Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - Year in Review

*I got to celebrate my friend Tina with my first visit to Fahrenheit and a fun girls' night to Charlotte.
*We had a big snow (at least for NC) and had lots of fun sledding with neighbors.
*I battled sickness for most of the month.


*We enjoyed a STEM night at Brenna's school building Legos.
*Brenna went skating for the first time.
*The kids both wrapped up their basketball seasons.
*Brenna dressed as a 100 year old and it was the funniest, cutest thing ever.
*Jonathan and I celebrated Valentine's Day and my birthday with a date night to Red Rocks.
*My friends took me back to Red Rocks to celebrate my birthday again.  
*We sold the Montero and got a new (to us) Honda Pilot.


*We celebrated Brenna's sixth birthday with a Life Group birthday cake and treats for her classmates.
*Brenna's 6th birthday party was at the Ninja Warrior course at Defy Gravity in Charlotte.  She got to celebrate with lots of friends and family.
*The kids got to spend a weekend with Neena and Pa Bill.
*Davin and I delivered hundreds of Krispy Dreme Doughnuts to area schools on behalf of The Cove Church.
*My outreach team cooked and served food at The Corner Table.
*We delivered doughnuts to families we met the past 2 summers at Go Bananas.
*We celebrated Easter at The Cove.
*We took a trip to the zoo over Spring Break with the Stricklands and the Hallmans and had a blast.
*We took a life group field trip to Defy Gravity over Spring Break.

*Maggie turned TEN years old. 

*We had birds hatch in our garage.
*I took a 4 day trip to Disney with my mom and sister and had a great time.
*The kids and I went strawberry picking for the first time.
*Brenna had her first Startown field day and I got to join in the fun.
*Brenna and Jonathan ran the Kids Marathon - 25 miles at home and the final mile together with other students in Hickory.
*Heather and Mike came to town and I got to see them for a few hours - made me miss her that much more!


*Davin started tee-ball and Brenna started coach pitch baseball - with her Daddy as her coach.
*We celebrated Mother's Day at church and with a special lunch.
*We all went along for Brenna's field trip to Tweetsie.
*The kids and I went to Bristol to celebrate Jayla's birthday.
*Mom and I took the kids to see Charlotte's Web at the Barter.
*Brenna qualified as one of the fastest runners in Kindergarten/1st grade and competed in the Elite Feet run at Startown.

*Davin finished up his first year of preschool.
*I drove to Virginia to watch my first class of 3rd graders graduate.  It was awesome to hang with Sheri and Lisa for the day and to see those kids who will always hold a special place in my heart.
*Brenna finished up kindergarten and we sadly said goodbye to the best teacher/assistant combo EVER.
*Jonathan and I spent a few days in New York, our first time there together.  I spent a few hours working at a soup kitchen one day.  We ate great food, shopped a little, and saw School of Rock on Broadway.
*We celebrated Davin's 4th birthday with a golf themed party at our house, complete with an outdoor putt-putt course on one of the hottest days of the year.
*We celebrated Father's Day at church and out-and-about.
*We spent a weekend with the Melandos in Beech Mountain.  Rachel and I both got horrible sunburns even though it wasn't even that hot or sunny.
*We survived another crazy week at Cove Kids Camp.  
*I learned what it's like to have 4 kids as we spent the day with our friends' kiddos and took them to a movie, lunch, ice cream, and Target.  We still plan on only having 2 kids, haha.  But it was fun for a day.
*I spent some time with a new chiropractor who really helped my back issues and I'm forever grateful.

*We celebrated Independence Day in Independence, Virginia.
*The kids got to splash and play in the New River for the first time.
*The kids and I braved the chaos for Chic-Fil-A dress like a cow day.
*We had a blast at Superhero night at the Crawdads game.
*We went back to Defy Gravity.  It's obviously a favorite of ours.  I think this was the day we also saw a Junie B Jones play in Charlotte with the Hallmans.
*The kids loved Touch a Truck in Claremont.
*Jonathan and I had a night out to celebrate our friend Jen's birthday in Hickory.
*We finally went to the library and got library cards.
*Jonathan and I celebrated 8 years of marriage with a date night to Charlotte.
*Brenna finished her first long chapter book and finally started liking to read.
*The kids and I went to Virginia and went to Hands On Museum with Brady and Mal.
*We spent a day painting pottery with cousins in Virginia.
*I threw my sister a baby shower for Lainey in Virginia.
*I had a girls' night out with my besties.  We ate so much sugar that I decided to give up sugar the next day.

