Friday, December 28, 2012

My New Favorite Necklace

Ann Troast Photography
(Left to Right:  Stacy, Me, My Mom, Jill, Cricket)

I am so thankful for the relationship I have with my mother and my sisters (sister in law included).   This year I wanted to do something special to convey in some small way how much they all mean to me.  So, I decided to get us all matching necklaces.  Originally, I had really wanted all of us to get matching tattoos, but I wasn't sure if we would all be game for that, so I settled on the necklaces.

Ann Troast Photography
Recently, I discovered that my old college roommate has been making jewelry.  She does awesome work, and I knew she was the perfect person to go to make these necklaces.  I obviously love to support anything handmade, and especially someone like me who does it as a little side business.

I contacted Val from V's Jewels, and shared with her a design I had seen on Etsy.  Basically, I wanted a cross with our birthstones and an anchor.  I wanted it to symbolize how each of us are anchored together through Christ.    Val loved the idea and went to work right away brainstorming and ordering supplies.  The final product is better than I imagined and I LOVE it.  She did an amazing job.

I include my sister-in-law in on this as well because she is just as much a sister to me as my two actual sisters.  She has been with my brother since I was in high school and stuck by him when he was in the worst of his alcohol addiction.  Thankfully, he is almost 6 years sober (whoop, whoop)!

Along with the necklaces,  I wanted to include a poem to explain their meaning, as well as convey to them what they each mean to me.  You can read it below:

To my favorite women
A small gift for you
To honor our love
And all we’ve been through.

At the bottom you’ll find
Five stones hung on
They represent us
And our very close bond

The anchor shows
How solid we are
Though waters get rough
We don’t move too far

 The cross, as you see
It rests on our heart
With God as our center
We won’t fall apart

Through Christ’s awesome love
We are anchored together
In the good and the bad
And all of life’s weather.

So, thanks each of you
And how much you care
What God has given us
Is extraordinarily rare.

A HUGE thank-you to Val for making such an amazing and meaningful piece of jewelry for each of us.  Please head over to her Facebook page and show her some love, and order from her!  She is awesome to work with and makes beautiful stuff.  You really cannot beat something that is handmade from someone who truly loves her craft.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012 (this is your official Thompson Christmas Card)

Kate Krueger Photography

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  And, while I am at it....Happy New Year!

This year has been one amazing year for our family.  Nothing extraordinary happened, but nothing awful either.  It has been a year of normal...and I really liked that.

I know this is the time that people chat about what everyone in the family is doing, so I figured I better make this the best digital Christmas card out there and follow suit to keep up with the real cards :-)
Ann Troast Photography
Paul is still working at Meijer.  I love them.  Not all of his days are amazing, and there are certain areas that cause him huge headaches, but all in all Meijer is a fabulous company.  I appreciate their interest in our family, and I really love getting that 10% discount on general merchandise :-)

Aside from Meijer, Paul also works for our church, Cornerstone, in Caledonia.  He is the Worship Tech Manager.  I don't really know what all of that means except that he spends a lot of time setting up the stage, tearing down the stage, setting lights, and making sure all things "techy" work smoothly.  This is definitely Paul's creative outlet and he has a huge passion for the worship arts.

I am still a homemaker.  Most days are great, but somedays can seem monotonous and rather unimportant.  The saying "Long Days. Short Years" can be far too true with a three year old and a one year old.  I try to remind myself that fixing dinner, picking up toys, and doing laundry are definitely important in this world and really if no one did them this house would be a disaster with naked, hungry, and cranky people!  I truly do love being home with my girls.  I love doing art projects with Belle, and singing and dancing with Evie.

I am still busy with crocheting.  I had put it down after having Evie and have gotten back into it.  It is my therapy and it has become my misson.  Rosie's Cozies has still been a huge success in blessing premature babies and their families, and it was even a great way to push me to finish my first ever 5k this year!  I promise I did not expect to check that off of my list in 2012.   I wish I had more time to write patterns, but in the meantime I love starting new projects and trying new things.

Ann Troast Photography
Kate Krueger Photography

Belle began preschool this past year and it is the cutest thing ever.  She comes back with new stories of what she learned and new songs I love to hear.  I had to have a good laugh when I found out she had to sit in time out because she was talking too much at circle time.  Alas, the poor girl is just like her mother!  It has been quite the year figuring out her sleeping issues, potty training, and other such woes of this age, but it has been such a joy watching her go from a toddler to a little girl.  She equally melts my heart and makes me crazy every day.

