Sunday, December 21, 2014

Trip to Walt Disney World!


After all the planning...it was finally here.

On Saturday morning, December 13, at 4:15 AM, we woke up the kids, had them brush their teeth and comb their hair, and come down stairs for a surprise.

They came down the stairs to find a red gift bag on the counter. Inside they found t-shirts (with pants and socks to be ready to go) that said, "Keep calm think Disney".  None of them quite understood what was going on.

What was going on?

SURPRISE??!?!?! We are going to Disney World...in 10 minutes!! Grandpa Bob was there ready to take us to the airport.

We arrived in Orlando at 12:30  and to the resort a short 40 minutes later. Our bags, well Disney got them from the checked area and brought them to our room! Amazing! After a quick stop at our room at Art of Animation in a Cars themed room, we were off to Epcot where we road Mission Space, Spaceship Earth, and Soarin ( is a hang glider simulator that "flies" over various areas of California and is a very cool ride!). We also checked out Journey into Imagination with Figment,
Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable, Living with the Land. For Dinner, we had reservations (for 6 months!) at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for Princess Dining. We arrived, waited a bit, got a picture with one princess and were shown to our table. We quickly went through the appetizer buffet before the princesses started walking through the rooms. The kids did not like the main course of the meal so we were lucky they liked something on the buffet. It was a fun way to start but we were not impressed with the dining experience. We made the mistake of going back to ride Mission Space again. Once in our rocket, we were strapped in and the instructions were read, then nothing. The young girl came around and said they had an issue and would be with us shortly. 20 minutes past with us harnessed in. We were not happy. Time was ticking as we wanted to watch Illuminations, A nightly fireworks and laser show that tells a story about the creation of Earth to celebrating the people of the world. We had to run to the show to see it. On the way there, Addison, Asher and I lost Chris and Alivia. We watched the show apart, then tried to find each other. The show, by the way, was fabulous!! Chris was not happy, though. We ended up meeting up at the bus stop. It was beyond crazy.


On Sunday we went to the Animal Kingdom arriving at 9 am at opening. We had 3 fast passes again, which are wonderful. We hit Kilimanjaro Safaris, which is a safaris through their animal area seeing elephants, tigers, giraffes and more. It is pretty cool.  Expedition Everest was by far our favorite ride. The girls started crying asking us why we were making them do something they didn't want to do. We had a rule if one wanted to go we all had to go. Well, Asher, Chris and I wanted to ride it. Initially, they babied out and left with Chris (I would not have let them leave) and Chris got a switcher pass to go again. A switch pass is a fast pass for 3 people that helps in odd events or if a child is not tall enough, etc. Chris ended up going once with Alivia and then going again with Addison. They both claimed to not like it. The ride had no hills or anything. It did go backwards and was super fun (check out my facebook page to ride the ride with Asher and I. I videoed it and showed it to Alivia.We also had a fast pass to Dinosaur, which must not have been memorable because I don't really remember it. :) We rode the Kali River Rapids and got wet and then froze all afternoon. We left the ponchos in the room! Big mistake. We saw the Festival of the Lion King (good show), walked trails by the cool Tree of Life, The kids played in the Boneyard (which is an open play space and they loved it), and saw the wonderful show, "It's tough to be a bug." So fun! For dinner, we ate at the Rain Forest Cafe, which was fun and good. It was late when we left the park and we were ready for bed!

On Monday we hit Hollywood Studios. We started off seeing Buzz Lightyear and Woody at Pixar Place. Our first fast pass was to Toy Story Mania, an interactive 3D shooting gallery featuring characters from the Toy Story films. I personally thought the ride was silly and not worth the 90+ minute line people were waiting in. I mean seriously, 90 minutes!! That is crazy!! We went to Star Tours, a 3D motion simulator ride, set in the Star Wars universe. It is the refurbished prequel to the original attraction. It is a cool ride. We used a fast pass but the main line was only 20 minutes. We could pick from Toy Story or Rockin Roller Coaster for a fast pass and you could only have one of those 2. So, we went to Hollywood 2 days picking one of those fast passes per visit. Now that I know, I would have skipped the silly Toy Story to go to Rockin Roller Coaster. But, Asher was too short for Rockin. I'll get to that. We also had a fast pass to Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a thrill ride that drops in an elevator with multiple high speed drops and ascents. Special effects include smell, lighting and sound. Very cool ride. Alivia and Addison called it the Terror of Torture. It was not bad...it was fun. Hollywood has many shows, too. We saw (rode) the Great Movie Ride (also silly), Beauty and the Beast, Indiana Jones, watched the Jedi Training with Dark Vader, Muppets in 3D (very cool show), Lights, Motor Action stunt show, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and the kids liked Honey I shrunk the kids play area. We waited in a freakishly long line to see the Frozen Show and just got in. We had a fast pass for Friday but it was not until 12:15 and we had to be back for our airport bus at 1:15, cutting it too close. At night we saw Fantasmic, This nighttime spectacle with water projection screens, fireworks, and Disney character. My favorite was Osborne Street of Dancing Lights. All the buildings are covered in lights and dance to Christmas Music. It is Fabulous!! We ate diner and the Sci-Fi drive in diner. It was just like a 1950's drive in including the old cars to eat in. It was fun!

Tuesday and Wednesday we went to Magic Kingdom. We arrived and watched the opening of Magic Kingdom on Tuesday at 8 AM when all the characters come out to greet everyone and sing. It was fun and exciting. Magic Kingdom is huge. And, not knowing this, the fast passes I selected were all over the place. The websites did not say anything about this (or I missed it if they did). We walked and walked!! We road space mountain, a roller coaster in the dark, the haunted mansion, big thunder mountain railroad, pirates of the Caribbean,  Magic Carpets of Aladdin, took the Jungle Cruise, walked through the Swiss Family Treehouse, road its a small world (and Asher wished the ride would GO FASTER!!), road the teacups (Mad Tea Party,), watched Mickey's Philharmagic, road Peter Pan's Flight, Road a Little Mermaid ride, Road Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Spin, Astro Orbiter, Tomorrow land speed way which were little cars you could drive around a race track, the transit authority (which was to be the transit of the future), and watched Monster Inc's laugh floor (which was really funny), and the kids liked this smaller roller coaster, The Barnstormer. It was maybe a 45 second ride. There is a lot to do at Magic. We ate a buffet lunch at the Crystal Palace where the kids saw Pooh and friends. I would recommend this one. Eating buffets seemed to be the way to go because the offerings were so limited on the other menus that many times there was nothing we liked. On Tuesday I had purchased tickets to Mickey's very Merry Christmas because I had read there were fewer people, lines, during the event. Um, not true for the most part. Chris was exhausted so saved us a spot for the Frozen Castle Event, Christmas Parade and Fireworks while the kids and I road the 7 Dwarfs Mine train. The line for 7 dwarfs is typically 60-90 minutes at least. It said 60 minutes when we jumped in line but the line didn't look that long AND I was hoping the timer was wrong. It turned out to be about 35 minutes. We finished up and raced to get back to Chris who was seriously getting lost in the crowds of people. When we got dinner of hotdogs! there was no place to sit. I walked for 10 minutes to find a place where we stood to eat. It was insane. The Disney cast members are very rigid with their rules, too. They are like walking, talking robots. It was weird and a little creepy actually. The Frozen Castle show, lighted Castle show and fireworks were seriously amazing!! HOWEVER, the kids were exhausted. We arrived a the park at 8 am because I thought the Christmas Party was WEDNESDAY NIGHT! So it turned out to be a very long day. After the fireworks, we went back inside the park to find the free cocoa and cookies that came with this $$$ Christmas Party Tickets. After a little rest, we decided to get in the lower line for Ana and Elsa from Frozen. During the day it is usually 90+ minutes to see these 2 but it said 30 minutes when we got in line. It was an hour. Seriously!! They were WAY off! The kids were laying on the ground by the time we reached them, but they perked up when they met the princesses. Then it was back to the bus. We waited probably an hour and a half for a bus. There were lines of people. And, wheelchairs and scooters can ride ride up to the bus and get on without waiting, sometimes filling up the bus with the chairs and scooters because their families can get on to. I understand they have special needs but come on. We got back to our room at 1 AM!!! It was crazy!!

