Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Knight in Shining Armor

Since going to Medieval Times this past weekend (a belated birthday present for my husband), our house has been filled with knights and battles.  But one little Knight of this realm has become my Knight in Shining Armor.  K, my 4 year old, came up to me today and said,

"You are my princess because you are my Mom.  I am going to protect you and keep you safe."

That Knight knew how to melt this princess' heart.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Thousand Gifts

28. A great Thanksgiving with family
29.  A wonderful evening at Medieval Times with my men
30. A waving his knight's flag with excitement
31. K yelling when our knight knocked the other knight off his horse
32. J watching so intently that he did not even eat
33. The smile on my husband's face
34. Lighting the Advent wreath
35. Running 12 miles
36. For my husband that makes it possible for me to run
37. My husband knowing me better than I know myself

Friday, November 26, 2010

It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas . . .

Thanksgiving is over, Advent starts in two days.  And, although our Christmas tree will not go up for a little yet, I am starting my Christmas prep.  The main thing I am thinking about right  now . . . Christmas Cards.  Over the years we have changed from standard Christmas card, to a Christmas card with a Christmas letter, to a card with a letter and a photo, and now I just send A Christmas photo card.  They are beautiful and easy. I love the fact that friends and family that live across the country can see how much the boys have grown over the year.

And this year, thanks to Shutterfly I have so many Christmas photos cards and Holiday photo cards to chose from.   Here are some of my favorites:


I love this one because it combines a Christmas letter and a photo card!!





But, I will not tell you which one I have chosen for our card this year.  You will just have to wait for your mail!

I love Shutterfly too for Christmas gifts (Grandma and Grandpa P, you can stop reading now!).  My favorite gift to give is a customized photo calendar.  I have given these for the past 3 years now, and they are always a hit.  And since I am not creative, at all, and do not scrapbook, I create a photo book for our own family every year.  It is our family yearbook!

A huge thank you to Shutterfly for offering Bloggers 50 free cards!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

GMO

GMO stands for genetically modified organism and many foods contain GMO's.  Here is a funny song about saying no to GMO's.  For further information on GMO's and the food industry in general, I highly recommend watching Food, INC.





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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy 40th to my wonderful husband!!

Happy birthday sweetie!  You are the most amazing husband and a great father too!  Thank you  for loving me and the boys so well!  Happy Birthday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hit First, Ask Later

This must be my 2 year-old's motto.  This Sunday, at brunch, my 2 yr old and 7 yr old were sitting next to each other.  My 2 yr old had something on his forehead. So, my 7 yr old, the loving and caring brother that he is, saw the thing on A's forehead and wiped it off. 

Now, what did J get for his kindness? 

A did not waste a moment. He cocked back his arm and hit his brother right in the head!

I was sitting across the table and could not help but laugh (I know, I know, that is not exactly the best response when your child does something wrong).  That is A's personality.  He is a tough little boy who has not problems with, "Hit first, ask questions later."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

National Adoption Day

Did you know that November is National Adoption Month?  Did you know that today is National Adoption Day

Please pray today and the rest of this month for those children around the world who do not have families of their own and who are seeking to be a part of a loving family.  And pray for those families who are called to welcome these children into their homes as one of them.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba Father." Romans 8:15



Orphan Sunday 2009 from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Friday, November 19, 2010

7 Quick Takes - The Late Afternoon Edition


1. 2 out of 3 kiddos are sick.  Fever, stomach bug. The house is quiet because currently all my children are napping!  I hope they feel better soon. I love looking at them while they are sleeping, but I hate to see them sick.

2. And since they are sick, I went to co-op by myself today.  It was weird.  I had to teach the art class and then came home.  I felt like I did not belong because my boys weren't with me.

3. Luckily, J did not get sick until today, so he was able to go to his Cub Scouts meeting last night.  He just started Cub Scouts this year and he LOVES it.  My hubby took him to the meeting, so J spent an hour telling me all about it when he got home.  He got his first badge and two belt loops last night . . . he is so proud! (And I am proud of him too!)
4.  126 more days until the National marathon. (But who's counting anyways?)

