Sunday, November 15, 2009

This One's for the Out-Laws

This is my cheap and easy way of letting my in-laws see the pictures from our fall shoot. But for those of you who are interested:
Andy's grandma-Mona; parents - Jim and Sue; brother-Todd (and his wife Julie) and their three kids; and us.

Todd and his family:
Andy and our family:
great grandma Mona:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Raiding the Dress up Box

I kind of resent the fact that Halloween is celebrated on the last day of the month. Somehow, that makes my posting in November about it seem late. But the reality is, it was only 12 days ago. And that's not too bad for me!

So here they are ready to go trick or treating.There's muffin the clown.... Mator is Cinderella...
and Doodle is.... any guesses? Give up? A roller skater. Really. I am not making this up. I tried to gently persuade her to possibly add something to her costume in the minutes before we headed out the door. And her response? "I am. I am wearing roller skates." There is a connection to last year's Halloween (click here to read that).

So what is a mom to do? I was a little afraid of having "that kid" who wouldn't wear a costume but wanted candy. But in her mind, she was totally incognito. Here is how she dressed up for the kindergarten party at her school. They don't celebrate Halloween but they do celebrate with a harvest party. All the kids are allowed to dress up as scarecrows or farmers. Now this is cute...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Can You Feel It?

I've been using a video (yes I said video-we've had this for at least six years and had varying degrees of success-largely dependent on the amount of time we actually do it-doesn't that stink?) exercise series called "Slim in Six". I usually get the chance to do it before Mator gets up but this last time, she got to "obseve" for a twenty minute workout. She didn't appear to be paying that much attention but suddenly Debbie Siebers commented on the tape "I'm feeling it, you should be feeling it too!" and Mator asked, "Are you feeling it Mommy?" Was I ever!

I was really tempted one late night by this "Ab Circle Pro" which promises a fit and healthy body in three minutes a day. Well, I've been around the block enough to know that THAT is a bunch of hooey but what if I did it for FIVE minutes a day?????

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The End of Me...

I've found myself saying it over and over these past couple days...."I am at the end of me." There is no more left of me. It is wasted and gone. I want to give up. Crawl into bed and yell to my three children and husband, "I am finished! Fend for yourself!" This month has been amazing and yet I cannot wait until it is over....

**Andy was ordained as a Deacon in our church [PRAISE GOD!] We do not have elders in our church so this is a revamped ministry with increased responsibility.
**Andy recently joined the personnel committee at our church [PRAISE GOD] so now he gets to participate in the hiring and evaluation of staff. I truly believe that when he listens to the Holy Spirit he has major giftings in the line of encouragement and challenging people in a loving way. But it is more time too.
**Andy took over a new job at his school. He went from teacher / department head to Dean of Students (this is what used to be called an assistant principal). It is an extra two weeks before school and two weeks after school but for the first month this year he had to continue to balance his former teaching job (as a replacement was found and then hired), former dept. head job (same thing) and his new job (more meetings after school, more money, etc.) [PRAISE GOD]
**Andy finished up his last month as the Sports Director for our local radio station. He has been there two years and mostly LOVED this job but it is too much to do that and the Dean and do them both well. Football season is particularly crazy since they broadcast three games a week, have a daily sports report, pregame shows, Monday night sports show and the occasional volleyball game too. It has been a lot. This job has been a huge blessing for Andy but it will be over this weekend and will provide more time to so the other things (see above) [PRAISE GOD for providing this job, and the friends he made there]
**We all got a stomach virus that erased about a week from my memory. [Um, PRAISE GOD for healing!]
**Andy ran in the Columbus Half-Marathon while I managed the donations that came in. Over $8000 and over 100 donors were thanked and still continue to arrive. [PRAISE GOD!]
**We went to an Ohio State game Saturday (vs. Minnesota) and then to see one of Andy's students as she tried to defend her state golf championship. It was about 40 degrees out.
**Andy got sick again. This time it was the flu. Mator got it too. We're still waiting...[PRAISE GOD for healing and that it wasn't much worse!]
**I've had six photography clients this month and two last. That is insane for a part time job. This is the busiest month of the year because everyone wants their family pics taken outside since it is so beautiful. I also took our family picture (Andy's side) [PRAISE GOD]
**Our photography business also did the pictures for a local preschool / daycare. Two days of shooting and about 100 order to fill.
**I gave a midterm and collected a paper from the students in my online class. In addition to the regular weekly assignments that need to be graded.
**We had our county fair and I got to attend a teacher's workshop with the teachers from our children's school.
**We attended Cirque du Soleil.
**My nephew had a birthday!
**I've been homeschooling Muffin in science, reading and social studies.
**I lead Doodle's AWANA club at church (it's basically Christian scouts where they can earn badges for memorizing scripture)

