Hooray for Birthdays

This year was one of my favorite birthdays EVER!! It has been a long time since we've been able to celebrate my birthday on my actual birthday since it's so close to Thanksgiving and it seems people are always in town and we're busy with other activities, so it was really fun to have a special day. Everyone was just so sweet and thoughtful.

It started around 6 am when Nate came out into the living room and I said, "Nate! It's my birthday!" He looks at me with his sleepy eyes, "It's your birthday? SURPRISE!" They had all picked out the cutest cards for me according to their sweet personalities and some cute new clothes. My girlfriend Maren came over to help me stuff goodie bags for our race and brought me a gift complete with flowers and a balloon. Pedicures with Rickie and Karen who also provided a special lunch, a pan of my favorite treats, plus a mini muffin pan I kept meaning to buy. Then the doorbell rang and it was. . . THE cake.

My sister sent me an ENTIRE Kitty Katrina cake from The Chocolate up in Utah. Heaven. I looked at Karen and said, "You are going to be so glad you are my friend today." It was soooooo good. Is my sister not the most amazing, thoughtful person in the world? She is so good at remembering things that make people feel special.

That cake is so yummy that I did not even do a good job unwrapping it. I just tore straight into it. I ate a piece of it before I had even eaten my lunch. It was so good that Sadie licked the frosting off of the half I was putting in the freezer to save.

Then I went out for ice cream with Bryce -- my birthday buddy. He's 12 and I told him we should go out for dessert for our birthdays. He picked ice cream, so I told him to pick his favorite place to get ice cream. He looks at me and says, "No, you get to pick where we go." I didn't have to heart to tell that sweet boy that I'm not a fan of ice cream. It still was so much fun.

Back home to drop the kids off with a babysitter and Dustin took me to Flemings to dinner (courtesy of a gift card from another sweet friend, Danika). I was on sugar overload but rest assured I still managed to eat to dessert.

And of course there were so many other sweet, thoughtful people who took time out of their day to do sweet things for me too. I was honestly giddy the entire day because I couldn't believe it was a whole day where everyone was celebrating me. I know that sounds so selfish, but it made me realize how everyone needs to feel loved and valued even if it's just in little ways.

Thanks you guys! It really was just the best day!!!


Shun the Sun

Last weekend, I ran my second half marathon for the year. It's amazing how your body can actually LIKE running for that long. My first one was just about getting through, but this one was about enjoying the run and I totally did.

I talked 3 of my great girlfriends (Rickie, Casey and Meredith) into running it with me, which always makes things more fun. I loved having Rickie to run with every Saturday and to check in with Mer and Casey and see how their distance was coming.

I highly advise a running buddy for long runs. Even if you're different paces, it makes such a difference to know someone is out there with you. One miserable Saturday, Rickie and I could only schedule our run for 5 at night. I think it was somewhere in the 90s that week and I was DYING. I never would have made it through without someone routing me on.

The night before we had our big Carbo-Load Dinner and sat around talking about how nervous we were, what on earth were we going to wear (the weather dropped 20 degrees over the week leading up to the run), how to drink water from a cup, and what our goals were.

Meredith came and picked everyone up at 5:45 in the morning, but I had been up since about 4 just laying in bed. It was really cold that morning and I huddled in the corner with my legs and arms scrunched up inside my jacket until start time. Rickie and I paced ourselves pretty slow at the start because we wanted to make sure we had plenty of juice left at the end. Looking back, we probably paced too slow since I never hit a wall and had plenty of energy left at the end. I lost Rickie after about 4 miles, but I after a few miles I found a girl that was just not going to let me pass her. We'd take turns kind of edging each other out and finally I said, "Let's run together." She was lots of fun to talk to and got me through till about mile 11 when I was ready to take off.

My last two miles were fantastic, and even better was turning the corner by the stadium and seeing my family all waiting for me and cheering. I finished in 1:54 (about 8:45 minute miles). I was really happy with my time, but there is still a part of me wondering what my time would have been if I had gone just a little bit faster in the beginning. The other part of me is glad I didn't because I hurt my left hip pretty bad. It wasn't horrible when we finished, but as the night went on I could barely walk. I'm now seeing a chiropractor trying to get everything back to where it should be.
The best part of the race: seeing my kids right before the entrance to the stadium.

The race was really well organized, the weather was great and my girlfriends are the best. I enjoyed pretty much every second of doing it and can't wait to do it again. Half marathons are seriously the best distance. Not so long that you the training takes over your life, or you have to worry about electrolytes and refueling, but long enough that you get a huge runners high, ots of personal reflecton time and you feel like you accomplished something` Who's in for the next half??


The Blur -- Intro without pictures

The end of October was kind of a blur to me. I had so much going, we all got sick, and Dustin was gone for 11 out 14 very busy, hectic days that I literally ended up sobbing on the phone so hard that my sister had to call my friend Karen to rescue me. I think it went something like this (please read in my over-dramatic voice):

"I'm soooo sick. I'm never going to get better and I have so much to do!" Kathleen then prods me to find out what exactly needs to be done and I rattle off a million things. She then asks me what actually needs to be done at this exact moment.

