One day while driving along with the kiddos, we passed two women running together on the sidewalk. Evelyn was all excited and yelled, "Look mommy, cool runner girls like you!!" :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!

I was fully expecting to get woken up early by the kids wanting to open presents. Surprisingly enough, they slept in!! They are usually up by 7 on the weekends, and they didn't come into our bedroom until almost 8 :) Noah had already been downstairs to evaluate the situation -- he informed us that Santa ate the cookies and fruit snacks, and the reindeer ate "most" of their food :) He also noticed the new gifts (wrapped in special Santa paper) that had arrived since the night before.
Here are the kids starting with some Santa gifts:
Later in the afternoon we were joined by Trav's parents, Chuck, Kim, Lola, Olive, and Kim's parents. We enjoyed a nice dinner together and then moved on to presents. The kids were all really good - I mean, as good as can be expected when they are surrounded by tons of new toys :)
Evelyn and I during some gift opening (football on in the background):

The family cuddling in for a picture (Noah being tickled so he would smile):

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve morning started at Gasworks Park in Seattle at 7AM. I met a few running friends for a run around Lake Union. This is usually a 6.2 mile pretty flat, scenic run -- not a problem. For some reason, it was the hardest run I have had in a while. The first couple miles were absolutely brutal, and the last 4 were pretty miserable, too -- but I was being my stubborn self -- and there was NO way that I was going to turn around and cut the run short (that would be the worst way to start my day!). So I stuck it out and I am thankful I did. Here is a post run pic:
Later that afternoon/evening we went to Mass. Here is a family pic before it started: Just the cuties:And here are the cuties being sheep in the Gospel nativity story - they don't look thrilled, but they were pretty proud of themselves. They were on the altar in front of the entire congregation :)After Mass, we went back home (Trav's parents joined us), enjoyed an easy dinner, and set out some treats for Santa and the reindeer before we went to bed. Santa's treats were two cookies, two bags of fruit snacks, and a bottle of water. The reindeer had apple slices :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Weekend before Christmas

We went to the annual Livers Family Christmas celebration on Saturday night. It is a party for Travis's mom's side of the family (she has three sisters - so it is them and their families). Here is a picture of all of the cousins together -- it is great that Evelyn and Noah have so many playmates!! Noah and three of his cousins were all born within 5 months of each other (Noah was April, Lucas right next to him was July, Ellie in the purple was June, and Lola at the bottom right was August).

The following morning I headed out to run the 12Ks of Christmas. This is a race I do every year. It was a cold and rainy/misty morning (seems to be the case every year!) - but that didn't stop thousands of runners from dressing up and running 7.45 miles together. I wore a red shirt, black capri tights, and red&white striped knee high socks with white fur at the top of them :)

My favorite part this year was the kids participating in their first race!!! Travis and the kids came around the end of my race (so they didn't have to wait in the rain) - and the kids race began shortly after I finished. It was a 1K loop -- and the kids loved it! They even got to finish by running under the official big finish line awning -- and were awarded with a finisher's ribbon. I am keeping their bib numbers and ribbon for the scrapbooks!! Proud day for this mommy :)After I showered and thawed out a little bit, we put together our gingerbread house. I was SO impressed with how patient and careful the kids were this year. I did the frosting -- and they did all of the candy decorations. All of the presents have been bought and wrapped, I am now keeping busy by doing some baking, and just enjoying the season :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tis the Season :)

I am officially in the holiday spirit :) The house is decorated, we took our annual cut-down-a-tree trip on Saturday, lights are up, etc. I am a happy, happy girl!! Here is a picture of the fam (minus me) after we found our perfect tree:
In running news: Sarah, a new friend Megan, and I went for a run together early Saturday morning. I am still battling a cold -- but I decided to tough it out and go anyway. (Per Runner's World advice - run with a cold/neck up symptoms, stay home with flu stuff) We met up and went 6+ miles around Lake Union. It was a cold morning low 30's - but we warmed up fast. I definitely had a few coughing fits -- but thankfully my running buddies didn't mind stopping for a minute here or there so I could catch a breath :) Here is Sarah and I after the run:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Santa Train