*I started a diet on August 1.
*Davin got a pretty dramatic short haircut.
*Brenna lost her first tooth on the way to the beach at a McAllister's Deli in Columbia, SC.
*We spent 5 days in Hilton Head, SC complete with a pirate boat ride, lots of time at the pool, dinners and shopping, a helicopter "visit" from Jonathan's friend Wes, and a day at the beach with the Jones before we left.
*We helped pull off the back-to-school bash for Newton-Conover Schools.  
*The kids spent hours in the yard playing baseball.
*We celebrated Ashley's upcoming wedding with a bachelorette weekend in Charlotte.
*The kids spent a few days at Neena and Pa Bill's having lots of fun outside.
*The kids and I soaked up a lot of summer fun - pool, miniature golf, bowling, parks, Discovery Place Kids, and lots of playing and reading.
*We celebrated Brady's 5th birthday in Bristol.
*Brenna started 1st grade.
*Lainey Paige Smith was born and we headed to Bristol, which caused B to miss the third day of school.


*We took the kids on their first real hike to South Mountain State Park.
*Davin started Pre-K.
*We had family pictures made at the Hickory Fair.*Jonathan and I went to the Battle at Bristol.  We got to see lots of friends even though the game didn't turn out like we'd hoped it would.
*We stopped to meet new baby Isaac Campbell on our way home from Virginia.
*We spent another full morning cooking at The Corner Table instead of usual serving only.
*I spent a few hours with Kelley in Gaffney and it was SOO needed.  Friends like her are so rare.
*I spent the last night of September celebrating Ashley and Cliff's wedding rehearsal.


*Cliff and Ashley got married and Ashley and we got to party all day/night with friends who are more like family to me.
*Dav and I spent some mornings at the park while B was at school.
*I survived the chaos of the Hurricane that almost ruined so many of my clients' Disney trips.
*We celebrated at the Startown Spectacular with friends and teachers.
*We got a fire pit and J got really into setting it up to watch TV outside.
*We started our new life group at the Hollar's home.
*Jonathan and I celebrated his birthday in Uptown Charlotte for a night.
*Jonathan and I dressed as Russell and Mr Frederickson from Up to help give out candy and paint faces at the Newton Spooktacular.
*We trick-or-treated with the Raineys and the Stricklands (and some of B's school friends) in our neighborhood.  Brenna was a cowgirl (superman the day before) and Davin was Michael Jordan from Space Jam.

*We (reluctantly) voted.
*We all 4 survived the stomach bug.
*Jonathan's dad/stepmom and brother/sister came for an early Thanksgiving meal at our house.  
*Jonathan had to work after Thanksgiving so I took the kids to Bristol for a few days.
*We purchased a tree and decorated it.
*We kicked off Christmas at the Cove, which is a crazy/hectic/awesome time for me in outreach.

*We met Santa.

*The kids and I saw Moana at the theater.
*We held our annual Christmas party with caroling and fun with some of our best friends.
*My outreach team made 100 tins of Christmas candy for the local soup kitchen fundraiser.  It took 4 straight days and lots of hard work and dedication.
*We collected toys for Christmas at the Cove.
*Jonathan and I went to WV on a mission trip with some friends.  It was life-changing and so eye opening for us.
*The four of us saw Beauty and the Beast at the local theater and loved it.
*We pulled off our annual Christmas at the Cove toy store where we served kids in our community who may have gone without this Christmas.
*Brenna and I enjoyed our annual trip to the Nutcracker Ballet.
*Maggie got sick and lost a lot of weight - possibly from a UTI.
*My mom had a surgery in Charlotte and spent 8 days in the hospital.  She came home to our house for a few days where we celebrated Christmas with my family before she went home.
*Santa came to visit our house and we celebrated Christmas together on 12/23.  The kids main gifts were a pod swing, razor ride-on toy, new basketball goal, remote control cars, and Nintendo classic set, zipline, and a 2017 trip to Disney World!
*We finally got to go to a Christmas Eve service at The Cove and we had SO MUCH FUN!
*We spent 4 days at Jonathan's mom and stepdad's house.
*We spent Christmas Eve with Jonathan's extended family as usual.
*We stopped to see my family for a day since I hadn't seen my Grandma for Christmas.
*We headed home from VA just in time for me to get super sick.  Jonathan and Davin also have colds.
*Jonathan's dad spent a few days with us to close out the year.
*My car got sick and we're still working on getting it fixed.
*I'm finishing the year out almost 30 pounds lighter than I was in July.
*I celebrated the end of the year with approximately 145 Disney trips booked since January.  