5. Speaking of first marathons, I read this post at Endurance Isn't Only Physical earlier this week.  It made me VERY nervous to run a marathon. I give her credit for finishing. (As an addition: After discussing this with a FB friend, I feel I need to add:  I would have stopped.  I would not want to risk further injury just so I could finish.  I love running too much to do something that could prevent me from running, potentially, forever. What would you have done?)

6. One thing I love about running is that there are so many different types of people who do it.  It proves that really anyone can run, if they put their mind to it.  I really liked this post by 26.2 is My Cooldown on running and body image.  And I loved this old Nike ad that he included with the post!

7. And, last, but certainly, not least, my hubby turns 40 next week!  I had so many ideas and plans.  A few, since he has to work and his birthday's close proximity to Thanksgiving, had to be delayed.  Another is planned for this Sunday . . . I just hope everyone is healthy so we can actually do it!

Have a great weekend everyone!
Go to Conversion Diary to share you 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review: Little Star by Anthony DeStefano

I love children's Christmas books.  Shorty after Thanksgiving, I head to the library and bring home a large bag full of our Christmas classics.  I read them to the boys over and over again during the weeks of Advent.

But, I am always in search of new books that we can add to our list.  That is why I was so happy to get a chance to review a newly released book called Little Star by Anthony DeStefano.  Anthony DeStefano has also written This Little Prayer of Mine, A Travel Guide to Heaven and 10 Prayers God Always Says Yes To.

The Little Star is a unique retelling of the birth of Christ.  The book begins with a father telling his son the story of the Christmas Star.  All the stars know that the birth of the King is coming, and they are preparing for one of them to shine brightly for Him.  All except a star called Little Star.  He is a small star, whom the other stars believe is too small to shine brightly.  But, when Christ is born, Little Star is the only star that recognizes what a gift Christ gave the world when He humbled Himself to be born in a lowly manger, as a poor, simple, baby.  Because Little Star became so filled with the message of Christ's love, he burned so brightly so that the he could light and warm the stable for baby Jesus.

And the story goes on to explain that Little Star burned so brightly, and gave all he had that night, that he burned himself out.  But that we still remember Little Star today, by placing a star at the top of our tree each Christmas.

Personally, I loved the story.  I gave a brief description of the story, but to truly understand the depth of the story, you have to read it.  The story does a beautiful job of explaining why Christ coming as a child, and being born in a manger in Bethlehem was such an amazing gift.  The story is simple enough, that children can understand it.  It is entertaining enough to keep them captivated.  And, the kids will love the illustrations too (mine did!).  There is a deeper level in the story for both kids and adults.  The story sends the message that no matter who you are, no matter your size, or what others think of you, you can do great things for Christ.  You can "shine brightly" when you are filled with Christ.

I read this to my boys and they really liked it.  My 4 yr old has asked me to read it again and again.  I highly recommend this book.  It is a great addition to your Christmas reading list!  To purchase you own copy, go here.

*I did not receive any monetary compensation.  I did receive a copy of the book for the review.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Thousand Gifts

holy experience


The gifts I am noticing more and more:

14. folding little boy clothes
15. A's giggles
16. being able to just look out my window and watch my boys play together so well
17. hearing the crackling of leaves under my feet while I run
18. little boys in "footsie" pajamas
19. cuddles from A
20. God placing the right person, with the right words, at the right time, in my life
21. co-op
22. listening to J sing along to christian radio
23. watching all three boys play mass together
24. laughter during the day and a quiet house at night
25. my husband bringing me a cup of coffee just when I need one!
26. the smell of fall
27. dinner with friends

Friday, November 12, 2010

Seven Quick Takes



1.  I got the Clean Eating Cookbook last week.  So far, I have made 5 things from it and the whole family has loved them all!  I love when my kids say they love healthy foods!  Plus, the desserts are GREAT!  Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and Molten Lava mincakes . . . YUM!

2. I am so thankful for the time change.  My kids are late sleepers and kind of follow the sun's schedule.  Before the time change, they would not wake up until the sun was fully shining . . . so they would roll out of bed around 8:30AM.  This meant that we often would not start school until 10AM, which is way too late for me.  Since the time change, they have been getting up around 7AM.  I love it.  We start school before 9AM now.  I feel like our mornings are more productive.

