The past two months have been full. Busy. So many good things.
So little time to sit down and blog. Here's my recap.
At the end of January, we traveled to Fayetteville to spend some much needed time with one of my best friends, Becky, and her family. She celebrated a birthday that we needed to share with her. It was a weekend of perfection. In the way that only really, really good friends can, we sat on her couch and talked and talked for hours. Our kids played seamlessly for hours and hours while our husbands (best friends since their own childhoods) also talked and prepared foods for the party on the following day.
Becky and I have been best friends since college. We shared an apartment together and were in each other's weddings. We have been through a great deal together. At one point in the youth of our friendship, we had some squabbles, as happens when you share living space, and almost lost our friendship. God, however, had other plans for us, and reunited us even stronger on down the road. Sadly, we have never lived in the same city at the same time, so our friendship is conducted long distance. Somehow, in God's goodness, the roots have delved deeper and truer, and we waste no time when we are together. We just focus on what's important. There's something to be said for that.
Last spring, Becky was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor and it pretty much rocked the world. She had surgery to remove the tumor and a year of radiation and chemo. It has been a really rough year, and we needed some time together. She is cancer free, praise God.
As much as Becky and I love each other, our kids also are crazy about each other. Brooklyn gets some (much needed) girl time with Beck's girls, Mia and Kate. August doesn't have any older boys that he gets to spend time with, and Becky's son, Gavin, is a few weeks older than Brooklyn. Gavin became August's instant best friend - which is saying something for August. He is a very selective introvert who doesn't easily show his affection. Well, he CHOSE Gavin. It was a pretty neat thing to watch. Of course, who August picks, Dorien picks. Gavin was pretty popular. He is a truly special guy, though, and made sure to include both my boys in everything.
Needless to say, my kids were WORN out after that weekend.
Then, on February 18, Brooklyn celebrated her 9th birthday.
How does that happen?? Zoom - 9 years GONE.
9 wonderful amazing years where I have the privilege of seeing my baby girl grow into this amazing, fascinating creature of whom I am so proud!
For her birthday, we did our usual family celebration - Kyle stayed home and it was an All Day Family Party! Brooklyn's day from start to finish. She chose blueberry muffins for breakfast, and spaghetti and a huge salad for dinner. She LOVES salad. She said the spaghetti was really so August and Dorien could have something to eat, too. Her birthday dessert was home-made brownies sundaes. Yum!
Her activity of choice was the Museum of Discovery. It was a really great day! Following the winter weather we'd had that week, the place was very quiet, so it felt intimate and just ours.
We literally stayed all day.
Well, Kyle took me and Wyeth back for W's nap, but he went right back with the kids and closed the place down! We got our money's worth!
A very confident news anchor and her less than enthusiastic co-anchor.
It would have helped if he'd been able to read his lines.
Why would you think we're up to anything??
One thing that mildly threw Brooklyn's birthday off was the delayed arrival of our new chicks.
Josh, Michael and I were awaiting an order of chicks from Murray McMurray hatchery, which had been delayed by the ice and snow. They were a day late. This worried me greatly. The hatchery sends newly hatched chicks; right as a chick hatches, they suck in the yolk from their egg. This yolk can hold them over for at most 72 hours, and the chicks are supposed to arrive at their new home within 24 hours of their being hatched. Our mail truck was delayed in Memphis. In freezing temps. When the shipment finally arrived at 5:15am Wednesday morning, I had Josh run get them and bring them to my house where I had a set up waiting for them.
It was traumatic. I had ordered 10 chicks, Josh had ordered 15 and Michael 10. Plus, Murray sends a few extra chicks, so we had a total of 38 chicks in the box. I ordered 5 Auracanas/Americanas and 5 Light Brahmas (both breeds I have been really pleased with). Josh and Michael got a mixture, including 12 Red Star chicks. Michael has had amazing success with his Red Star hens. Enormous eggs and some seriously steady egg laying. However, due to air drafts? Earlier hatching times? We ended up losing 8 Red Stars over the next few days. It was ghastly.
Oddly, only the Red Stars didn't make it. All others are thriving. Murray sent Josh and Michael a new batch of Red Stars to replace the ones lost. What a mess. That was how Brooklyn's birthday began. Let's just say that all my kids became well acquainted with the life/death cycle and the fragility of baby chicks.
On February 28, Brooklyn ran in the Little Rockers Kids Marathon. What this meant was that, along with 1,900 other kids, she ran her final mile to put total mileage at 26.2!
Being the well prepared daughter she is, she laid out all her clothes the night before. Just to be ready.
How proud am I of my little runner?
The morning of the kids' race, it was really cold. Below freezing.
She got thoroughly bundled up, as per instructions. Once we got to the starting gate, the kids had to stand around until everyone was in place, then they sent them off by age groups.
Since Brooklyn was an independent runner, she didn't know a soul. We actually introduced ourselves to another family right before the race - turns out their daughter was Brooklyn's age and also running alone. They quickly made friends.
