Friday, May 30, 2014

May Self Portrait

Ahhh May.  As always, you have treated me well.  I have dubbed May to be the Month of Me because all of the "holidays" that involve me fall in this month; Mother's Day, my birthday, and our wedding anniversary.  I usually do way too much shopping, get my nails done a time or two, and head out for a few child- free meals.  This month was no exception (as I'm doing those last two things today), and it's always nice to feel a bit pampered once in awhile.

Last weekend my mom and sister took me out for my birthday and I got a babysitter for the girls since Mike was out of town on his golf trip.  As much as it stinks that his golf trip is always on Memorial Day weekend (which happens to usually include my birthday), the rest of my family really steps up to make my day special.

Last year my mom came down to NC to spend the weekend with me and the girls.  My birthday was the day of the "flipping over the stroller" debacle.  Remember that?  What a mess.  But Mom and I still got a babysitter and went out that night.  And minus that little stroller snafu, it was a great weekend.

This year, Mom, Tina, and I went out to dinner on Friday and then the girls and I headed up to my Dad's cabin on Saturday for the rest of Memorial Day weekend.  Again, my birthday turned out to be pretty great (minus the standard Addy meltdowns that I've grown accustomed to).  The weekend really flew by, and for how much I was dreading Mike leaving for five days, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be thanks to my awesome family :)

Happy May!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Emma: 20 Months!

Dear Emmy Jane,

All of the sudden you are looking so much older to me.  You are so long in your car seat, and your hair is getting so long too.  I feel like every bit of "baby" is slipping away and you are a full blown toddler now.  I'll admit that I have mixed emotions about that.  In some ways I wish time would just stand still and keep you mini.  (I must tell you at least ten times a day that you are so darn cute.)  But in other ways it is so fun to watch you grow.

You are learning your manners, and you say please, thank you, and "your welpum".  You even say "Bless you" when someone sneezes :)  As you are getting older and learning how to do more and more, one of your favorite sayings is, "I did it!".  And I especially love that when we ask you if you want something you'll say, "Yes. I do" in you sweet little Emmy voice.

I know that I take lots of pictures of you and Addy because now whenever you get a hold of my camera you'll hold it up to your face and say, "Cheese!  Good."  You always finish it with "Good." and it makes me laugh every time :)

You are officially down to one nap a day and have been since about mid April.  Things are so much easier now that we can be out and about all morning without feeling like I'm ruining your nap schedule.  You remain an excellent sleeper, and you take your one (about 2 hour) nap a day, and then you sleep for 12-13 hours at night.  Over the past few months you haven't been getting up until between 8-8:30 in the morning, which gives you a big thumbs up in Mommy's book :)

You love to bring me books, but when it comes to actually listening to a book, you are just not interested.  As soon as someone starts to read to you, you close the book and say "all done".  I'm lucky if I can get one full page read with you around.  The books you most often bring to us are, "You are My Sunshine", "10 Little Rubber Ducks", and "Dog".  You seem to have a little bit more patience with books when you are paging through them yourself.

Ever since the weather got warm and we were able to play outside again, you have really been loving kicking a ball around.  Whether it's a soccer ball or a tennis ball or any other kind of ball, you love to kick it.  Maybe you'll play soccer one day?

We had to take you to the doctor a few weeks ago because you had croup, and it was the most pitiful thing.  It is the absolute worst to see your child sick, and every time you would lay down you'd start coughing and have to sit up.  But you didn't cry about it.  You just sat there in your crib.  So the one night I came and brought you downstairs with us (which we NEVER do) around 10:00 or so.  Aunt Tina and I got some extra snuggle time with you that day, and it's where you were introduced to your beloved "Horsey" video (the one minute video of Jay's brother's baby horse).  You are mesmerized by that thing and you still play it over and over and over again.