3. Had a great week of working out and running this week.  I love running in the Fall and Winter!  It is the best time to run.

4. J is about to lose his first tooth!  He is 7 1/2, so this is late, but he is so excited!

5. We are studying the Middle Ages right now in homeschool.  We just finished reading Castle Diary.  It makes we want to take the family to Medieval Times for dinner.

6. While I was driving home the other evening I saw a Christmas tree, yes a Christmas tree in someone's front window.  Really?!?  I understand the commercial push for Christmas, but I cannot imagine bringing it into my home yet.  What happened to Thanksgiving?

7.  And since I have nothing else to share . . . . here is a great video on proper running form (I bet you are all thrilled! ;-) )


Learning the Skill of Barefoot Running from Terra Plana on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Marathon Training - The Why and the How

So yes, barring any injury, on March 26, 2011, I will be a marathoner.  I really have gone back and forth about this.  This is the first marathon I have signed up for, so I am committed.  I had "put my name on the list" for the Run for Vocations team for the Marine Corps Marathon (that was just a few weeks ago), but never actually filled out any paperwork to make it official before I pulled out.  So, the Suntrust Marathon is the first marathon That I have filled paperwork out for and payed money to run.  There is no refund policy.  I am "in."
The Why

Oh, I have wondered the why myself.  Why do you want to run a marathon, Katie? Why now?  I could wait a year.  Even two years.  I could run a bunch more half marathons.  Train more.  But, I felt that now is the time.  Why?  Because it scares me to do it now.  The longer I have gone since my stress fracture, the "safer" I have become in my running.  Yes, that is a good thing. To a point.  I have learned alot about taking it slow and running smart since my stress fracture.  And that will stay with me as I train for the marathon. 

Remember this post I wrote a year ago?  In that post I wrote that my "Goliath" is running.  Well, I am wrong.  My Goliath is my negative self-talk.  And this negative self-talk, although present in most areas of my life, likes to scream at me when I run.  It was there when I ran the 10K the other week, and it is the voice that is telling me I cannot run a marathon.  I believe that God is calling me to knock down my Goliath for good this time.  By running a marathon.  It is my sling shot and stones.

How?

I have thought a lot about this too.  Although, I did not use the Jeff Gallowy run/walk method in my last 10K, it is what I will use to run the marathon.  I used it to run the GW Parkway 10 miler shortly after coming back from my injury and I felt so good during and after the race.  I will loosely follow his beginner schdule.  I do weight train and cross train, so on the rest days, I will be at the gym.  I will also, probably, run more on the 30 min days than he suggests (or I will do speed work on one of those days). 

I have no time goals.  Jeff Galloway states on his website that even a seasoned runner should not set a time goal for her first marathon.  The only goal should be to finish.  So, my only goal is to get through training and to the finish line injury free.  I am finally working with a great chiropractor that has found the root of my  injuries and the shin splints.  He is helping alot.  And, I am confident that by using the Jeff Galloway method, I can reach my goal. 

I will keep you updated on how training is going!


Oh, and I already know what shirt I will be wearing as I run . . .

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mother and son run

J has been asking me for quite a while if he could run a race with me.  He did great in his kid's run several months back, but I was worried about him trying to run a 5K.  But, he continued to ask.  And, one day, while stuck in Buffalo waiting for the transmission to get rebuilt, I went on the Internet and searched for a race.  I found a bunch of 5Ks in our area that looked like fun.  I asked him what he thought.  His first question to me was, "Do they give out medals to all the finishers?"  When I told him no, but that he would get a t-shirt, he responded, "Mom, I want to run in a race that will give me a medal." (The boy is just in it for the bling?!?!) 

Now, if any of you run, you know that 5Ks DO NOT offer finisher's medals.  So, I widened my search.  And I found perfect race. The Christmas Town Dash sponsored by Chick-fil-a.  This race occurs the first weekend in December at the Busch Gardens Christmas Town in Williamsburg,VA.  Where, we will, just happen, to be on vacation that week!!  They have a 1/2 mile family fun run that my hubby can do with K and A.  It's called the "Running with the Cows", because you run with the Chick-fil-a cows.  And, the icing on the cake . . . . they give FINISHER"S MEDALS!! 