Ann Troast Photography
Kate Krueger Photography
Evie.  Oh, Evie.  This past year she went from a laid-back baby into this busy, into everything, curious little toddler!  It is hard to get mad at a face like hers with those curls all over her head.  I think Belle is going to have a run for her money with a little sister like Evie.  She started walking just after Thanksgiving and has been on the move ever since.  Verbally, she will say "buh-bye," "hi," "no," and mimics us often.  She is really good at "ah-choo!'  Evie has turned into quite the snuggler and I eat every minute of it up. She will rest her head right into your neck and cozy up.  Melts. My. Heart.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I have no shame in sharing my struggles and frustrations, and I am thankful for those of you who have offered encouragement, prayer, and just honest empathy.  I am equally thankful for those of you who share in my praises and my accomplishments and cheer me on.

Overall, 2012 has treated us well.  We have been blessed with amazing family and fabulous friends.  God is good.  God is good.  God. Is. Good.

Ann Troast Photography
Ann Troast Photography
Kate Krueger Photography

Sunday, December 16, 2012


This past few days have been a load of emotions.  All of the Connecticut stuff has been weighing heavily on me.  The day the news came out I cried, and I cried, and I cried.  I watched intently on the news and my heart ached.  I hurt so bad inside for those families who have lost their babies.  I imagined what the first responders may have witnessed and I just felt broken and helpless.

I have verged on anger, sorrow, and guilt.  I am angry at Adam Lanza.  I am angry at sin.  I am angry at the awful state of our human nature.  And quite honestly, I have been angry at God.  I know God has plans far greater than I can understand, but I am mad.  I am so mad for those parents who will have unopened Christmas gifts under their tree.  I imagined that if that happened to Belle I would come home to her half eaten bowl of cereal left on the counter, her pjs on the floor where she took them off, her room full of toys she hadn't put away, and multiple traces of her left for me to ache and yearn for.  I can only imagine the pain those families have and I am angry.

Obviously, the sorrow feelings are there every time I think through the events.  I put myself in the shoes of the families who have lost those babies, and I just grieve.  I hurt for them as a mother who wants to keep their children safe from all harm and to protect them.  When I put myself in their shoes I almost can't even let my mind go there because it is too horrific for me to imagine.  

And then there is the guilt.  We went to my side of the family's Christmas party yesterday, and it was amazing.   We thoroughly enjoy each other and it is one of my favorite days of the year.  We have a table full of food, a tree with presents for all, and activities throughout the entire the day.  It is truly a time where we all enjoy each other and celebrate Christ.  I loved it.  Belle and Evie loved it.  However, when we left I got into the car and just cried.  I felt so much guilt that as I smiled, laughed, and celebrated, the parents from Newtown were struggling with the worst pain a parent could imagine.  I know it is okay for me to enjoy things, but there is just that side of me that can't seem to shake despite my enjoyment the emotional struggle in Connecticut.

So, now what?  Quite honestly, I am not a fan of Obama's politics, but tonight when he spoke I felt like we "got" each other.  Parent to parent.  Human to human.  Whether or not we agree on the political front, this is something we can all relate to.  We know what it feels like to love, to hurt, and to have empathy.  We all hurt and reel for those in Newtown.  As Obama quoted Matthew 19:14 "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these'" and read each child's name I couldn't stop the tears.  

God's plans are greater than I can understand, and I hold on to that truth.  I truly believe God can redeem this awful awful awful event.  It doesn't mean the pain will go away, but I believe God can take this and use it in some way and somehow for good.  Last week Monday I attended a women's event at our church about miracles.  Miracles don't always come in the form we expect them to, but it doesn't mean they aren't happening.  No, God will not restore the 28 lost lives in Newton, but I believe in my deepest soul that there will be miracle after miracle in response to this event. 

In the meantime, I will still probably find myself crying and hurting for the families affected in Newtown.  I will still probably have many conversations with God begging Him to help me understand.  I will still feel those emotions of anger, sorrow, and guilt, but I hold on to God and hope if nothing else I always remember to hug my family tightly...and not ONLY after a tragic event like this.  

To those in Newtown, CT I pray for for you and I grieve for you.  May God comfort you and this nation surround you. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cardless Christmas