Emmy, come to think of it, this has been a rough month for you because a week or so ago you threw up at Bob Evans after drinking an entire big cup of apple juice.  We were heading to a birthday party and you proceeded to throw up 3 more times in the car.  Poor thing.  But here you are an hour or so later:

Happy as a clam :)

You are getting more teeth (again!), so it's back to hands in the mouth and crankiness and diaper rashes.  You just can't seem to catch a break.  You have all 8 of your incisors and all four of your first molars.  Your bottom canines just came in and I think your top ones are popping through too.  So we're up to 16 of your 20 baby teeth.

Like I say every month, despite it all, you are my happy go lucky lady.  Not  much can get you down.  (God must know that Daddy and I need that with the antics your sister has been pulling lately.  Please don't ever turn three, OK?)  You love to run and laugh and play.  You love to hear yourself talk, even if it's in your own language.  I love when you ramble on and on in jibberish and then look at us and say, "OK?"  It's hysterical!

Here are some pics of you from your 20 month birthday (AKA Mommy's 33rd birthday!) up at Pop and Grandma's cabin:

You with your own personal walking stick made by Great-Grandpa Neil.

Gotta love ice cream :)

You loved blowing these "wishes"

...and ringing Pops big bell.  "Ding!"

I brought along these overalls and shoes and realized that I put Addy in the EXACT same outfit down to the shoes when she was almost exactly your age for a photo shoot on Swamp Road.  So we had to get a few pics of you too.  Although I only had my IPhone, so the quality is a tad worse than the pics that Tina got of Addy with her professional camera ;)  Camera quality aside, you are cute as a button!

I love you to pieces Emma, and I really, truly wish that I could stop time right here.  My sweet, sweet lady.

Happy 20 Month birthday!



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Emma: 19 Months

Dear Ju Ju,

Recently you have really become a talking machine, and it seems as though everyone is commenting on how much and how well you are talking for a 19 month old.  I was afraid you'd fall into that second child thing of not really talking much, but you have proven my worries to be unwarranted.  You are even answering questions appropriately, although I will say that a lot of times your answer is,  "I don't know."

One of your favorite questions is, "Why?".  Yup, you are starting that already.

 But you also love to ask, "Mommy, where are you?" (no matter if I'm standing right next to you).

I say, "I'm right here Emma.  Where are you?"

 And then you say, "Right here!", and start giggling like crazy.  I just love it :)

You love to name everyone in the house at random times during the day.  And sometimes I'll hear you in your crib at night reciting every one's names.  "And Mommy. And Daddy. And Addy.  And Emmy.  And ME!"

You have very distinct opinions on what shoes you do and don't want to wear, which makes me shudder to think about how you'll be as a teen.  You are pretty good about letting me do whatever with your hair though.  I wonder if having it constantly in your eyes was starting to get to you.

You even let me put a headband in from time to time.  
Daddy loves this picture of you.  His porcelain doll :)

This past month has definitely been a month FILLED with Frozen (the movie).  Oh boy, do you and Addy LOVE that movie.  We watch it every single morning.  The way you pronounce "Frozen" and say the names of the characters is so darn cute, so I tried to get a video, but you were too busy watching the movie to fully participate in my questioning ;)

You are finally really able to play with Addy (although you don't always want to).  She's always asking you to play and more often than not, your response is, "No!"  But when you do, you really get it!  You could fully participate in this year's Easter egg hunts.  We had soooooo many egg hunts and you loved them all!

Not sure if it was the hunt, or the promise of delicious treats at the end that made you so into the egg hunts, but you were a lady on a mission!

You also really love to ride these little toys around:

Wherever we go, you gravitate to the toys you can ride.  Where Addy was afraid of them for a long time, you have loved them for months. But you and Addy are two very different people.  Addy was always our cautious one, and you get right in there with whatever we're doing.  The pool?  You love it.  Addy is still kind of scared.  The playground?  You go flying down those tall, fast slides all by yourself, giggling the whole way.  Addy would not have even attempted something so scary at your age.

One thing you both have in common is your love of the outdoors.  If you could be outside all day every day, I think you would.  You both are your happiest when we are playing outside, so thank goodness warmer weather has finally arrived!!