2016 was a great year for our family.  We spent time together and got to see lots of our friends and family.  2017 has big shoes to fill!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 - Year in Review

*We started the year off with a birthday lunch date with our sweet friend Abby.
*I started my Disney vacation planning business. 
*J and I had a kid free weekend that turned into a sick mama weekend.  :(


*Jonathan went to the west coast for work for a week.
*I turned 33 with a lunch date with girlfriends and a new chair.  Adulting!
*Bren had a Valentines date with her Daddy.  
*We got enough snow to play outside.
*We had a family girl's birthday lunch in Davidson for me, Bren, mom, and Sissy.  
*We visited Sheri at her house and the kids got their last Christmas gifts of the year.


*I celebrated Dr Seuss's birthday with church staff reading at a local elementary shook.
*We celebrated Brenna's fifth birthday with a Ninja Turtle themed birthday party at our house with lots of friends and family.
*The kids spent a weekend with Neena and Pa Bill while we celebrated a very, very belated Valentine's Day dinner out.
*Brenna and Davin started the new soccer season at the Y.

*I got to have a surprise dinner with Sheri when she was passing through town.
*We hunted Easter eggs with Brenna's class.
*We celebrated Easter at The Cove - where J got to ride in the helicopter that dropped the eggs for the  egg hunt.
*Bren and I flew to Missouri to spend time with Hainrihars.  It was Brenna's first plane ride.  She loved catching up with the boys and I loved being in town when Heather found out she was pregnant!
*I hosted a bridal shower for Lauren in Virginia.


*Davin started tball and Brenna started coach pitch baseball.
*We celebrated my sixth Mother's Day.
*The kids and I went to VA for Jayla's birthday party and got to watch Brady's tball game too. 
*J and his dad painted our huge living room.
*We celebrated Lauren and Katlin's marriage. The kids did great once again as flower girl and ring bearer.
*Brenna graduated from Pre-K at NMP.
*Bren also had her kindergarten screening done.
*Jonathan started playing with the CVC worship team.

*Davin turned three and we celebrated with a farm themed party "tractor birthday"
*Sheri completely surprised me by walking in my front door as the first guest to D's party!!
*We started Go Bananas 2015 by feeding a local community lunch 3x a week for 10 weeks.
*The kids and I helped serve lunch at the local soup kitchen.
*Bren and Dav enjoyed Cove Kids Camp.
*J and I actually got a date night while they were at camp!
*Jonathan, Mom, and I left for a week in Honduras.  The kids begin a 10 day stay with Neena and Pa Bill.

*We returned safely from Honduras.  We picked up the kids in Independence at the 4th of July parade.  We visited with Grandpa Halsey before coming back home.
*The kids and I saw Inside Out at the theater.
*We celebrated Cow Appreciation Day at CFA.
*I held a ridiculously long snake around my neck and survived.
*I finally got brave enough to brave the pool with the kids by myself.  We spent a lot of days there this summer.
*Brenna mastered riding her bike without training wheels.
*I spent 4 days in NYC with my college besties.  Much, much needed!!
*We celebrated our anniversary out to dinner with friends and at the Outcry Tour the following night with the Stricklands.  The kids spent a few more days with Neena and Pa Bill.

*The kids and I had our first trip to Tweetsie as our family joined Pine Mountain Church Sunday School classes for the day.  It was a blast.

*We got to see the Crawdads play.
*We wrapped up Go Bananas 2015 with 2 back to school bashes.  Such a success!
*Brenna started kindergarten at Startown Elementary with Mrs. Bechtol and Mrs. Apjohn.  She loved it from day 1!