On Wednesday, we slept in a bit and arrived at the park after 9 (and Magic opened at 8). We road the haunted mansion again for Addison and Big thunder mountain for Alivia, space mountain for all, and used the fast pass we had so Daddy could ride 7 dwarfs mine train. We also road Splash mountain with ponchos. We did not know how that would work with its 50 foot drop, but we all survived without any tears (and they liked it!). For Lunch we ate at Cinderella's Castle. We saw all the princesses (even though we had seen pretty much all of them at the first dinner). It was cool to be inside the castle eating. Asher even got a sword. Very cool and fun. We left mid afternoon to go to the resort so the kids could swim a bit. For dinner, we ate at Chef Mickeys, a buffet at Contemporary Resort right next to Magic. The buffet was wonderful (although Asher could not find a thing to eat!). The desserts were amazing and cute! We ended day 2 sitting down for an hour waiting for the electrical parade and meeting some new people from New York. The parade was fun and cute too, just as I remembered Disney Lands electrical parade I saw as a kid. Another "Magical" day.

Thursday it was back to Epcot. We road Fast Track with a fast pass and saw the remaining shows we had not seen, Turtle Talk with Crush and the Seas with Nemo and Friends (both cute). We then walked through the Epcot Worlds. Our friends Jen and Dan had told us about being able to select pearls at Epcot in Japan. We found the store and Alivia and Addison picked out the ugliest, hairiest oyster in hopes of getting 2 pearls. They got 2!!! It was so fun! The lady taught the girls to say 1, 2, 3 in Japanese (sun, knee, itchy!). Addison said it was the best part of her day. Now, we have to make them into necklaces for them. After all the fun, we went to Downtown Disney to go shopping. The kids were exhausted and hated this. We split from there and they swam. We planned on going back to Epcot for the Evening Entertainment, but the kids wanted to eat at the resort...so we did.

Friday morning we went back to Hollywood for our final day. We got right on the Tower of Terror walking right on without a line! Then we used our fast pass to the Rockin Roller Coaster with Aerosmith. Asher, at 44 inches, could not ride as the ride required you to be 48 inches. He was VERY disappointed!! We got a switch pass. Alivia and I rode first, then Chris and Addi rode, and then Addi and I rode again. They do have a single person line that is shorter than the 90 minute normal line. We then went back to see the Frozen Show again so we could video it. It is a very good, fun show.

It was then time to go. We went back to our hotel and fixed things on our bill. We had the dining plan but they charged our credit card instead of our dining plan (very frustrating!). They fixed it and gave us extra credit on our credit card. Very nice! We had meals left over when we left though. So...in the end, Disney came ahead.

Websites I used to plan: http://wdwprepschool.com/ and easywdw.com and http://yourfirstvisit.net/. We loved Art of Animation and would recommend. But, if you have a smaller family and can afford it, staying at the Contemporary resort would be great as it is close enough to walk back and on the monorail if you don't want to walk. Stay on Disney to make your life easier. Believe me, you do not want to have to drive back. And, you keep your vacation Disney focused. We did not stress about going to the beach. We asked the kids and they wanted to swim at the pool...so that is what we did. We will do a beach vacation next time. Pack in layers, at least in the winter. It is chilly in the morning and evening but warm during the day. Take a carry on bag filled with snacks. You will eat the snacks and then have the carry on bag to put souvenirs in for your return trip home. It worked great! Check your Disney dining plan daily so you know what you have left to use (which we did not do) so you are not getting 15 snacks upon check out (which is what we did) and leaving behind meals that you paid for. And, go to Disney. It is worth the money for a lifetime of memories.

We will return. We loved Disney. Everyone is happy there (except Addison). We learned a lot about our family. Chris is very laid back, I am not. Alivia is a worrier about everything and saves her money. Addison likes to whine, is rarely happy even at Walt Disney World, and spends every single penny she has (she bought something almost every day we were there!) and Asher has so much energy and can be very ornery. Asher picked on his sisters a lot! He drove me CRAZY!! with his endless energy. It was an amazing trip, a trip of a lifetime, magical :). We are thankful we saved and were able to go...finally.

Here is to returning again, someday.


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

November in Review

NOVEMBER PICTURES

BUSY BUSY BUSY!! With Asher in Basketball, the girls in piano, all of them in swim, Alivia having a tutor, we are crazy busy after school and on Saturdays. Gees! Addison is now on her second lesson books in piano and is practicing Bella's lullaby. :) She likes piano! Asher, although not tall at all, is progressing in basketball and having fun. November was full of lots of work and little play. We did end the month celebrating Asher's birthday and Thanksgiving and seeing the Rocketts (they were amazing!). That was fun! December is when we will do our share of playing.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 05, 2014

Tired All the Time

If I had a theme song for this week, it would be tired all the time. Seriously, I am dying here.

I worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights 12 1/2 hour shifts (meaning I left home at 6pm returning home shortly after 8am). I'm exhausted! When I work, I sleep from 8:30-2:30, drive up to get the kids from school, then go to after school activities every night of the week (except Monday basketball practice is at 5:30) and Fridays (we have NOTHING on Fridays!!), come home for a quick shower before heading back to work. It is seriously exhausting. Tonight I am back for one more partially overtime shift, if I am not cancelled. I will be off tomorrow night (Saturday) before heading back to work Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. UGH!

Why? I am required to get in 96 hours a month at the status I am at now. With vacation and winter break coming up, I needed to jam all my hours in the beginning of the month. If I am lucky, I will get 7 out of the 8 required shifts in, then just need one towards the end of the month. That will have to be a Friday or Saturday night because I will need 12 more weekend hours and that is the only way I can do it and sleep with the kids at home.

I need a break.

Oh, wait...I think one is coming! YEAH! Can I take vacation and just sleep????

Today I got in a 9 mile run and ran part of it with my eyes closed. They just hurt from being open. Insanity. 

Dreaming of sleep,
Krista

Asher's 7th Birthday!



Last Saturday Asher Wade turned 7 years old! Craziness! Where has the time gone?

Asher woke up sheepish about his birthday. His friend Michael came over in his PJs and they shared cinnamon rolls together and then played (while his Mom Jen and I worked out :) ). The day continued like this. We got ready for the party and before long it was 12:45 and his friends were showing up.

Asher's party was at the Aksarben Cinema where they saw Penguins of Madagascar. We drove 7 boys there and one met up with us there and we drove them all home. That part was quite loud. Once there, the experience was very organized. They each got popcorn, a drink of their choice and a fruit snack before being escorted first into the movie into great seats. It was fun. Overall, the boys appeared to enjoy the movie.

After the movie, we drove everyone back to our house for soccer ball cupcakes, presents and playing soccer outside on what turned out to be a fabulous day! It was 70! degrees!!! We drove most of the boys home at 4:45. Asher had a blast.

After the main party, Asher played with his friend Michael while we prepared for the Grandparents to arrive. Asher wanted a hot dog for his birthday dinner, which is difficult to find at a restaurant that grandparents would like. So, we hosted at our home instead (which turned out to be a dangerous choice). We ate dinner, chatted, then Asher opened his presents. He got a cool soccer jersey, clothes and soccer gear from his Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Bob and a dually basketball hoop game from Grandma Bet and Grandpa Bill. From us he got a indoor soccer shoes, football, under armour clothes, soccer bag, and more random stuff. Asher is difficult. When we ask him what he wants for his birthday or Christmas, he doesn't know. I asked him what he wanted from a friend that asked, and Asher said socks or clothes. Really?! How weird. His favorite gift was from his friend Cameron who gave him basketball socks and wrist bands. Buying things for him is a total nightmare. He doesn't know what he wants but is easily disappointed when he doesn't like what he gets. Ugh.

After presents, the kids and the men went downstairs to put up this huge hoops set. Meanwhile Alivia was upstairs trying to pull out a tooth, so Chris' Mom, Grandma Kathy, went up to check on her. Before long, Alivia was running down the stairs with Grandma following her. Next thing we knew, we heard a loud thud and Grandma Kathy was on the floor. Long story short, Grandma does not know what happen but her one foot gave out (before he leg broke) and she fell onto her other knee. After the weekend and Monday in miserable pain, she is now moving some with a walker but is pretty immobile. This is why we should have future parties at restaurants just to be safe.

Asher is an active 7 year old. He likes to play soccer, toss the football around, shoot hoops in the front yard (and now in the basement) and be active. When he is not being active or loud, he likes to watch Netflix. He is addicted. He sometimes is found on his iPod too, but would prefer to watch on TV now a days. Asher is 44 lb and on the shorter side at 3 ft 11in. He is wearing a size 6 in pants and 6-7 in shirts.