This past Sunday we took a trip to North Bend to go on the Santa Train. We ate lunch at a local cafe before heading to the train depot. It was a fun train ride on an old-fashioned passenger train. We took the 20 minute ride to Snoqualmie. Here is a picture from the train: In Snoqualmie they had hot chocolate and cookies to enjoy, papers for the kids to color, and of course - the main event was waiting in line to see Santa. It is nice - when you see him it is pretty private. A smallish room -- with only a few other kids and parents in there at a time.

Evelyn went first and told Santa that she wanted Play-doh, markers, and more coloring books. Then it was Noah's turn to climb up. Santa asked him what he wanted --- and Noah froze. He just sat there and smiled at Santa -- and didn't say anything for a while -- and then he said "more football shows for my daddy". Very thoughtful of him -- but I think mommy would wish against that one!!! College football season is long enough!

Here are the kiddos having a talk with Santa:
This one is a keeper :)In other news, I officially have a cold -- and can't breathe through my nose. Boo Hoo :( This better pass quickly!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pineapple Classic

My catch-up post from the past couple weeks... Here is a family picture from Halloween. We had a great time -- we went with our neighbors Greg and Jody, and their daughter Turynn. The kids really got into it this year... every house it was "Trick or Treat, Monster Feet!!!" followed by lots of giggling and laughing. It never got old :)
In running news, the only race I have done lately was called the Pineapple Classic. It is an adventure run 5K - and it definitely was an adventure!! Army crawling on your hands and knees through the mud... climbing stacks of tires... a huge wall that we had to scale using a rope to pull ourselves up...many more obstacles, and SO much fun!! (oh -- and we carried a pineapple and passed it around like a hot potato the entire race!) I am grateful to Beth Brewster from Kingston Adventures - she sponsored our team and provided t-shirts. These ladies were women that I met at the retreat that I went to a few months ago.

We have an appointment tomorrow for family pictures -- it is supposed to be pretty cold -- but as long as it is dry, I think it will be okay... :)

I am still undecided for Eugene... I am going to try to set some running goals over the next couple weeks and see how it goes. If I can regularly fit at least two good runs in during the week and a long run on the weekends, I will register for the full.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Preview of things to come

The kids were able to do a test-run with their Halloween costumes on Wednesday night. They wore them to the library for story-time. Noah loves his muscle-man spidey suit -- but the mask, not so much. At least I was able to grab a quick pic! I have to admit -- deep down I was hoping that Evelyn was going to pick a "cute" outfit like Minnie Mouse or Strawberry Shortcake... but the witch turned out pretty darn cute, too!! :)
We are all looking forward to Halloween!!!

In other news, this Sunday will be our second week of leading "Kids Church" during Mass. Travis and I volunteered to lead/teach a group of 12-20 three and four year olds every other weekend. It is a great ministry - and a nice way for the children to be introduced to the bible stories.

Travis also has a bunch of work travel coming up. I am not looking forward to the hectic schedule that brings for me... but -- I am going to try to make the best with what I can. Instead of being frustrated that I can't go to the gym or run outside... I am going to run intervals on the treadmill. Hopefully that will help with the boredom issues that I get with just maintaining pace.
I will not allow myself to get overly stressed, I will keep up with my work-outs, I will get enough sleep, and I will cut myself some slack on getting "everything" done.... I will try :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lesson in Productivity

Seriously -- this little guy is lucky that I think he is so darn cute!! He is going through another whiney/moody stage... and it is so exhausting! He did have a great time at the aquarium today though -- and wanted to get his picture taken on the sea otter :)

I had a pretty non-productive weekend until Sunday early evening came... once I started doing laundry and vacuuming, I got more motivated, and was able to get a lot more house stuff done. And -- I finally got motivated to go for a run, too. Even though I was running from 6:30-7:30 PM tonight, it was dark. I put on my reflective harness for safety - don't want to take any chances of drivers not seeing me :) I better get used to running in the dark -- that is going to happen a lot again over the next 4-5 months. Here I am post-run (colors changed on picnik site): It is amazing how much running changes my mood... I swear -- part of the reason why my Saturday/Sunday was so unproductive was because I missed out on my early Saturday morning run. I planned to go -- but the kids were up around 6:30ish (before I was able to sneak out the door) -- and I was kinda mad all morning that I didn't go... so dumb -- but that is the way it went. Note to self: avoid missing Saturday AM runs!