But, there is a slight problem . . . . the race is an 8K . . . . approximately 5 miles.  Now, I am sure J could pull off a 5K, but an 8K . . . um . . . I was not so sure.  But, after much discussion, I registered him and myself for the race.

About two days later, I began to wonder what I was thinking.  I took J out for a run and he complained through the whole HALF MILE (and, yes, the race is 10 times longer).  So, I started to tell him that it would be OK if he did not want to run the 8K.  I could switch him to the family fun run and he would have fun and it would be fine.  But, he was determined and continually told me that he was going to do the 8K.

That was almost two weeks ago now.  He is running two miles with ease.  No complaints.  Yesterday, when we ran, I even had to tell him to slow down because I thought he was going too fast (and I wanted him to learn to conserve energy)!!  I will be honest, the boy amazes me.  I know he is going to do a great job in his race. And I am honored to be the one who will be crossing the finish line with him!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Thousand Gifts

Thanks to Party of Nine at Together for a Reason, who pointed me to The Thousand Gifts at A Holy Experience.  This is something that I have seen other bloggers do, and loved it, so I am going to join in.

1. my husband
2. God's grace and His abundant patience with me
3.  the smell of little A's sweaty head
4.  A's infectious smile, even when he is bad
5. K's kind heart
6. the look of determination J gets when he has his mind set on something
7.  the smell of apple crisp baking in the oven
8.  the boys being covered by leaves
9. racing with my husband
10. being able to thank a Marine for his service to our country
11. running
12. the smell of coffee brewing in the morning
13. greeting the same people at the gym in the AM, seeing them workout, they motivate me to get there each AM too!

 more to come . . .

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

7 Quick Takes


1. Yea for Friday!  This week has been too long and too busy!

2.  I am writing this post early (Wed. actually and scheduling it for an auto post . . . yes, even as early as Wed, I am ready for the weekend to get here.  But, while you are reading this, we will be at the National Aquarium!

3.  Numbers are swimming in my head . . . 140, 20, and 26.2 to be exact . . .  that is 140 days/20 weeks to train until I run 26.2 miles at the Suntrust National Marathon!  Yikes!!  More on the why and the how another time.

4. Pray for us . . .  we may be starting a process soon.  Maybe more details after this weekend.

5.  "Until you find Paradise where you are, you will never be happy." A priest said this this week during a Holy Hour reflection.  It has really stayed with me and I have been pondering it, praying about it a lot.  This is a huge struggle for me.  I could go through a huge list of how homeschooling, the cleanliness of my house, the actual physical house, my prayer life etc, etc is not what I want it/ how I want it to be to be.  Yet, we are called to be happy in the here and now.  How things are, now . . . am I the only one who struggles with this?

6. I am ready to junk the Halloween candy.  It is not healthy for me to have that much chocolate in the house!  I do not like Hershey bars.  I have become a chocolate snob and usually only eat 70%+ cocoa chocolate bars.  But, if all I have is a Hershey bar, I will eat it!

7. I bought Rock Crayons for the boys at the beginning of the school year and they cannot stop coloring.  These are the same boys that I would have to bribe to color a picture for Grandma and Grandpa before . . . . I wish I would have purchased these a long time ago!  The only problem . . . our dog likes to eat them!!


Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Marine Corps Marathon 10K/ Run for Vocations Race Report



This past weekend, my husband and I ran in the Marine Corps Marathon 10K as a part of the Run for Vocations team for the Archdiocese of Washington.  Last year, this race was my first real race.  I wrote a pretty lengthy report last year and actually had pictures (because my husband wasn't running).  You can read last year's report here.

This year, I must admit, I was not as excited about this race.  First, my hope, earlier this year, was to run the full marathon this weekend instead of the 10K.  Second, I have not been running as much and so, I am not as in good of shape as I was at this time last year.  Once I started barefoot running, I significantly reduced my mileage.  I knew I could run 6.2 miles without any problem, but I was not sure that I could run it fast.