That's all that I can remember right now. But I am tired. And I am at the end of me. There, I said it again. But then do you know what happens? I hear that still small voice of my Lord, Jehovah-Jireh (God our Provider). The God who provided all the good (see list above) and the not so good (see list above). And I hear Him saying, "Awesome. That's right where I want you to be!" Why would He say that?

"And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9 This is Paul talking here. About the three times that he begged God to take away his afflictions, his pain, his sorrow. And this was God's answer.

When there is nothing left of me, all that gets me through is HIM. Now I can see Him more clearly. Now I know that any good that comes from within me is REALLY from God, cause I am empty. It's exhausting, but so worth it. His grace is sufficient for you too. I know it is. Hang in there.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Moving back through the month of October, one of our annual highlights is a trip to Pigeon Roost farm which is about 25 minutes from our house. It is one of a few traditions we have so I feel quite obligated to keep it up! This is the first year we had to pay for Mator but she probably had the most fun too!

First of all, since some of my readers live in the frozen tundra and I'm not really sure how pumpkins grow elsewhere, I thought I'd show you one of the locally grown beauties with Doodle, my five year old:
Now, I know this doesn't compare to the prizewinner in nearby Circleville which topped out at over 1600 pounds but hey, it's still fun to see! And here is the annual group shot with the heads through the animals (always preceded by "I want the horse!" "I said it first!" a dispute which always lends itself to wonderfully natural smiles):
Here is a clever game set up to race rubber ducks down a PVC pipe:
See that corn cob next to Doodle? SHHHHHH don't tell her that there are seven million more in the adjacent corn maze. The three that she found are unique treasures and cannot be misplaced! Or replaced, it turns out. Here she plays in the corn box.
Daddy and Mator as we walked through the corn maze. Isn't that a cute princess sweatshirt around his neck? Real men wear pink (especially when their daughters refuse to wear said sweatshirt!)Here are all three girls in one of several tube slides. You can only see Doodle's feet but Muffin was a good sport about helping Mator on all the new things.
Here Muffin crawls through a much smaller tunnel.Here she acts as the magic carpet so Doodle and Mator can have a fun ride!A rare shot of me with all three girls:Sometimes, after a long day, it doesn't take much to CRACK me up...
Here's a much better side of my three year old cutie...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Andy's Race

With all that October has brought, I am way behind on blogging. This post is a necessity so even though it gets out of chronological order (I'll go back and fill in details from before) I wanted to post it now...

What a wonderful experience! We left the kids with Andy's parents at lunchtime Saturday before heading up to Columbus. We went to Easton to get some necessities (you know, golf gloves and kitchen canisters!) Next we headed to the convention center to get suckered into buying unnecessary race items pick up Andy's race packet. It was amazing to see the number of people and all the things you could buy to improve your race. We did buy a couple of $3 t-shirts from previous races because they were nice Nike shirts.

From here we checked into our hotel, the Columbus Athletic Club. This was great for a lot of reasons. First, it was less than $100 which is $60 less than any other downtown hotel we could find. Second, we ended up in the EXACT same room we were in our wedding night! Of course, there are only ten rooms so the odds were good but anyway...Third, we were one block from the start of the race. Finally, I asked the concierge if there was any way I could get some roof access to take pictures of the race. He said, "Meet me in the lobby at 7:00 when I take up the press." What!! So I got to go up to the roof for the start of the race and had the best view in town!