*Davin started preschool at Newton Methodist with Mrs. Laura.  He also loves it - especially being in class with his best buddy Marshall.  

*Davin played fall soccer.
*We spent Labor Day with Jonathan's family - had a dinner with his extended family.  Then the kids and I spent the next day with Sheri and Lisa in Pearisburg and Jonathan went golfing with Brandan.
*We joined Brenna's class on a field trip to the apple orchard.
*The kids and Jonathan celebrated Pirate Day at Krispy Kreme.
*Jonathan spent a week in Nashville for work.
*We celebrated with the Cove CVC worship/production team at the Carneys' house.
*We spent a weekend in Pigeon Forge with my family.  We went to Dollywood and hung out at our huge cabin.

*Jonathan's dad came to visit and joined us at the Startown Spectacular.

*I was super sick almost the entire month.
*Bren had fire week at school and was scared to go to sleep for a week!
*We went to the balloon festival in Statesville with Neena, Pa Bill, and the Strickland girls.
*The kids spent a weekend with Neena and Pa Bill - Jonathan and I had a date to church and dinner in Charlotte.
*We went to Abingdon to celebrate my grandma's 85th birthday.
*Brenna really began reading full books - so, so exciting for all of us.
*I helped volunteer in Brenna's class.
*We went trunk-or-treating at Christ Church in Hickory - the kids were a Navy pilot and a racecar driver.
*I took the kids to DefyGravity in Charlotte where the loved the American Ninja Warrior course.
*Jonathan turned 34!
*My outreach team helped serve a pregame meal to the NCHS football players and then gave out candy and cowbells at the football game that night.
*We trick-or-treated in our neighborhood - the kids were Snoopy and Woodstock.

*Frank Beamer announced his retirement and I cried real tears.
*I got to have dinner at Sheri's with Sheri, Lisa, Sara and their kids.  And I finally got to snuggle baby Ella Kate.
*Jonathan had to go to Atlanta for work so the kids and I joined him.  We explored Olympic park, went to the aquarium, and did a little shopping.  I also drove in Atlanta traffic.
*Brenna won a character award for the first 9 week assembly.  We are so proud of her!  (She also kissed a boy on the playground on this day.  Notsoproud of that.)
*Sissy and I took the kids to the Renaissance festival where all they wanted to do was eat!
*Both kids started basketball.
*Bren nailed her two speaking parts in the kindergarten Thanksgiving program.
*Jonathan enjoyed Davin's school Thanksgiving lunch while I served at The Corner Table.
*We spent two days in Bristol and two days in Wytheville celebrating Thanksgiving.
*Jonathan deep fried in his first turkey!*We cut down our Christmas tree in Hillsville, VA on our way back from Thanksgiving.

*The Cove CVC Outreach team served dinner at our local soup kitchen for our community.
*We enjoyed Charlie Brown's Christmas musical at the N-C Auditorium.
*We had family pictures made in downtown Hickory by the fabulous Courtney Abernathy.
*Brenna threw up at school but recovered quickly.
*Davin got a little stage fright at his preschool Christmas program.  We clapped like crazy anyway!
*We pulled off our CVC Christmas at the Cove Toy Store and it was AMAZING!
*We FINALLY got a new sofa!
*We had our annual Christmas party complete with caroling in our neighborhood.
*We saw Santa at the mall.
*I joined Brenna and her class on their field trip to the mall to see Santa, ride the carousel, and eat CFA.
*I baked like a crazy person for teachers, friends, and neighbors.
*Jonathan had a sinus infection and a terrible cold.
*Davin had a sinus infection and ear infection.
*I finger painted with 22 kindergarteners at Brenna's Christmas party at school.
*Brenna and I enjoyed watching the Nutcracker ballet.
*Santa came to visit us on Saturday, December 19.  Brenna's three big gifts were a dog with a "cage", a drum set, and a tumbling mat.  Davin's were a teepee, a firehouse (like a dollhouse for boys), and a new orange bike.
*I got strep throat. (Do you see a pattern here?)
*We were all packed up ready to leave town on the 23rd and the car wouldn't start.  8 hours later Jonathan finally had it fixed.
*We spent Christmas Eve with Jonathan's family and the next 2 days with my family.  
*We visited Jonathan's dad at his house on the 27th and then took the kids back to Neena and Pa Bill's.
*Jonathan and I spent 3 days in Massanutten.  We stopped for a quick lunch and Bubblecake with Sheri on the way back home.
*We finally made it back home on the 30th.  
*We spent New Year's Eve playing with new toys, unpacking, and watching Inside Out while eating ice cream all together on the couch.  (Oh, and with another trip to Urgent Care for me!)

