Category Archives: milestones

10 Years: Fragments of a Tribute

Our wedding day seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? Was there ever a time we didn’t share the same bed every night? Move in the same space? It’s funny how I could spend 23 years living and growing up with my family, yet somehow I feel like I did much more living and growing up in our 10 years together. I thought the part in The Social Animal where David Brooks talks about people not truly being adults until their 30s rang true, which makes me very grateful that I had you as an influence as I came into my own adulthood.

I have these moments sometimes where it almost feels like we live and breath within the same body. And other times when I look at you almost like I’ve never seen you before. It’s hard to label what you are to me. I know many marriages are without spiritual alignment or emotional support or physical comfort or laughter or fun, so I’m thankful we have those things. I’m glad that we’re friends and partners in this life, and hope we’ll continue to both love and like each other over the next many years.

When I think over defining moments of our marriage, they always include the birth of our children. Especially with Henry’s birth I appreciated what a perfect support you were to me. You really were incredible at anticipating my needs and were such a comfort to me. Which really was just a microcosm of your role as my husband throughout our marriage. Your ability to strengthen and encourage me was almost always (you taught me to qualify everything!) outstanding.

So thank you for these 10 years. Thank you for your tenderness and understanding. Thank you for your commiseration. Thank you for your frankness and instruction. Thank you for Denmark but especially England. Thank you for the many ways you melded yourself to me for the purpose of making a stronger ‘us.’ Thank you for our three beautiful, strong boys. Thank you for loving me always.

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Merry Christmas

From December 2011

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This is How I Roll

Back in December, I was in a Keystone Montessori staff meeting with Keystone administrator/teacher Cathe and we were brain storming about a school fundraiser. One of the things that I immediately liked about Cathe when I first met her was her early and often expressed interest in making a Montessori education accessible to anyone that wanted one. She wanted to have a scholarship fund, and she wanted to raise the money in a way that was as inclusive as possible. Which is the shortest way to tell the story of how I became the race organizer of the 1st Annual Keystone Montessori “This is How I Roll” 5K.

I’d run enough road races to have a basic handle on what’s important to runners when it comes to deciding to run a race or not: cost, organization and an awesome tshirt. We set the entry price to the lowest one normally finds in the area, made a point of putting together a clean and informative website, and had a Keystone parent design our tshirts and decided to pay a little extra for dry-fit over cotton.

The nuts and bolts of the organization and promotion of the race were very involved – at times it was its own part-time job – though I had a lot of advice and support from John’s Run/Walk Shop who we hired to measure the course and time our 5K. Back in January, I sat down with Chuck at John’s Run/Walk Shop for over an hour talking through the logistics of how to run a great community 5K (the three keys to a great race basically boil down to Sponsors, Runners, Volunteers).

Just after my half-marathon last September, I started running with the Georgetown Run Club & Intellectual Society (which you should join if you live in Georgetown and run even a little). They were another great resource when it came to working through all the details of the race. They were also gracious about coming out and actually running the race, and collectively won a number of the overall and age-group awards!

The Georgetown Run Club at the This is How I Roll 5K – From May 2011

When it was all over, I felt like I had collectively organized my wedding and birthed a 9-pound baby all over again simultaneously (there’s a nice mental image…). I heard a lot of nice compliments on the race from both our ‘elite’ local runners as well as people who had never run a 5K before. People loved the dry-fit race tshirts and the refreshment table with fair trade coffee, organic bananas and Chick-fil-a chicken biscuits. I was glad too that the whole race wasn’t populated just by people I knew or that were connected through the Montessori community, but also by local running groups and others who thought it would be a nice race to run. We ended up having 114 people register and 105 people run, which is pretty good for a first-time 5K being run the same weekend as the Girls on the Run 5K.

We also had a children’s fun run following the 5K award ceremony. It was great seeing how many kids participated because they wanted to run a race just like their parents, grandparents or other special people in their lives. Anything to encourage an active lifestyle early on!

 Race organizer, first time 5K runner & Fun Run boys! From May 2011

I’m hoping that all this work takes a step toward doing something positive for both the Montessori community in Georgetown and the families that want to be part of them as well as generally encouraging health and wellness in our small town. Montessori and running have done tremendous things for our boys and our family.

Check out more event photos here and join us next year on Saturday, May 19, 2012 for the 2nd Annual running of the Keystone Montessori This is How I Roll 5K

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Filed under milestones, Montessori School for the Gifted, run white girl run

And Then He Was Four

Growing up I loved my birthday. It was My Special Day and I knew that because my Mom served a my dinner on a plate that said “You Are Special!” My Dad took me out to lunch, and I got a few presents and a cake. I could finally put away the age 5 or 9 or 15 and be that next magical age when everything exciting in life would finally happen.

Last Friday John turned four and I finally realized the other side to birthdays. Now it’s not about looking forward, but backward. To the very beginning when I first saw that little face and finally understood how that mother penguin from March of the Penguins could pick out her chick’s voice from that mass of other squawking penguins. The process of his birth is somehow important too to the memory; when labor started, what the sunrise looked like on the way to the hospital, when I started pushing, when he was born. My Mom used to make these comments on my birthday, “This time X years ago we were _______” and I was far more interested in if she could give me a ride down to the court house to take my written test for my driving permit.

