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10 gifts for the month of November

Traditionally people spend the month of November growing beards and listing things they are thankful for. The fact that I am thankful indeed that Bycemaster’s beard is back is just providential. There’s been many years I’ve participated, in the thankfuls, not the beard…but this year I decided to pass for some reason. I don’t know why, generally I try to cultivate a thankful atmosphere around here. I’d say it’s one of my guiding principles, if you will.

This morning the amount I have to be grateful for hit me so hard I just couldn’t help but write a few down. Remembering these things is not always easy. I’m struck when reading the old testament how many times God has to tell people to remember. Over and over, monuments were built and prophets were sent, we are a forgetful people.

For this reason I am sharing my list today. Writing helps me remember. I encourage you to remember and write yours as well! In the comments, facebook, in your journal, on your walls! Ok maybe not that last one, unless you have a chalkboard wall! Gratitude is really a wonderfully powerful thing, sometimes you just need to force it a little, to get the ball rolling.

  1. I am so grateful for Bycemaster and our joint love for music. So many songs have memories attached to them that make us both smile, that’s a wonderful thing.
  2. I got up for the second day in a row to do a morning run. I’m not training right now, just trying to finish out a just almost out of reach goal for the year. It’s getting a little closer 94.6 miles to go. Deep breath.
  3. It was cool out on said run this morning! Like no sun and 60s, it was wonderful.
  4. I’ve watched more than one friend recently take steps towards goals that have been hanging over them for a while. I LOVE watching people do this, pumps me up. Goals are awesome!
  5. Taking a shower with short hair is amazing. No heavy hair, no hour to wash it, no mess, no fuss, it’s done. Low maintenance FTW!
  6. Stress levels are returning to a normal/manageable level over here, some days we are breathing again. That is improvement.
  7. Even though I’d taken back too many chores in my uber stressed state, the kids have adjusted to the flow back to them with surprising grace, even my oldest. This is huge.
  8. Bycemaster got the second PC up and running for school on Monday. It has been amazing! So much faster and yesterday ALL FOUR got full lessons done. It’s incredible really, and look at me, I’m even on the computer. I may get some more grants done yet.
  9. My plea for coffee grounds was headed! One by one, my little plants are being nourished. It’s fun to watch something thrive.
  10. As always I’m thankful for our community. As I look back at the last week and think of the people who have sent messages saying they’re praying for us or responded to my pleas for prayers or made sure I exercised or just hung out and made me feel human again. I am always grateful for the people that are around me and my family. We have been in dry periods before, but I am so grateful we are not there now. Not at all.

What are you all thankful for? Do you do the November thankfulness tradition?

what do you want to be when you grow up?

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.

a day late and a dollar short

Just a quick update on all the things over here.

The computer has become a hot commodity. We’ve switched the majority of our schooling for the big kids over to easy peasy and it’s mostly on the computer. Add that too the reading eggs/mathseeds for the little two and unless we are all out (when I couldn’t use it anyway), someone is on the computer. So far it’s working fairly well, but every now and then I want a turn (could you parents here the whine in that voice, it was there, I was channeling my inner 5 year old.) Some things, like typing, do not work so well on the iPad. We’re figuring it out, in the meantime…here’s our updates.

1)I know you’re all only here to see a baby update, so I’ll end the suspense. There is no update. But someone from our training class is in the hospital now, hoping to take home their baby tomorrow! We are very excited for them, they’ve had a number of disappointments and we are so praying this one is it for them! I’m sure they would appreciate your prayers too.

2)Race day is this Sunday, bright and early. This is a smaller half so I don’t think there will be online tracking like the Disney races, but I will post our end time. We’ll be done before 8:30am hopefully! The hope was to break the 2 hour barrier this year. I can tell you right now that is NOT going to happen. Someone, me, severely underestimated the effect of the stress of everything that has been happening this year. If I can pull in under 2:28 I’ll be satisfied, if I can PR and go under 2:13 I’ll be thrilled. Even PRing this year will take everything I have and potentially more, it’s within reach though, maybe, close enough to try for anyway. I’ll keep you posted.