2015 was awesome and our kids grew so much!  I can't wait to see what adventures await us in 2016!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

*We painted the kitchen finally!*Davin got his first haircut.
*We got some snow and really enjoyed playing outside in it.
*Brenna continued her first season of basketball.
*Jonathan spent a week on the west coast for work.

*Jonathan and I spent 5 days in San Francisco.  We spent a day being touristy (Chinatown, Golden Gate Bridge, Painted Ladies, Alcatraz, cable cars, Ghirardelli Square, the pier) and then he had to work the next 3 days so I relaxed and hung around the hotel area).  The kiddos split the week between the grandmas.
*Brenna got her hair cut off above her shoulders.
*Brenna got a Daddy-Daughter date with Jonathan to see Peter Pan at the local theater.
*We got a HUGE snow and had a blast playing for several days straight.*I found out that my favorite high school teacher (and her son and her mother) was murdered by her husband.  It really shook up those of us who knew and loved her.
*Davin had tubes put in his ears.  

*Brenna turned FOUR and we celebrated with a super fun Peter Pan party.

*Brenna chose a local chinese buffet for her birthday dinner.  She chose Krispy Kreme for her at-school birthday treat with her class.*Brenna started her third season of soccer at the Y.
*I spent a week in Honduras with a group from our church.  It was life changing.
*I zip lined across the tallest waterfall in Honduras (I''m not sure if there are that many waterfalls in Honduras, but to this scaredy cat girl, this was huge.
*I took Brenna to the local theater to see Miss Nelson is Missing.

*Davin developed a serious love of basketball.

*Jonathan and I went to my TEN year college reunion in Bristol.  It was lots of fun to reconnect to friends from that period of my life.  We went to a retirement party for one of my professors (Dr. Mrs. Rohr) and also caught part of a soccer game and got to catch up with my super cool RA.  And then I got to see friends from all the dorms I lived in (FOUR!) that night downtown.
*Maggie turned EIGHT!
*We spent a weekend in Bristol and got to hung Easter eggs with Jayla and Brady.
*I surprised Sheri at school for her birthday!  She, Lisa, and I went to dinner at Olive Garden and to Bubblecake.  
*We met Clifford the Big Red Dog at Barnes & Noble.
*J worked on Easter so the kids and I went to our church and then spent time with friends that night at the Herndons' house.
*The kids went bowling for the first time - for Brenna's friend Robert's birthday party.
*Davin got moved up to the preschool class at church.  He was much happier!

*We had a great Mother's Day at church.*We went to Bristol for Jayla's fifth birthday party.  
*We had family pictures made by the fabulous Photography by KT at Murray's Mill.
*Jonathan and I spent Memorial Day weekend in Charleston/Folly Beach with the Hainrihars and other friends to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.  It was so good to catch up with Heather!
*Lauren came down and we went to Rachel's wedding shower in Charlotte.

*I got to go meet baby Nora and see Sheri on the day she was born!  Great timing!
*We took our first trip to Hickory Dickory Dock for Bren's school party.  The kids loved it!

*Davin turned TWO and we celebrated with a Monsters Inc party at our house.
*I agreed to coordinate the Go Bananas efforts for the CVC campus of The Cove.  We began a lunch program where we fed a local community lunch 5 days a week for 10 weeks.  
*We celebrated Father's Day at church.
*I started training for a half marathon.

*Brenna finished up her first year of preschool.
*We spent 4 days at Carolina Beach with my mom.  Jonathan stayed for another 4 days with Brandan and his friends for his bachelor weekend.
*We had Cove Kids camp (VBS) at church for a week.  Brenna got to ride in her first limo!

