/> SLO in Arkansas: December 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Growing Up

My boys are growing up and it is wearing me out!! It seems these changes never come at the best times, but ready or not, you still get to deal with them. Jace is in the middle of all kinds of big boy changes, and man I'm tired! He started climbing out of his crib last week, and its all been downhill from there. Since he was waking up and climbing out of bed and wandering around, we decided to go ahead and move him into a big boy bed. I set the twin bed up in his room at the beginning of this week and we haven't looked back.

He does great going to sleep. He likes his bed and is usually ready to pass out at bedtime, so that hasn't been the issue. The killer is the mornings! He has woken up about 4:30 or 4:45am every morning since and gets up. Then he proceeds to go into Tyson's room and wake him up every morning. I found them before 5am this morning up on a chair looking for candy to eat! I have been up every day this week before 5, and it is starting to catch up with me now. The hard part is that neither of the boys will go back to sleep once they are up, so it is making for some loooong days. Jace's afternoon nap is all messed up too as a result of his crazy morning times. We even tried to keep him up late last night to see if he would sleep in a bit, but no such luck. I sure hope he gets over this phase quickly...mama's tired!

We are about to get rid of his paci too, but I want to get him sleeping better before I take that away. He is also on the verge of potty training, and has started telling us when he needs to go, which is nice. My baby is growing up, all at once it seems!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Breakfast with Santa

We have been so busy going from one fun holiday activity to the next. We have packed so much fun into December already, and still have lots more to come! This is the first year we have participated in most of these activities, since Jace was so little last year. Both boys have loved everything so far! One of our favorite things has been Breakfast with Santa, which our church hosts every year.

The gym is decorated with all kinds of fun things, and there are tables set up to eat pancakes and bacon. All around the gym are various tables full of crafts for the kids to complete. And of course you can't leave without sitting on Santa's lap and telling him what you want for Christmas:) The boys did great and their crafts are adorable!

They had so much fun running around with their friends and enjoying the morning. They had an area set up in the middle for music and the kids all gathered together to sing Christmas songs. It was so precious to see the excitement in all of their eyes as they enjoyed the fun. I love this time of year and watching my own children soak in all the fun and festivities for the first time!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I am a little late in getting this posted...oops!! Life seems to move at warp speed and finding moments of time to blog is becoming harder and harder lately. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with the Smith family this year for Thanksgiving. The boys were so excited to have their cousins come visit, and they haven't stopped talking about them since! We were able to have professional family pictures made while they were here as well, so I got one picture of the cousins all dressed up:)

The boy table for Thanksgiving feast, as Tyson calls it. The older boys were absolutely wonderful with my boys, and Jace can't stop asking where his buddies Parker and Danny went! I am so thankful they all get along so well, even with the age difference:) Tyson had so much fun playing football with the big boys, and having more freedom to run around the yard since he had some good playmates.

The girls:) We had fun playing games, watching movies, shopping, and of course eating. The favorite game this year was spades, and of course it was girls vs. boys. We had a great time playing cards and catching up with Sherrie and Shawn:) I didn't get much sleep, but it was totally worth it! Sherrie and I had fun venturing out for a little Black Friday madness and were able to survive and not buy anything! Those lines just aren't worth it, but we enjoy the adventure together:)

Jace clomping around in his uncle Shawn's boots:) Jace just loves his Uncle Shawn and follows him around everywhere. I think Shawn adores him right back:) We had lots of fun eating and just spending time together for a few days. It is always a nice change of pace to not have to travel anywhere, and for that we were extra thankful. We enjoyed the time together with family, and it was a bit bittersweet as we knew it would be Ellen's last holiday at home for a while. We have had such a great year as a family and have so much to be thankful for every single day.
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Sunday, December 04, 2011

More Pics

Marathon #2 is in the books!!!

I couldn't do any of this without my #1 supporter and encourager Silas!! He is there for me every step of the way and always does an amazing job juggling the kids, dragging them around the course, taking pictures, and cheering me on. I love this guy!

