Friday, September 28, 2012

Fort 4 Fitness, year 2

It's that time again... 
time for the Fort4Fitness run in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
It's a 4 mile run in downtown Fort Wayne that Shawn and I ran last year around the same time. 

Last summer my cousin Dave kept saying, "Sign up for Fort4Fitness", blah, blah, blah. My reply,
"Fort for what?" You see I was a novice runner at the time. I had just started the c25K training plan just a couple of months short of that. A 4 mile run sounded daunting. It sounded, well, almost impossible. If I could barely run to my mailbox without practically dying, how was I going to run 4 miles straight? Well, as the training would have it, you start off really, REALLY slowly and work your way up. The idea is to be able to run a 5K at the end of it. What is another nine-tenths of a mile anyway?

Having my husband by my side to encourage me and spur me on was hugely helpful. I had gotten him into the running thing shortly after I started training. His only concern initially was that old knee issues would resurface. At first they had, but then his body adjusted, I adjusted him (chiropractically speaking), and all was well. He has taken to this running thing.

Let me tell you. Right in the beginning of the run, we passed a bakery that smelled of cinnamon and apple pie. Not fair! I would much prefer a piece of apple pie with a cup of coffee than pushing my body to do things it doesn't want to do. And halfway through I wasn't sure I could run another 2, but we did. Running is very much a mental thing and you have to be determined to finish or your brain will tell you to stop a million times.

And as the beginning of any race would have it, your adrenaline is pumping so hard that you run ridiculously faster than you are truly capable of and you overdo it right from the start. That's when you reconcile your true abilities, slow down, and continue the mental game you are playing with yourself. You run like the wind and pray hard that it ends soon. 

Wait a minute. It sounds like I hate running. It's the exact opposite. I love it! 
It's just hard. If it wasn't for my running partner, Pam, I probably wouldn't run as much as I do. 
We keep each other honest, engaged, and running on a regular basis.

Since last's year's Fort4Fitness run, she and I have done a 10K and a half marathon. I'm looking forward to more runs together ahead.

Well, Babe, let's do this! We are going to have fun with Jill, Becky, Marcus, Dave, Sheryle, Theo, Lauren, George, Cherie, Mike, Heather, Robbie, Amber, and whoever else is running with us. My favorite part of this weekend will be when we all get together as a family on Saturday night to talk about the run, life, past memories, and what's new as we share dinner together. We'll talk about our parents, who are since gone, and how Bobby D. loved to tell jokes and make us all laugh, how we miss Aunt Perina's cooking, how Dave and George do practical jokes and are probably planning one as we are sitting there, and what each of our kids are up to these days. We'll undoubtedly mention how we need to plan another family reunion and that responsibility will fall on my shoulders because it usually does. I will sign up for the task because I usually do. We'll eat delicious food, scrumptious desserts, and laugh our heads off. We'll plan next year's run and talk about how more of my family should travel to Indiana from New Jersey to join us because of the great fun we have had. We'll have the best time together as a family because...
that's what we usually do.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

 Give me an "M"... M
Give me an "E"... E
Give me an "L"... L
Give me an "A"... A
Give me an "N"... N
Give me an "I"... I
Give me an "E"... E
What does it spell??

My girl wanted to try out cheerleading for the first time.

They took one look at her and her small frame and decided
she should be a "flyer". 

 She often looks down in order to keep her footing.
She's just getting the hang of this thing.

 She's having fun even if her eyes are closed. :)

Go Marshall!!

Go Melanie. I'm proud of you, baby girl.

Friday, September 14, 2012

13 kittens and counting... I could have my own show.

I never dreamed that after that sweet day about 2 1/2 years ago when we brought 3 kittens home from Indiana, that we would have a kitten explosion.

Yes, I realize how this could happen when your cats aren't spayed or neutered, but 2 litters in one year? Our intentions have been to take care of matters before they got out of hand, but the window of time between the first set of litters this year and the next was minuscule at best. In the meantime we did get our male, named Bick, neutered recently. The vet's receptionist told me that a male up to 5 miles away can smell a female. What?? We need these females spayed ASAP!

We're hoping and praying that we can give away our sweet little kittens.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Flying again...

About 10 years ago, give or take, I was introduced to the one and only, Flylady.

Of all places, I was sitting in a new beauty salon getting ready for a fab haircut when the owner introduced himself as my new stylist. I was a little surprised. I guess I was expecting a woman. He was very nice, personable, and a little talkative. Our God is a God of introductions.

He talked about his family, church, home schooling, and his wife. He talked about how Flylady single-handedly changed his family's life. Especially his wife, who was a home school mom of four children. You better believe he had my attention. What in the world is Flylady, I wondered? He kept repeating her website: Flylady dot net, Flylady dot net. So I stuck it in the recesses of my mind and later checked it out.