Sorry to all of those who may be waiting impatiently by your mailbox for our fabulous Christmas card, but you will be sorely disappointed.  This year I have decided to nix sending out a card.  This is for many reasons:
  1. I am cheap.   Buying the cards and paying for postage just seemed like extra money I didn't want to spend this Christmas season.  
  2. Each year I have to rummage through old emails and old cards to try to find all of the addresses I need to mail out our cards.  One year I actually had a stack of cards I did not send out because I hadn't found the address, and then my friend, Deedre, saw our Christmas card on our other friend, Liz's, refrigerator and wondered why in the world she didn't get a Christmas card that year.  Thank goodness she knows I am a disorganized space cadet and wasn't offended because she knew I was intending to mail hers out as soon as I found that darn address.
  3. I know it doesn't take THAT much time to stuff and address the envelopes, but it is honestly time during the day I don't have with how crazy busy Evie is, and at the end of the day I don't really want to do much but relax on my couch.
  4. I realized that people see stupid amounts of pictures and stories of my family daily on Facebook.  Yes, I am that girl who posts constantly because I really love to share my life with others and technology makes it SO convenient.  I have no shame and I totally own this trait of mine.  Therefore, I didn't know if people really needed to now see another picture of my over-shared family in their mailbox too.
  5. Last year my sister, Jill, did a Christmas "card" via Facebook, and I felt it was genius and decided that was the way to go.
So, maybe it's kind of bah-humbug to not mail out Christmas cards, but I'd like to think that I am keeping up with the wave of the future and the changing of times (right?  right????).  With that said, be on the lookout for my Christmas "Card" Blog Post in the next couple of weeks.  If you really want to you can print off the picture and place it on your mantle with all of the cards that non-cheaplazydisorganized people send your way :-)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I love Thanksgiving.  Love it!  Most people know that my most ideal meal ever is turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, and some good ol' pumpkin pie.  What can I say?  I LOVE comfort foods (it is one of the reasons that eating at The Cracker Barrel makes me so excited).

Obviously Thanksgiving is a lot about food and a lot about gratitude  I sure had enough food, and I have even more to be thankful for.  Today is a day we reflect on the blessings in our life and take a moment to step back and truly stop to say "thank you."

Today I am thankful for today.  Paul and I headed out to the East side of our state to visit his family.  I tend to be a nap Nazi and was having some anxiety about Evie's sleep schedule and whether or not she would be a complete disaster by the time church was over.  I also truly hate riding in the car with children for more than 45 minutes.  My kids are busy and most times I sit in angry jealousy of Paul who is busy driving while I am buckling and unbuckling to put in the pacifier, pick up the blankies, give the bottle, give the snacks, blah, blah, blah.  

Today, I am not thankful because our ride was easy breezy.  Nope, it was annoying and I was irritated, BUT I am beyond thankful that Evie took a quick little cat nap just long enough to make her last until church was done.  When we arrived, she woke up with a HUGE smile and was rested just enough to be happy, but not cranky.  Once we got into church I loved watching Belle run up to Paul's dad and give him the biggest hug.  She refused to go into nursery, until she saw her Bepa and gave him a big bear hug. 

After church we headed back to Paul's parents' house where Evie took a phenomenal nap (made this nap Nazi very happy)!  I also realized how easy Belle is and how quickly she is growing up.  She played so well, sat at the table so good with all of us during the "feast," and was quite low maintenance.  She played with her aunt and uncle, and loved on her Mema and Bepa.  Today was a great reminder to me that although the baby stage is cute and cuddly, it is hard work, and that it really is a few short years until children become fairly independent.  

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Today we celebrated Evie's 1st birthday with Paul's side of the family.  We sang happy birthday, opened gifts, and of course we watched as Evie has a good cupcake smash!  We also cheered today as we watched Evie take some real actual steps!  Recently, she has been taking a couple of steps and then falling to her knees, but today she moved and grooved right across the room!
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Don't mss with my cupcake.
After our amazing Thanksgiving meal, Paul and I headed to his grandma's new home.  Great Grandma LuLu (as Belle calls her) just moved here from San Francisco, and this past week she moved into her independent living apartment.  Tonight I spent a lot of one on one time with Mema.  We sat in her room talking about her thoughts about moving to Michigan (which she said is quite cold), and we talked about her brother, Bepa, her thoughts about this new place she lived, and laughed at the stories she was already telling about the people that lived there.  As I listened to her I wondered about her life. I wondered about everything she had been through and had seen in her 85+ years of life.  It made me think about all of the stories that the resident's must have that live there.  I don't spend a lot of time with elderly people, but my time with Mema tonight was so enjoyable, and so treasured.

On our way home tonight I soaked in the laughter of my girls in the backed seat, and Paul and I cracked up as Belle made sure to inform us that Evie just did a "juicy fart."  Love them.  

Overall, today was a day to be thankful, and we have so much to give thanks for.  I consider how much joy I had in watching my one year old start to walk, and then being able to have a great conversation with Mema who is in her late 80s.  I feel insanely blessed, and I am so thankful for the people I have in my life....young and old :-)  We have family on both sides of us that are involved, and that our girls LOVE to spend time with.  

Thanksgiving 2012 has been a blessing, and my heart is beyond full.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mommy Time Out

Today was one of those days with my girls that I could have bottled up and saved forever.  Nothing crazy happened, but we truly just enjoyed each other.

