Friday, December 14, 2012

7 Quick Takes

 
 
 
 
1. 12-12-12
This date was my birthday!  I had a wonderful day with my family and enjoyed it so much.  Plus, it is awesome that my birthday is on such a great Feast Day. I love the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe.
 
After the kids went to bed on my birthday night, my husband and I watched The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  Two weeks ago, someone said to me that they felt that they needed to tell me to watch it.
 
I cried my way through that movie.  Maybe it is just because it is "where I am at."  But, I totally lost it while watching the final scene of the movie.  It was a good thing that only my husband was there to witness it.
 
Anyone else see it?? 
 
 I should have a movie party at my house so people can see it . . . I won a copy of it from an Orphan group!! Y'all are invited!
 
3.A  Funny things heard around our house lately #1
 
One of my husband's coworkers got engaged recently.  So, we were talking about it and my 6-year old began to talk about the engagement ring and said,
 
"An engagement ring is a ring that the man gets to try to get the girl to say yes."
 
3.B  Funny things heard around our house #2
My youngest does not seem to want to own up to his negative behavior.  On my birthday, we went to mass and then came home for brunch.  While eating brunch, my 4 year old asked if he was good at mass.  I responded with a question.  The conversation went on for another minute, until I asked him directly, "A, what did Mommy ask you to stop doing at mass?"
 
He responded,
" Let's stop talking about this now."
 
I guess he decided to plead the 5th . .
 
4. The End of the World (a laugh)
 
 
 
5.  A Christmas wreath after my own heart
From Colonial Williamsburg
 
Not only is it pretty, look at what it is made out of . . .

 
Ah, yes, coffee!
 
6. Healthy cookies??
I love to bake.  Or really, just make treats! But I have not made any in a long time and I want to make some form of a Christmas cookie, but healthy. 
 
Someone, please send me links or ideas!  I searched Pinterest and had a hard time finding anything that I liked.  I would like something gluten free and still yummy!
 
7. From Little Flower Projects
 
 

Little Jia was losing weight at first, but he's gaining now and up to 3 lbs 5 oz (1500g). Even though we've visited specialists and run tests, we still don't have a diagnosis or know why his head is enlarged. Keep the little guy in your prayers.
 
Have a great weekend everyone!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Still counting the gifts. Vacation style.


I am not sure why it is so much easier to feel His presence and recognize His gifts on vacation, but it is.  Maybe because the routine of daily life is interrupted somewhat.  There is still laundry to do, meals to prepare and dishes to clean up.  But these tasks feel so much less burdensome when on vacation.  Suddenly coonversations with strangers, texts from neighbors are seen as what they are . . . gifts given to us in the day to remind us that HE is with us always and loves us so much.

And, so I write this vacation gifts list as a reminder that I am blessed with so many wonderful things!

- Mass at St Bede's and the pizza dinner after mass. 
- The Advent craft for the boys.  Making advent wreathes.

- Running into old friends and acquaintances miles away from home.
- The weather,  It could not be more perfect for December.
- An amazing pool.
- Smiles shared with A.
- Running with J. And being able to witness him working so hard.
- My neighbors.  Gosh, I am going to miss them when they move.  They are a treasured gift.
- A conversation with a stranger affirming homeschooling.
- Grand Illumination. The beauty of it truly brings me to tears.
- A parking spot opening up just a we pulled into the parking lot.
- Meeting a group of Nashville Dominicans.  They are a witness to God's goodness and how joyful life can be when living according to His will.
- A great workout center at the place where we are staying.  Finally getting to try a rowing machine.
- A pain free run.

 
- a 73 degree day
 
 

-a family paddle boating trip

- Nature's colors

- perfect paths

- watching boys run

- brothers who are best friends  . . .

 
 . . . but still fight! (That is what happens when they are in Blue and Gray!)



- daily mass
- marching with the fife and drum corps
- hot chocolate
- time with my husband
- cable :-)
- science projects
- a fun side trip on our way home



 


-  my little  civil war soldiers
 


-the boys with Santa
 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Grand Ilumination 2012

 
Can the beauty of fireworks make you cry?  Well, yes, it can.

The night after the Christmas Town Dash, we headed to Colonial Williamsburg for Grand Illumination.  It is the celebration of the beginning of the Christmas Season and the highlight of the night is firework displays.  4 to be exact. Throughout the town.  We had gone to Grand Illumination two years ago and watched it by the Governor's Mansion.  This year, we headed to the Capital Building.