How the boys spend 5 hours on mommy's marathon race days!! They had lots of snacks and ran around quite a bit too!

Our sweet friends from Jonesboro who drove to Memphis to cheer me on! Silas was happy to have their company during the race and I was so blessed to know there were others there cheering (and praying) for me to finish well! We love you guys!
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St. Jude Pictures

Heading off to the starting line to get in our corral.

Waiting for the race to start:)

The fab 3:) I forget which mile this was, but it was pretty early on and before mile 5.

Crossing the finish line! The race clock was about 12 minutes past my official time.
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St. Jude Marathon Race Recap

I am going to do a written recap without pictures first, since I know this will get a little long, and every time I write a long post my pictures never show up!! So pictures will follow shortly:)

Silas and I packed up the boys and headed to Memphis on Friday afternoon when he got off work. The trip went well and we rode a trolley downtown to the expo at the Convention center which the boys loved! I got my packet easily and we left to go check into the hotel. After we dumped our stuff off, we headed out to load me up with carbs at Macaroni Grill:) We all had spaghetti and bread which was delicious! Then Silas dropped me off at Toys R Us to finish up our Christmas shopping for the boys. I found everything I needed and was happy about that! The boys went to bed pretty well once we got back to the hotel, but then it all went downhill from there. I got my outfit set put and everything ready for the morning and finally laid down about 10pm to try and sleep. Jace woke up around 11pm and would not go back to sleep. I hadn't been to sleep yet. And then he was up and down from then on until 2am. I finally fell asleep a little after 2 am and my alarm went off at 5am. My 3 hours of sleep was about all I thought I would get, but it sure would have been nice to have a little more rest!! I got ready, we packed the car and were off to the race!

We met up with my running partner and her friend and hung out downtown for a while before heading to the starting line. The weather was stressing me out a bit. It had snowed earlier in the week, and then it ended up being much warmer than I had hoped for at race time. The temp was somewhere around 52 degrees when we started and around 60 at the end, which was about 15 degrees warmer than most of what I had trained in, and a bit warm for my liking. It was just a hard temp to dress for. Anyway, we headed to the starting line and got in our corral. I waited to start my watch until 5 minutes to race start, and of course it wouldn't come on. I reset it and tried again and it worked thank goodness, but said Low Battery, which stressed me out a bit too. I knew it would die before the race was over, but had no clue how long it would last for me. I tried to stay calm and not worry about it, and did pretty good about it! It took us about 11 or 12 minutes to cross the starting line once the race started, and we were off!

Our plan was to pace around a 9:30 minute mile for the first half and go from there. It was very crowded for the first 5 or 6 miles and hard to run a steady pace. We ended up weaving a lot too around slower runners, which gets tiring fast. The 3 of us ran along for the first few miles enjoying the crowds and music. It was fun to run down by the river, and through downtown Memphis. At mile 4.5 or so we headed to the St. Jude campus and ran through the hospital. That was my favorite part! I got choked up several times seeing all the kids with cancer, and the parents holding signs thanking us for running and raising money for the hospital. It was so emotional and touching. I am so glad it was near the beginning or I really would have lost it! We didn't stop at a water station until mile 5, where we grabbed a drink and took some chomps. My running partner started saying she didn't feel well a little after this, and our race plan started to change pretty fast. We were keeping a steady pace and doing well, so we decided to just make it to the half and see how she felt. I put my ipod in about mile 10 which really helped. I could tell Liz was starting to fade towards the half, so I went on ahead around mile 12.5 or so and was on my own.

My watch was still working thank goodness, but I knew it would last much longer, and I had no one with me now! I saw Silas, the boys, and our friends at mile 13 which was fun and a good boost. About mile 14 I started to get bored, and realized there had been a girl running alone in front of me for a while now, so I decided to make a new friend:) I ran up to her and started talking. I asked if she minded if I ran with her a while since I had lost my running buddies and was lonely! She said sure! It turns out her training partners had gotten injured before the race and she was running solo too, and was happy I joined her:) Her name was Ali, and we ran together the entire rest of the race! She finished about a minute ahead of me, but I was so thankful for her. We talked off and on for the next 12 miles and encouraged each other when we needed a boost. My Garmin ended up dying right after mile 16, and I was so thankful my new friend was happy to keep me updated on our progress:) She kept me up on our pace and total time, and I used my pace chart to keep us on track. It worked out perfectly! It was a beautiful sunny day to run and the course was great. No big hills at all and lots to look at along the way. There were water stops every single mile and I pretty much stopped at all of them but maybe one from the half point on. I knew I needed to stay hydrated since it was getting so warm.