After getting settled, we had dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse and I had my first meal since Tuesday. Yeh. We had a bout of stomach virus that ravaged our household this week. Knocked me out for 48 hours. Everyone else had a slightly lesser version but I am convinced that it was only some fervent prayers that allowed Andy to get the 12 hour version. Otherwise I don't think he could have run the race. The bad part is that the food I ate Saturday night at dinner was more than the previous four days combined. Needless to say, that is not good for the stomach...but SO worth it!. We had a really hard time sleeping. The rooms were comfy (although it was one of things that you think you have the heat adjusted but wake up at 2:00 AM sweating as if you had already run the marathon so you adjust it again and by 5:00 AM little ice crystals of sweat have hardened all over your body). No matter. We were up at 5:30 and took our time getting ready. We headed downstairs at about 6:45 and then it was just a blur.

As I mentioned, I got to see the sunrise and the race start from the roof of the Athletic Club. It was an awesome sight to see 15,000 runners and thousands more volunteers packed into a one block area. From Andy's perspective: he mentioned that he overheard someone say that as tight as things were down there at the starting line, that conception could have occurred. When the race started at 7:30, it took over twenty minutes for all the runners to cross the starting line.

I took my time coming down and walked down two blocks to mile 9 of the race. I have to say, it was EXHAUSTING just watching for Andy. I knew he was running about a ten minute mile and that adrenaline would probably lower that, but I didn't know when he had actually started so there was a thirty minute window where I was entirely focused on trying to pick him out of the runners. Then I saw him! I yelled and waved and almost forgot to take the picture so that by the time I did they were all blurry and horrible. So I sprinted almost two blocks to try to catch him again and it was too crowded so I totally missed that chance to take pictures. I walked up to about the 12.5 mark (in front of the statehouse on High Street) and waited. This time I didn't take any chances. No waving, no screaming, just focused on getting the picture.

I knew there was no chance of me beating him to the finish line and furthermore, the other 10,000 spectators would all be there too. So I eventually made my way to our meeting place about a block from the finish line-Chipotle. Andy finally made his way there and it was an emotional ending to a fantastic morning.
God is so good-let me count the ways:
*Andy finished the race.
*His time was 2 hours and 1 minute (a 9:15 mile pace) which was great for him
*We had great weather. It was about 39 degrees at the start but it was sunny and apparently perfect for running
*The illness that swept through our house allowed Andy to take Friday and just totally rest up which he otherwise would not have done
* As of today, over $8000 has been donated to help the family that he was running to benefit! More donations continue to arrive every day.
* This was something that Andy and I did as a team which is a great marriage builder. He did all the running and I did all the paperwork. I like that format (I think he does too!)
* Andy's parents were a big support too. They watched the kids for us so we could better enjoy the experience and Sue also mailed out all the support letters!
* We have been so blessed by all the support. It says so much about the Beavers family that so far we have had over 110 different donors. It just blesses our hearts to see the love that has poured out from so many people.

A big thank you to all who wished him well, sent a donation or prayed for him! Here is a highlight film:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Swine flu paranoia getting out of hand...

Thanks to my friend Nicole for sending me this picture and letting me know I'm not the only one who overreacts to these things...

And for giving me a great laugh!! Hope you did too!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What a Man...

I've been waiting a while to tell you about this guy I know. But I couldn't figure out how to talk about him without sounding like I'm boasting. So here's what I realized. Being married to a totally awesome guy really says very little about me - you can just ask my parents who both know that I married up (it does say two things and I'll get to that later). No, you wouldn't have to know me very long to realize that I don't deserve this man who is so patient and humble. A guy who so genuinely desires to work hard and do the right thing that even people who may not agree with his spiritual leanings tend to trust him. He's a guy who is reliable and intelligent and when he sees a problem, he tries to solve it or help the other person solve it. And what does having a husband like this say about me? Well, I think I was faithful in seeking God's will to choose a mate.Second , I know how good I've got it. And even though I could never make it clear enough that I am blessed beyond measure, I still try.

So what has Mr. Perfect (for me) done lately? Three cool things.
First, he is training for his first half marathon in October. He has run a few 5Ks over the last 3 years but this is a 13 mile journey. I got a few shots early one Saturday morning...When he told me he was going to do this, he said he needed a higher purpose and so we talked about and prayed about who he could help. He chose Al & Phyllis Beavers. You can read all about it here at the blog we set up to tell about it. You can also read an article from our local paper here. He has had an amazing response which has also really encouraged him. I am so proud of him for all of this.

Also, he recently moved from being a teacher to a "Dean of Students" at his high school. The new position is like an assistant principal and he has been dealing with a lot of behavior issues as well as curriculum and teacher issues. It adds two weeks to his responsibilities at the beginning of the school year as well as the end.