The night was beautiful.  The weather was amazing.  I had layered the boys and really, none of us needed coats.  The last time we cam,e we were FREEZING, but this time felt like an early fall night.  We made our way through the throngs of people, from one end of town to the other and staked out a place to the left front of the Capital building.  Fireworks were to be going off on each side of the Capital, so we figured we had a great seat to see both sets go off.  And we were in for a treat!  As the fireworks went of, they went off from the front and both sides of the building.  With each firework, the building was lit by the glow.  The fireworks lasted about 20 minutes and every moment was spectacular.  There was something about the beauty of the fireworks going off, illuminating a building that was so integral to the history of our nation, that made me tear up.  People cheered as the fireworks dazzled the crowds and lit up the sky.  There were fireworks on spinning wheels that looked like white pointsettias.  There were fireworks draped on wires that looked like waterfalls, falling before the Capital building.  Not one firework was a disappointment. 



I got to see the wonder and excitement on my boys' faces.  And, in that moment, immersed in the spectacle and surrounded by the ones I most love, I felt very blessed.  Blessed to experience that moment once again. 

After the fireworks were over, the fife and drum corps began.  There were two corps. One near the Capital building and one you could hear playing in the distance.  As the one closest to us marched down the main street, the crowds followed.  At some point they stopped and continued to perform in the street.  Within minutes, the drums of the other corps grew louder.  They marched down the street toward us and joined the otherr corps.  The Junior and Senior Corps joined together for a couple songs, ending with Yankee Doodle.

After the performance, we began to walk back to our car and ran into a group of Nashville Dominican Sisters.  They are amazing.  They are such a joy-filled order that exudes happiness and God's love.  We spoke to them a bit and then headed "home" for the night.

The night was a prefect ending to a wonderful first day of vacation.

Monday, December 10, 2012

How do you spell fun? Answer: Christmas Town Dash 8K!

The Cow Cheering Squad
The medal/christmas ornament
The first day of our vacation was a busy one.  It started early in the AM with the Christmas Town Dash 8K.  Most of the family was running.  K and A were running the Running with the Cows Chick-fil-A fun run.  And J was registered for the 8K.  My husband and I were also registered, but obviously both of us could not run.  We had done this two years ago too.  One of the perks of running the race, is getting a free ticket to Busch Gardens.  Now, it is actually cheaper for us to register for the run and get a ticket that way, than to just pay full price for the ticket at the gate.  Plus, the run benefits Toys for Tots. So, it is a win win situation.  Naturally, I wanted to run it and planned on doing so.
K is the boy with the black shirt and silver pants ahead of the boy in red.

K and A ran their run so well.  A was adamant about wearing a race shirt and was upset he did not get one, so I let him wear mine, along with the Santa hat we brought.  K was determine to run as hard as possible.  They both did so well and had lots of fun. After their race, that got a cute medal and lots of yummy goodies.

The sea of runners at the beginning
Once their race was over, there was about 15 minutes until the start of the 8K. J was nervous and kept on trying to get me to take him to the corral.  I tired to ease his nerves as much as possible and I told him that this race was about having fun and not worrying about time.   We started in corral 3, so we started about 5 min after the first group.  The race was much bigger than the first year and the route felt crowded in the first 1.5 miles.  We worked hard to get a good pace and find a groove while we made our way through the route in the parking lot and ran toward the park.  Close to 1.5 miles, we made out way into the park, Busch Gardens.  At this time of year they have Christmas Town.  It is all decorated for Christmas.  The run through the park is amazing.  It is so pretty and along most of the route you hear Christmas Music.  We ran through Ireland, Germany and Italy.  We ran on cobble stone streets and over bridges.  J was running well and I was having fun taking pictures all along the way to remember it all.
 



 
 



 
 






About 2 miles into the race, I noticed J seemed to be getting distracted.  The park was nice and he was slowing down to look at the scenery.  That was when I told him to start picking a person to "pick off."  His first target was a boy about his his age.  I told J to pass him over the next 1/2 mile.  Once he was behind us, I told J to pick another person to pass.  We did this for the remainder of the race and I have to say that that was all the incentive he needed.  J ran a solid race and still had time to high five the Marines in the park and the Chick-fil-a cows!!  We finished the race in 54:12, his best time in an 8K yet.  And, I was super proud of him.  He ran negative splits, every single mile with his last mile being almost a full  minute faster than his first.


Around mile 4
And this race was a big one for me too.  I have not run in a race since May 6th.  And I have not run more than 3 miles in months.  I was nervous about this one.  About 50% of my runs have ended in pain since May and I was not confident that I could get through this run.  Matter of fact, it was not until we got to the race that I made the final decision to run.  I told my husband to be ready to run.  I had no confidence in my ability to finish this race without pain.  But, the race was great.  My hamstring tightened a little around mile 2, but I had no IT band trouble at all.  And at the end of the race I knew I needed this race.  Up until this race I had felt broken.  And to be able to get through this race gave me confidence back that it will all be OK and that I will be able to run again the way I hope to.  I enjoyed every pain free moment of this run.


This run also reminded me how important it is to ENJOY the run.  The time on the clock is important, but if you do not savor the moments on the run, the time one the clock becomes just a number.  The run really is about the journey. 

And the Christmas Town dash was a great journey.