*We spent 3-4 days a week on average at the Go Bananas site.  Davin really took up with a sweet girl named Abby.

*We went to a 4th of July parade in Lincolnton.
*We spent a weekend in Richmond for Brandan and Rachel's wedding.

*Brenna and Davin performed splendidly as flower girl and ring bearer.
*I was driving my in-law's car and hit another car.  It was by far one of the worst feelings ever.
*We told the kids about Disney.*We spent our 6th anniversary in Pigeon Forge for the wedding of our friends Emily and Bruce.  
*I got to visit with Christy in Bristol and meet her newest baby, Jenna.
*The kids and I spent a week in Bristol and we got to go visit my Great Uncle Jack and Great Aunt Nancy.

*We went to Bristol for Brady's third birthday.
*Davin had his first dentist appointment.

*I threw a gender reveal party for my friend Emily.
*We wrapped up Go Bananas.

*Jonathan and I went to the Nationwide race in Bristol.  Jonathan went to the Sprint race the next day with Bill.

*Brenna started pre-k.
*Brenna got to go to a movie theater for the first time - Planes: Fire and Rescue for James's birthday party.
*Brenna started her fourth season of soccer at the Y.

*We finished redoing Brenna's room.*We spent a week at Disney!  It was amazing.  We spent a night on the way down and back with our friends the Jaimes.
*I had some terrible knee issues that made my half marathon training less than fun.

* We took our annual trip to the apple orchard in Morganton.

*I ran the Hokie Half in freezing cold rain the entire time.  My time wasn't fast, but I finished!  
*After the race we got to have lunch with Ashley and Curtis before dropping J off at the airport for a trip to Reno for work.*Jonathan's parents and grandparents came down and we went to the pumpkin patch.
*We went back to the balloon festival in Statesville, NC. for the 3rd year in a row.

*Brenna and I went to the Renaissance Festival in Charlotte with Sissy.*We trick-or-treated around our neighborhood.  Brenna was Captain Hook and Davin was Smee.  It started raining about halfway through but we persevered. 
*Davin talked about the Pooh ride and Ariel ride at Disney every day.  We made him say "oputupus" several times a day.
*Davin decided he was done with a high chair.

*Mom came down for a weekend - and Jonathan and I helped with a surprise birthday party for our friend and campus pastor Michael Strickland.  
*We spent Thanksgiving with my family and 2 days afterwards with Jonathan's family in VA.

*We surprised my mom with funds from family and friends to go on a mission trip to Ireland!
*Brenna celebrated Briley's birthday with friends at the science center.

*We cut down a Christmas tree in Hillsville, VA on our way back from Thanksgiving weekend.
*Jonathan took Brenna on a date to see Big Hero 6.

*Brenna did fantastic in her school Christmas program.*Jonathan, Davin, and I joined Brenna at school for a PDQ meal.
*Brenna enjoyed Polar Express day in her pjs at school.

*Jonathan's dad and stepmom came down for a weekend.  We went to see Nutty Nutcracker at a local theater, to the mall to see Santa, and shopping for the kids' to choose a gift from them.
*We hosted a  Christmas party for some friends - which turned into Caroling at our neighbors' houses.

*We took homemade treats to our neighbors and teachers.
*Santa came on Dec 22 - such fun!
*We went to Lincolnton to see Christmas lights in a neighborhood that has a few houses that go all out.  We also saw Santa at a restaurant before we went AND at the lights!
*We spent 2 days with J's family and then 3 days with my family.  

*I got to see one of my high school BFFs who is having a BABY!  2015 will involve lots of new babies!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

33Before33 - #1 - Half Marathon!

I absolutely cannot believe I am writing this post.  When I made this "33 Before 33" list I just kind of typed that out and didn't really think much bout it.  At that time I had run the Huckleberry Trail, which is a 6 mile trail in VA.  I honestly have never really liked running - although I go through spells where I do it quite a bit.