Finally, he is about to be ordained as a Deacon in our church. We do not have elders so this would be the equivalent in many churches. The group of men that are being ordained have spent the last 10 months studying together and learning about their awesome responsibility to lead. I think he is ready.

So thanks for listening, at least I know that my mother in law will read this! :-)

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Confession

I am what I would consider to be an incredibly loyal person. I find it intensely distasteful to abandon the ones you love in favor of something new or "improved" (remember I'm the one whose daughter inherited my tendency to not want to hurt my stuffed animals' feelings?). Anyway, lately I've had a wandering eye. I feel like if I confess it here, perhaps I can get a little accountability.

It started when I heard my friends talking about how cool it was. But I resisted the urge to consider such things and even thought a little less of them. But then once, when I had a few minutes alone, I found myself being drawn in; and that's how temptation begins. Nothing happened and I felt really guilty and sort of fled the situation. But then there I was with all three kids and I was tired. And I gave in.

I went to Giant Eagle. I'm usually a Meijer or Kroger kind of girl. Occasionally even a Carnival foods woman. But this new Giant Eagle has been wooing me (it seems) with its slick ads, double coupons and (irresistible) free child care while you shop. For so long I've ignored its attempt to impress me with that beautiful produce and artfully displayed bakery items. But yesterday I could no longer resist. And frankly, I think I'm in love.

Let me be clear. I spent more money there at one time than I've ever spent on simply groceries. I know that is their tactic. I'm on to them. But I loved it anyway. And I only bought necessities and things that I had a coupon for (and only if those were on sale). Plus, unlike Meijer and Kroger, I only came home with food and not other random items (lunchbox, new shirt, ice cube trays, etc.). I used to fantasize about carefully prepared grocery lists and coupon lists that I stuck to and from which I refused to deviate. I dreamt of time to spent pondering the per ounce price of grated parmesan vs. the block. And now those dreams are coming true.

My next step is to plan a date night with my wonderful husband. We'll take advantage of the free child care, head over to the little restaurant area of the store and enjoy our (maximum) of two hours. A little bit of heaven.

But shhhhhh, don't mention it to Kroger please.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mator's First Day

Last week, my just barely three year old Mator had her first day of preschool. This is a one day a week preschool sponsored by our local parks and rec called Alley Park Kids. Doodle did this a few years ago and it was a great way to get used to being away from home, working with other kids and following directions. Plus, it is a lot of fun!

Mator has been having some "issues" with leaving us lately. I think it is just related to all the changes in her life-moving to a big girl bed, getting rid of binkies and potty training-but she doesn't do very well when we leave her somewhere. In fact, she tends to be that kid whose cries escalate to a scream and they have to be removed from the classroom so that the teacher doesn't lose her hearing and the other kids don't misinterpret her tears to mean, "Hey guys, why don't you cry too? It is SOOOO much fun!"

So after we dropped off the big sisters we headed over to Alley Park (or snake school as her friend from church who also goes there calls it). She was very excited, and in fact had been counting down the days for two weeks. Here she is right outside the school.
Here she is right INSIDE the school. Notice the different smile. The nervous smile. The "you said you would stay with me the first day and you really meant that, right?" smile
Here she is waiting for the first activity. This smile is either still pretty nervous or something like, "Are you ever going to stop taking pictures? I mean seriously, I just took three steps and sat at this table. Whoopty-crap!"And this is at Mc Donalds after school-we're back to a real smile:
Doggone, she's cute, if I do say so. And no tears. Yet. This week I'm going to leave for part of the class. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pond Paradise

We are super blessed to have year round fun in the form of our pond across the street (well, it's technically my dad's pond, but he shares!) In the winter we skate on it, spring sends us looking for tadpoles and baby turtles and most of the year we can go out on the canoe or pedal boat for lots of fun. But the best part, according to the kids, is summer time swimming.

Each year it seems there is a new, exciting addition. This year, my brother Frank added a dock to the "deep end" making it possible to dive into the almost 15 foot deep section.