So, the weekend came and, I was neither nervous nor anxious about the race.  I had no time goal in mind.  My time last year was 55:42, which, for me, is really good.  I was pretty sure that I would not run faster than that, so my only plan was to try to get as close to that time without taking more than 1 hr.

On Friday, after co-op. the boys and I met my hubby at work and we all trekked down to the expo.  The expo is huge.  I had fun looking at all the running items.  I stalked the Suntrust National Marathon table, trying to decide whether to register for their marathon or not.  And then we went home.  On Saturday, we headed downtown again for the Run for Vocations team mass.  Msgr. Panke, the Director of Vocations gave a great homily (as reported by my husband . . . A was SCREAMING and was so loud, I had to take him out of the church).   After the mass we talked to some of the other runners, met a few more of the seminarians and we headed home.

Sunday morning, I was up by 4:30 AM and got ready to go.  We were downtown at the race start by 7AM.  It was cold and packed!  Last year the 10K was capped at 5,000 runners . . . this year it was 10,000. As soon as we got out of the metro, we headed to the port a potties, and then checked our bag on the truck.  We met up with the Run for Vocations team, took a few photos and prayed and then lined up for the race.  There were a lot more Run for Vocation runners this year and what was even better is that there were a bunch of seminarians that ran too!

At 8 AM, the race started.  My hubby and I ran together.  Now, this had been an issue for days.  He may not run as much as I do, but he is naturally faster.  We had gone back and forth all week as to whether we should run together or not.  I did not want to hold him back, but in the end we decided that it would much more fun if we ran together.  I had a hard time getting used to running with another person.  There were a few times in the first couple of miles that, as I was trying to pass the runner in front of me, I would run right into my husband at my side!  We did get separated a during mile two, but came back together.  I enjoyed running with him.  I felt fine and I was running hard, harder than I have in a while.  I felt good until about mile 5 and then I started to get tired.  I told my husband to run ahead of me. He really wanted to push it during the last mile, but I just did not have it in me that day.  So, he ran ahead of me for a little.  Once I got to the 6 mile mark, my husband slowed down so that we could run up the hill and cross the finish line together.  We crossed with a time of 56:18.  I was pleased . . . out of 4501 women, I finished 538 . . . not too bad!

After the race we picked up our bag, got a massage and food at the runner's after party and then we headed to brunch with the Run for Vocations runners who ran the 10K.

The whole experience, once again, was great.  I loved running with my husband.  I loved the camaraderie of the Run for Vocations team.  I will be back again next year . . . but for the full marathon!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Want to be inspired?




Yes, I have been thinking of trying to train for a marathon again.  But, I admit, I am scared.  I wonder and worry if I can do it.  So, to get a little grounding and a little inspiration, I watched one of my favorite videos of Team Hoyt.  If they do not inspire you to believe that you can, I am not sure what will.

Have you heard of Dick and Rick Hoyt?  Dick Hoyt is Rick's father.  Rick has Cerebral Palsy.  Rick, who cannot walk on his own, asked his father to run in a race with him.  Now, several years later, Dick and Rick have raced together in many races, including IRONMAN triathlons (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run).  During the race, Dick pulls Rick in a boat while swimming, and pushes him while pedalling a bike, and pushes him while running mile after mile.  Did you read the distances????  Now, I am not sure about you, but I question whether I could do that by myself.  Yet, Dick, a 66 year old man in one of his last IronMan triathlons, was doing it while pushing and pulling his son.  AMAZING.

So, if you want to be inspired  . . . . and want to cry . . . watch the video.  Please.

But, that is not why I am writing this post.  I have seen this video a bunch of times.  I cry every time too!  But, what struck me this time was Dick Hoyt's (and his wife's) yes to life.  Yes to a life that they knew would be hard.  Yes to their son when the doctors told them to put him in a home.  In another video I watched, Dick mentions that they did everything with Rick that they did with their other children.  They did not treat him different because of his disability. They gave him all the love and experiences that they could give him because he was their son.

These parents are a testament to the sanctity of life.  The beauty and worth in every life.  And, now, that life, their amazing son Rick Hoyt, is inspiring millions of others to believe that they, too, can.