Asher's Favorites at 7 years old.
Color: Red
Toy: "I don't have one"
Fruit: Apples cut up
TV Show: Kickin It
Lunch: Hamburger, french fries and chocolate milk
Game: Diablo
Animal: Tiger
Best Friend: Cameron
Cereal: Chocolate Chex without milk.
Favorite thing to do outside: Play soccer
Drink: Lemonade
Holiday: Christmas
Take to bed at night: Stuffed Dog
Favorite Breakfast: Chocolate Chex
Birthday Dinner: Asher wanted to go out for Hot dogs. So we grilled hot dogs and hamburgers at home, along with grapes, salad, and chips. He had soccer ball cupcakes too!
What do you want to be when you grow up? A Football Player...Really? "Yes, when I grow up and get big." Funny.

Asher had a sleepover here with his friend Michael. Asher still is not a good sleeper, staying up late and running to Alivia's room many nights during the week. He likes our door and his door to be open with his lamp on (I can't stand his light shining in our room! But, someday I will miss it I am sure). He does not like cold lunch but takes his lunch 4 times a week to school. Talk about a challenge! He still loves his eggs and bacon and sometimes a homemade waffle. Bread? No way! He is kind of a picky eater! He still loves his Mommy and Daddy, loves to give hugs and kisses. I love this!!

Happy Birthday Little Guy! We love you!


Monday, November 03, 2014

October 2014 in Review

I get so far behind on my blog. Life just gets busy and the blog gets forgotten about. It has been months since I edited a fair amount of pictures!

October flew by. The month started off with Chris loading up his backs for a 2 week trip to Denver for an UX certification coarse. He had a little fun, checked out the Denver crossfit and came home to pass his certification exam with flying colors. Meanwhile, Asher finished up his soccer season taking second in the final tournament. The kids had 2 days off of school making for a long fall weekend (Note to self, next year go to the lake!). We were able to visit the forest and the zoo and take in the nice weather.  Alivia received the First Student of the Month for 5th grade. She was quite exited about that.
Of course, it would not be Halloween without booing and trick or treating. We of course Boo'd our friends the first of the month and ended the month with a little candy. Alivia and Addison were vampires and Asher was a soccer player.
Now onto the busy November where Asher will turn 7!! years old and we will celebrate Thanksgiving!

Stay warm and keep in touch!
The Austin Family


Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

Happy Halloween! Hope you all had a spooky good time! What a busy day!

The kids dressed in their Halloween attire to go to school on this Friday Halloween. They were so excited for the "Fall Parties." Heaven for bid we call them what them are, Halloween Parties.

Anyway, I arrived at 2pm to help at Asher's 1st grade Halloween party. The party was well organized and fun. They made witches brew, played 3 games (pin the nose on the pumpkin, bean bag toss and toss the pumpkin into the can) and made a hand print craft that turned out really cute. It was a fun party. I did get to sneak out and peek into Addison and Alivia's parties too. They looked fun, too. Alivia had nachos at her party!

At home, the kids had more candy before prepping for the big trick or treating event. Alivia and Addison were both vampires and Asher selected to be a soccer player (cheap costume for us!). Alivia's friends arrived before 6pm. She invited Emma and Lizzy to trick or treat with her. Addison and Asher kept together. We set out just after 6. We were the first ones out but we saw kids at the bottom of the hill (so not THAT early). Our neighbor Kathy was dressed up as Elsa from Frozen, so that was pretty fun. The night was cold, but not windy. So, we survived. The kids got boxes of cereal, Big candy bars, baggies of candy, $1 bills, and Chris and I were offered the usual "Daddy Juice" aka beer. It was a fun. Michael caught up with Asher and they set out together. They had fun RUNNING from house to house. Thankfully Michael had on glow sticks because if we looked away, we would lose them. They were that fast! We came back home 2 hours later with a lot of candy!! I have yet to sort it out (what they like and what we can donate) but we will do that in the next couple days. It was a fun night!!

Happy Halloween from our spooks to yours. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Post Marathon Thoughts

It's been weeks since I crossed the finish line to the Omaha Marathon. The pain, like childbirth, has been forgotten. However, the early morning training runs are still fresh in my mind (wait, I am still running pre dawn...maybe that's why!).

I decided not to run the Des Moines Marathon. I may be crazy...but not that crazy. That is just plain nuts. I have lost the desire to run long runs like that to prepare. I just don't have the drive to run another marathon so soon. I guess I am not that competitive.

I did, however, find the time to call Boston last week to see if I qualified for the 2016 Boston Marathon. Come to find out, your time has to fit the requirements for the age you will be at the date of the race. My age bracket changes between now and 2016. So, now I have to finish in 3 hour and 40 minutes but to run in 2016 I would need 3 hour and 45 minutes. Therefore, my finishing time of 3 hour and 41 minutes was 4 minutes faster than the time needed to qualify! Although I am super excited, I know that it is not a guarantee that I will be able to run. They start having people with really fast times sign up first with the people closer to the cut off last. Therefore, you can make your time by a minute and still not get in because they are full. Crazy, right? So, we will see. I have to wait until NEXT September since the Omaha Marathon was one of the first qualifying Marathons for the Boston 2016 Marathon. Who knows what can happen in that amount of time.

I do plan on running another marathon next year. I want to run a destination marathon. I have not selected the destination yet though. I am not fond of winter training runs...so I am thinking no on Lincoln. I also have been there, done that. I want to run somewhere new!

I am still running with my friend Jen in the mornings. I am cross training some. I was even able to get a 15 miler in last week! It felt awesome! That is the perfect distance. It is the 22 milers that take it all out of me.

Now onto researching my next challenge. Marathon #3. Humm....suggestions???

Busy Busy

Chris and I used to think our lives were busy when are kids were little. We would hear from parents of older children who would tell us to enjoy them now as things just get busier once they are all in school. We wondered how we could get any busier.

The kids have all been in school over a year now and we are busy. The kids have at least one activity every day except Friday nights and Sunday's.  When I work, I come home form work, sleep, wake just in time to get to school to pick up the kids, then quickly take the kids to their activities. I am lucky to get home in time to get a good shower in and quickly get ready for work. I usually am running out the door with something to eat on the way to my work assignment. I'm also lucky to see Chris for even 5 minutes between, getting home, Chris getting home and me going to work. It is busy!

All three kids are in swimming lessons, the girls are in piano, Asher is in soccer with practice twice a week and games on weekends, and Alivia has now one tutor (Although she did have 2). It is just crazy busy. The days fly by without being able to reflect what is happening. Birthdays slip by. Where is all the time going? Our little babies are growing up while we are too busy to appreciate everything.

As I was getting my hair cut last week, my hair dresser told me how busy they were. She has a daughter who is a freshman in high school. I thought...I must stop being busy. We have to cut some of this out. It is good for kids to be active, but I want them to remember childhood as childhood and less of a circus.

Now...what can I cut? Time will tell but we will be making some cuts soon. I want our peaceful family life back! Wait, did we ever have that?

Alone

For the last week, I have been juggling it alone. I am only half done.

Chris is in Denver at a certification class. I knew it was coming months ago. This is a good thing. I got up early in the morning last Sunday and took him to the airport. I was so tired, I didn't feel anything when I said good-bye. My only thoughts..."Can I go home and go to bed?" Luckily, the kids let me sleep until almost 9. I woke up sad. Funny, I thought I was looking forward to Chris being away. Look at all the stuff I will get done. Yeah right.

Last week was a blur. We were busy nearly every night. I was running here, there and everywhere crossing things off my never ending to do list. I went out to Zorinsky and ran twice. That is something I have been wanting to do but haven't had time to do since last winter. I went to the Mart to look for things unsuccessfully. In the end, I got a lot crossed off my list but nothing really done. No worries, I have another week and another long list.

My Mom did come down one night so I could go to work. How else was I to get in 96 hours during this month, my minimum requirement, with taking 2 weeks off. Chris' Mom will be coming this week so I can work another night. I have to say, I love the fewer hours.

I have more appreciation for Chris now that he has been gone. One, I miss him. It is lonely here without adult interaction. I don't know how single parents do it. It is nice to bounce ideas off another adult. I find myself talking to myself more not having him here, asking myself those important questions. I know, sounds nuts. I better stop doing that when he gets home. :) The kids miss him. Although he is only in Denver, our paths cross at night. With soccer, swimming lessons, tutor, piano, play dates, we are rarely home until bedtime. Then, I just want everyone in bed so I can go to bed. Chris called one night after I had been asleep for an hour. It took me 2 hours to get back to sleep. :(

One more week. I will cook, clean, mow, work...and he will be home. I am not going to let him leave for a very long time.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2014 Omaha Marathon

This Sunday I ran my second Marathon and my second marathon of this year. Yes, I may be nuts.

The weather turned out to be perfect. 50s to start with a light breeze. There seemed to be few porta potties with many people needing to use them before we were off for our run. We rushed through a long line and made our way to the line.

