Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Dresses

Every year Katie gets a new Christmas dress.
It has always been an easy task:

I find a dress I love for her,
I buy it,
I give it to her and she loves it.

Some years she comes with me and chooses,
but we always agree on the style.

This year, however, it was a bit different.

I had visions of something like this:


or this,



I loved this one, too!



Even this one wasn't bad.



My little Fashionista nixed every single one of them.
She had other ideas.
She said those were pretty, but she wanted something else.

What did she choose?

Something that didn't look like a sweet 
"little girl dress".

It looked a bit more grown up.
In fact, it was way more grown up than I had in mind.

She chose this one.


Sigh.
My baby isn't a baby any more. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SBIM Half-Marathon

I was able to go to Santa Barbara on Thursday after all. Katie was feeling better. And I left her in VERY good hands. My dear friend, RoseAnn, kept the kidlets for us so we could go. I love that sweet lady.

We arrived Thursday afternoon and checked in to our hotel. I love staying at Fess Parker's Resort. Yes, THAT Fess Parker. He built an amazing hotel along Cabrillo Blvd. in SB. After we checked in, Andy & Mariah came to pick us up for dinner. Mariah and I are really close. She is my cousin/fellow foodie/half-marathon partner/etc. Andy is her fabulous husband. I wish we lived closer together - we would be together all the time. Dinner was amazing: good food, good wine, and fabulous company. 

Friday morning we woke up and went for a jog on the beach path. It was beautiful and I wish I could exercise on the beach every single day. I have a feeling I'd be in far better shape than I am if I lived on the coast. After our run/walk, we went to the SBIM Expo to pick up our packets and shirts, then we went to wander around downtown for a while. We made reservations at Enterprise Fish Co. to celebrate our anniversary. The food was incredible, but my favorite part of the evening was just spending it with Mr. C. After 17 years of marriage, I still can't get enough of that man. 

We got up bright and early on Saturday for the race. We were both nervous and excited so neither of us had slept well. We caught the shuttle to the starting line and met up with Mariah. We decided to take some "before" shots:

 Mr. C warming up

Mariah and I even found Big Bird. He ran the entire race in this outfit - and the dude had the sexiest accent ever. I am a sucker for an accent.

 My race bib. 
They printed our names on them so spectators could yell encouragement to you throughout the race and call you by name - and the DID! 
It was awesome!

 Some crazy man ran it in sandals. Ouch.

 These were the people behind us in the starting area.

 These were the people in front of us in the starting area.

They started the race in waves. There were 3600 runners entered in the Half. The first group to go out was the "under 8-min. milers". Next came the "8-11 min. milers", which was Mr. C's group. Last was our group, the "over 11-min. milers". When our group was started, they were playing "Highway to Hell" on the audio system. Hehe.

Along the race route, musical groups were set up every couple of miles. There were string quartets, Accordion groups, Beach Boys singers, a dude dressed as a king playing a ukulele, etc. It was incredible. There were also spectators shouting to us and holding signs.



THIS sign was my favorite:

This is Mariah and our new friend Julie. We didn't know Julie until that morning, but she found us at the starting area (I have no idea HOW with so many people there, but she did) and decided that we looked nice and she wanted to walk with us. She dubbed us "Team Half-Crazy" because of our shirts (which, by the way, were very popular with the spectators and contestants all day long). Julie is a doll and we are so glad she decided to join us for the day.


After Mile 11, we could finally see the ocean. It was such a welcome sight for us because we knew the finish line was close.  


When we started down the final hill, look who we found! Mr. C decided to come back up to give us some encouragement for the final leg of the race. He had a goal of finishing in under 2:10 - he actually finished in 2:04:27.2!!!! He was shocked that we were already that close to the finish, he thought we'd be further back still. :) At this point I could barely walk. I had developed a rather large blister on the ball of my foot during Mile 4 (which meant I had to walk on that sucker for NINE miles)! I also could feel one of my toenails coming off and several smaller blisters. I was in so much pain!!! Mr. C said that when we saw the finish line, we would get a burst of energy and start running. I did NOT believe him because I was exhausted and I hurt so badly.