I look at him now and wonder how he ever could have been a baby. I look at his pictures and he just seems like a smaller version of himself. I know I’m supposed to say that I can’t believe he’s 4, but really I’m just surprised he’s not 5 already like he thinks he is. He’s such a sturdy little boy with a happy spirit and a love of learning. And with his brother I’m doubly lucky.

Happy birthday, little man.

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10K Baby!

After talking about preparing for this race for half the life of this blog, it is high time I blogged about the race itself.

The first, best and most exciting news is around 5:00PM the night before the 10K, we made our $3,000 goal for Compassion International’s Child Survival Programs! I think it’s pretty incredible that a fairly small number of active fundraisers could raise so much money in such a short amount of time (and lose so many inches off their waist while doing it!)

That night at our Pre-10K Carb-Loading Pasta Party, we celebrated with two unexpected runners who joined us at the last minute. One was Karen‘s brother-in-law from California and the other was an old friend of mine from high school. Both had been following various team member’s training and fundraising, and it was awesome having them join us for the race!

The day of the 10K was absolutely perfect. It was about 68 degrees at 7:30AM when the race started and there was a break in the humidity. Kristi and I ran the race together, which was so much fun. She really pushed me to pick up my pace. Around Mile 4, I had that “I’m in the ZONE!” feeling. And it lasted until Kristi started to really make me work around Mile 5, and I tragically couldn’t keep up anymore with a mere 0.2 miles to go. YOU WIN, Kristi! And I… well, I ran the whole race, even through the water breaks. My time was 68:39 – a 11:03 pace – not too shabby for my first 10K.

One of the best things about this whole process has been the community support we’ve all received – from our home communities as well as our online communities. I was really motivated to keep training by people who gave money even before I had set foot on a treadmill. And then the day of the race, my sister cheered for me at Mile 2 and Mile 5 with her awesome sign. My friend Amy joined Kristi and I at Mile 4.5 in her electric wheelchair and “ran” with us for almost half a mile. And then Michael, the boys and my friend John who finished the race nine minutes earlier (he *is* in the Air Force) cheered for me at the end.

I’m a graduate of Liberty University and over Christmas read Brown University student Kevin Roose’s book about his “semester abroad” at LU. While not a particularly religious person, he goes through the process of taking on the trappings of Christianity including praying. He talked about how he didn’t really know how to “do” prayer, and would often say the Lord’s Prayer or sort of fumble along. And the interesting thing was that overtime he realized prayer had become to tool to think about someone other than himself.

As a person raised in a Christian household, I was almost ashamed how revolutionary this comment struck me as being. I have a tendency to get bogged down in my own little life, and overtime look more and more inwardly. This has been a good exercise in actively looking out, but it also reminded me we can do the same in acts as simple as a prayer.

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Filed under com10K, faith and things like it, milestones

A Homemade Happy Birthday


Homemade happy birthday banner
Originally uploaded by ShotSnaps

Somehow I managed to make it 3.5 years before actually hosting a birthday party for one of my children. They are usually just family affairs with cake. When John turned 2, we were in Texas and my mother-in-law organized his party. It was at a splash park and all I had to do was make the cake.

I have a really great mother-in-law. :)

James will be 2-years-old tomorrow and this morning we had a party centered around James’ favorite book: Goodnight Moon. Six little friends came to celebrate, and this is what we did:

The party started at 10:00am – snack time in Toddler World – so we had cupcakes soon after everyone arrived. A friend of mine told me about Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes, which are wonderful because they are really easy for small hands to hold and eat. The kids got to decorate their cupcakes with sprinkles and mini-M&Ms. Some of them really loved decorating, and some really loved getting to put the decorations directly in their mouths!

After cupcakes, the kids colored on the long pieces of craft paper I had taped on the table. After that I blew bubbles over them for about five minutes, which was hands down the most loved activity.

Rather than people bring gifts just for James, we had a present exchange. The first birthday party John ever attended was for a little 2 year-old boy, and this is where I got the idea. Everyone brings a $3-6 unisex gift (in our case appropriate for ages 2-4), and then everyone gets to open and take home a present. It’s nice because the birthday boy was really happy with just one present. And so many of these preschool age kids really don’t understand why one kid gets all the presents anyway.

For those keeping score at home, here’s how the expenses broke down:

  • Snapfish Postcard Invitations: $13.68
  • Postage: $2.52
  • Helium Balloons Party Favors (because you had to have the Red Balloon!): $10
  • Playdough Party Favors (that also served as balloon weights): $3
  • Two Presents for Gift Exchange: $6
  • Cake mix, ice cream cones, sprinkles, etc.: $8
    TOTAL: $40.20

I used paper plates and napkins from previous functions, and I’m not counting things like coffee or the ingredients to make scones. I also painted a banner using the kid’s craft supplies.

James had a wonderful time. I know both boys wish that every day was a birthday party day.

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Filed under brother bears, how to..., milestones, money matters

Mockumentary

My sister Rosalie turned her 2009 Chicago Marathon experience into a mockumentary for her film class. It is awesome, they are awesome, and I even make a tiny cameo.

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