My friend Jen (who ran the half) and I warmed up a bit running in place to keep warm, stripped our warm up clothes and got in the starting area. They did not have us placed by pace (annoying!!) and we were all crammed in there. I was just hoping nobody would trip in front of me. It was not a good set up. Jen, who is clearly smarting than I am, squeezed her way up front. I remained towards the middle. Dumb decision...but I will get to that.

Where I was, the gun went off without much warning. We were crawling when we got to the start and I started my watch. I ran towards the outside to get around the slower runners (and walkers!! Seriously...you are walking already?! Get to the back then!). I paced 7:45-8 until mile 14. I felt great, but I was to be pacing at 8-815. So, I knew I was going off to fast. I had thought about resetting my watch to beep when I was going over pace but I forgot. It is so difficult to slow down when you find people around you to follow.

It was crowded until right after the 6 mile when the half marathoners turned to go back towards their finish. Finally, I could see who was running the full and find someone to run with.

I had to go to the bathroom, but I couldn't find any. It wasn't unbearable, but I thought I could run more comfortably. So, I followed a couple girls until the bathrooms finally appeared at mile 11-12. It took too long in there (lesson learned, do not drink with breakfast...save drinking to right before the run if at all!) because the paper was all stuck. Annoyed.

Out of there I felt better to get going. At mile 12 1/2 maybe, I stepped in a huge pot hole and twisted my body all up. I did not notice the effects of this until later when my hip was sore. The roads on this stretch were not all the good.

The scenery was pretty good. The run took us along the river, through Carter Lake area, through tree lined streets and another park. All in all, it really was a scenic run. After about mile 18, I could not see straight and was only concerned about my feet and shady areas. Mile 22-25 were pretty bad, slowing to upper 8 minute miles, then 9 as I walked some. Jen (who finished 5th overall in the half with a time of 1hr 30!! and first in her age group) and my friend Heather caught up with me at the 22-23 mile mark. I was dying a slow death at this point. I kept stopping and Jen kept telling me to get going...I was so close to the 3h 40min Boston cut off. I was on the verge of tears. I was a wreck. I saw the kids at maybe 23 and that got me going for a short second, too. Somehow, Jen convinced me to get going and finish, finishing in the stadium after going around a lap in a time of 3h 41min, missing the Boston cut off by 1 minute!!! NO WAY!!!!!!!!! (one less walk, shorter time in the potty, less time at water...I'm killing myself over that minute!!)

Review of the marathon.
* Scenic
* Not too hilly (probably similar to Lincoln's marathon maybe?)
* Very little crowd support
* Creighton students rocked with enthusiasm and water. So did Team Jack.
* Water was there but seemed less than at Lincoln. Maybe it was just me. There was one water station at mile 12/14 where you had to get out your own cup and get your own water. Chris volunteered here for an hour and could not keep up!
* Chris was able to bike behind me or around me from mile 14 through nearly the end. I LOVED THAT!!! There were no crowds and he was my little cheerleader. He was quiet knowing at anytime I could completely fall apart. He was there for water and just there. I did not need him for more than to be there for me. There were not too many people around me at this point, although there were at the end.
* Loved that the girls could run with me in the end. LOVED THAT!
* Police did a great job manning the streets, too.
* Metals were nice and so were the shirts. I will wear the shirt (unlike Lincoln's ugly shirt this year!).
* The results. I was officially 18th in women. But right after the race, they put my time as 4hr and 43 minutes. That was really frustrating. But, it appears to be fixed now. Too bad my time didn't improve. :)

All in all, it was an okay run. Thought the start needed much work, jamming us all in there without pace is wrong. Speaking of pace, where were the pacers?! I saw the 3h 45 minute but there wasn't one for the 3h 40 minute. The finish was not all the good either. It is really annoying to run all that way and not have anyone be able to see you finish (they did not allow people into the stadium). The stadium track was a mess with wet red sandy stuff as turf. Weird. I just wanted to run in and finish. It worked but was odd. Then they had you come outside to the food. I liked that they allowed family in there to great you, making it easier to greet family (Lincoln's meet the family set up did not work for me). I tried by banana and threw it out, grabbed an orange slice and chocolate milk but both came back later to haunt me.

After the run, I knew my time was limited as I felt the nausea at around 19 and fought it off. It was coming and fast. I was very dizzy and needed to get home. At home, I thought it was too late to eat. Chris tried to make me food, but I was getting sick before he could get it to me. I was less sick than after Lincoln, but I stayed in bed until nearly 3 (and finished before 11am).

My reward, Orange Leaf Yogurt. Chris got it for me around 5pn and it never tasted so good. I was still weak and exhausted but it was still yummy. I sat outside enjoying the rest of the day. Jen and her hubs, Dan (who is training for the Des Moines half), walked up to talk. Jen suggested I run the full in Des Moines. OMG, really?! 3 marathons in a year?! I still have not decided. I did Pilates yesterday, but struggled with feeling awful with some chest discomfort (not sure what that was!). Today I went out and ran 6 in the ran and it felt okay. I am still stiff but tolerable. I will rest tomorrow as I go back to work tonight. Des Moines is in mid-late October...so 3 weeks from this Sunday ( or 4 weeks between marathons if I do it.). We will see.

Until then...I will keep running. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Our 15th Wedding Anniversary

On August 28, Chris and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. Although it seems like yesterday that we were married in a Church in Omaha in front of friends and family...so much has happened! We both went back and completed our masters degrees, changed jobs a few times, moved from an apartment to our first home to now our second home in Papillion. We had three little babies and have watched them grow. I quit my job and became a stay at home mom...to today where I am back to work on a part time basis. Our life has been crazy, fun, challenging, fulfilling, all on one!

To celebrate, my parents came down to take care of the kids and Chris and I took off to where we had our honeymoon at Sandals in Negril, Jamaica. We left early on Wednesday, August 27, arriving in Negril 12 hours later. Our flight in was interesting to say the least as storms from a hurricane made it a white out. The pilot "missed" the approach and took off again, circling the airport for a while. What a beginning!

Once at sandals, Chris and I settled into our week away. The resort had changed since we were there, but we tried to overlook everything and enjoy our time. We took daily 6 mile runs on the beach followed by Chris time in the gym. We would clean up and hit the buffet breakfast where we had made to order egg white omelets, fresh fruit, fresh fruit smoothies, and Chris got a pile of bacon! After breakfast, it was time to snorkel! Chris wore his gopro and captured all the fish we saw on the reef, through the caves and more. Very cool way to cool off in the mornings. We would come back from the morning snorkeling trip and float in the ocean on a raft while sipping on non alcoholic frozen fruit punches (they are so yummy!). Between relaxing, we would go off on on the kayaks or paddle boards. We loved the paddle boards! Lunch was another buffet where we loved the grilled fish and more fresh pineapple. It usually rained some in the afternoons, which was perfect for naps or chilling on the beach under the covered beach chairs. Time flew by. Chris and I were able to have endless conversations without interruptions, something that rarely happens at home with 3 kids that do no like it when we talk to each other, only to them. :) Night time was a more formal meal at one of the many restaurants where we have grilled shrimp, dinners on the beach, lobster, pizza one night, chocolate one night for dessert, and more. The food was quite good (they just didn't seem to give very large portions though) and he desserts were amazing. Chris and I tried everything since Sandals is an all inclusive. We tried some of the alcohol specials, like a watermelon margarita, Jamaican smile or the Bob Marley. They were all okay, but I liked the blended fruit punch sans the alcohol better. :)

We met a few couples, one we spent 3 hours with one night who were at sandals 15 years ago when we were and were from Iowa! Small world!

All in all, Chris and I had an amazing trip. I would highly recommend a break away with your spouse alone...there is nothing like it. Yes, family trips are important too as we only have a few cherished years to travel with our kids while they still like us :), but strengthening the bond between parents is important too. We hope to continue our annual long weekend trips on anniversaries, with our next bigger trip on our 20!!! Year anniversary! Wow, we are old.

 Now, our trip was amazing because we were there together, but don't go to sandals resorts. Jamaica itself is poor, so they will do anything for your money including beg and steal (did both to us). The beach peddlers get annoying after about an hour. The paparazzi at the resort are more than annoying and the pictures will cost you more than a new camera. The people working for sandals were not respectful. For what you pay, you expect luxury. Our home was luxury in comparison.Let's just say, with all the negatives and so many other places to visit, go to a different country or stay in the US and at a non sandals resort. We are already talking about where we want to go next.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Run, Run, Running...

