanted to run the miles, stretch my legs, and ease back into things. It felt great. I am very glad I let my body rest, but now I am itching to get back at it...especially since the weather has turned all gorgeous and spring here! I was able to take my bike to the park last weekend and get a 9 mile ride in with my friend. It was awesome, and easy on my body since there is no impact. I am excited to start serious bike training now that the weather is warmer. I am also toying with the idea of running a half marathon next month. Guess I need to get a week or so of running under my belt and see how the old legs are feeling. I only want to run it if I think I can beat my previous half time!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Jace is 18 Months

My baby is already 18 months old and acts like a little man:) He is growing up so fast. I looked for more pictures of just him to put on his post, but he doesn't sit still long enough for me to take any! He had his 18 month check up this morning and is healthy as an ox. He is growing great and is pretty advanced in his motor skills and vocabulary.
18 month stats:

weight: 27.7 pounds (75th %)
height: 34 inches ( 90th %)

You can see from his height the kid is huge!! He wears 2T clothes and I hope he stays there a while since that is all I have for him for summer so far:) He is slimming up a bit, but he still eats about everything in sight. He just started drinking chocolate milk this week too for the first time ever!! Yay! Neither of my kids have ever drank milk in any form once they quit nursing/formula, so this is quite the accomplishment at our house:) Tyson still doesn't even like chocolate milk, so who knows with him. They both eat lots of dairy though, and they both eat cereal regularly with milk in it, so I know they are getting some calcium at least.

Jace can walk up and down stairs holding onto your hand or the wall just fine. He turns around and scoots when he wants to go fast though. He runs all the time and loves jumping off the couch. He climbs everything in sight. He can open the fridge and get to almost anything he wants! He has shown some indications of trying to climb out of his crib in the mornings, so I am making a plan to get him moving into a twin bed soon. He loves trains, firetrucks, being outside, and taking his bath. Basically he loves anything his older brother likes or does:) They are starting to play together better, which I love!
Jace is talking up a storm! He has a vocabulary of at least 75-100 words at this point, and will repeat almost anything you say. He has started using some phrases too, such as "you hear it?" and "where it go??" He gets so frustrated when we don't understand him, and his litle face just lights up when he talks and we get what he says. It's cute. He loves the word "no" and doesnt know how to say "yes." If he wants something he will just smile and say "ok!" He loves mother's day out and his teachers there. He loves playing outside and would stay there all day. He can scribble on paper with a crayon, but doesn't seem to love it. He loves animals of all kinds. He still has his paci and has recently become very attached to his blankey too. He goes to bed super easy and sleeps from 7:30 pm til 7:30 am. He takes one afternoon nap from about 12 pm til 3pm most days. He is energetic and happy and full of life. He is so capable and independent just like his brother. He is also my rough and tumble kid for sure. Hopefully I will get some more pictures of just him soon!
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Monday, March 07, 2011