Here is the starting place! It was also the starting place for the marathon and half marathon which would be run the following day, on March 1st.
There is something so great about the Little Rockers Kid's Marathon. For one thing, it gets kids running. I love that. It also adds to an already hyped up festive atmosphere in a city gearing up for a big marathon the following day. It was a really, really fun weekend. From picking up our race packets at the Expo to Brooklyn's race followed by mine, it set a really good tone for running in our family. Everyone had a blast!
I realize I haven't said much, or anything, since mid-January, so there's been no update about the status of my knee or running. Long story short, I started back to running 3 weeks after the surgery. I would run several times during the week, and do a long run on Saturday. I did change my registration from the full to the half marathon, however, because I just didn't have the time to build the long miles I would need for the marathon. In fact, the longest I ran before the half was 9 miles. I figured I could do it, but the half would be the longest I'd run since the surgery.
The funny thing about pre-race planning is how neurotic you get about checking the weather. My fellow running buddies and I were watching the weather forecasts for weeks in advance. Up until a few days before the race, the forecast was 80% rain. And cold. This would be my first experience really running in those conditions. I had to buy a rain shell (see above picture) which turned out to be wonderful, and will also be a handy jacket for cycling! It has fantastic pockets all over it. Perfect for goos and stuff.
So while it didn't rain for Brooklyn's Saturday race, it was very drizzly and mid-30's at the start of my race. The starting gate was a block away from DD&F which was perfect! A way to stay dry and use the bathroom before you headed over to the starting corrals. Kyle had all the kids suited up for the day, along with a stroller that could cart 2 kids. His plan was to see me at two points in the beginning, hang out at his office for the majority of my run and meet me at the finish line.
My two little monsters!
Here was the starting for wheelchairs - pretty amazing. If they had a yellow race number, they were running/rolling the marathon. Pretty impressive.
Once the wheelchairs took off, the first corral moved up. The elite runners. You can tell the elite runners by the conspicuous absence of clothing. It was chilly, people. While 90% of people were wearing running tights and a few layers, they were wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts. Maybe arm warmers and compression socks, but that's it. They must have known the speeds they'd be running would more than adequately heat their bodies.
And they're off!
The blue numbers were for the half marathon, red for 10K and yellow for the full marathon.
The scrawny woman in blue was actually the overall female winner for the marathon!
Here's one of my good friends, Whitney, giving a shout out to my family! Whitney and I have been friends for years, starting when we worked at DD&F together. We're birthday twins and have always been close. As a runner, she's my inspiration. She is fast. She'll be running Boston in April, and on the day of this race, the half marathon was just part of her long run. She ran a total of 20 miles, 5 following a PR for her! She ran the half in 1:34, which is an avg pace of 7:15!! She amazes me, and like I said, definitely inspires me!
One mile in - Kyle took this shot of me and my running buddy, D'Lisa. I'm the one with silver stripes on my legs and a purple hat. Having never done this race before, it was all new to me. I was so amazed at how many people came out to support the runners, even in less than optimal weather!
I didn't carry my own water, like I would do on a normal long run, and I had to grab my beverages from the aid stations, which can be a messy endeavor. I need practice at that. I was a sticky mess by the end. I managed to hydrate and take my nutrition well and felt physically great the whole time. The only point I got sort of bogged down was around mile 6, and it was a mental bog. I just felt tired and wasn't sure I could keep going. I pushed myself on, using various tactics. My friend had to stop to use the restroom, and I waited for her. Somehow, that little pause sort of re-set me mentally and I was good to go from then on out.
My goal was to run the half in less than or right at 2 hours. I really wanted to come in under 2. D'Lisa and I started running with a woman (also running Boston) who was pacing a guy to hit the 2 hour mark. She was vigilant about calling him back if he sped up or got off pace (8:45 was her target pace for him). We ran with them the first half of the race, and it was perfect. Slightly faster pace than I'd planned, but it worked. I finished in 1:55 with an average pace of 8:41 min/mile.
And by then, the rain had picked up and my hands were freezing!! (I'd worn gloves, gotten hot and removed them earlier). It was so thrilling to cross that finish line and know that I'd accomplished something big, even if it wasn't the full marathon like I'd planned. I'd still run 13.1 miles!
My first time to wear the silver jacket thing! D'Lisa was so great to run with, and I'm so grateful God allowed us to find each other at the beginning of the race.
Cold, wet, but very happy.
Brooklyn and August had made posters for me, but since it was raining, they didn't bring them. They just showed them to me before the race!
Lynn, Chris, me and D'Lisa - downing bananas and collecting snacks in the finisher's tent. SO much good stuff in there, it was hard to know what to grab!
The official medals for the race are held up on the West Coast due to labor strikes, I think, but they had a temporary medal for everyone. I was happy to have it.
Then, on March 3, Dorien celebrated his 4th birthday!
It wasn't quite the busy day that Brooklyn's was, but he did thoroughly enjoy his special day.
He's a delightful boy, and I am so proud of him.