I got a little tired around 20 miles, but we pushed on. The last 6 miles were a foggy nightmare for me in the last marathon, but this time around went much better. We started playing the "lets just make it to the next mile game" at this point. I knew if I could just get to mile 24 I would feel better mentally. We stayed strong and only walked for about 5-10 seconds at each water station to make sure we drank well. It was easier to start moving again when you had someone with you! We had fun smiling for pictures along the way, and tried to encourage other runners who looked like they were struggling. The miles kept ticking away slowly but steadily, and I was still about 3 minutes ahead of my best case scenario time goal! Mile 25 to 26 was the hardest for me. My left calf tried to start cramping at this point. I would feel it start to cramp up, and just willed it not to. There was no way I was going to start walking when I was this close to the end! Mostly I was just hot. And the wind had really kicked up and seemed to be blowing right at us. It was hard to fight it and keep moving. But we did. I knew the finish line was getting close and I was really happy with the race so far. I lost all my extra time in that last mile, just from being so tired, hot and windy. The crowds were so good and very encouraging along the way, which really helped too. I lost Ali right after mile 26 as she went ahead. I was so proud of her, since this was her first marathon!! She did awesome:) The finish is inside the AutoZone park field which was fun. I ran into the stadium and had plenty of juice left to push across the finish line with a smile on my face!

I got my medal and mylar blanket, and smiled for a picture from Silas:) Then went to get my picture taken with Elvis! I felt tired but really good. I was walking around fine and was so excited about reaching my goal without my watch!! Official time was 4:18:46, and I had carried a pace chart for a 4:18 finish....it was perfect! I went up the stairs to meet up with Silas and our friends. I couldn't believe how much better I felt after this marathon than I did in Little Rock. I thought I was going to die after that one! We all hung out and visited for a while and then decided to head out. The boys were getting restless and I was ready to sit down and get off my feet! We made it back to the car and headed home.

I changed into some clean clothes in the car and we headed out of town with a big smile on my face:) Oh yeah, my running partner finished in 4:46. She had a cold and just wasn't feel great, and I am so proud of her for gutting it out and finishing the race alone. That is not easy to do.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Marathon Personal Record!

I finished the marathon this morning in 4:18:46 with an average pace of 9:53! Exactly on pace for what I wanted to do!!! It was a great race and I am so happy with my time. I will get a full race report up soon along with some pictures:)

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Night Before St.Jude

Marathon #2 is in the morning!! I am so excited, and feeling much more prepared for this one than my first. We will see if that means anything when the rubber meets the road and I pound the pavement tomorrow. I am looking for a good PR and hope this will be the race to do it. My last marathon I finished in 4:43:19 I think, and I am aiming for anything under 4:30 this time around. Of course I have some huge goals in my mind which I am hoping are pretty realistic, but we will see! I have a pace band printed out for a 4:18 finish, and will see how long I can hold that pace. The weather is driving me crazy right now. I was hoping for 30 degrees at the start and to finish in the 40's, but it is looking to be a bit warm and I have about 6 combinations of outfits packed. Yuck! The car is packed and we are just waiting on Silas to get home from work to head out to Memphis and have fun at the race expo before heading to our hotel. Oh yeah, and Santa's elves are making a stop at Toy's R Us to do a little Christmas shopping for the boys while we are there:) There are tons of people I know running all distances at this race, so I am hoping it will be fun to see some familiar faces along the way:) And it is such a good cause as well, I am so proud to be part of this great event for the children of St. Jude Hospital.