However, when we saw this...
 we grabbed hands and ran our fastest until we crossed the finish line. My goal had been to finish in under four hours. We finished in 3:55! It was the most incredible feeling I've ever had. After being unable to participate in PE or sports at any point in my childhood (due to severe asthma), and suffering from 3 knee surgeries (including my left knee having the cartilage scraped out from underneath the knee cap), and 2 herniated discs in my back...well, let's just say this was not something I ever dreamed I could accomplish. Mariah and I were both overwhelmed with emotion at the end. I can't believe I actually did it. This was the most difficult thing I've ever done, both physically and mentally - but we DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mariah is the mother of four boys. I am the mother of three boys and a girl, and a grandma! The odds were stacked against us, but we proved that it isn't always physical ability that gets you there - it is your determination and attitude, too.

Mr. C took a picture of Julie, Mariah, and me after we received our medals. I look like crap (I pulled my hair all the way back that morning because I didn't want it in my face - NOT a good look for me), but I was so happy that I decided to post these pics anyway. LOL.

 This is the medal we received. I will cherish it forever. And I can look in the eyes of my beautiful grandson and tell him,
"I am a half-marathoner".


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Rough Day

I'm supposed to be packing for our getaway to Santa Barbara, but I'm not sure I'm going yet. Katie woke up with the stomach flu at 1:00 this morning and I've been doing nothing but steam-cleaning my floors and washing towels. Ick. I am praying it is the 24-hour bug and not something more severe. If she isn't better, I will try to reschedule my flight for Friday so I can still do the race. If she still isn't better by then, I'll have to cancel my trip completely. I have worked so hard for this and it is so disappointing that the past month I have been sick and couldn't train very much, and now Katie is sick and I might not be able to go.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Gratitude Day 8


  • I am thankful I was born with a grateful heart. Even in the midst of pain and sorrow, I have always been able to find the blessing in each situation. There were times when all I had was my faith that things would get better. During those times when things seemed hopeless, He always gave me the knowledge that they weren't. I am grateful for my difficult childhood because it taught me self-reliance, empathy, and inner peace. I am grateful that the experience of being a divorced mom taught me that I was strong and capable. I am grateful for the four babies we lost because I cherish my four living children so much more than I might have otherwise.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Mercy

I missed yesterday. I have been sick for three weeks and went back to the doctor on Thursday where I was given an injection and a new antibiotic. Hopefully it works quickly. I have a race in 6 days and I need to be 100% in order to finish. Anyway...back to my post...

Forgiveness.
Mercy.
Understanding.
Empathy.

How is it that we all expect these things when WE mess up, but we find it so hard to extend to those who have hurt us? Why do we hold grudges against others when they fail our expectations? How can we teach our children about unconditional love when we don't live it in our daily lives?

I always had a hard time grasping the concept of a "loving" God. My idea of God was more of a "judgmental" or "just" God. The idea of Him loving me unconditionally was so foreign. I thought I had to earn it, but I never felt I could because I fail daily. I am not perfect, so how could He love me perfectly? I was constantly trying to live up to what I thought I needed to be in order to be loved and accepted.

Fortunately, I found that God is not like that. He loves us lavishly. He rejoices when we succeed, and he weeps with us when we hurt. His love is not based on our behavior. He extends mercy and understanding, even when we don't deserve it. And He loves me so much more than I deserve.

Now, the challenge for us is to try to model that kind of love and mercy to others - especially our children. When someone hurts me, am I as quick to forgive them as I hope I'd be forgiven? Am I as quick to extend mercy as I am to accept it? Do my children see the love of God in ME? Will they be confident of my love? Will they be confident of His love? Or do they witness me holding grudges, or doling out excessive punishment? Do they see understanding, or do they see "justice"?

I once heard a question that has stuck with me for many years: "Do your eyes light up when your child enters the room?".

I know that our Father's eyes do.

Do yours?


Friday, November 04, 2011

Love and Marriage


Tomorrow will be our 17th wedding anniversary. In some ways, it seems like just yesterday that we met because it has gone by so quickly. In other ways, it seems like we've been married forever because I can't remember what my life was like before. Each and every day, I thank God for putting that man in my life. I don't know where I would be without him.