Finish Line Pictures

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LR Marathon Recap Part 2

The joke of the LR marathon goes something like, "Hills? What hills?" That's not funny people! The second half has some major uphill climbs in it to say the least. We passed the halfway point and I guess there is just something mental about knowing you are now fully committed to finishing once you pass that point of no return. The 3 of us girls chugged away up the hills, winding through the different neighborhoods. We passed the Governor's mansion at one point and gave a shout out to Governor Beebe who was watching us from his yard:) Around mile 14 I decided I wasn't having too much fun anymore! The pace was faster than I had trained at, and we weren't running at all the way I had trained period. I had been giving myself short walk breaks every two miles during training, and at this point we had only stopped about twice for just about 15-20 seconds or so each. That combined with the huge hills we were climbing really started to wear me out. I started to fall behind Debbie and Liz a bit. I know they didn't want to leave me, but I had told Debbie beforehand that she better run her best race with or without me, so I waved them on ahead. I had figured this would happen at some point, so I wasn't too concerned. And then it was only me.
Miles 14, 15 and 16 are all uphill with not really much break at all. You just keep going up and up and up. I was really thirsty too, and there was no water station in sight. A little blue jolly rancher saved my life at this point! Some spectator in his yard was handing out candy as we passed, and that one little piece of candy kept my mouth from getting too dry, and gave me some much needed sugar too. I was so happy with that candy!! We finally topped the hill and got to come down just a bit. The problem was that it was a really steep downhill, and that was really hard on my bad knee and quads to keep from running too fast and falling on my face. The downhill part was almost as painful as the uphill! I carried on and was really looking forward to seeing Silas at the bottom of the hill for a mental boost heading into the long out and back section of the course. No such luck. I learned later that he tried to get there but they had all the roads blocked off and he had to turn back. I thought I had missed him somehow and that made me very sad. I got a little emotional at that point. I was really tired of running, my legs were killing me, I was disappointed at not seeing Silas, and I was all by myself. And there were still 8 more miles to go! I continued on and tried to think of positive thoughts to distract myself. My pace was still good, but I was really tired. I had my ipod but never even turned it on. I felt a little better after reaching mile 20, since that meant I was farther than I had ever run before, and getting closer to the end. This part was so hard mentally because you run out for about 2.5 miles and then back, and while you are heading out you see everyone on the other side already coming back. I really wished I was over there with them quite a few times! After what seemed like an eternity I hit the turn around point and started the long 5+ miles back to the finish line.
At this point I was exhausted and a little delirious. I prayed off and on to just get to the end. I kept asking God to renew my strength and to run and not be weary. After the race I was talking to my dad on the phone and he told me that was the same verse he had been praying over me continually for the past hour or so. I definitely felt it while I was running. I decided at this point to run a mile and walk for a few seconds as I passed each mile marker. The weird part is that walking was almost more painful than running. My legs were all crampy and stiff, so I tried not to walk too long. I needed it more for a mental break than a physical break. The water stations were great and I started eating orange slices and pretzels at this point. I really needed the salt! I think miles 20-23 were the absolute hardest for me, physically and mentally. I was so far from the end it felt, exhausted, and alone. Thank goodness for that mental toughness and praying which is all that got me through that part! I started to feel better after mile 23 because 3 miles doesn't seem that far to go after you have already run 23! I was pretty happy by mile 24 since I knew that I would break 5 hours even if I walked quite a bit from here on out. There were two little hills in mile 25, which were no fun at all. But I was soooo close to the end I didn't care! I could hear the crowd cheering at the finish line, and there was an announcer with a microphone calling out your name and encouraging you on with about a quarter mile to go. I have a little obsession with finishing a race hard and strong, so I actually managed to sprint it in at the end. That and the fact that I just wanted to hurry up and quit running already!!
And I really wanted that giant medal too! I was SOOO happy to cross that finish line I can't even express it. I have put so many hours and days and months of training into this event, and to see it accomplished was just huge. Of course I thought I was going to literally die the minute I stopped running. My legs felt like stiff bricks and I worried I might fall over if I wasn't careful. The end was all very organized and I got my timing chip removed from my shoe, got my medal around my neck, my snacks, and warm blanket all very easily and quick. They took pictures of us with our medals too. It is hard to smile when you think you might die! I saw Silas and slowly made my way over to him and the boys, where I promptly collapsed to the ground. I was so happy to not be on my legs anymore! I drank my chocolate milk and rested for a bit before we got up and headed for the car. It was quite a day for sure! I will wrap up my thoughts on running later once I finish processing. Oh yes, my unofficial time is 4:43:19 at this point. I stopped my Garmin when I had run 26.2 miles though! I ended up running closer to almost 26.5 I think. So with that being said, I am very happy to have accomplished my goal of finishing in under 5 hours, and even under 4:45!!! No regrets at all:) I am a Marathoner!!!!