Here are Doodle, Muffin and Mator "surfing" near the island. Doodle was even able to stand for a couple seconds without Daddy's help!
Justine is diving off the new dock.Doodle began to make a"mudslide" next to the new dock and then everyone else helped too. It was very slick but bumpy on the tush!
Here's Frank and Wilson in the canoe.
Muffin is jumping off the dock.
I love this shot. It shows 5 of the 8 grandkids- Jared (doing a pencil off the dock) Doodle, Muffin, Elle and Justine. Then my dad is in the background, surveying his progeny. In the far background is our house. It looks really close thanks to the magic of aperture but it takes about 6 or 7 minutes to walk across the street and get home.
And finally, despite my better judgment, I present me-my first day in the pond (and only time so far). On a hot day, this is the life!

Friday, August 28, 2009

God is so Good-All the Time

A few days ago I wrote a post that told about some times when we our faith helps us to understand the hard times. This post will tell about how God has blessed us in some really fun ways.

Last month, we went to our local Fire Department open house and they had a chinese auction. We ended up winning four tickets to The Beach Waterpark in Cincinnati. Andy and I decided that it would be too much for Mator to spend a whole day there so we planned on getting a cheap hotel and taking the two oldest down on a Tuesday and spending Wednesday at the waterpark. {Just for the record, who do you think we give glory to for giving us those tickets?....Yes, God.}

Then, about a week before the planned trip, our Sunday School Teacher mentioned that he had four free tickets to the Creation Museum (this is about 30 minutes from the waterpark in Cincinnati). So we adjusted our plans to include driving to the Creation museum on Tuesday, spending the night at the hotel and the waterpark Wednesday. {Quick test, where did these passes come from? Hint: G....O.....D....}

We had an awesome time. The days were perfect-very warm but not so hot that as you were waiting around outside you thought you would melt. When we got to the Creation museum we found out that the passes included free tickets to the planetarium show (that would have cost us nearly $30-praise God!) So we visited the beautiful grounds, including the petting zoo and were able to pet and feed zorses and a camel! This was a great petting zoo because the animals were very interested in the food and lively.

Inside the museum are great movies and exhibits that explain the seven days of creation. There is a lot of background and science data but the highlight for the kids were the dinosaurs. Here's Muffin on the one that you can actually sit on (the rest were in exhibits).

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and headed out for the waterpark. We had a beautiful day there too. A couple of the slides were not operating which was disappointing. The wave pool had some trouble all morning too, it would kick on for about a minute and then shut down. Finally, the staff was not very helpful or happy that we were there. That being said, once I got over myself and realized, hey, these are free passes and we get to spend the day together-we had a lot of fun. And guess what, God provided for our needs again! I was in line with Doodle at lunch to get her a piece of pizza. I had brought a powerbar for me to save money. While waiting in line, a group standing to the side said, "Does anyone want a free pizza?" A whole pizza! Another lady and I shared it and I brought some back for Andy too! Isn't God good? Here we are, just before leaving at about 6:00! I was very sore for the next couple days, I must be a little old for slides and zip lines!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Day-Kindergarten and Third Grade

This year's first day of school, I had two lovely ladies ready and eager to go (well one was eager the other was tolerant). I made the brilliant decision to put an alarm clock in the girls' room and that has been wonderful. It goes off at 6:50 and so far, they have gotten themselves up and at 'em.

Muffin's teacher seems to be so kind and caring. The fact that she also has an interest in photography make it extra nice! Muffin is in the co-op this year which means that she goes in and does regular third grade in the morning (Bible, math, english and spelling) and then I pick her up either before lunch or after lunch / recess (our choice) and we come home and homeschool for science, social studies and reading. Muffin, although doing very well in school, has always had a desire to homeschool. Last year the school started offering the co-op option so we thought this would be a good way to try it out. We are on day six today and so far it has been pretty great. Well, the first two days we didn't do anything at home because Doodle had only half days. This week has been pretty awesome for me and good for Muffin too.

Here she is with two of her best friends, Caitlin and Olivia who are also doing the co-op.And this is her wonderul teacher, Mrs. Thompson.

Doodle was very excited and I think a little nervous although there were no tears (at least on her end!) on the first day or subsequent days. She was very proud of the fact that she went across the monkey bars on her very first day! Her teacher is Mrs. Bennett and is well known for being super-sweet and very musical. What a great match for Doodle! She also happened to be Ben and Will's(my nephews) teacher so that makes her cool too!