Tonight after my run -- totally re-energized and ready to take on the world again :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

Love vacation, hate the game of catch-up that always follows... got back from Michigan late Tuesday night, worked Wednesday through Friday... and finally was able to catch up and return life to our "normal" state over the weekend.

Running Stuff: Ran Thursday night on the treadmill while watching The Biggest Loser on Hulu. Ran 4 miles and walked 2. It was my first time watching tv while running on the treadmill. I set my laptop on a shelf in front of the treadmill and it worked perfectly. The only issue was headphones... I had a hard time wearing them without the cord swinging around and driving me nuts... or being too short and pulling on the computer. Without headphones, my speakers aren't loud enough to overcome the treadmill noise. I have little speakers that I used to use when I worked for Pfizer... I am going to try those out next time.

I met up with my new friend Sarah early on Saturday morning for a run. I just met her at my women's retreat... we hit it off really well, and this is our second run together since. We have a lot in common (midwest girls, Delta Zetas, two kids close in age, over-achievers, runners, etc) and I am so, so happy to have met her!

Here we are after the run (I look tired, huh?!)
I haven't decided what my next goal is going to be... thinking about Eugene in April. But -- the big question is... half or full?? I never though I would want to do a full... but I kinda do :) Half or full - what do you think?

Family Stuff: We had the Teichmans over for dinner on Saturday night. It was totally last minute... and we both had crazy/hectic days... but managed to get together and have a meal together :) The older kids (Noah, Lucy & Evelyn - see below) played really well together. The even hung out alone up in Evelyn's room for maybe 20 minutes before dinner -- without any fighting! Little Charlie was busy crawling around with us and following Cocoa around :)

Evelyn was still wearing her soccer clothes... and carrying around her water bottle. She only has one more week of soccer. She has definitely made progress. She no longer cries at practice or on the soccer field, she actually enjoys the practice part of it! The games are painful for me to watch though... She doesn't watch the ball or get involved. She kinda just aimlessly follows the other kids around. The only way she will kick the ball is if someone kicks it straight into her foot! My competitive side wants to just jump inside her little body and run around out there!! :) I am so proud of her though -- she has stuck with it, and gets better every week.

Back to the Mitten State

Family Stuff: We made the trek to Michigan last week -- it had been an entire year since my last visit -- we were long over-due!! Here are the kids on Tuesday night in the Seattle airport:

We took the red-eye flight - and the kids did great. They both slept maybe 3 hours of the 4 hour flight to Minneapolis... and then we had a 1.5 hour layover before our next flight. It was comical to see Noah try to function on 3 hours of sleep -- Travis and I couldn't help but laugh at him :) Both kids took a nice nap late Wednesday afternoon to make up for the lack of sleep the night before, and bounced back quickly.

I love our fall trips to Michigan... the weather is nice, leaves are starting to turn, plenty of opportunities to get dirty, we can visit pumpkin farms/apple orchards, etc. Here is Noah getting ready for his next ride on the 4-wheeler:Oh yeah -- and he also learned how to start it, too (and practically give his mother a heart attack at the same time!) Crazy story... that thankfully had a happy ending :)

Here is Evelyn on the John Deere:

The kids had a lot of fun driving this thing around. It took them a day to stop running into things and figure out how to steer... but thankfully there is a TON of open land at my parent's house... so they had a lot of room to roam around.