Watching Addy play soccer

Out for a wagon ride

Playing in the backyard while Mommy does dishes 

Creating with chalk

You are such a happy lady most of the time, and when you are outside you just get the biggest smile on your face and start running as fast as you can.  It's the epitome of a carefree kid :)

And you love having the windows down in the car.  Windows down + balloon = giggle fest!

Emmy, you are such a silly, happy girl.  You love to laugh and make others laugh with your antics.  

Life with you is just so much more fun!  We all love you to the moon and back!



Monday, May 5, 2014

April Self Portrait

April was the big month of my half marathon.  First one I had done in over 2 years.  Lots of anticipation.... but minimal training.  Which ultimately led to a disappointing performance.  I don't want to make excuses, but I'm going to ;)  This winter was BRUTAL!  First winter back in PA for over 10 years, and of course it had to be an exceptionally cold and snowy one.  All of the snow and ice really messed with my training, and come race time it showed.

Normally once I sign up for a race I am very committed to sticking with my training plan to prepare for it.  That's one of the reasons that I keep signing up for races.  I find that, sadly, it is the one thing that keeps me motivated to workout.  I follow my training plans (at least the running portion) to a T, and I usually feel fairly prepared come race day.  Living in NC, the weather was never really a factor in training.  Sure there were hot days, but that just means you have to get out there earlier.  Winter weather was never an issue.  Being in PA in the winter, with snow and ice covered roads, and no gym membership or treadmill (until the week before my race), my training was at the mercy of said weather.  In the month of February it snowed literally every 2-3 days for the entire month.  So February's training took a big hit.

I knew that I was less prepared than I had ever been for a race this long, but for some reason I still wasn't that worried.  I thought, "I've done this before.  I've got this."  Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.  Yeah.  This half marathon was the worst one that I have ever participated in.  It was only rivaled by the Charlotte Half Marathon many years ago for the hilliest, hardest course.  I felt terrible.  It was 4 miles of decency, 3 miles of struggle, and 6 miles of torture.  The area around my shoulder blades hurt, my stomach hurt, my head hurt, my ankle hurt, and my legs could NOT continue to run the entire way.  I was quite literally a mess.

The lack of training combined with the hilliest, hardest course I've ever run, led to an extremely disappointing performance.  This was my 8th half marathon, and my second worst time.  I had to run/walk the last 6 miles, something I've NEVER had to do in a race before.  My goal is usually to simply run the entire race.  That was my goal this time as well, and I failed.... miserably.  But I literally felt like my legs could not run any more.  They wouldn't go.  It was a first for me, and hopefully not something I will experience often.  Having lived in Raleigh for 5 years, I knew that it was a hilly city, but that course was a BEAST.  It was ALL hills.  One after another, after another, after another.  No flat reprieves.  Only hills.  And although I trained on some hills, my body was far from preapred for 13.1 miles of them.  Hills work a whole different set of muscles, and mine were not trained sufficiently.

Although this race was one that I sometimes think I'd like to forget, there are some positives that came out of the experience.  This was not only the hardest physical challenge I've ever done, but it was the hardest mental as well.  It took EVERYTHING that I had to keep going.  Mind over matter 100%.  My body was screaming "Stop this nonsense!", but my mind would not let my body quit.  And for that I am proud.  That is one of the reasons I remain drawn to half marathons.  For the challenge.  I love putting my whole being to the test.  There were some inspirational signs along the way (thank goodness!), and the one that I loved and kept repeating to myself was, "There will come a day when you can no longer do this.  Today is NOT that day!"  Over and over in my head: "Today is NOT that day."  I persevered, finished the race, and wore that medal with pride.

Another positive is that I already signed up for my next half marathon (set for October), and I am determined to up my game.  For goodness sakes, I do NOT want a repeat performance.  I will train properly, because I now know how excruciating it is when you don't.  So this race and all of the training (or lack thereof) that went into it taught me a valuable lesson.  I cannot rely on past experience to get me through.  I need to train with purpose and make it count.  After all, the only difference between try and triumph is a little umph :)