Anyhow, a couple of months ago I started thinking maybe it would be fun (ha!) to go run the Hokie Half Marathon in Blacksburg.  I had almost forgotten about its spot on the list, but was more thinking that it would be a really challenging thing to do for myself.  So I downloaded a few training plans and started not following them right away.  Actually I did okay but kind of fit them to meet my needs, which wasn't a big problem.  I was able to build up my endurance for longer runs - up to about 8.3 miles.  Then the next run was a disaster and had my shins in a terrible mess.  At first I thought it was just shin splints, but then realized maybe my running shoes that I wore that day were wearing out, so after fixing that and resting about a week I was back in the game.  My knees started really hurting after runs longer than 6 miles so that meant fewer short runs because I needed more recovery time.  I had worked up to a 9 mile run and a 9.2 mile run before we left for Disney (3 weeks before the half). This was the day that the registration fee increased, so I bit the bullet and registered for the race.

Of course I had no time to run the week we were gone, but I got lots of walking miles in!  When we got home (2 weeks pre-race) I did a 10 mile run (more on that later) and felt pretty good - although it took me like 5 or 6 days to recover enough to do another shorter run 8 days before the race.  That one really hurt my knee and it continued to hurt off and on the rest of the week.  After much prayer and consideration (and a 1/4 mile painful jog down the road), I decided not to run at all the week before the race - running with rest seemed better than running injured.  I had lots of encouragement from friends and family.

The weekend of the race I was a nervous wreck.  We dropped the kids off with Jonathan's parents and headed to Blacksburg to get my race packet and run a few errands.  My heart was beating so fast during that whole afternoon!  I was also nervous that it was calling for rain and a temperature around 50 - about 20 degrees less than what I was used to running in.  Plus it was a morning race and almost all of my runs were at night.

Anyway,  Jonathan and I left his parents' at 5:45 the next morning and headed to Blacksburg.  I forced myself to eat some oatmeal.  About the time we pulled into the CRC parking lot near the starting line, it started raining pretty steadily.  It was also pretty chilly and just totally not what I was used to.  But, 7:34 came and off I went.  My right knee started acting up after the first 1/3ish mile, but I prayed for it and it stopped and really never hurt again the whole race!  Here are the things I remember thinking along the route...
1.  My GPS on my phone is wrong.  It was off a little bit by the first mile, it was off by 1/2 a mile by the time we got back to the Christiansburg mall around mile 3.5, and it was off by 2 miles by mile 12.  So my GPS thought I ran 15 miles.  And it was then that I realized my longest run of 10 miles was probably more like 8.5 - which would make my real longest pre-race run 9.2 miles.  Yikes!
2.  It rained the entire way.  I think it slacked off maybe twice and almost quit for a few minutes around mile 4.  I was drenched - I stopped probably 4 times to try to wring out water from my pants - it was making them so heavy that my legs were aching!
3.  Right when I topped the hill where you can see Lane Stadium the song "God of this City" came on my playlist.  Think God wanted me to pray for the NRV?
4.  My husband is a rockstar.  He saw me off at the start line, drove to the mall (where I happened to run past him while he was in line to park, haha!), drove down to Merrimac to meet me about mile 5.5, drove to Chicken Hill to see me about 8, drove to some random road on the course to see me maybe around mile 10, and then was there waiting at the finish line.  It was SO encouraging to see him every few miles.
5.  I remember vividly the day I ran the Huckleberry right before we moved to NC.  It is about a 6 mile trail and I even ran an extra .2 miles to make it an even 10K that day.  For my half, I ran about 3.5 on 460 from Blacksburg to Christiansburg mall, got on the Huckleberry and ran all of it, ran another 2ish miles on Blacksburg town roads, got back on the Huckleberry for maybe another mile or so, and then ended up back at the Corporate Research Center where we had started.
6.  An uphill started at about 12.5 miles.  That is just mean.
7.  I walked more than I wanted to, but I still feel like I did really well.  I didn't stop at all until about mile 6 and didn't stop to walk much at all until I started walking up some of the more steep hills on the trail around mile 7 or so.  I walked and ran intermittently for the last 4 or so miles and the last mile was probably more walking than running.
8.  My time was 2:41.  That is a little over a 12 minute mile.  My "goal" was 2:30, so I'm really pretty happy with my time considering how cold and rainy it was.  With my wacky GPS I had thought my training runs were faster, but really I think most of them were at about an 11 minute pace.
9.  Apparently Sears at the NRV mall is now a Halloween store?  Really weird.
10.  The finisher medal was really cool.  The really long line for chili - not so much.
11.  GU gel isn't really all that bad when you are exhausted after the first 7 miles.
12.  There were some really sweet people along the way just rooting for us.  Of course there were lots of volunteers and EMTs, but there were also just lots of random people standing in the rain.  My two favorite signs said - "Seems like a lot of work for a banana." and "Chuck Norris never ran a half marathon."