Here is Noah and my parent's Golden Retriever Titus. He is a cow!! Both kids were terrified of the high-energy "puppy" at first. Noah would scream, cry, and run away (which is weird, because both kids love dogs). As you can see, Noah had a new buddy by the end of the visit :)

Travis and I also spent a day in South Bend, Indiana for a Notre Dame football game. His parents came into town to visit my family and then go to the game with us, too.

Running Stuff: I managed to fit in a couple nice runs during the vacation. I enjoyed running down the old country roads where I grew up. Each "block" is a mile long though -- so when I decided to extend my run by one block.... I went from a 4 mile loop to a 6 mile loop!! :) The mornings were cool and misty... corn and bean fields on either side of the road... it was so peaceful and relaxing - a perfect start to the day!

When we returned to Seattle, the kids were so excited to see Cocoa again. They have grown really close to her lately -- and they wanted to give her extra special attention when we got home. They also have been asking me to take their picture with Cocoa practically every day!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Inspiration Found

I am WAY behind... so I am just going to talk about the most significant thing that has happened since my last post. A couple weekends ago, I attended a women's reTREAT in Kingston, WA put on by Beth Brewster (owner of Kingston Adventures). She is an amazing, inspirational female athlete who has done just about everything - including ironmans and ultraman competitions (6.2 mile swim, 261.4 mile bike, 52.4 mile run -- YIKES!!) -- and is really one of the coolest people you will ever meet. She held a 30 woman retreat that was filled with stand-up paddleboarding, yoga, trail running, lots of yummy food, crazy fun, and some really cool free swag!! (see shirts below - courtesy of Oiselle) I didn't know anyone that was going to be there. I seriously contemplated not going (but I had already gotten on the ferry at that point -- so there was no turning back!) ha ha But -- we all know that we just need to put ourselves out there sometimes... and I quickly made friends and knew that I wouldn't regret it from the moment that I walked through the door :)

The weekend was filled with challenging physical activities, and also goal-sharing, and talk about distractions and things that hold us back from achieving our goals, etc. It was really great to be around a group of strong, athletic women -- and to hear that we all deal with similar stresses, time-restraints, and fears... just a really empowering experience... hard to put into words..

Here we are on the paddleboards... yes, not only did we stand on them and paddle around, we also did a "boot-camp" workout... push-ups, squats, plank poses, etc... so HARD... but so FUN!Here I am with a new friend during the morning trail run (hats courtesy of Kingston Adventures)... we aren't too tired... yet :)Here is the group pre-trail run... we are all sporting our compression sleeves courtesty of RecoFit -- awesome product for fellow runners... :)
So... had a great time, had good workouts, made some new friends (running with one of the ladies this Saturday morning - Yay!), and most importantly... I found new inspiration and motivation for my goals :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Little Peanut... Growing Up Fast

Evelyn started school (Pre-K) recently at our parish school. She was excited to wear her "unicorn" on her first day. She only called it her unicorn for a while (I don't think Travis or I wanted to correct her at first - it was too darn cute!!). Here she is with her Hello Kitty lunch box all ready to go:Evelyn also started soccer a couple weeks ago (also a school/parish related team). Here she is looking like a pro already:She had a heartbreaking experience the first game though (heartbreaking for me, anyway). She did okay and was excited and everything during the practice portion, but had a hard time during the game. She completely froze on the field and burst into tears. She couldn't even move to walk herself off the field. I had to get her and carry her off. Boo-hoo :(
She couldn't really verbalize what the problem was -- but I think it was a mixture of being confused about what she was supposed to do, overwhelmed by all the kids chasing after the ball that she wanted a turn to kick, etc. It was tough to watch... I am doing whatever I can to help her just have fun with it-- and trying not to push too hard. I really hope she gets the competition bug and enjoys athletics someday though!! :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Family Time

Made a family trip to the circus on Sunday... kids (and Travis) finished this popcorn before the circus even started! We all enjoyed the show -- amazing stunts/tricks by humans & animals -- SO glad we went!!
Made a trip to the Evergreen State Fair today. This has become a Labor Day annual tradition for us. We started out with the Alaskan Pig Races --- so cute!! Nothing better than tiny mini pigs racing around a little track!! Highlight of the fair for me - every year :)

This year we decided to do some rides (last year Noah wasn't quite tall enough -- so we avoided that whole area). Noah enjoyed the teacups ride... until Travis got it going around and around... I think that was a little too much for him. He enjoyed it again after they stopped spinning so much. Here is a video (not great quality though - I used my phone)

Cute kiddie roller-coaster...

