Saturday, April 28, 2012

My 30th

The days leading up to my big day, I was anticipating it with a healthy respect...that kinda verged a little on dread.  It wasn't so much the thought of being older as it was the thought of saying goodbye to my 20s...I hate goodbyes.

I wanted to celebrate in a big way...a day I would remember for the rest of my life...celebrate in a way that was me.  So, months in advance, I looked up races that were going to be held right on my 30th birthday...exactly how I wanted to ring in my thirties.

I ended up settling on The Illinois Marathon.  So, Friday afternoon, my family and I packed up and made the trek to Champaign-Urbana to check in to a hotel.  I was so happy to be able to get away with them...and even happier to wake up on my birthday with all of them sleeping around me.

My husband is not a morning person.  He is a talker, but not when he first wakes it meant so much to me that he got up and spent time with me before I had to leave for my race.

I left my babies sleeping, kissed my husband goodbye, and snuck quietly out of the room to catch the shuttle to the starting line.

I walked in to the bathroom and found a little gift and cards from the kids waiting for me. 

Sitting in the bathroom talking with Dan before I had to go (the kids were all sleeping)...he wanted to get a shot of my new birthday socks. 

I had a great race. I won't go in to a mile by mile play by play that might bore you to death...I'll save that for my running blog. But, I will say that it was a different kind of run for me. I don't like racing alone. I had only done it once prior to this race and it was awful. I was nervous about this race and running 13.1 miles without a running buddy beside me. This race, I proved to myself that it's not so bad and I can do it. I can run my own race, motivate myself when I feel like walking, and have fun in a sea full of strangers. It was my two hours of worship,prayer, and thanksgiving. I crossed the finish line at the 50 yard line of Memorial Stadium and fought back tears of joy and thankfulness. After getting my medal and a bottle of water, I stood there looking around and taking it all in.

I met my family and made the quick drive back to the hotel to get showered. Dan caught me crying in the bathroom and asked what was wrong. Even though it was only 10:30 in the morning, my birthday was all I wanted it to be...with the exception of Jimmy Johns and cake (which came later).

My Princess with the sign she made to cheer me on. 

My Little Man with his sign he made. 

My Middle Man and the sign that he made. 

Posing with my race shirt and my new medal to add to my collection. 

The rest of the day was spent relaxing.  Before the kids went to bed, they came to me for thier goodnight hugs and kisses.  I kissed each one and thanked them for making my birthday so special.  My Middle Man asked me who helped make my birthday the most special.  The simple answer I gave him : Jesus, with Daddy being number two.  So much has changed and happened in these last ten years, but my Jesus has remained constant.  In my 20s, He gave me Dan, blessed me with three beautiful children, carried me through a miscarriage and a 22 month unemployment, brought healing, filled me with joy, brought wonderful friends in to my life, and cared for me so tenderly.  I spent my twentieth birthday with my Dan...which doesn't seem like so long ago, but in a lot of ways it does.  We have been through so much together these past ten years and I am looking forward to bringing in many more decades with him.

Tonight, I am just simply thankful.

Bring on my thirties!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Our Week in Florida

Our week in Florida was much needed and such a good time.  Not only was it our first week long family vacation, it was the first time any of our kids had been down to visit Dan's grandparents.  We spent the week shooting, riding around grandpa's property, fishing, going to the beach, going out to eat, and just relaxing.

We left at around 2:30AM on Saturday morning and drove straight through to Pensacola.  The last few hours were rough...Dan and I wanted to pull our hair out and the kids were (of course) restless, but we made it.

Sunday morning Dan loaded the kids up in the RTV and drove in front of me around his grandparent's property while I got a run in.  I was a little afraid of snakes, but luckily I didn't see any and so that gave me the confidence to go out a couple more times that week by myself.  Grandpa and Grandma took us out for Sunday dinner and then we had a relaxing evening at home.

Monday we decided to take a trip to the beach.  It was the kids first time at the ocean and they had a blast.  They were able to swim, collect a lot of shells, and soak up the Florida sun.

Tuesday we headed to The National Museum of Naval Aviation with Dan's grandparents.  It was an enjoyable time...but the kids lost interest quicker than Dan and I did.  After we spent a few hours there, they took us to McDonalds for lunch and even treated all of us to ice cream cones.  It seemed like we no sooner were finished there that they were taking us out to a place called Firehouse for dinner.  The kids were in Heaven.

Wednesday, we decided that since the weather was gorgeous again that we would head back to the beach for one last time.  It didn't seem like any of us got too much Sun on Monday, but when it was time to pack up and head home this time, we were all burnt.  The waves were huge and the kids enjoyed body Middle Man especially.  It was a hard good bye.  I think the kids would have stayed at the beach a lot longer if we would have given them the option.  All of them loved it.  We came back home and Dan, the kids, and Grandpa spent the rest of the day fishing.  Dan was in his element and Kaitlyn is quite a natural little fisher girl.

Thursday was a sad day.  I found myself walking around with a little bit of dread.  It was our last day and the week just flew by way too fast.  It was so nice being together, eating together, sleeping together, doing everything together...that I hated to see it end.  Dan's grandparents took us to breakfast at Crackle was the kids' first time.  They were amazed that there was a store in a restaurant...and for a few days after that, Collin was begging to go back to "The Chipped Barrel".  We had a relaxing rest of the day exploring the property and looking for snakes to shoot.  That evening, Grandma put in a couple of Elvis movies and the kids loved them.

The next morning, we headed for home around five.  It was a sad goodbye.  I really hate that my kids' lives are filled with so many of them...more than I think there should be for their little hearts.  It crushes this Mama's heart when I hear a little voice from the back seat say how much they miss Great Grandpa, Great Grandma, Gammy, Poppy, or whoever we are leaving after an extended visit.  What's even worse is when I hear a tiny whimper or sob heart just aches for them.

We ended up getting home a little after 11 that night.  We were all sore, tired, and ready to fall in to our own beds.  While it was so nice to be home, I have to say, I missed our togetherness already...knowing that in the morning, there would be places we would have to be...a schedule to keep.  I loved every minute...every second, really...of our little get-away.  This past week, when the stresses of life crept back, the sleepless nights started again, the busyness took over, it was nice to sit down and flip through the pictures...close my eyes and be back there...and that will have to do for at least another year.

Thankful for the time away.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Suffering From A Vacation Hangover

We're back from a wonderful week in the Florida sun...a post on our vacation is coming soon...when I finally can get my head out of vacation mode.