A week ago, this was not the case.  Last week Friday, Belle and I had one of our many fights over clothing, as well as just getting her moving.  We had had many mornings like this recently and I was becoming exhausted.  Belle is easily distracted (hmmm, I have NO idea where that comes from), and in the morning it takes a lot of prompting and reminders to get her dressed, her hair done, and just basically get herself together.  Sometimes just getting myself and the girls out the door makes me feel like I just ran a marathon by the time we are buckled and in the car.  I have begun to set a timer for Belle.  I tell her she has 3 minutes to get dressed and if it's not done by the time the timer goes off then she sits in time out.  This works okay, except when she disagrees with the outfits I pick out.  Then the fighting begins. 

Once it is certain we are going to be late, Belle still isn't dressed, Evie is getting into everything she can, and I am feeling frantic, angry, and irritated my really ugly mommy side comes out.  You all know what this means.  The yelling starts and the stomping begins, which makes Belle cry more, and then I get more mad because she is crying and not getting anything done.  The kicker is always when in the midst of her crying she trips and hurts herself--which means I now have to console her and I might hug her a little too tightly while clenching my teeth because it is helping me dispense my anger a little bit.

Ugh.  We have had too many of these mornings lately.  Last week I actually showed up at Body & Soul (late) and told my friend, Liz, that although it was 9:30 in the morning I was ready to start drinking.  If I felt like this, then how in the world was Belle feeling after her mother just screamed and yelled at her and we both ended up in the car crying on the way to our destination.  Needless to say, nothing is more humbling than apologizing to my three year old and her telling me "it's okay," and topping it off with a hug. 

I recently asked Belle what a "mommy" was, and she replied, "a mom gets mad at me when I pee my pants." Ugh. This was how she viewed me in that moment. I don't want her to remember me as the mom who raged when we were running late or screamed at her when she wet her pants. Now, don't get me wrong... I think it is more than okay for Belle to know that I am disappointed or upset at her. It's more or less that I need to convey this with much different actions than how I have been.

I have decided that something needed to change.  This past week has been loads better, but has taken some work.  I hate and despise being late anywhere.  It is by far one of my most anxiety producing pet peeves.  I really had to think through whether or not making it somewhere on time was worth all of the drama taking place in our heart.  Honestly, Belle is in preschool...why do I care so much if I am a bit late to PRESCHOOL?!?!  Showing up at church, Body & Soul, or MOPS late is so not a big deal!  Nobody cares if I walk in late, so why am I freaking out on my kid?  Honestly, the more yelling I do doesn't make us arrive somewhere any quicker.  It only helps me release my anger, but makes me feel like an awful mother in the end as I watch my three year old fall apart.

This past week at MOPS, Carolyn, one of our mentor moms read a devotional that hit me square between the eyes.  It talked about how we as moms will fail.  However, our children must always see our eyes light up when they walk into the room.  We must always make sure we let them know how much we love them and how precious they are to us.  We won't always get it right, but we must always try.

I have vowed to work on being more in control of my feelings of anger, disappointment, and beyond pissed offness.  Were there days we were running late this week? Yup.  Did it stress me out?  Oh, yes!  I just kept telling myself "it's okay, it's okay, it's not a big deal."  I know I am still going to have many instances where I need to give myself a "mommy time out," and I am going to have to ask forgiveness from my sweet girl.  I often have to remind myself that I am an adult and Belle has only been in this world 3 short years, so I need to get myself under control and chill out.

Belle and Evie are my favorite little people around and I never want to make them feel they are less than amazing and wonderful.  I never want them to feel like their mother is more interested in getting to church on time, than about their own feelings and self-worth.  I know we will have many hard days and I will fail again and again as a mom, but it will be those days that I teach my kids how to apologize and ask for forgiveness. 

Thank goodness children forgive so easily and love so big. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, Evelyn Joy!

Dear Evelyn Joy,

How in the world has a year gone by already?  I feel like it was just yesterday that I was waiting impatiently to go into labor to finally meet you.  It has been one amazing year with you and I cannot tell you enough how loved you are.  Each year I write down everything I don't want to forget about you this past year, and I have so been looking forward to my list of "Evie Favorites."  You, my girl, are a gem with more personality than I anticipated!