Here are Doodle and Mrs. Bennett just before mommy started bawling and had to leave the building Doodle embarked on her first year of elementary school.
This shot is actually from the second day of school. Since both girls were done by lunch time, we had the whole afternoon and spent a few hours swimming at the pond. Then we came home, had showers and ate dinner. Doodle had just finished her dessert when she passed out while sitting in the barstool at the table! They were watching TV and Andy said he watched her just crash. Now that's a good day!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Two Bads = a Good?

We have all heard (and if you are a mom probably said), "Two wrongs don't make a right". But recently I've come to realize through two events that the world would perceive as bad, that God' word is always true.

First, a few weeks ago my business partner and I were discussing one of our largest photography contracts. We have had this contract for a few years and it grows every year. This year, due to the growth of the league, we knew we would have to try a different way to take every child's picture as our old system would not work. One of the ideas on the table was to have a "Picture Day" on a day that wasn't game day or practice day. One obvious choice for "Picture Day" was on a Sunday. We would start after church and shoot for 6 or 7 hours. I had some reservations about this because I knew that this schedule would prevent some people from being able to attend church on Sunday night. I don't personally attend church on Sunday nights but I know many people do. In our area, Sunday has always been off-limits for sports and until recently, so was Wednesday night (called "Dark Night" because all of the buildings in a community were dark except the church). So I asked my Pastor what I should do if this plan of taking pictures were to become a reality. After some wise words, he suggested that I could just pray something like, "Lord, please make it so that I don't have to take pictures on Sunday night." Then wait and let God work out the details. So I did. And He did. And two days later we got a call from the league that said we had lost the contract.

Is there joy and peace in that? Absolutely. I am reminded that Romans 8:28 tells us, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,who have been called according to his purpose." He didn't say that we would LIKE all things. He didn't even say that all things would be EASY. Just that in ALL things He works for the good of those who love Him. That's me. I love Him. So even this "bad" thing will be for my good. And the peace that comes from knowing that is also good.

A few days ago we found out that one of our children has been grouped with other children whose test scores were among the lowest 15% in her age level. She was placed in this small group in order to be given more attention and have the best chance at success. When I heard this, it was like a punch in the gut. I cried a lot of tears and had to deal with issues of pride, fears for her future and worries about the social implications. But guess what. I believe that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him. So even though I don't know HOW this will work for good, I know it will. Of course, I do hope that someday [soon] I will be privileged to know how this works for good. But there are no scriptural promises that indicate that will happen; instead, I will trust God's word without even seeing it is so. That is faith, to me.

In a day or two, I'll give a few recent examples of how God has worked things for good in ways that are EASY to be happy about, and I promise to post pictures too!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

As Promised..American Idol Look Out!

I am attempting to post a video clip of a recent performance by Mator. This was taken during our Foster family vacation to Tennessee this year. We have a talent show every year and this year it extended over a period of several days.

Mator chose to do a singing / dancing routine that, like all of her performances, are completely unrehearsed. This was the final performance of the evening and has been edited from a 6.5 minute routine down to a 3.5 minute piece. For those of you not interested in all that, the final 45 seconds is really the best part. I have attempted to translate and put the words onto the video (as much as I can) but because it is saved as a windows media file (much smaller than my original file) some of the resolution has been lost. I think you'l get the idea though!

Introducing: Mator! Her act was preceeded by that of her lovely cousins, Justine and Jill singing two numbers from the Broadway musical "Wicked". Also performing were the Foster trio (Jared, Justine and Jill) singing their version of the old classic, "Skunk in the Middle of the Road". And the theatrical debut of Justine, Muffin, Annabelle and Wilson in the "Question and Answer Report". Now heeeeeeeeere's Mator!

We like to call this little number, "You thought I wasn't listening but I heard everything you said!"

Thursday, August 6, 2009


For those of you who think of me as a single-minded (or simple-minded), uncomplicated girl, prepare to be shocked out of your slippers. It turns out, I can be quite a complex person; consider yourself warned.

I hate to run. I love to run. Here I will explore these two seemingly contrasting views and try to make sense of how they can exist in the same person. And possibly get some recommendations for psychiatric evaluations, but OK! For most of my life, I've done everything I can to avoid running. A couple years ago I ran in a 5K in Lancaster and trained for four months. This year Andy was running again so I thought I'd try it again. I started out with a 20 minute mile and am down to an 11.5 minute mile after two months. I am NOT a good runner. So here goes...