Mind you, I had no computer. We were always behind the times; still are to some degree. So I asked my husband to look it up at work and print off any information he could in order for me to get the gist of it. He printed off 20 pages or so and that night I read all about it in my bed. I couldn't put it down! God was doing something here.

Little did my hairdresser know that just days before that a friend of mine loaned me the book titled, Managers of Their Homes. She simply thought it would help me in making a schedule for our family of 7. This particular book is written by a home school couple and in the book many of the schedule examples come from families that home educate. Our God is a resourceful God.

Bear in mind that home educating intrigued me for those that chose the crazy idea, but it wasn't something I ever imagined myself being able to achieve. Our God is a equipping God.

God used a haircut and a generous friend to pave the way for our family's new adventure. He also used a very close friend and her family that was considering the idea. Our God is creative. I recall hearing a message on Focus on the Family regarding home schooling even before I had children and I applauded those that did, but thought, "Oh no, this is not something I'll be doing." Ha!

Well guess what, folks. That Christmas my husband bought us a computer, I began to organize our home, came up with a schedule, started praying about home schooling that fall, and that's exactly what we did. I didn't even mention the fact that I was 8 months pregnant during that haircut and was expecting twins to join our family of 5. Five kids and becoming a homeschool mom?! Um, yeah...

If you want to know more about Flylady, take a look at their website. Her motto is, "You can do anything for 15 minutes." So today I received my Flylady calendar to help our family fly once again. Flylady is about organizing your home 15 minutes at a time, having a schedule, keeping your kitchen sink clean, and having the proper tools to carry out such things.

I love the way the Lord works. He can use ANYONE or ANYTHING for His purposes. Our god is a loving God and I praise Him.

This calendar is a 17 month calendar that begins in August and ends in December of the following year.

a couple of bruisers

It was the perfect weather this past Saturday to watch my boys play. They beat the Coldwater Cardinals by a lot. Let's see what next week will look like. 

Grant- 5th grade Rocket Football

Cooper- 5th grade Rocket Football

Game Faces- I love it!

You guys rock!

Kick Off - First Game on 9/8/12 vs. Coldwater 40-0 We win!!

Grant left, Cooper right

Time for a break.

Drink plenty of fluids, boys.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Not for a lack of writing material

Each time I have a conversation with a certain friend of mine about my blog, it gives me pause to once again put pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard as it were. I love doing it, but for the past 2 years, give or take, I have found it difficult to find the time to do so. 

That all said, gobs of things have happened over the summer or even more recently, worthy of talking about. It's been a fantastic summer! I love everything about it- it's my time, a little time away from our home school routine, running the older kids to as many activities, a time to have my friends over for a pool day, to run or not as was the case during the heatwave,  to go on dates, to look forward to family reunions, weddings, barbecues, time spent at my in-laws', long weekends up north, painting projects, and my list could go on.

The weather, even when it was way too hot, was perfect for me. When you have a swimming pool, you want to enjoy it, and enjoy it we did. Shawn put his garden in and it produced tomatoes, jalapenos, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelons, onions, lettuce, corn that the cranes came and ate, and the broccoli, too, and beans. We made cucumber salsa, canned pickles, pepper jelly, tomato salsa, and various jams, and we baked pies, too. It's the simple things that bring so much joy.

We had lots of firsts:
Austin got his driver's license
He got a new (to him) car
He landed his first job
He was able to golf about 10 times this summer
He had braces put on in May
Braaten just started 9th grade at Marshall High School
She made the freshman volleyball team
Bray also has braces on since May
Braaten paid for her own ticket and flew to Manchester, England to visit our friends for 3 weeks
She went to the Olympics (women's volleyball- US vs. North Korea) We won! She saw Hope Solo up close
She passed me in height this year- she's 5'7" now and still growing. I'm a whopping 5'6"
I'll be left in the dust by all 5 before I know it 
Melanie started the 7th grade in Marshall Middle School
She made the 7th grade volleyball "A" team
She joined the rocket football cheerleading team
Can we say 1 too many activities for 1 child? Yes!
Live and learn...:)
Grant & Cooper, who always get lumped together because they're twins, joined the 5th & 6th grade Rocket football team
They played on a travel baseball team and really loved it
They get to be home schooled without their older siblings and they are loving that time with momma
And momma loves it, too. 

Life is busy, it's hard sometimes, but we press on and continue to find joy in the journey
God is so very good all the time.

A pot o' pepper jelly. It's really good.
I painted and distressed the table. The chair, on the other hand, got distressed by being outside.
A homemade blackberry pie.
Homemade blueberry jam. Not as appealing looking, but ever so tasty.
I painted and distressed this mirror that I snatched up for a dollar.
Shawn picked this bucket of blackberries and picked a whole lot more than that.