Run baby, run!

Today I ran my second “mini” marathon. All of my friends and I agree that it’s just not mini. Half-marathon sounds better. As long as the word marathon gets to be in there, it helps to convey the length of the endeavor.

In November I ran my first mini. It was killer. And not killer in the good way. Today was easier on my body–there wasn’t icy rain, I’ve trained for over a year and the crowd was so much bigger and more fun. And I got to run most of it with sweet friends that I’ve clocked countless hours with training.

I’m going to miss these ladies when we move! I mean, who else can be ridiculous with me like this? Yes, I’m flexing those guns!GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Or this?GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I keep saying that I’ll probably never run a half-marathon again. I mean, who can I train with that’s as cool as these gals? And there’s no way I’d train for one by myself. Yuk.

Getting to participate in the Derby miniMarathon is a good way to close out this season in Louisville. Running through the Downs, hanging out for hours with some of my favorite people, these are things I can cherish forever.

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Ahhg, the paperwork!

It is a truth universally acknowledged…that moving overseas means lots of paperwork. Am I right or am I right?

We’re getting ready to leave Louisville this summer, so visas have to be processed, we’re renting (and refinancing) our house, making lots of last doctors’ visits and it seems like each step has required small mountains of documentation. I never realized how much went into moving overseas besides packing your bags!

To give you a visual, Chris took a picture of me in front of one such mountain…and then I took one of him mocking me. Yes, that’s how we roll. And that face of mine, it’s saying, “You’re really making me pose for this? No, really, why are you pretending to be a photographer? Can I be done?”

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IMG_0822By God’s grace the paperwork stage of our life is nearly complete. Then we just get to finish getting our house ready and pack our stuff. And say goodbye…yeah, not ready for that.

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Spring Photos

I love family photos. Generally, I’m not the biggest fan of the process–getting everyone in the “right” outfit, clean and out the door unscathed to a location where we expect everyone to behave for an hour while looking at a camera and being their cutest selves. I’m not paid to do this (I’m paying in fact, to do this) so I’m far from a pro and usually have at least on crazy wife/mom/woman moment when I think the world will fall apart if everyone doesn’t do what’s expected for our world-stopping family photos.

But then we get the pictures back and all of that hullabaloo is forgotten. I remember that it was fun to squeeze my kids and make them giggle for the waiting photographer. I realize that I don’t stop often enough to just be with my sweet family. And of course I see how amazingly darling my children are. Cases in point:¬†lrp{PEEK}-146 lrp{PEEK}-157I love how a real photographer can capture these sweet faces soooo much better than I can with my little point-and-shoot.

As we get ready to leave one adopted city for another, we decided to take pictures in the “towny” part of our town. Why get some lovely but bland park when we can get an old iron bridge or funky downtown buildings, right? Lou, we’ll miss you. Here are a few favs.

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I am lame

Have you ever looked back on a period of weeks (or months) in your life and wonder what on earth you were up to that kept you from doing normal life? That’s me right now.

Maybe it was the never-ending stomach bug that attacked my family from February 4 until March 26. Maybe it was the acceptance of a teaching job in Asia for the fall that turned our world upside down. Maybe it was the end of the dreary, lonely cold months that kept me from wanting to keep up with the rest of humanity. I mean, I’ve barely even spent time on Facebook, so how could I possibly blog?

Whatever kept me at bay is all behind us now and the fluffy, dense layers of fog that make the last few months a blurry memory have lifted. Spring (or summer if you live in Louisville) is in the air and I’m throwing off the shackles of bloglessness. So be prepared. Recipes? Coming. Pictures of crazy kids? On their way. Tears over leaving Lou and all of the friends we’ve made here? Being wept daily. Hopefully I’ll live up to my own expectations for myself, but let’s be honest, if I blog once a month I’ll make progress.

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Getting Our Work On!

Jonathan is in love with all things construction. Tools, vehicles, traffic cones, you name it, he loves it. I used to hate driving through construction zones, but now it’s fun thanks to my three year old. A typical car conversation might look like this:

“Hey J, there’s some construction up here.”

“Oh. Look, a cherry picker! What’re they doing, mom?”

Before I have time to answer, we’re driving by more equipment and dudes: “An excavator! What’s he digging up? Backhoe, backhoe, digging up the dirt, and putting it in the back of a dump truck!”