"I need to make treats to take to Ellie's Mother-Daughter spa party and I'm too sick and I told Dustin to buy something and he bought cookies that you can tell are store bought. " (like people would WANT to eat something I made if I was deathly ill?? Wouldn't they be grateful I bought it so it wasn't contaminated?) I think I also whined about needing to get up and shower and do my hair and I had no energy. And possibly that I didn't like the nail polish colors that Dustin picked out (this will prove to be an interesting fact later in the story, but 6 months ago I threw out all the nail polish after Ellie and a friend left some bottle open for Sadie to find who then painted a few dresses, their bed spreads and a couple of pieces of furniture).

Of course Kathleen, who totally understand a good mental break down when she hears one, calls our friend Karen who so sweetly runs to the store to buy lemon bread (which looks home made, but is also already cut, so I won't have to actually touch the pieces -- she is so thoughtful) and soup for dinner. We get in the car when Ellie starts sobbing. "Mom, I don't feel very good." And then she ran out of the car, to the side of the house and puked.

So we didn't go to her spa party and I realized that everything would be OK, because even if everything doesn't get done, my family was important.

And then when Dustin was cleaning up, he dropped one of the bottles of nail polish on the tile floor and it shattered everywhere, resulting in a huge mess which included me having to re-paint an entire wall before our party that weekend.

The Blur -- marathon post

OK, let's go back to October. I won't give you all the nitty gritty, just some of the highlights (all of which took place in 8 days).

Last year my friend, Sarah, introduced me to this WANDA WITCH and it is now one of the events I look forward to the most throughout the year. My girlfriend, Rickie, threw it with me this year and we had a few months of fun scouting locations and coming up with clues. She came up with some really great locations -- like the drive through at Chick-fil-A and this totally scuzzy motel.

It was so much fun to see all the teams really get into it with pranks and shirts. . .Of course it never is without mishaps. Like when the team our own husbands were on took the wrong cauldron. Oh well, you live and learn. Next year will be even better of course.
Don't they just look like the kind of thugs that would steal someone's clues?? More details can be found on the Wanda Witch blog if you're interested.

Sadie had a PRE-SCHOOL HALLOWEEN party. Cutest little witch I know!
The next big event was DUSTIN'S BIRTHDAY. He was in San Jose working with the Sharks, so he got to go to a game (in a suite) and they set him up with a birthday cake and put a little birthday greeting up on the Jumbotron. Much better than what he would have gotten here between tennis, t-ball, running club and school stuff.

I did take Sadie and Luke to the PUMPKIN PATCH on Dustin's birthday. We did the hay ride, fed the animals, saw the cutest little newborn piglets, decorated a pumpkin with religious stickers, hay maze, bouncers. . . All while dressed in long sleeves because I was trying to convince myself it was fall. It was not.
Next up was NATE'S BIRTHDAY! That crazy kid is SIX. Seriously, time does fly. Nate is so sweet and tender one minute and feisty the next. He is a slight perfectionist and so hard on himself, but he truly has the most amazing heart. He loves babies and will just randomly tell me how much he loves me. He always says please and thank you and gets excited about even the tiniest things. Including his birthday.

The night before his birthday we were in the car and he pipes up "Mom, I'm so excited. It's free dress day and Friday free time and my birthday and my party and Dad's going to come to school and sit with me and we're going to EAT!"

Nate had doughnut holes and diet coke for breakfast (for real! I figure my kids never have juice, much less soda, so diet coke once a year won't kill him), Wendy's with Dustin for lunch and then pizza and lots of other sugary things for dinner (ok, so I probably did more damage in a day than you could do in a year of drinking juice five times a day). And because he is truly my child, he asked for chocolate cake. I love him. We totally agree on chocolate cake being the most delicious thing ever. Except I eat mine warm and Nate won't eat anything hotter than room temperature. Side letter: Dear Nate, I am sorry I am not very good at cake decorating and you will never have some beautiful cake on your birthday. I hope you appreciate the fact that I do truly try to make something you will like. Love, Mom

He had a fun birthday party with 8 of his best friends (mainly because that is how many invitations the Star Wars set came with) and I stupidly invited them to bring their own light sabers. No one was injured and nothing was broken, so we'll just say it wasn't a good idea and leave it at that.
The next day Rickie and I ran 13 miles in preparation for our half marathon and then I spent the day decorating for the WARD PARTY. The theme was Hobo Halloween, so it worked well when nothing I had envisioned was working out well. I figured Hobos wouldn't care as long as there was food and fun. And there was. We had a great time, but I am now harping on Dustin to hurry and get someone called as Activities Person before the Christmas party.

Luckily no one's costume involved too much work. I probably would have done a better job on Sadie's hair had I spent more than 2 minute on it. But I was pretty worn out by this point.

Since HALLOWEEN was on a Sunday this year, we stayed home and had the Missionaries and our friends, the Christensens, over to make it a little more fun. I made orange hamburger buns for our orange and black themed meal and Brenna brought sweet potato fries. We played Wrap the Mummy, and the game where you try to get the cookie from your forehead into your mouth without touching it. Surprisingly the missionaries were really good at it. And then, my new favorite Halloween activity (probably because it involves chocolate) -- Monster Brownies.

And that was the last week of October. It was fun. The next day I took everything Halloween-y down. I'm glad it's over. Mainly because I am obsessed with Christmas.