  1. You came into this world with a little surprise and drama by being an emergency c-section due to us finding out you were breech right when I was ready to push.  I wasn't quite prepared for that sort of delivery, but you were well worth it, and I really wouldn't change it.  It is part of your story :-)
  2. You know you have to be one special little girl to have been born on 11-11-11.  Your dad actually guessed this date all along.  He kept telling me he wanted you on the 11th, which I wasn't thrilled with because I was due on the 9th and didn't want to go over.  I'm happy I did :-)  I love the reaction I get from people when I tell them your birthdate.
  3. You have been a really laid back baby.  You only really cried when you were tired, hungry, or needing a diaper change.  You never had any AWFUL nights, and I was more than surprised with how much easier my mom instincts kicked in the second time around.
  4. You think you sister is HILARIOUS.  Belle can make you laugh and smile when I can't.  I will often tell her to make you laugh while we are in the car if you are crabbin', and most often she can do it no problem.
  5. Your hair.  You have had quite the head of hair since day one.  Your hair never fell out and just kept growing.  You have ended up with some curls on the side and on top--giving you the nickname "Cindy Lou Who."
  6. You sure have some baby blues.  Wow.  People comment on your eyes all the time, and it is obvious.  Those eyes of yours are crowd stoppers.
  7. When you don't get what you want you get SO mad.  You scream, and wave your arms. This just recently started happening.  It's nice to know you have some of your mom's fiestyness in ya, but it often drives me nuts too.  You can screech!
  8. You are one curious bugger!  Ever since you could crawl you have been into EVERYTHING.  You are interested in everything but toys.  You want to get into cupboards, purses, drawers, etc.  
  9. You won't keep any sort of bow or hat on your head.  As your mother who LOVES to crochet, this doesn't fair too well for me when I want to put cute hats on you that I have made.
  10. You have always been a great night sleeper, but not so much of a great napper.  I think you just truly enjoy being awake and in the know of what is happening.  Don't get me wrong-I LOVE that you sleep through the night, but I sure wish you wanted a bit more sleep during the day too.
  11. When you are mad you like to flail your arms and hit your head.  I can't help it, but I laugh a lot when you do this because it is hysterical to watch.
  12. Often when I have picked you up from nursery I have been told that you are their entertainment or the happiest baby there.  It makes me one proud mama.
  13. You have an infectious smile and laugh at everything.   It is soooo easy to get you belly laughing.
  14. You LOVE when people "chase" you.  If I crawl behind you or follow you up the stairs you stop to turn around and make sure I am still there.  Then you laugh and continue as fast as you can.
  15. You have always been the spitting image of your dad.  It is uncanny how much you look like your father...although the older you get the more you start to look like your sister, who looks like me.
  16. You got your top front teeth first and have this hysterical laugh where you show your teeth, close your eyes, and laugh through your nose.  It's my favorite. 
  17. THANKFULLY, you have hardly been sick this year.  This is extremely important because your dad and I missed our 30 day enrollment period to get you signed onto our insurance, therefore leaving you without health insurance for over a year.  Let this be the first lesson we teach you.  That 30 day enrollment period--VERY IMPORTANT.  
  18. You sure know how to snuggle.  I love nothing more than when I hold you and you lay your head right on me.  Belle never did this.  It melts my hear every single time.
  19. You HATE getting dressed or getting your diaper changed.  I truly think it is because you are just too busy playing to want to stop to get clothed.  Although, it may also be that you REALLY love being naked like your sister :-)
  20. You are so precious to us.  We could never imagine our lives without you.  You have been more amazing than we could have ever imagined!  I cannot wait to see how you keep growing, and your personality evolves.  You are such a gift from God and we are so thankful for you!
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12 Months

Monday, October 15, 2012

11 Months

It's hard to believe that in one more month I will actually have a 1 year old! This year has flown by!

This past month Evie FINALLY got some teeth in her mouth, and the current count is up to 3. She seems to handle teething fine, but just slightly crankier than normal. It doesn't seem to mess with her napping too much.

Evie is ALL over the place. She has been crawling for awhile now, but she is so stinking fast and has discovered how to climb stairs. This means I have to constantly be aware of exactly where she is at all times. I have finally resorted to putting her in a pack 'n' play with toys just so I can get dinner made or things cleaned up around here!

Evie is curious as ever. She wants to get into cupboards, she wants to put her hands in the toilet, she wants to climb into closets and pull everything out, etc, etc. Everything new she discovers has to go into her mouth, which is another reason why I have to constantly be aware of where she is and what she is doing.

Belle does great with Evie, despite the fact that Evie usually messes up whatever Belle is playing with. If Belle is on the iPad, Evie will try to grab it. If Belle is coloring, Evie will grab that paper and rip it. If Belle is putting together a puzzle, Evie will inevitably ruin it. For the most part Belle just picks up her stuff and moves somewhere else. We also need to be careful of Evie grabbing at faces and pulling hair. She has pulled more than a few kids' hair, and if you are holding her she will take a swipe at your face :-)

This month Evie has really started to mimic a ton more. She will raise her hands when we say "How big are you? SOOOO big!" She claps, and will stick her tongue out if we do. She knows when people are laughing at her and she will continue to ham it up to keep us laughing. I have a feeling we have another daughter who enjoys being the center of attention :-)

I will be getting an 11 month picture up soon...although currently Evie has a nasty cold and she isn't too thrilled to do much lately. Once we have a healthier home and a happier baby I will be sure to post the 11 month pics!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I Actually Did It! (an overdue post)

We are ready to run!