Yes, there are construction songs in my son’s bag of tricks. As you can imagine, construction is on our minds a lot with him around, so a party of the same theme seemed in order. Thank goodness for Pinterest or my list of ideas would have run pretty short. Let me say that having winter babies is going to forever yield birthday party challenges. I mean, some families get to plan on using their backyard or a park for their kids’ parties! Being as we live in Kentucky, we can at least plan on doing a few minutes of fun outside, but most of our shenanigans must be indoors.

Unfortunately for J, the night before his party, after we had worked and decorated and cooked and well, did everything you do for a party until way past my usual bedtime, the little man got a stomach bug. I had just laid my weary head down when from the other room I hear weeping. Poor J got it bad and his party for Saturday morning was post-poned until Sunday afternoon (no way we were canceling for real!)

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAThe Gear

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA We had beautiful weather for our party. Maybe having it in the afternoon was a good idea after all.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA Making “tool belt tortillas.” I had these super cute cookie cutters but really, do kids need more sugar? They got cake, ice cream, chocolate milk and Reese’s Pieces, so I think they weren’t hurting for cookies. Fresh tortilla chips though? They always rock.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve never been all that good at making things pretty, so I worked really, really hard on this cake (part of the reason the party didn’t get pushed off any longer!). I got some great ideas online and lots of advice from cakey friends. It turned out yummy and I didn’t want to pull my hair out at the end!

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAWe filled cups with Daddy’s nails and used them to hold up our little pennants. If the party had happened on Saturday morning, Spare Tire Donuts would have been added to the goodies.

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Note to self–kids love digging. We could have dumped a load of rocks on our porch and stopped there. ¬†Instead, we buried wooden truck parts in the gravel, the kids “excavated” them and we put them together.

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J repeatedly asked, “Can we sing happy birthday to Jonathan now?” so we did. He loved it and loved getting to eat his long awaited cake.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAThis was my attempted caution tape interior of the cake…I think it would have worked a lot better on a round cake if I had stuck with that, but oh well! It was fun and worked okay. And it tasted awesome, so it doesn’t matter what it looked like, right?

Will we do another crazy party like this again soon? No. But will we continue to celebrate our sweet kids’ lives with fun shenanigans and big cakes, you betcha!

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The Power of Three

They start small, but they grow up so fast! Three years ago I became a mama to the most precious boy I can imagine. His nickname as a baby was Wiggle because he was always on the go. Anyone who knows him now understands!

He’s impetuous, daring, shy (but not for long), chatty, imaginative, tender and loving, a sweet big brother, sturdy as an ox, clever and wonderful. I love this crazy boy and I’m so grateful that the Lord has given me these three years with him. To many more!GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_2428 72062_474462656687_543961687_6276029_7160029_n cropped j 35382_462688325080_533610080_6470323_5783745_n I love my warm blanket after a bath!

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Big boy J with his block

Big boy J with his block

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The Mighty Thor

Though Jonathan has never seen a superhero movie and has no idea what a superhero really is, it wasn’t hard to sell him on a superhero costume. He was invited to a themed birthday and of course needed to dress up. But, as I am who I am, I couldn’t just go out and buy a costume. No, no. Mama needed to make him one.

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Not much of a super-anything buff myself, I put the boy before the hero. Jonathan loves hitting things. So who should he be but the Mighty Thor? I’ve seen the Avengers, I totally know who that guy is. He hits things!

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So with an unused grey turtleneck, some shiny stuff and some thread, a set of Thor armor was born. I’m sure it’s not “authentic” or whatever, but J digs it. The cape is removable thanks to the wonder of hook-and-loop, so if he’s not feeling as Mighty or as super, he can tone his look down a bit.

Now for the Hammer. I knew that if I handed anything that resembled a weapon to my son, it would be used as such. I used some 4″ foam (that I had previously cut into cubes with the intention of covering with fabric or knitting and never got around to), and hot glued a 5/8″ dowel rod between two cubes.

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I cut a piece of my shiny fabric to fit around each side except the bottom (three long sides plus two short sides, sort of like a big rectangle with the corners cut out), and then cut out two bottom pieces that measured 4″x8″. I sewed the big piece to fit over the hammer, attached the bottom pieces then cut a hole out for the dowel rod. I secured the bottom silver pieces with hot glue, hoping it wouldn’t fall apart.

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Showing me his hammer and the one we made for the birthday boy.

To keep the dowel rod handle from being used as a torture device on any unsuspecting bad guys, I encased it in some foam tubing (like pipe wrap) and then hot-glued some quilted brown fabric on, folding the side seam and the bottom over so no raw edges were showing. To finish I wrapped some embroidery thread (I know, leather cording would have been soooo much cooler) around the handle and secured with hot glue.