I'm doing it again. I signed up to run the Omaha Full Marathon this September. I more or less started training for it right after running the Lincoln Marathon. There are many differences this time.

First of all, I went to see a dietitian. I believe I became hypoglycemic due to not having glycogen stores from being on the Paleo diet. I really put myself at risk the first time by not paying attention to what I was putting into my body as fuel. It was all healthy, but it contained too few carbs to fuel my long runs. I would recommend this dietitian to anyone (her website says she is not accepting new patients but maybe she would by referral...?). Let's just say, I would not be running if I had not gone to see her. When I started back to running, I was nauseated at 9 miles, nearly vomiting. It was not fun. I would be so sick I could barely complete my run. Now, I am running. I take food with me, but I am running. So worth it! My diet is all crazy because of all my in tolerances (intolerant to gluten, IBS, etc). She told me what I can eat and still feel good. So far, so good!

Second of all, the weather is so much better to train now than in the winter. The winter training was brutal! I get up now 4:40 am and go and run. I get my training done early and check it off my list. I get back home, eat my eggs and fruit, and I am ready for the rest of the day.

Lastly, Chris introduced me to a running mate. She kicks my arse, but we have quickly become friends on our hours of running. She has run her share of half and full marathons (including Boston I believe twice), finishing the Omaha Marathon in 3h 15min! See, I told you she kicks my arse! With that said, it is nice to get up at predawn and run on the dirt road with someone. There are too many weird sounds to creep you out at that hour. She even ran half of my longest run with me, helping to kill the time. The 22 miles just flew by. Okay, maybe they didn't, but she did help. She is signed up to do the Omaha half where I am sure she will nail it.

Counting the days until the marathon. I already have plans for next year. We will see what I say after I finish the Omaha! Wish me luck!

Summer 2014

I do not like saying good byes. I am not very good at it and try to avoid them at all costs. I can not say good bye to friends without tearing up, and saying good bye to my friend Summer is no different.

We had a wonderful summer! So wonderful, that I chose to play with the kids than to blog or even clean the house! It didn't help that our computer was broken for most of the summer, either.

June sped by. The kids had Catholic Education from 9-12 for the first 2 weeks. They spent the afternoons playing in the pool, playdates, and just playing. After Catholic Ed, we spread our wings and visited the zoo, the forest, going to Iowa to Adventureland, and more. The kids loved Adventureland! We kept busy too with piano lessons and Alivia going to the tutor.

Our July was spent 50% at home 50% in Missouri at the Lake of the Ozarks at my parents lake home. We love it there! The kids went early on July first while Chris and I worked, joining them for the 4th of July. The fireworks on the lake are always fabulous. The weather was cooler but still relaxing. We had a great time.

We arrived home and prepared for Addison's 8th birthday celebrations. We are still waiting for her to act 8 years old. With time, I am sure...and I will miss her whining, right?

After the partying, the kids and I went back to the Lake. Why not, right? Meanwhile, Chris and his brother went to Estes Park to hike Longs Peak. The reached the summit and back in 15 hours, both saying it was the hardest thing they had ever done. You can watch some of his YOUTUBE videos if you so desire (he wore a gopro camera for the hike!).Here they are reaching the summit! Chris and I both made big goals for 2014 and are happy to have been able to achieve them! He reached for the stars and nearly got there!

Meanwhile, the kids and I relaxed at the beach at the Lake, did some shopping at the outlets, bought a Chill Raft (the best investment ever!), eating out, and more. I'm already looking forward to relaxing and playing on the raft for years to come. It is just so relaxing at the lake, even if it is a lot of work to go alone with 3 kids. I pulled it off, and Alivia turned out to be a BIG help!

Back at home, it was time for me to return to work (work, what's that?!). I went back to 96 hours a month July 27 so back to reality. I decided next year I will not do that until September. We hope to spend the entire month of July at the Lake next year. We can't wait!

We shopped for back to school clothes and all those fancy back to school shoes (Converse anyone?!) Each kiddo now has a pair of Converse plus a fancy pair of running shoes. Gees! I run serious weekly miles and I didn't get any shoes (although I need them!).

As the summer drew to a close, we quickly finished up on all the things the kids wanted to do and the people we wanted to see. We went to the pool, had sleepovers, met up with friends. I was growing sad that our fun and lack of schedule was coming to an end. I love summer!

On Tuesday, August 12, Alivia started the 5th grade, Addison started the 3rd grade and Asher started Kindergarten. They enjoyed their first day and are already bringing home homework.

We had a wonderful summer. A summer to remember. We are already planning next summer, trips, the lake, and more fun. How many more days until Summer 2015? We are ready!

*** PICTURES TO SOON FOLLOW****


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Happy 8th Birthday Addison!


Today, Addison Rose turns 8 years old! Hard to believe! The celebration started early with her sleepover party at 4pm last night until 10 am this morning (with one friend spending the day with us). I am beat and Addison is still full of energy!

She invited 4 little girls, the same little girls she invited last year to her birthday, and one (Kaitlyn) could not make it. We started off going to the Ralston Park to play, back home for hotdogs and Addison's favorites, oreo cupcakes for "cake", and presents. The girls ran around and screamed a lot, made their way outside to play, before I convinced them to watch a movie together (that did not last long). They slept a short time in the tent downstairs before enjoying dunkin donuts for breakfast. After everyone was completely spent and full of sugar, we sent them home. :) As a treat from Addison, the girls all received matching PJs from Justice for Girls. The girls loved that, one girl saying, "These are much better than the t-shirt from last year (the one she was wearing to this party, I may add! :) ). I took that as a compliment. lol.

Today Addison has been playing with her friend Halle. They played in our big bathtub with the swimming Barbie's, played outside, bounced in the bounce house and are now watching a movie with Chris and Asher. Tonight, Addison first selected to go to Freddy's for dinner (yuck). But, today she decided to change and go to Lanskies. Wherever we go, I am sure she will not eat or be happy about it. That is our Addison!

Addison's friends gave Addison some nice things. She got a lot of Barbie things, including a Jeep and a Barbie she can color her hair, headband for Addison and more. They all gave her unique and well thought out things. Asher gave Addison a swimming Barbie Doll and Alivia gave Addison a little shorts outfit from Justice for Girls. From Chris and I, she asked for and is going to open later a pair of black high top converse shoes with her name imprinted on them from Chasing Fireflies, a requested flannel shirt from Justice (she asked for a purple flannel shirt that I could not find so hopefully this will work) and an outfit from Justice. Hopefully she will be happy with that as her Grandparents are spoiling her with much more in the way of Barbie.

Now for the Birthday Questions at 8...
1. Favorite  color: purple an black
2. Favorite Toy:  barbie dreamhouse
3. Favorite Fruit:  grapes
4. Favorite TV show: lab rats
5. Favorite thing to eat for lunch: I dont know, Salad?
6. Favorite Outfit:  Outfit from Justice for Girls
7. Favorite Game:  Mindcraft
8. Favorite Snack:  cheese its
9. Favorite Animal:  bunny
10. Favorite song:  heartbroken?
11. Favorite Book:  Junie B Jones
12. Best Friend:  Halle Hassett
13. Favorite Cereal: Plain Cheerioes, cocoa puffs
14. Favorite thing to do outside: play on the playset
15. Favorite drink:  coke
16. Favorite Holiday:   Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Bunny
18. Favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Cinnamon toast, bacon and cereal
19. What do you want to eat for your birthday dinner? Lanskies, Salad
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?  A vet and a teacher

At 8 years old, Addison is our challenge. She is honestly a really difficult child to make happy. She asks for ice cream and then gets mad because she did not get enough. Last year she asked for an inground pool for her birthday and was disappointed with the $500 blow up slide pool. I keep telling Chris that she is going to be a tough teenager when she makes me pull my hair out and she is only 8! Luckily, we love her and her challenging ways. I mean, Addison keeps us on our toys and will never let Chris or I sit idle. Addison is very observant and is not afraid to tell you as it is. I like that about her. However challenging, Addison still likes to give me hugs and would never skip a kiss on the cheek before going to sleep at night.