A picture before the race.  I was nervous!

Coming into the Finish Line.  What a GREAT feeling!


I never thought I would actually know what it felt like to pin a bib number onto my shirt, lace up my running shoes, and participate in an actual race.  I never thought I would actually run in a race and get home and start researching for the next upcoming race I could participate in.  Last week I completed the goal I set for myself earlier this summer -- To train and compete in an actual 5k race.  My original goal was to finish in 30 minutes or less and I made it in 29:03 (23rd in my age group out of 85)!

I know that running 3 miles may not seem like much to many, but to this chick it is a HUGE accomplishment.  I have always been a very strong anti-exerciser and this goal was one I reluctantly made.  I knew that training was not going to be fun, and I knew there would be tons of days I would know I had to go out and run when I would rather sit home and relax.  In fact, I think it is safe to say that I was definitely the most vocal about hating all forms of exercise than any of my family and friends.    Paul even told me that he didn't think I was going to actually follow through with my goal, because he knew how much I hated exercise.

I think there was a long time that I enjoyed being the girl that hated exercise.  It was a nice and easy way to excuse my reason for not actually doing any.  I would make jokes that it was from the devil and only crazy people do things like work out.  I know it might sound hokey, but I really feel like this was a calling from God.  I really feel like God put some urge in me (because I know I did not have it in myself) to get my butt outside running.  Trust me, there had to be some divine intervention here.

Training wasn't my favorite, but I made a goal (advertised it all over FB), and somehow stuck with it.  Much of what kept my going was my commitment to run in order to raise $1000 and 1000 preemie hats for Rosie's Cozies to give to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.  We have surpassed our monetary goal, and I am hoping that over the next couple of days I collect enough hats to reach our hat goal!

Everyone keeps asking me if I have caught the "running bug," and in some ways I have. Do I love heading out to go running? Not really. I enjoy the personal time to myself, but I can't say that running is my first choice for how I want to spend some free time. However, I know there are benefits to exercise, and I hate to admit that it's been obvious. One is my lack of migraines (wahoo!), less anxiety, and increased energy.

On a sweet side, the other day I told Belle we were going to run up to the UPS Store. She put on her tennis shoes and when I opened the door to the van she started crying. When I asked what was wrong she said, "I don't want to get in the car! I want to run to the UPS Store!" Another time I was going to have to push the girls, and Belle was adamant that she was going to run next to me and DID NOT want to ride in the stroller. Again, she put on her tennis shoes and ran next to me for a couple blocks before hopping into the stroller. Hopefully I can be a positive example to my girls about a healthy lifestyle that focuses on HEALTH and not vanity.

Thank you to all who encouraged me and kept me motivated!  Paul told me he didn't think I would actually do it, but he still encouraged me the entire way, and was shocked when we made it to race day.  I am happier that I not only achieved a personal goal, but an even larger goal for Rosie's Cozies that helps many others than just my own little bubble.  Everyone that donated to the project is a hero in my heart and kept me motivated more than ever to keep training.  Now, onto my next race...AND maybe some training for a 10k??

Click here to see the video about The Bridge Run and my interview:
1,500 Gather In Downtown GR For Bridge Run

Lastly, enjoy this video highlighting Rosie's Cozies (you will need some tissues).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday, Belle!

Dear Belle,

3 years old! How did you become such a big girl! This past year you have gone from toddler to little girl. In true motherly form, this wouldn't be a birthday post without my list of things to remember from this past year.