Ended the night with a bath after dinner -- in our master bathroom. This was a treat for the kiddos -- they usually are in their little tub.

Well -- feeling a little anxious tonight. Evelyn starts Pre-K tomorrow at a new school. Noah will still be going to his daycare/preschool center for another year. I will post some pics soon of Evelyn in her big school-girl uniform. Gosh - I feel old all of a sudden!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Joys of Children

Here is a picture of Noah from church.... this is in the "cry room" (where we take him when he misbehaves). Can't you tell how much he dislikes this room and how disappointed he is?? :)
Some of you saw this on FB, but I am posting it here, too -- just because I thought it was cute. Our normal priest (Father Jim) is on vacation for the month of August. So -- after Mass this past Sunday Evelyn asked "How come God wasn't there today?" I explained to her that Father Jim was on vacation for a few weeks. We definitely have a teaching opportunity there... I think I might let Travis tackle that one though :)

To be fair, here is a recent picture of Evelyn in her new swimsuit (Thanks Kara!). She has been enjoying the beautiful weather by playing out in the backyard in her plastic kiddie pool.

I took Noah blueberry picking this past weekend (might have had to bribe him with a few pieces of candy). He had fun picking the blueberries and adding them to my bucket for about 5 minutes. I then told him that he could pick them off the bushes and eat them instead of putting them in my bucket. That kept him happy for about 2 minutes.... then he decided that it was much easier to eat them directly from my bucket. UGH!! He was eating faster than I could pick!! Maybe next year we will have better success.... :)

In other news, my foot/heel has continued to bother me recently. It hurt a little before my half-marathon, and has been really bothering me since. I have pretty much taken a break from running for a while. I will have to resort to other types of cardio for now... with hopes that a few weeks off will heal my heel :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What Next??

It was Renton River Days this weekend -- and the festivities started Friday night. After work, I rushed to get the kids from school so we could go to the outdoor circus. It was really cool -- it was a traveling group of kids from Wenatchee, WA -- and they were really good! Tight rope walking, flying acrobatics, etc. -- the kids loved it!! Evelyn wanted to get pictures with the different clowns and performers afterwards... Noah was a little unsure. He kept his distance for this picture... and then decided to sit out of the other clown pictures :)

I woke up early Saturday morning to meet another new running friend. YAY!! There is a huge running/blogging community out here that I am just starting to get connected with. They run a lot of local races, sometimes train together on weekends for long runs, provide support for each other, get together for night-before-race dinners, etc. -- I hope to become much more involved in the future!! Definitely my kind of ladies :)

I met Kerrie at 6:30 (had those "first-date" type nerves again!), and we headed up along Lake Washington. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. We came upon a bald eagle on a branch directly overhead -- we had to run under him -- he kept one eye on us the entire time. Cool -- but very creepy! I like wildlife -- but I can be a total wimp sometimes, too!!

Kerrie and I planned to do 10 miles... but I could only do 8 (and I really struggled with those!!) I think it was a combination of not being fully recovered from last weekend, not running at all since last weekend's race, and trying to adjust to talking, running, and breathing all at the same time. It is hard to do!! :)

We swapped stories about running, races, kids, work, etc. and discovered that we have a lot in common. One big similarity was our three year old boys and our struggles with potty-training them! Another that she grew up in a neighboring town to Travis's hometown -- she dated a guy or two from his high school -- very small world! Even though it was a painful run, I had a great time, and made a new friend!!! I need to work on the running/talking combo though :)

The question now is: What next? You Go Girl in Tacoma, Seattle Half Marathon, something different??? A girl like me has to have a goal :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

13.1 miles from Napa to Sonoma

I ran the Napa to Sonoma half marathon this past weekend with a few girl friends from college. This was our "girls/destination race weekend". The weather Sunday morning was perfect -- probably in the low to mid 50's at 7AM. We got to the start (Cuvaison Carneros Winery) with about 30 minutes to spare -- but the bathroom lines were extremely long, so after using those, we pretty much walked to the start line and they started the race. No time to sit around getting nervous!