Happy Birthday Addison! Enjoy being 8 sweet pea!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Adventureland 2014


The Austin family has big plans for 2014. Disney has been booked before this year is over (but the kids do not know yet). What better way to prepare the kids for waiting in lines, riding rides, and more than a little trip to Adventureland in Des Moines.
The kids and I stayed at my parents home in Iowa last Sunday night. My parents and I could not decide if we should go to adventureland on Monday because the weather kept saying rain, but we decided to risk it. We are so glad we did!
We got up and left at 8am arriving 10 minutes before 10, when the park opens. I bought the tickets from work, saving $ off of the $40!! Entrance fee! (Btw, that is insane!). It was not too busy with overcast skies. The kids jumped right into riding rides, checking each one out. We got the impression quickly that all he rides went around in circles. My Dad and I rode most of the rides with Addi and Asher while Alivia sat out (party pooper). There was one ride, the lighthouse, that Alivia decided to ride after my dad and I went on it with Addi and Asher. My dad was half to all dizzy and said he had to sit out. Asher said he would go with Alivia. I went with, but there was 2 people per seat, 4 per "car". I sat with Asher who met the height narrowly for the ride. Alivia sat in front alone. She started crying just before the man came around to check, so I switched and sat up front with Alivia. Big mistake. The ride went around in a circle and the shot out to the side throwing you to the side of the car. Asher held on for dear life. I turned around and held onto him from the front as Alivia closed her eyes into my side.
We barely survived the ride. It shook us all up. Alivia was scared, Asher was lucky not to have been thrown from the car. From them on, the kids had to ride with an adult on anything but the tilt a whirl.
Asher and Addison were brave, soaking in the fun. Addison rode the 2 wooden roller coasters. But, she did not like the hill of the Tornado. Asher rode all of the coasters, including the upside down one in which he rode in the front car with grandpa! Crazy! My dad and I went on to ride the Dragon 3 more times in a row due to no lines. My Dad said that someone else should have decided if we should of ridden the third time as we were too impaired to decide at that point! :)
There were very few lines anywhere. It was so weird yet so nice. The water park was the first and only place Alivia and I waited in line, at the Typhoon. Asher wanted to ride it and the biggest water slide but he was too short. Addison, however, did go down one of the bigger water slides! That girl is brave!
We had a very fun day! We could not have gone without Grandma watching Alivia and Grandpa being such a good sport going on the rides with me and the kids. We made wonderful memories.
That night, back on the farm, my body was riding roller coasters as I went to bed. I was exhausted.

In the end, Alivia told Grandma she didn't think she was ready for Disney. On well, ready or not...here we come!

Going to adventureland?
Here's what to bring:
1 sunscreen
2 swimsuits and towels for water park (we rode all the rides and went to the water park about 2:30 staying 3 hours)
3 wear comfortable shoes, tennis shoes not flip flops
4 wear dry wicking clothes for quicker drying and don't wear a white t shift!
5 pack a picnic. There is a nice picnic area right outside the park
6 pack snacks. We brought water bottles in and a few snacks. My dad bought Asher kettle corn. Other than that, we did not buy anything in the park.
7 patience and a patient stomach. You will need both!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 2014 in Review


May was a busy, fun filled month. It started off with delivering May baskets, celebrating Mother's Day, I ran a marathon, Alivia and I ran the Papillion 5K, they finished up the school year, Alivia turned 10!! years old, Asher had his school program and played a lot of soccer, we celebrated Memorial Day, we went to a Storm Chasers Game, and we got wet outside to beat the heat! It was so much fun!

Alivia continues to get her fill of her BFF Lizzy whenever she can, run a little and plays mind craft more than we would like. She is no longer texting on her ipad (long story, but she is too young for it!), but likes to have her friends over as much as she can.

 Addison is excelling in piano and enjoys going to lessons. Crazy, because I always hated them! We are happy she found an interest in something. In her free time, she likes to play mindcraft and have playdates with her BFF Halle.

Asher is a wild boy. In his free time, he likes to exert all of his boy energy way past my bedtime. He likes to color at night, play basketball and soccer, and play with his buddies, Cameron and Henry. He keeps us all on our toes and in the kitchen as he eats constantly!

Not sure how we will top it in June, but we must at least try! Happy Summer!
Alivia's birthday at Mama's Pizza
HERE ARE SOME OF MAY'S BEST MOMENTS CAPTURED IN PICTURES!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

What a Day. We had plans, to begin with, to go to my parents as we do every year for a grill out following the service at the cemetery. On Saturday, Asher got invited to go to the Storm Chasers game by his friend Jonah, in the AT&T skybox. We could not pass that up. So, plans changed. My mom ended up being really sick and could not even make it to the service (and the girls did not sleep over at their house as planned). But, it all turned out okay.

We got up and went to the 10Am service. It was windy, a little rainy and cold (it is always cold). After the service, we went home to pack up for the 12 noon first pitch.

The skybox was AMAZING! How cool! Air conditioned or sit outside in the shade. Wow, love those options! It was super nice and so nice of Asher's friend to invite us! We had a blast. The weather turned out to be great, too!

It was a fabulous day spent together. What more could we ask for?! We paid our respects and then celebrated summer all wrapped into one day.

At My Grandma's grave...we lost her one year ago.

Skybox view!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy 10th Birthday Alivia!

Alivia turned 10 years old on Sunday, May 25 (Memorial Day Eve). She celebrated with her friends for a sleepover at our home on the last day of school. What a way to mark the last day of school, right?!

Alivia invited her friends Elizabeth, Katy, Emma, Parker, Gabby, and Addison. There was a lot of girl drama as the night went on, let me tell you. From the sounds of it, Alivia contributed to the drama. Gees!

The night started at 4pm. The kids played outside and ran around. At 5:30, we had pizza and breadsticks followed by more running around. By 7, it was time for presents (where she got clothes, earrings, lego friends and things for Justice. Lots of great stuff!). After presents, Alivia gave each of the girls a thank you present - matching PJs from Justice. (Let me tell you, this turned out to be a nightmare. I would not recommend doing this, and it was quite expensive too. Alivia invited one girl last minute because her feelings were hurt. I paid $20+ for her PJs not on sale. UGH! I ended up going to every Justice store and online to buy all the sizes. Like I said, don't do this at home!). The girls all loved them! At least that was good, right?!

After that, Alivia made a wish on her icecream cake from DQ in Papillion. Alivia is very picky, pickier by the day, and asked for an icecream cake. She ate a few bites. The leftovers were finished by Addison and Asher and summer's first playdates. :)

The girls slept in a big tent in the basement after watching a movie. I'm pretty sure this party was an awake over, but I believe that is what they are all about, right?

To complete my mission (send the girls home sleep deprived and full of sugar), they all wanted Alivia's breakfast choice of Lucky Charms for breakfast. They finished off that huge box in no time, each girl having multiple servings, leaving the fruit and yogurt on the table. So funny.

They played outside until the rides arrived to go home.

Overall, it was a success. Fun was had by all, and I slept a few hours. What more can we ask for?

On Alivia's actual birthday on Sunday, she invited her friend Lizzy over to go skating with us. Little did I know that they were having a tournament and didn't have open skate. So, we stayed home and played all day. For dinner, we met the Grandparents at Mama's Pizza in La Vista, Alivia's choice. She actually ate an entire slice of pizza - so much success! Her grandparents spoiled her rotten and she was in seventh heaven.

From us, Alivia got clothes and had her room completely redone. It still is not 100% redone, but I will post before and after shots when it is completed. Her room is all grown up now, with gray walls, black bedding with pink zebra print sheets. I printed  a poster print of her friends to frame and put on the wall along with some other artwork I found. I need to buy a couple of bookcases for her lego friends now. It is coming together, slowly. But, it looks great and she loves it!

Happy Birthday, Alivia! We love you!

Birthday Questions for Age 10:
Favorite Color: Pink
Favorite Toy: Ipad
Favorite meal: I don't know, Pepperoni and crackers. (Alivia has gotten rather picky and will not eat pepporini and crackers! She is into yogurt and bananas, to go apple sauce, strawberries and smoothies. That is about it! God help me.
Favorite Game: Clue and Mindcraft
Favorite snack: Superhero Graham crackers
Favorite Book: Adventures of Santa Paws
Best Friend: Lizzy
Breakfast: Lucky Charms (but I never let her have them).
Favorite thing to do outside: Play basketball with our new hoop
Favorite drink: lemonade
Favorite holiday: Christmas
What do you take to bed with you at night? Pippa, our dog :)
Favorite cereal: Lucky Charms again
Where do you want to go to dinner on your birthday? Mama's La Vista
Favorite Restaurant: Panera (where she gets a plain bagel and a smoothie).
Favorite Animal: Puppy
Favorite Show: Jessie
Favorite outfit: New pink dress she got from Grandma Kathy while shopping the day before her birthday

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Last Day of School 2014

Thursday May 22 at 11:40 AM marked the end of the 2014 school year and the end of Kindergarten for Asher, second grade for Addison and fourth grade for Miss Alivia.