  1. This year you became a big sister.  This is a role you are phenomenal at.  You have pretty much held a great balance between loving on Evie without being overly interested and hurting her.  Evie laughs at everything you do, and you love to make her smile.  You, my girl, are one amazing big sister.
  2. You remember everything!  This is a good thing and a bad thing :-)
  3. Animals are still one of your favorite things.  Surprisingly, you are more into things like turtles and frogs than you are into soft and fluffy animals.  This makes Rick the Reptile Guy your best friend.
  4. Purple.  Your favorite color.  You love to tell us that this is your favorite color.  You also know that green is my favorite color and blue is Daddy's favorite color.
  5. You want to do everything on your own...yet you want me to do everything.  You are an independent girl who knows what she wants, yet there are still so many times you just want your mama to do it.   
  6. You love all things that are messy....playing with water, painting, coloring with markers, eating.  Everything somehow ends up all over your arms and on your face.  
  7. You are the queen of one-liners.  Holy smokes you have me laughing (and everyone on Facebook) daily.
  8. You love to sing like your mom.  
  9. You like to watch movies with your daddy.
  10. You have just begun to play with your dolls, little ponies, and stuffed animals in scenarios.  There is always a mommy and a daddy and I love to hear the things you come up with.
  11. You are one confident little lady.  You are very rarely shy and will talk to most anyone.
  12. You are a champ on your bike!  This summer you learned how to ride a bike and it didn't take long for you to be zooming up and down the sidewalk with no problem.
  13. This year may have been one of my biggest challenges in motherhood yet.  You are a night owl like your mom, and once we moved you to a big bed you wouldn't stay in your bed or in your room.  We tried it all!  Thankfully, these issues have been resolved for the most part.  You are a much happier little girl, and I am a much happier mama!
  14. You are a whiz on the iPad.  You can turn it on, find the app you want, and play away.  On a funny note--you now think everything is a touch screen.
  15. I love that I can have conversations with you that make sense (usually) :-)  
  16. Your prayer is, "Dear God, Heavenly Father.  Have a good day.  Glory. Amen."  Verbatim.  Every. Time.
  17. You love it when your dad reads the book "Oui-Oui" to you at bed time and you know that since it is in French I cannot read it. In fact, you could "read" it to me.
  18. I love that we brought you to Shedd Aquarium this summer and you still haven't stopped talking about it.
  19. Your favorite animal is a cat and you keep saying you are going to get one.  Your insanely allergic father would have to move out before this happened.
  20. You love to chat with everyone at Meijer.  I must do some more stranger danger education :-)  Honestly, you make best friends with everyone!
  21. I love how you walk around church like you own the joint.
  22. You could watch the exact same movie or television show over and over again.
  23. Nothing melts my heart more than when you give me a huge bear hug and say "I love you, Mama."
  24. You love to be naked.  Love it.  You love to lay on the couch with your blankies and your paci completely in the nude while watching TV.  I have also caught you outside on our deck naked and have had to stop you from answering the front door before putting clothes on.
  25. You are THE BEST helper to bake with.
  26. If there is a hard surface, it is inevitable that your head will meet it in some form creating a cut or a bruise.  I am surprised we haven't had CPS called on us yet for the amount of injuries you have incurred from your own running around.
  27. You are Daddy's little helper at church when he sets lights or clears the stage.  He is training you young.
  28. I can bribe you do to most anything by offering you some sort of junk food.  
  29. Your favorite food is popcorn.  Hmmm, I have NO clue who you get that from. 
  30. You and your dad make some impressive forts.
  31. I love how you associate books with your Mema and instantly grab them for her to read them to you when she visits.  I'm pretty sure she loves it too.  
  32. You refer to McDonald's as "Old MacDonald's," Lucky Charms as "Monkey Charms," your underwear as "under-dunders," toilets that flush automatically as toilets that are "commando," and you are constantly referring to knives as scissors and scissors as knives.
  33. Every birthday gift I bought from you you found--Even the ones in the top shelf of the laundry room.  I have a feeling we will be finding very random locations for upcoming Christmas gifts.
  34. You truly treat your birthday like a national holiday, and talk about it months in advance.
  35. I may be bias, but I think you are the coolest 3 year old around.  You are forever melting my heart, cracking me up, and making me love life more and more each day.
Happy Birthday my sweet girl!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Preschool and 10 Months

Today this girl took off for her first day of preschool. She has been so excited to head off to school and we have been talking about it for a long time. I really debated sending her this year or not, and it became more and more clear that Belle was ready for school.

Belle is busy. She is a kid that moves from one thing to the next. She loves to play with dolls, watch movies, ride her bike, color, paint, make Evie laugh, go to the zoo, read books, etc, etc, etc....and this is just enough activities to keep her busy for a few hours :-)  This girl needs more activity than I can give her.

So, it was decided that Belle was sure ready for school. I just hope that school is ready for her! I have a feeling I am going to be hearing some stories from Miss Katie and Miss Jeni of things Belle says and does.

Also today, Evie turns 10 months old!  I always say that I am amazed at how fast things go, but this first year has been flying by!

Evie is crawling everywhere and pulling herself up onto everything.  She continues to be a very easy and happy baby.  She loves to watch Belle and often abuses poor Mac by eating his ears or pulling his tail.  She also has a HUGE desire to splash in Mac's water bowl and eat his food.  My day is often spent fishing dog food out of her mouth and pulling her hands out of his water!

While celebrating each of these milestones today, I still remember what happened in our country 11 years ago.  September 11 is a reminder that life is precious.  Thank you to the soldiers and their families who sacrifice so much, and may those who hurt from having lost ones they love find peace and comfort.  I hope I remember to hug my girls and the ones I love tightly everyday and to cherish each moment I have with them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Last Week!

I can't believe it, but I have made it through almost 8 weeks of training for this 5k!  I have two more days of training before I officially am able to run 30 minutes without stopping.  WHAT?!?!

I'm just going to toot my own horn for a second, because I am beyond proud of myself for making it 8 weeks and for actually completing what I set out to do.  Never in a million years would I have thought that it was possible for this bod to move 3 miles on it's own.  My first week of training was tough, and I remember all I kept thinking was "how am I EVER going to run for 3 miles straight, when I can't even run for 3 minutes straight!?!?