I didn't have an easy childhood. There was not a lot of safety, security, or stability in our home. My parents certainly didn't model an example of what a healthy marriage looked like (they hadn't had those models either). We moved constantly so I never had a stable support system in my life, and by the time I was in 6th grade, I had attended eight different schools (in as many towns / states). I was insecure and constantly seeking approval, but never seemed to find it. My escape was reading, which I did constantly.

My first marriage was difficult, as well. My ex-husband isn't an ogre or anything - but we had very different ideas of what our family should be. We were young, ill-matched, and neither of us had the tools to fix things when they began to fail. The divorce was painful and left me feeling like a failure.

So, when I met Mr. C, I was carrying a lot of baggage. In fact, I think my baggage would've filled the entire luggage compartment of a jumbo jet. I didn't trust men. at. all. I had built up tall, thick walls. I had dealt with rejection and abandonment my entire life. I was also a people-pleaser, so I never felt comfortable asking for what I needed because I didn't want to inconvenience him, or seem too needy.

But my husband is an amazing man. He slowly proved that he was different. He encouraged me to share my thoughts. He taught me that there ARE good, honorable, gentle, and decent men in this world. This wasn't a quick, or easy, process - it took him years to tear down those walls I had built up. I can now honestly say that I trust him completely. And because it took so long to earn it, he works hard to not break that trust. He respects me as a person and as an equal.

He is the BEST father I've ever seen. He is patient, loving, and encouraging to our four children, even though he is only biologically related to the younger two. He doesn't consider my boys his step-sons, they are his sons. Period. He is the best father a daughter could have. He takes Katie on breakfast dates every Saturday morning. He treats me with love and respect so our children know how a man should treat his wife. He thanks me for cooking dinner every night, in front of the kids - and makes sure they thank me, too. He is loyal to his family - always. He is always a good example to our children and all four of them feel comfortable going to him for advice. They know they can rely and depend on him for anything - and he will always be there. His love is unconditional, and he would never, ever abandon them.

Even with all of these glowing words, don't assume the years have all been easy for us. We had a few really rough ones - so rough that there are times I am amazed that we made it through. Early in our marriage, we had some major adjustment issues. After moving to Cheyenne almost fifteen years ago, my boys tried attending school here, but both decided to go back to live in our former town with their father. I was devastated. When you combine this with the fact that Mr. C was working and/or golfing constantly...well, I was one unhappy and lonely girl. I began looking for a job back where my boys were (this was before the two littles were born), and was seriously planning on moving. If it weren't for my husband being such a stubborn and persuasive man, we wouldn't be where we are today. It took love, forgiveness, grace, and a whole lot of work (on both our parts), but we managed to do it. Our marriage is one of two content and grateful people who truly enjoy being together. We have been told many times that we still act like newlyweds. He is my dearest friend and the love of my life.

I have learned a few lessons through the years: 1) a bad childhood does not have to equal a bad adulthood. 2) you can overcome pain and uncertainty to create a joyful and happy life. 3) Even when your marriage looks like it is hopeless, you can rebuild it into something more wonderful than you ever dreamed.

And, for Mr. C - thank you for the past 17 years. God has given me more than I could have ever imagined or deserved. You are His greatest gift to me and you have my heart until the end of time. Happy early anniversary, my love.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

30 Days of Gratitude


I created a layout to keep track of my
30 Days of Gratitude
posts on Facebook.
You can check out the deets at the
Ormolu Blog!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Last Supper


If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be?

Seafood. Hands down. I would have lobster in drawn butter. Crab legs in drawn butter. Gee, I feel like Paula Deen... Anyway, shrimp cocktail. Scallone (Moby Dick's in Santa Barbara used to serve this amazing dish and I always ordered it - it is scallops and abalone chopped and cooked together in a thin egg batter - best served with lemon).

I would end my amazing meal with Creme Brulee from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (they make THE BEST).

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

NaBloPoMo

...stands for National Blog Posting Month. I am going to try to post something on the old bloggity blog blog every day during the month of November. On Facebook, I am doing a 30 Days of Gratitude, so I may also post that here some days.

November is all about gratitude and thankfulness, which is why it is one of my favorite months. I love Thanksgiving because it is all about family, football, and food. :)

So, join me each day this month as I attempt to complete the challenge of NaBloPoMo.