Unbelievable!
I drove the kiddos to school through the rain with Alivia's friend (and running mate) Katy, took last minute pictures with their teachers and walked home. Can not believe how quickly this year flew by.
We celebrated by inviting a bunch of friends to our home to play. It was raining at first, so the park could not happen. Asher had his friends Will, Xander and Hayes (from soccer) and a new friend ASHER too, Addison had her friends Kaitlyn and Halle and Alivia had her friends Elizabeth, Katy, Gabby, and Addison. It was a full house, but they all had fun. It was good prep for Mommy for the sleepover party that night anyway (lol).
The kids each are milestones ahead of the beginning of the year. Congrats Kiddos! Now, let's have a fun summer!

First Day of school
Last Day of School (Orange You Glad It Is Summer Outfits!).

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Alivia's 4th? 5K Run

On May 18, Alivia and her friend Katy ran the Papillion 5K run. OM, talk about a hilly course! I had trained these girls for a few months not knowing the course until a few weeks before (because I didn't look into it). But, the girls ran the actual course 3 times before the actual race. It was one hill after another on gravel and trails. INSANITY! They did really well considering the coarse conditions, running the final race all the way through without stopping.

In the end, they were both happy they ran it but more happy it was over with. Papillion had bouncers set up that they had energy for after having some chocolate milk and donuts (yuck, really?!). I have to say, Papillion had a good set up post race. It was nice to run into the track and have cheerleaders there at the finish. It was very fun for them.

You Go Girls!! Impressive!!

They pushed through until the end finishing in 29 minutes!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

So, I'm ever so slightly behind. So what, right?

Mother's Day.

I was scheduled to work the night before so we didn't have any plans. I actually like it that way. But, lucky for me (this time), I was cancelled and didn't have to work. So, Mother's Day we met my Mom at Zios Pizza in Omaha (my favorite and my parents had never been there). Yummy! We got finished just in time for the storm sirens to start going off. Yummy food though.

Chris and the kids gave me 26.2 stickers for the cars (so I am one of those annoying people now) and under armour headbands (I want one of each please!). Now I am set.

Now, onto Father's Day, right? :)
Me and my Mommy :)

Monday, May 05, 2014

I am a MARATHONER!


As of yesterday, about 10:55am, I am a marathoner, finishing my first full marathon!

Goals. Okay, I knew I was setting some lofty goals. First it was 1 hr and 40 minutes, in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Doable? Probably. But, for the first marathon, probably not. Additionally, I ran injured for a few weeks and my training suffered. And, on all my long runs, I had difficulty keeping my blood sugars up and usually became sick shortly after finishing. I knew the blood sugar thing was going to be an issue, and I was unfortunately correct.

From mile 1-mile 11, I was rocking the thing, running under or right at 8 minute miles. My body felt great. I ran following a couple of guys that were running together and looked as though they knew what they were doing. At mile 11, I felt a wave of nausea fall over my body and I knew my sugars were dropping. I had been eating starting at mile 5. I eat cliff chews, jelly beans and gummy bears. I drank water at every water station without difficulty. What was I doing wrong. If I was doing the half, I would have fought through and perhaps beat my personal record from last time. But, I walked a bit and slowed my pace. I was sick.

Crossing by the stadium where the half marathoners were finishing and keeping going was very tough. I felt awful, but I knew I would kick myself if I didn't at least try. My mile times dropped to 9 minute miles (which is not good for me) and even made a potty stop (which was perhaps unnecessary but I needed a break more than anything). It was so hard to keep going when I didn't know for sure where I was going, how much farther until the turn around by the lake, and how could I keep myself from vomiting?

At every water station, I would slow and walk through them, taking a cup of water to splash on myself, a cup of water to drink, and a cup of ice to chew until the next water station. I took my share of orange slices in hopes that they would help (but they did not).

I have to say, the Lincoln Marathon crew is AMAZING! I would start walking and a biker would be there asking if I needed anything. I said I was low on sugar and they provided me with something. They were great! Chris, my lone cheerleader, saw the hazards in the busy intersections since the city did not close the streets. He saw many near misses with runners and with cars. I'm lucky I did not see any of that. I just kept one foot in front of the other.

As the stadium neared, I just wanted to finish in under 4 hours. Seriously, I practically walked into the stadium. I was so sick. The 3 hr and 40 minute pacer (clearly much behind pace) ran up and grabbed me and told me to get going...we are almost there. I started to run and kick it through the finish, at 3 hr and 55 minutes (my half time was 1 hr 46 minutes).

I stopped, happy it was over. Where or where is that thing they call runner's high?

A guy handing out the warming "blankets" agreed to take my picture for me and send it to Chris, who was no where to be found. I walked through the tunnel of memorial stadium grabbing some of the supplied food that I thought I could swallow. I walked out to a crowd of people awaiting their family. I had no idea where Chris said to meet and I was not about to walk any place. I sat on the curb and asked some random stranger to use his phone. He dialed Chris on his sweet looking phone and Chris soon spotted me (Chris still wanted me to walk to him!).

After a quick picture from Chris, and I slammed a banana, we were off. I got on Chris' bike to make the hike back to the hotel (We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn. It was a nice, clean hotel. But, it was expensive. I told Chris that it was the price to pay out of necessity. He soon realized what I meant).  I knew I had a short period of time between the finish and when I would start vomiting. Once that happened, I knew I would be a total mess and had no idea how I would get back to the hotel. I glided on Chris' bike ahead of him, stopping and sitting on benches to wait for him to catch up. I could tell, he was very annoyed that I was not waiting for him, but he had no idea how much I was suffering.

We got back to the hotel, taking his bike and all up to the room. As we stepped off the elevator onto the 4th floor, the wave hit me. My time had run out. We got back to the room and I collapsed in bed, thanking myself for asking for a later check out (1:30 instead 12).

I jumped between the bed and the bathroom for a while. It was coming from all ends at the same time! I was so sick. After vomiting a while, I tried to jump into the shower and see if that helped. It was amazing while I was in there, but I got up and went back to going to bathroom and vomiting and laying on a towel on the hotel bathroom floor. I was a serious mess.

As 1pm approached, I knew we had to get going. I told Chris he would have to load up because as soon as I sat up I got dizzy and nauseous. Chris loaded the car, check out and I sat out front to wait for him to come around from the parking garage. I laid in the car trying to get comfortable. About half way home, another wave of nausea came over me and I was lucky to have a Panera bag to get sick into. Poor Chris. He did not say a word to me. I was just a mess. Once at home, I dropped everything and went to bed until 4pm. When I woke, I felt much better. I had Chris order me my reward pizza where I did my best to eat a couple slices and drink a lot of water. I felt better but weird all night.

The kids elected to stay at my parents. They had a blast on the farm. I am thankful they went with them because I was in no shape to be a Mommy after my run. My parents rock!
The girls in Grandma's bath tub. Enough bubbles you think?

The goal was achieved, to finish a marathon. Now, what is my next goal? I don't know. For starters, I have to survive 5 12 hour night shifts this week. That may be worse than the marathon!

* More pics to come!

How I started out running. It was a cold start. But, once I started running, I never noticed the cold.

FINISHER VIDEO! 


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 2014 in Review

Better late than never. April was a busy month. Let's just start by saying I went from working 3 eight hour shifts every other week to working 3 twelve hour shifts minimum a week!! That was a lot to adjust to. Clearly, I did not keep up as my photo album fell way behind.

In April, we had some snow (seriously!), Addison's beautiful First Communion, Asher started soccer, Daddy had a birthday, and Alivia continued training for the Papillion 5K with her friend Katy. We celebrated Easter in Iowa on a beautiful day. We made plenty of memories, the best we have in pictures HERE. Enjoy!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Last Week Running

Down to less than a week until I run my first 26.2 miles...ever! I have ran 20 miles in training but have never ran the last 6.2. I took the week off work, having got in my monthly hours for April last week (and not wanting to start May just yet). Now I am wondering if that was a good idea.

I just want to run the dang thing and get it over with!

I am thinking and rethinking.

I usually run with a water bottle. But, now I don't want to. I mean, they will have water stations, I am assuming. I can just swing by and get water, right? But, if I don't take my bottle, where will I put my food? I have cliff chews I cut up into pieces so I can easily chew them. They make me really thirsty though. I almost need the chews with water right afterwards. That is how I practiced. But, the water bottle is like running with a 5 pound weight. Do I really want to run with that? Um, no.

So, tomorrow I will try a couple more places for a fuel belt before I just pin the gels into a ziplock onto my shorts and call it good. Really, who cares anyway, right? I just want my gels and my food. Yes, I pack food, too. I don't get hungry, but my blood sugar drops and then I get sick. If I don't time when I eat something just right and wait too long, I start vomiting and it is all over.