J had a flight to catch, so we headed to Roanoke after I changed out of my soaking wet clothes and headed to Cheddar's for a post-race dinner.  I lucked out and got to see one of my best friends and her husband while we were in Roanoke.  It was a great ending to an exhausting, yet exhilarating, day.

So far I haven't had hardly any knee pain.  My legs are tired, obviously, but not in the excruciating pain I've experienced the past few weeks.  I know that the KT tape, Aleve, and Ibuprofen have helped, but I also know that God has been so faithful during this experience and has answered my prayers repeatedly - and also the prayers of my sweet friends and family who prayed for me on Sunday as well.

So, the jury is still out on whether I'll ever run 13 miles again at one time - but I am proud of this accomplishment!  :)  I think I get extra points for my first half being a hilly one, in the cold rain, after less than ideal training.  :)
 approaching the finish
 Glad to be done!
 That's a long way to run for a free magnet.
 notice the umbrellas
I think this picture is ridiculously unflattering - but I don't care.  I finished 13.1 miles.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Beach x2

Jonathan and I were lucky enough to get to spend Memorial Day weekend in Charleston with friends.  One of our parents (I honestly don't remember which one - I think his mom and stepdad) watched the kids while we took off for a few days.  It was Heather and Mike's 10th anniversary and they decided to spend it with friends in Charleston!  It was so, so, so good to see Heather again - we hadn't seen each other in about 9 months since they moved to Missouri.  She was my absolute closest friend in NC and it was so hard when she left.  Heather's brother and his girlfriend, along with two of their other couple friends, were all part of the fun.  We spent many hours on the beach talking, listening to music, and just enjoying a little kid-free time.  We were able to go out for late dinners and sleep in in the mornings.  I got some weird random eye thing (an allergic reaction to sunscreen I think) that ruined a couple hours of the trip, but otherwise it was perfect.  We stayed in Foley Beach, which we really liked.  Jonathan and I went to Charleston for a little while on Sunday, which was also fun to just go do something with no regard for nap times or kid menus.  
 reunited finally
 during a little Charleston day-outing
 out to dinner
right before we had to leave on Monday - so sad!

Honestly this year we thought we may not make it to the beach - but surprisingly another opportunity opened up that we jumped on.  Jonathan's brother Brandan was having his bachelor party in Carolina Beach and the only house the guys could find was a week-long rental one street over from the ocean.  Since none of the guys were going down until Wednesday, the four of us plus my mom headed to use the house from Sunday until Wednesday.  We had so much fun hanging out at the ocean, going to a fun local restaurant called Hang Ten, going down to the boardwalk, and introducing my mom to Trader Joe's.  It was a great mini-vacation, and was much appreciated by Brenna who had been itching to get to the beach!
 happy beach bum

 dinner date
 ready for dinner on our awesome porch that overlooked the ocean

 trying a Britt's Donut on the boardwalk

 love this picture

 dinner with my mom
 family photo at a cool little park near a dinner location one night

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Brandan and Rachel Got Married

(AKA I have a new sister!)
 This big boy started out the trip facing forward for the first time.
 selfie on a lunch stop on our way to Richmond
 practicing - oh, and it paid off.  They walked down the aisle like pros.  (Granted, they didn't smile, they walked really slow, and Davin stopped to look at the people in each aisle.)  But, they shocked me totally and did it with no tears!  And they were relatively quiet on the front row with me through the ceremony (with the aid of gummy bears, I won't lie.)

 Davin and Morgan entertaining themselves during the rehearsal dinner.

 beautiful flower girl - I was so proud of her
 I am a lucky lady!
another just because
 mother of the groom and flower girl :)

stole these 2 from their photographer



 ready for the send-off

 the only picture of just us was after everyone else had left - ha!
 totally exhausted on the way home