Why I love to run:
1. 30-40 minutes alone, without the possibility of interruption.
2. Listening to whatever music I want with no one asking how long until we can put in a CD or a movie.
3. Time to pray and think about things I otherwise almost never would think about
4. Praise time- I listen to mostly praise music (with some Bon Jovi sprinkled in) so if you drive by while I'm running, don't be surprised if you see some weird arm gyrations because I'm in my own world, praising God.
5. For the first mile and a half, I can really appreciate the beauty of His creation and am often overwhelmed by the privilege of being able to enjoy it and interact with it in a body that was created by God and can do amazing things.
6. Remembering how fun it was to run in a race and thinking about it while I'm running.
7. Knowing that, unlike the brownie sundae, this is something good for me.
8. Remembering that one year ago (July 31) I tore my meniscus and six months ago I had surgery. During that time, all I wanted to do was to be able to run.

Why I hate running:
1. I enjoy breathing and the regular, relaxed intake of oxygen.
2. After 1.5 miles, my thoughts turn to whether I'll make it up the next hill, whether I might be dehydrating.At.This.Moment, and whether this really is GOOD for me.
3. I don't like to sweat. Or be hot. Or uncomfortable. Or tired. That's really four reasons.
4. I don't lose weight when I run but I do when I do other exercises. That is really frustrating.

On another note, my inspiring husband is now training to run a half-marathon in Columbus this fall. He is going to raise money for the Al & Phyllis Beavers family. More details will be coming soon!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Visual Changes

I'm making a few visual changes to my blog but don't fear, everything is still here. At least, I hope so...Now you've got me all worried...

For those of you bloggers who like to make some changes (most of you are worlds ahead of me anyway) but this guy has some great tips and descriptions with many details.

You know it really kills me that I don't have a picture for this post, oh well, must go get some dinner!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer in the City (and the Country)

Back in June we were able to go to Berkeley Springs, WV to spend a weekend with my dad's cousins and their families. My dad's cousin Chris set everything up at these neat old farmhouses (and one barn) for some 25 humans and three dogs. All five of our family slept in one bedroom at at farmhouse where my parents and my aunt Susie were staying. It was just up a dirt road from the house shown above where another six of the family stayed. This is where we did all of our eating and activities-both of which were well received by everyone in attendance. My kids will not soon forget the artfully placed bowls of peanut M&Ms that were found around seemingly every corner!

One of the highlights of the weekend was definitely a "ghost walk" planned by Chris. Sometime after the sun had completely set and darkness covered the surrounding woods, all 25 of us gathered our torches flashlights and glowing bracelets and set off on a 2 mile roundtrip to the cemetery and back. Some of the group dropped out about halfway but we persevered. No ghosts were spotted although several cries of "CAR!" quickened our hearts and had us heading for the ditch. I hadn't realized the impression that it had made on Mator until a few weeks later, when we were in TN with my family and we were out kind of late. We got back to the house after dark and Mator asked, "Are we going to go on that walk to the church now?" All this traveling is getting her confused!

Another highlight was spending time with second cousins and third cousins and whatever! Fun people! We got to swim in a little pool, have a "Christmas in June" birthday party and swim in the "hot" springs (really only 75 degrees but I suppose that felt good to George Washington!). Doodle was really taken by Cheyanne who was so patient and shared her cool hula hoops with the girls. All the kids loved meeting and playing with Kaia and Merek and were fast friends. Isn't that the neat thing about family? I hadn't seen them in about four years but it was so fun and easy to just hang out together.

Here's the pool that Mator, Doodle and Muffin loved with the view of the mountains:Here are the little elves after celebrating Kaia's 6th birthday with a Christmas themed party(top-bottom: Doodle, Mator, Muffin, Merek, Kaia):The spa at the hot springs- The five of us in one tub along with my parents and Aunt Susie. They heated the spring water to about 102 degrees:Outside the spa were the actual "hot" springs including this one where our first President liked to come and bathe:The springs were channeled through these canals for the public to play in. Here the girls were fishing for minnows and craw-dads.
Now I've gone on and on and will have to write another post about where we went when we left West Virginia (hint: it wasn't home!)