So, what am I worried about? One, I will wear out. Two, my right knee will act up (I take my share of Motrin before running and this seems to help) and Three, my blood sugar will plummet and I won't be able to finish.

My goal. TO FINISH THE MARATHON! I would love to finish in under 4 hours. But, I know this may not be possible. Sh*t Happens. I am no longer going in with the big goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon (yes, you have to qualify to run the Boston). Afterall, I am not even sure I want to run it! I may run another one, but it will be in Hawaii or Florida or somewhere I can take a nice little mini vacation afterwards. Really, Boston doesn't come to mind just yet. Again, I just want to finish ONE MARATHON! I have ran my whole life. My time is getting slower and slower. I am now pushing 8:30 average for the 20 mile runs! That is horrible for me. With that said, I am still in the 7 range when only running 6 miles...so it is like my head knows that I am running farther so slow down. I am starting in the 7-8 minute mile for the marathon. I want to be pacing with the group for as long as I can. Hopefully I can stick close to the 8 minute mile range for most of the race. I am questioning that from mile 18 on. I tend to start to die as I push towards 20 miles. My time slips to 9 minute miles. And you know what, I am okay with that...as I just WANT TO FINISH.

So, if you are a praying person, and I hope you are, say an extra prayer for me, my body and my soul as I run this Sunday. Chris will be there as my support crew while the kids will be at home electing not to go (to my dismay). I look forward to saying I finished come next week!

Addison's First Communion


At the 5 PM Mass this last Saturday, April 26, Addison celebrated her First Communion in front of my parents, Chris' parents and her Great Grandma Pat (and our family, of course). She was the first of 6 total kids during this Mass and she did great. She took the body and blood of Christ like a pro. She is already looking forward to being able to go to Church and participate in Holy Communion instead of crossing her arms.

Addison's comment afterwards, "Daddy, I liked the Blood of Christ."

She is one funny girl.

We celebrated with a grill out and cake and ice cream. We gave Addison a little bracelet from Stands of Grace with her favorite colors, purple. Grandma Bet and Grandpa Bill gave her a cross necklace, something she will cherish forever. The only problem is, Addison doesn't want to ruin the Borsheims box and bow it came in! And Chris' parents gave her a giftcard to Parables, bracelets and a book. She was thankful for all the nice things family gave her. My question is, what do you give boys on their First Communion. (Jill, help me out on this one as you will go first! :) ).

It was a beautiful day and moment for Addison, something she can cherish forever. Congratulations Addison!

The kids with Grandma Bet and Grandpa Bill (my parents) and Asher, the ham!

The kids with Great Grandma Pat, Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Bob

Addison and her free cake (it was free because they lost my order and made this one up in 10 minutes! Tasted the same though!).

Happy Birthday Daddy



Daddy celebrated a birthday April 6. Seriously, I am so behind.

Anyway, we didn't let Daddy's day pass without a celebration. The night before, my amazing parents came down and watched the kids so Chris and I could enjoy a quiet dinner, with an emphasis on quiet. We just went to Panera, but it was so nice to sit, talk and chew uninterrupted. We stopped by Gerta's to pick up some birthday donuts per Daddy's request, too.

What did Daddy want for his birthday this year? Well, for starters, he got 2 45 pound dumb bells. Exciting, huh? Asher bought Chris a Spider Man T-shirt as the 2 of them share their love of Superheros. The girls and I bought him Ultimate Ears Boom Wireless Bluetooth speaker. Chris was excited to get the speaker as it was an unexpected surprise.

Chris and I got free iphones (Verizon gave us free iphones since we were one of a dozen people without smart phones and they felt bad for us. And, they wanted to gauge us with the data plans!). Anyway, Chris wanted the speaker for his phone. He uses it when he works out with, you guessed it, his new weights! :) See, the gifts all go together.

We had a good, simple day, just as Daddy likes it.

Happy Birthday Daddy! Many more...

Friday, April 25, 2014

Last Training Long Run

Today was my last training long run for my first (and perhaps only) marathon. It is hard to believe I have trained now 17 weeks for this marathon with only one week to go.

Next Sunday I take on the 26.2 miles. Chris is coming to support me, and the kids and my parents may come as well.

Honestly, I'm just looking forward to crossing the finish line and being done.

One week plus...and I'm counting.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sleepless in Papillion

I am now 6 days into the 9 days I am scheduled to work in April. Craziness! I now question how moms do it? Im Definitely not made to nearly work full time (I work 12.5 hour shifts) and be a mommy and wife.

The work itself is challenging. I call an hour before my shift to find out where I am going to work from 7pm-11pm. One night, I had left the house and got called to be switched assignments! I'm hoping that does not happen too often. Every night, I have a new group of patients, co workers, places where things are kept, and differences on how some units do things. It is difficult to keep up with. I'm typically not one to go with the flow, but it am working on it. I kinda have to.  Luckily, I learn quickly.

Some nights, come 11pm, I am reassigned to another hospital. They pay me for drive time and mileage, but that is another huge adjustment. I have stayed on the same unit twice now and in the same building a couple times, just switching units within the same building. One night I was in a new unit every 4 hours. Needless to say, my head was spinning.

All in all, the job itself is okay so far. I still want to get into pediatrics at some point, but this will work for now.

As for home life, the family has gotten used to Chris cooking, doing bedtime stories and getting the kids off to school in the mornings. Alivia is the only one that is outspoken to say she doesn't like my working. I keep reminding her, I'm just working this month until the summer, then I will cut back. And yes, I will and I must.

The money is nice, but peace, tranquility and a clean home are better. Just saying. I can do without the extra money. And, we will come June! In June my requirements are cut to 24 hours a month, but I plan to work every other weekend, 4 12 hour shifts. At least that is what I am thinking right now. Only time will tell.

Off to bed. Gotta prepare for another night shift tomorrow, followed by a 5 hour nap before repeating. Fun stuff!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

My 20 Mile Run

I am almost there...almost to the 26.2 marker I set out to run. Almost, but about 50 minutes more running away.

On Saturday, I set out for the weekly long run. I normally try to run during the week, but with hospital orientation during the day last week, the 20 miler was just not possible. So, Saturday became my long run day.

I got up, ate my eggs, bacon and a banana and set off. I mapped my run through the neighborhood, to Walnut Creek Rec Area, to papio trail and back via mapmyrun.com (love it!). I was able to get a pretty good idea of where I was going before I set out. So nice. I landed at home at 20 miles almost on the nose! Perfect. I would not want to go a step farther than my goal of 20!

What I have learned.

Pack a water bottle. I have the carrying case water bottle with a pouch in the side. In the pouch, I tucked away a clementine ready to eat, cut up cliff chews and a cut up larabar. This was the first week for the larabar.It didnt work so good...or maybe it was the orange. I just know I need sugar mid run and oranges are often seen during the marathon. I wanted to be sure to practice eating them before the big day.

I was really tired. I am not going to lie. My time slowed and slowed and slowed after mile 17. Mile 20 was a 10 minute mile (with some walking involved). I was plain spent.

The sad part is...I would have 6.2 miles left to go. Really? Really?!?!? It doesn't seem like that far until you compute it would take my an hour or hopefully less to get to that 6.2 miles. I would finish the full marathon in just under 4 hours if I finished at a 10 minute mile pace to finish it out.That is my goal...to finish in under 4 hours.The Boston goal went out the window with my knee injury. And now, my right foot is swollen (after the 20 miles). So, who knows. The 800 mg of Motrin before my runs helps a lot.

One month to go. And yes, I am counting. :)

Working Life

I have not worked 12 hours as a nurse in over a year and I have not worked 36 hours a week as a nurse since before I had kids (and that was for a very brief time before I became a pharmaceutical rep).

That has all changed.

I have started the 96 hours a month requirement through my first job and I am 12 hours in. It was not too bad for the first night. With that said, I was following another nurse. Tonight will be the true test when I go at it alone. There will be another nurse there and possibly a tech as well...so that always helps. But, I will be left to figure out the charting, patient care, and everything...alone. Yah.

I have to say, working 12 hours and sleeping 5 is not very much. By the time I pick up the kids from school, prepare dinner, lunches and snacks for the next day...it is time to go again. There is not much time there. For the 3 days in a row I am on, I am checked out of the Austin reality. I don't like that, and I don't think Chris does either. He is having to be Mr. Mom at night and in the mornings (where before I was able to stay home until 10, well after the kids were in bed).

We will adjust I am sure.

For now, this is the new reality. Working life. Let's see what I think after this month.