I feel like I can finally relate to those things that runners talk about.  Ha!  I have heard runners talk about how once you get past that first mile it is easier.  I thought they were crazy.  How do you run further than a mile when after that first one you want to die?  Now I get it.  My first mile is always the hardest.  It's like my muscles take a good 10 minutes to give in and accept that they are going to have to work for the next 30 minutes.

I also understand that itch runners say they get to want to run.  My sister-in-law and I had this discussion the other day (she is also doing the same app I am doing).  We both don't like to run, but sometimes we get this desire that we just want to get outside and go running.

It's amazing how everything "they" say about working out is true :-)  As someone who has some anxiety, I have found that my anxiety level has for sure been lower.  I have also found that it has been a great way to relieve stress (especially if Paul and I had an argument...wait, we don't have those, right?). All of those migraines I had been chatting about a few months ago have disappeared.  I have, however, been going to the chiropractor too, which may help, but I am more than fine giving some credit to my running.

I still have 4 weeks until my race, so I hope to improve on my time.  Right now I am running 10 to 10 1/2 minute miles.  Not great, but not terrible for someone who was never a runner.  If I can make it over the finish line in 30 minutes or less I will be ecstatic.

So that's the progress!  For those who were curious what app I am using it is called Ease into 5k, and I could not have done this without it!  It is definitely the way to go!  I still can't believe 8 weeks ago I was struggling to run for 60 seconds!

Oh, and on the Rosie's Cozies front, we are getting closer and closer to our goal!  I am SOOO excited about this, and can't wait to see all of the hats come pouring in over the next few weeks.  I'd love to completely blow our goal out of the water!  Thanks to those who are planning on donating and have already!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

9 Months

So happy do be 9 months old!

Quit taking pictures of me!!!!

Get the smile while you can!

Happy for a quick second.  Belle made me laugh and I forgot I was mad.

So sad.  So tired.

Wants to crawl soooo bad!

It's official. Evie has been out just as long as she was in. Where has the time gone?

Ev is sooooo very close to crawling. She wants to so bad, and is easily frustrated that she can't move around as much as she wants. She can roll around everywhere and easily pushes herself up into a sitting positing. I have a feeling it will only be a matter of a couple more weeks before she is completely on the loose.

This girl laughs and smiles at everything. It does not take much at all to get her belly laughing. She will go from a cry to a laugh in no time (as you can tell from the pics above). Evie thinks Belle is hysterical. Nothing is sweeter than driving around and hearing my girls laughing at each other. Today, Evie was laying on the ground and Belle was hugging her and they were both just laughing away. Melt my heart.

Evie is becoming a better napper and much easier to predict as far as a schedule goes. She is still a fabulous night sleeper (thank goodness!).

We are pretty much done with baby food. I hate baby food. Evie would much rather I put her in her booster with small bits of food and feed herself. She makes a mess (much like her older sister), but it is definitely an activity that occupies her for awhile.

Evie could sit in a bath forever. The girl loves a bath, but likes them best when Belle is in there with her. Belle is instant entertainment for Evie, and sometimes when Evie is awake and Belle is asleep I find she is a bit fussier and quickly bored.

Other than basic milestones, Evie experienced her first trip to the UP. She was a gem and we hardly knew she was there. She loves the beach and slept like a champ! Car rides aren't her favorite, but again, Belle is great for entertainment!

Sorry the pics are all sideways.  I didn't have enough energy to flip them around.  As you can tell from the pics, the session was a bit crazy!  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Half Way

Wow. I have made it 4 weeks into my couch to 5k training, and I must say that I am surprised at myself. First, I can't believe that I have actually made it a month without quitting. Second, I cannot believe that I can actually see improvement!

My first day of training I had to run a 60 second interval, and I felt like I had to really push myself at the end of it because I was so tired. Now, my longest interval is 6 minutes, and I have been about to couple it with other 4 or 5 minute running intervals. I am actually surprised that I am not completely dead at the beginning of my running intervals. For those confused, my couch to 5K program has me alternate running and walking for 30 minutes. Each week I increase the number of minutes I run.

By the end of this week I will actually my first 9 minutes straight. Not going to lie--I kind of want to cry when I think about it. However, I never thought I would run 6 minutes continuously! Heck, I remember asking Paul to pray for me when I went out to run 3 minutes straight!

I recently thought about listening to an audio book while I run. Sometimes all I think about is how tired I am, and I think maybe a book would help me focus my mind on something else. I might try it this week. Any good book suggestions?

4 more weeks to go until I am 5k ready, and then I am going to run the course for the Bridge Run so I am prepared on race day. Half way!!