Our Jena has decided she wants to be a baker. The whole ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ question has never really been something we’ve focused or even broached in our home, I mean they don’t really have context for that when they’re little. But this one spontaneously decided recently, and it’s been kinda fun to explore it with her. We’ve had a number of opportunities lately for her to use her new found passion.
IMG_0730Here she is mixing up batter for baby cupcakes for a baby shower. Someone gave us a toaster oven and I bought her a mini pan to fit inside. She made 60 minis in her toaster oven last week. She also discovered that the regular muffin pan on the counter behind her fits too. We are clearing out a cupboard in the kitchen for all her baking goods. She is very excited. Down below are her finished product. Getting to fancy frost them was her favorite part. Plus sprinkles, of course. IMG_0731
IMG_4080But this was her true masterpiece. She made her daddy a chocolate fall out cake, for all the non gamers please enjoy the Wikipedia link to know what the heck I’m talking about :). That is the pip boy surrounded by atomic bombs. It’s a post apocalyptic game so I suppose the end of the world had to be depicted too.

I wish I could have gotten some mid process photos of this one, but I was napping! I helped put the cake in the oven and color the frosting after my race and then laid down. I woke up and she had decorated it all up! The photo below is her practice drawing before she drew it in frosting. Marker is a little easier to work with than frosting. It really does look just like the pip boy to me. IMG_4102
IMG_4099Here she is giving daddy one of the MANY presents she made for him. I love this picture cause she didn’t know I was taking it. No goofy face, just the joy of someone receiving something you’ve given them. He’s also proudly wearing the purple sparkly “watch” she made him, go daddy.

But we also had my race this weekend! Bycemaster’s birthday and my race being tied together is providential. Without him (and my running buddy!) I would not have done near as well this training season. They both kept me going when I wanted to quit. He kicked me out the door and she dragged my butt along when I would have stopped if I was alone. It was a hard training season, it’s been a hard year.

I talked a little bit about my expectations for this race last week. They were lower than low, given what my goal for this year way. After I wrote the post, I did more figuring based off our training runs and became even more discouraged. It really looked like even coming in under our OUC time of 2:28 was going to be really pushing it. But neither of us quit things we commit to, so that wasn’t even really considered.

4am sunday morning I was up getting ready to go. My devotion that morning was on finishing the race. It spoke about how often the journey is hard and no fun, but the end is always great. I remember laughing thinking God you have a sense of humor. I also remember thinking it’s the end, I’m trained up, and about to run this thing, and it’s not great. I still was not looking forward to it really.IMG_0734But here we are at the start, psyching our selves up and trying to talk ourselves into being happy with finishing at what we thought was reasonable. Excuse the awfulness of this pic. It’s the only pre-race shot I’ve got.

However, below is our finish line shot. We were maybe 10 yards from the finish, actually able to sprint and coming in about 15 mins sooner than we could have ever dreamed in the picture above. We were elated. This was the real end, and this was fantastic. We came in at 2:15:03 not even 2 mins over our PR and way under our expectations. sprinting toward the goal

This running/racing thing is so much like life sometimes it amazes me. So many things we are journeying on, down and discouraged just barely putting one foot in front of the other and then the unexpected happens and we are able to finish, sometime even finishing strong.

Right now as our adoption stuff is beginning to expire (we are approaching the one year point of when we started the paperwork) and it’s just one foot in front of the other I’m focusing on that finish line. It will be here eventually, and the journey is part of the joy of the end. I prefer to enjoy each step of the way, and often I can find the good in it all, but some things are just hard. But I know hard does not equal bad, quite the opposite I’ve found. Generally speaking the harder it is, the greater the potential for joy at the finish line.

But just as importantly, the hard part is bearable when you are not alone. The joy is also exponentially greater when it’s shared. So I’ll just be here wading through my hard with all of you, thinking about the joy I’ll get to share at the next finish line.

Thanks for journeying with me.

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