LR Marathon Recap Part 1

I met up with the Jonesboro running group around 6:45 am and we hung out until the last minute in the hotel to stay warm. We took off walking the two blocks to the start line about 7:45. We crammed into our corral D/open) at the back of the pack and before we knew it the starting gun went off! We crossed the starting line a little over 2 minutes after the gun went off, which wasn't bad at all.
Debbie (the lady I decided to run with) and I got near the 4:30 pacer since that was around the time we wanted to run it in. I was actually expecting to be slower, and she was hoping to be a little faster, but it was a good medium! The pacer was hilarious and told us all kinds of funny stories to keep us entertained and distracted from the fact that we were only at mile 1 of 26.2. The first few miles just flew by. It stayed pretty crowded for the first 6 miles or so and then started to thin out a bit thankfully. We were able to run pretty consistently from the beginning, which was nice. I only knew one other person who was running the full marathon, and never expected to run into her, but indeed I did! She saw me right after the starting line and we ended up running quite a bit together.
Deb and I were together on our own for most of the first half. We will call this the FUN part of the race:) I loved every minute of the first 13.1 miles. We ran all over downtown Little Rock. There were tons of spectators to cheer us on, lots of things to look at, and the miles just flew by. We were running under a 10 minute pace which was a little fast for me, but I was feeling great.
The best part of this section was how many times I was able to see Silas and the boys! Silas was a rock star this weekend to say the least. He managed to take all of these pictures as he flew around town furiously pushing the two boys in the stroller through the crowds! I saw him 3 or 4 times in the first 9 miles which was awesome. I planned to see him again around mile 18 but no such luck. That was only one of the many reasons we will call the second half, the NOT fun part!! Anyway, Deb and I met back up with Liz around mile 8 or 9 and we had fun talking the miles away. I crossed the half way point in 2:11:31 which was only 3 minutes slower than my race time when I ran the half in November. I was still feeling good at this point, but as soon as the half runners broke off towards the finish line, the full runners took a turn and the uphill battle began......
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LIttle Rock Marathon Expo

Here I am with the boys at the expo before the marathon. Packet pick-up went just fine and I got everything I needed to be ready for the race. It was a fun atmosphere and made me start to feel a little more excited than anxious! I was able to buy a 26.2 sticker for my car, even though it made me nervous to buy it before I ran!
We headed over to the Peabody Hotel next and the boys had so much fun checking out the ducks! Jace kept trying to climb into the water with them though. We took a fun ride up 19 stories in the big glass elevator, which the boys loved too. Great free entertainment right there:)
After the expo we headed to our hotel. Silas and I just looked at each other when we pulled into the parking lot. It was ghetto and nasty!! We had reserved a room online so we didn't know what we were getting. The location was really bad too. Silas got the key, we opened the door and took one look at the room, and put the kids back in the car to leave! It was disgusting. Then we had to drive around until we found a hotel that still had rooms. Luckily we only had to try two, but by this point the kids were melting down since they hadn't had naps all day and were ready to be out of the car. We were able to check in and rest for about 30 minutes before it was time to head to dinner.

We had pasta and bread at Macaroni Grill...one of our favorite places:) It was good, and we were all full and tired after our early supper. We went back to our nasty first hotel to check out....one giant waste of money there, but lesson learned for sure. Then Silas dropped me off downtown at the hotel where my friends from the running group in Jonesboro were staying. They filled me in on last minute prep ideas and I decided to run with one of the girls there since we thought we would be a similar pace. I felt better after making a plan, and not having to go out and tackle this beast on my own. We got back to our new hotel and all got ready for bed by 9pm. I slept the best from about 9:30pm-12:45am. I was pretty much awake off and on from then on. Jace fell out of the bed around 4:30am and woke us all up screaming. It was his first time in a bed other than his crib! He slept with us from then on. The alarm went off at 5:30 am and I couldn't believe that marathon day had finally arrived!!
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Friday, March 04, 2011

Ready to Run

Weather predictions for race day are PERFECT! Start time should be in the upper 30's and high for the day is around 50 degrees, and sunny. I love it! I survived my work week fine and feel pretty rested today. I have packed, and enjoyed a calm day at home with the boys today. My water drinking has gone well this week too. I did manage to eat lots of cookie dough, but we won't talk about that! I am ready. I am excited. I am nervous. But ready. We head to Little Rock in the morning to hit the expo, pick up my packet, and enjoy the day. I am hoping to check out the course and figure out where I will see Silas ahead of time so I know where to look for him:)

"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith"
~Hebrews 12:1

"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
~Isaiah 40:31

Faith, not fear. That is my plan for this weekend. Little Rock, here I come!!