Now J can destroy bad guys or fight daddy with abandon and no one gets hurt.

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Even superheroes play with pipe cleaners.

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Snow Babies

Okay, so “snow” isn’t quite the right word. Maybe Cold Babies would be a better title. It doesn’t snow much down here in Kentucky. In the northwest, when you get snow, well, you need a plow and shovels and big boots. In this southern land, you can pretty much ignore it most of the time. But of course, J sees snow and about goes to heaven. So we’ve been gearing up and enjoying the weather.

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My hands are cold, Mom!

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Those beautiful eyes get me every time!

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Hard at work clearing the runway. J talks about being a “hard worker” all the time. Hopefully it sticks beyond toddler-hood!

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One shovel was clearly not enough.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERABeautiful day for a swing, right?

We will most likely be out of this temperate climate and out of our backyard at this time next year, so if the thermometer says it’s above oh, 35 and the kids are up for it, we’ll be hitting the grass and soaking up the sunshine.

 

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Bring on the Fat Pumpkin Muffins

If your baby doesn’t eat much and has a BMI of less than 15, you might be like me, wondering how on earth to fatten them up! Our pediatrician recommended giving Nora supplements to help her gain weight, but that backfired. As soon as I gave her the supplement drink, she cut down on solids. Yeah, probably not going to work.

So I decided to give her what she wants. If she eats nothing else, Nora is always interested in sweet things. I was a good mom with J. He didn’t know what sugar was until well after a year old. But Nora’s always been a bantam weight, and I’m a pushover, so she’s had plenty of samples of quick breads, muffins and even a bit of cookie now and then. I’ll deal with the sugar addiction consequences later. For now I just want her to bulk up!

Have you ever come across a high fat recipe? Um, yeah, I haven’t either. I mean, there are definitely less healthy options out there, but I wanted something that was unapologetically high-fat and high-calorie. To that end, I modified an existing recipe to add some rolls to my baby.

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High Fat Pumpkin Muffins
2 eggs
1/4 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 c melted coconut oil
1 c pumpkin
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 t each nutmeg, cinnamon & allspice
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour

Combine all wet ingredients in bowl of electric mixer or large mixing bowl. Using mixer on low speed, blend until smooth. Add sugar and coconut and mix until well combined. Add spices, salt and soda to bowl, beating until thoroughly mixed. Add flour all at once and stir with mixer or spoon until just combined. Batter will be thick, but if you think it’s too thick, add some more whipping cream or milk to thin it out, being careful not to over mix.

Fill greased or lined muffin tin evenly about 2/3 full. Bake in 350 degree oven until centers are set and a toothpick comes out clean, 15-18 minutes. Remove from tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Total calories and fat: 2,840 & 162g. That’s right, 236 calories and 13.5 grams of fat per muffin. Mama needs to stay away from these! I gave them to Nora right after they cooled and she ate one and a half. Oh yeah, baby.

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Happy Birthday, Baby!

At this time last year we were snuggling with this new precious one for the first time. She came into the world after a long but easy labor and won our hearts immediately. Our first thoughts were, “She looks like Jonathan!” She did at first I think, but has changed so much from that wrinkled wee thing into the laughing, energetic, joyful, chatty little lass we enjoy today.

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Elinor Piper Peek, as Jonathan sometimes calls her instead of Nora, has changed our lives! We thought one sweet kiddo was fun, but watching these two interact more and more has been the delight of my heart. J spent lots of time snuggling with N when she was brand new, but has since progressed to engaging in tickle fights, rounds of peek-a-boo and saying over and over, “Get me, Nora!” as she pokes his eyes with exploring fingers.GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_0328 GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA How different these two are from each other and yet how alike. J outgrew his clothes as soon as we put him in them, ate like a horse (still does) and slept like a champ from the first. Our tiny lady has descended the charts and weighs only 16 lbs, 9 oz. She fits quite comfortably into her 6-9 month clothes! Perhaps this is due to her strong dislike of all things food related…and bless her sweet heart, the girl didn’t learn how to sleep until rather recently.GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

But like Jonathan, Nora is known for her huge smile and as she has become more independent, her happy disposition has really started to shine. She now walks all over the house making messes and getting into mischief while babbling on in her own language.

We are so blessed that Father has given us this treasure. We pray daily that she would grow in grace and truth and that we would wisely guide her through the years that she is granted us. And as much as we are excited to see her grow up, I wish we could slow down time a bit so she can stay my baby for just a little longer! Happy birthday, baby.

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