3)No hair pics cause I haven’t done anything! I have been thoroughly enjoying the short hair though. No regrets, I’m loving it. The color will get there. Purple is the current winner, with blue being a close second. Purple has had limited success in my hair, but I have some new strategies and I’ll give it a try again.

4)Not an update, but still giving it a number. Got away for 48 hours with Bycemaster for an early birthday present for him. Best thing ever. Getting away from everything and going some where with no pressures or expectations just us, it was glorious and so needed. I feel like I can tackle the this phase of life again, instead of it tackling me. It’s been tackling me for months now.

On that note, I’m off to round up the gang. It’s Aldi time! (I will share my new obsession with Aldi shortly I’m sure, I’m in love) Then back to schooling and cleaning and baking with my little baker. Full day, we’re off!

5 ways to know it’s training season

it’s time to train for this years half marathon! Disney is NOT happening again, but the Lake Nona one was smaller and easier and overall wonderful. It was also the first inaugural run, kinda feels like the start of a tradition to me. Even if this time of year I question why I run. I can’t believe I do this to myself. I’m pretty sure that I’m crazy every time I come back. It just gets better from here. It is amazing to me the shift that occurs when a training schedule clicks in.

1. There is no more “I should run today”

It’s on the calendar. It is happening. They are scheduled in and around.  I run in the heat. I run in the rain. If I can make it through the rain filled frozen hell that was Wine and Dine, I can make it through a little training run in some rain.

2. I run in the morning.

Should anyone be deceived, I am not a morning person. I do not wake up early voluntarily. My preferred sleep hours would be somewhere around 1am-10am. My body, society and life in general has not appreciated or allowed my preferred hours. I I have adapted as best I can. This has not made me a morning person. But if we have plans in the evening, as we often do, runs must happen in the morning. If it’s training season, they will, morning person or no.

3. The miles start racking up!

The beginning of the training schedule is still mostly low mileage runs. Consistency however is even better than longer runs. Those miles just start piling on and the goal actually moves into site. It’s pretty exhilarating.

4. My house smells vaguely of a locker room, pretty much always.

I already have boys. We already live outside, a lot. Bycemaster is on another workout kick himself and now I’m training. Sweat stinks. My bathroom has sweaty clothes in it. The laundry room has sweaty clothes in it. Also, in Florida summers especially, running clothes don’t ever really lose that smell. Can I get a witness here? Ok, for those of you about to tell me your magic way to get smells out. I CAN get it out, if I put a lot of extra work into it. I know how, it’s been done. I also know that is way too much work for clothes that are just going to smell again 5 minutes after they’re put on. There are designated sweaty clothes, that’s all they’re used for. They’re just going through once people, and not in the 2 hour cycle.

5. I start feeling really good.

Regular exercise is awesome, no matter what you’re doing. I would highly recommend it, walking, yoga, whatever you can do is awesome! But even more awesome is exercise when working toward a goal. I love goals, they fuel my life. Exercise goals are just a double win.

So what goals are you guys working towards? Anybody else training for something? 5K? Half? Full? (you crazy people you, but you go!) If you don’t have any goals currently…what do you want? What goals can you set? I should really write a post on goals, good goals, real goals, not wishes…I seriously love them. They are awesome.

music of the gods

Oh blessed music. Neil’s new phone came Friday. This morning I finally took the time to download an album and Nike+ and took it on a run. I swear I was actually smiling (while running!) for the first mile or more. It was amazing! The first few miles were so fast (for me!) I ended the last mile and a half with a serious stitch, but it was totally worth it. In a somewhat unrelated note, I’m finding there are actually some benefits to morning runs. I have an extra evening free when I do a morning run, there are less creepers out in the morning, this time of year it’s actually cooler in the morning and for some stupid reason an extra hour of sleep before midnight seems to count more than the extra hour in the morning. Of course getting up in the dark, being so tired earlier in the day, not stretching as well (I’m already up too early!), and being slower than evenings still sucks. Worst of all is the insane mental hurdle to getting out in the morning, but that does lend itself to a superwoman pay off at the end.

I’m elatedly happy and beginning to feel my early morning already, so it’s time to sign off! Till next time my fellow running crazies and aspiring crazies.

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