I started the race with the 2:00 pacer. I wanted to keep her in my sights for as long as possible. If this race was anything like my previous ones, I knew my pace would slow down the last few miles, so I wanted to have some faster miles at the beginning :)

Pretty much right out of the gate we had to head up "butt-burner hill". I have to admit, I was a little worried when I got to the top. I was concerned that it might have zapped too much energy too soon. But -- I stayed with the 2:00 pacer and kept pushing. My first mile was FAST -- even with the hill. I was feeling great.

The course was a series of rolling hills through wine country. Very scenic - checking out all the sights helped to keep my mind off the race. I think it was around mile 7 that I started thinking that I could possibly beat my best time. Being an engineer at heart, I kept doing the calculations in my head of mile times for the remainder of the race and what my finish time would be. That kept me busy for a few miles :) Miles 11 and 12 were kinda brutal -- I was getting a side stitch, and just couldn't get comfortable or catch a full breath. But, I knew at that point that unless I completely screwed up, I would end up with a PR. The question was, by how much?
Entering the city of Sonoma gave me an extra kick. But that didn't last long. After the last turn, the finish line was in sight --- however it seemed like it was still a mile away (it was probably more like a half mile). I wanted to walk for a few seconds to catch my breath. I figured if I did that, I would be able to finish strong. The girl next to me (who I had been running with for the last mile or so) looked at me and said "GET MOVING! You can do this!!" I have to admit -- I was completely shocked that she was calling me out... but I looked at her and said "Thank you -- that is JUST what I needed" :) So --- I picked up my pace and pushed as hard as I could towards the finish line. I have never been so tired in my life! I crossed the finish at 2:05:16 but my chip time was 2:04:34 --- about 5 minutes faster than I have ever ran a half-marathon. I am by no means a fast runner --- but this was a huge accomplishment for me!! I grabbed some snacks/water in the finish area and walked back to the final stretch to cheer on the rest of the girls. Here is the happy crew after the race:Notice the wine glasses in our hands? Well -- one downside of the race was that there wasn't much food/snacks to refuel afterwards. There was however 25 wineries and a few breweries in the park giving free tastings for a few hours. T-R-O-U-B-L-E!!! That was a dangerous combination!! Here is a picture of the crew after enjoying a little too much wine :) Needless to say, I slept the remainder of the afternoon to recover from the race and all the drinks!!

Here is a video from the race -- some more pictures, too. The announcer says my name after I cross the finish... I think you can kinda tell how much pain I am in... I can barely run!! The Pearl Jam guy they mention (Mike McCready) ended up crossing about 8 minutes later. I thought it was kinda cool that they include a video like this for all of the finishers :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer has Officially Begun!!!!!

I love the beach -- thankfully so do the kids!! Today was our first beach trip of the summer. After our typical Saturday morning big breakfast, we headed to Newcastle beach. The weather was beautiful, the water was cold (but that didn't stop us), and the sand was perfect for castle making. Turynn and her mom Jody met us there, too. Here I am playing with Evelyn and Turynn:

Kiddos (Noah couldn't be bothered with a picture, he was too hard at work)Family shot: We saw numerous boats on the water, a seaplane take off, a male and female duck swim by closely, and also a bald eagle that swooped down a couple times towards the deep end of the beach area (I think it was trying to catch a fish) -- pretty cool. The weather is supposed to be nice again on Monday... maybe we will make another trip to the beach :)