Life is sooooooooooooo busy as a working momma of THREE kids... but, life is also full of so many "little" things...you know, those simple pleasures that really bring so much joy... I'm mostly thinking of the dopey things that my kids say and do that make me laugh... but also the little adventures we have or the day trips that we do... you think you will remember them all, but those memories really do fade over time. I am hoping to sit down once a month (ideally, once a week, but being that I hardly manage one decent shower a week, we'll aim for once a month for now! LOL) to detail those quotable quotes or beautiful little actions (or those not so much) as well as our family activities. I hope you enjoy!! :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Favorite Fall Family Fun!! :)

So, last year I had every intention of writing a fall entry as fall, minus the leaf raking, is our favorite season as a family (although summer is up there, too... lots of family togetherness as well as several family traditions that we look forward to every year).  Here are some of our FAVORITES of the season:

1.  Belvedere Plantation

Flashback to Fall 2005! :)
This has become an annual ritual... ever since John and I took Patrick over eight years ago as an infant.  We now go as a family and meet up with my brother Bryan and his family.  The kids LOVE it. 

What's not to love?  Of course, the hayride out to the field of pumpkins with the task of finding the PERFECT pumpkin alone would be enough.  But throw in corn mazes, rope swings, ziplines, bikes, and a petting zoo and you have a kids' dream.

Our littles are getting too big!
Nathan + Katy= BFFs
My favorite moment from this year came when Katy, who had passed over pumpkin after pumpkin after pumpkin, FINALLY settled on one: a rotten one!  :)  It was HILARIOUS watching John try to reason with her.  And then, when reason wouldn't work, trying to trick her.  But that chick would have no part of it.  She had her mind SET and could tell one pumpkin from the next.  Alas, John realized that he would be losing what is likely to be the first, of many, battles with the sweet little Rose!  So folks, that's right, John actually paid for a rotten pumpkin (and was pretty darn upset that they didn't just give it to us!).

2.  Apple Picking

See!  Even Katy made our first trip!
Toothless Joe had a tough
time this year! ;)
This is a newer ritual.  I think this all started, honestly, with one of JOHN'S cravings while I was pregnant with Katy! ;)  He had a craving for apple crisp... therefore, he "innocently" suggested we go apple picking.  It was a first for me, but something that his family used to do all the time.

We have found a very family-friendly orchard where we often
spend the better part of the day.  We've learned to pack a picnic lunch and a football so that once we've filled a bag to its breaking point (one bag is quite enough for me!!) and climbed more trees than we care to, we can settle in for a picnic lunch and a game of ball!

I think it's the weather that makes fall one of the best seasons.  There is nothing more invigorating than spending the day in the cool, crisp fresh air!


Patrick's favorite holiday of all time is Halloween.  Of course, Katy agrees with him after this year.  She has been talking incessantly about Halloween ever since.  And we hear, on a fairly regular basis, "Mmm.  I LOVE candy!" :)  It has gotten ugly around here, lately, on more than one occasion, when she has requested dessert after breakfast!  LOL

In any event, Patrick LOVES to decorate for ANY holiday, but when you add in ghouls, goblins, and ghosts, he can hardly contain himself.  And this year we had tombstones to add to our outdoor décor.  Could it get more exciting?

I love that they boys LOVE to dress up.  They often have a set idea of what they'd like to be each Halloween.  What's even better is that they always seem to go right to their dress up bin to come up with their costumes.  They haven't asked for a new one in years.  Of course, Santa often brings new costumes (he must get a deep discount after Halloween), so they have costumes each year that haven't yet seen the Trick or Treating ritual! :)

4.  The LEAVES

Of course, if you are a Lennox KID, you LOVE the fact that we have a BEAUTIFUL, BIG, BACKYARD that has GORGEOUS, colorful leaves every fall.  The more leaves there are, the more fun there is to be had, right?  Right!  Well, unless you're a Lennox Mommy or Daddy and are responsible for cleaning UP all of those leaves.

We have easily spent well over 5 hours outside this season raking up the leaves.  Easily.  And, there are still leaves on the trees waiting to fall as well as leaves on the ground since the ground does not stay clear for too long.  Luckily for us, the kids LOVE the leaves.  They can entertain themselves for HOURS raking a pile in the way back (which we don't touch), right under Patrick's tree, and then climbing the tree before jumping in!  Of course, it's also fun to have leaf wars!!  Whatever the case, the kids never seem to tire of the leaves... even Patrick who earns some of his volunteer hours for school helping on the raking end of things.

5.  Baseball

I'm not quite sure this fits under "Favorite Fall Family Fun!", but we did happen to have a great baseball season with both boys this fall.  And, although it did keep us busy with at least ONE practice or game a day each weekend day and many weeknight commitments, we did manage to fit in all of our fall rituals (okay, so we may have blown off a practice or two to do this, BUT we are trying to teach the kids that family comes first)!  I'm going to sign off for now with a few of the pictures from this baseball season!!  Notice that Ryan seemed to be wiggling his tooth more than anything else while he was out on the field; however, in his defense, that kid has lost more teeth in the last month than I thought humanly possible... and he still has several loose ones.  This season's college fund contributions might have to be scaled back to pay for them all! ;)

And, as we head into the holiday season, we have one more family fun item to knock off the list: a Wenzel wedding.  Next weekend big brother John gets married!!   There is nothing quite like a Wenzel family wedding!!  We are super excited to be taking part in his big day and can't WAIT to make Virginia officially official as more estrogen for this testosterone-filled family!!!  If I do get around to another blog entry before this year comes to an end, that is likely what will compel me to do so! :)

<3 Kimberly, John, Two Boys, & a Little Rose

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Day She Ran a Marathon

I swear I am "every" mom.  I am not the most fit, but I'm not the least.  I am not the most disciplined, but I get by.  I'm not the lightest, but I'm not the heaviest.  While I tend to exercise regularly (thank you, poor metabolism), I'm not the most athletic.  That's why, I think, when I had the BRILLIANT idea to sign up for the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon, I truly had the most endearing outpouring of support.

Race day is finally BEHIND me.  I feel that it has CONSUMED me.  I feel like that's ALL I've thought about, talked about, slept about, and, certainly, TRAINED about!  And now it's done.  Before I leave it behind me, though, I'd like to document some of my favorite musings of the day...

1.  My favorite question... How did it go????

How does one answer this?  How did it go?  Well, I FINISHED.  I set the goal, I trained my heart out, and I ran TWENTY SIX POINT TWO miles... So, yes, there is a total sense of accomplishment and euphoria.  I had my moment... I earned it... and it's mine.  But, let's be real here:  It SUCKED!!!  Holy crap.  The course JUST.KEPT.GOING.  I trained to 22 miles, so I got used to long runs, but we were always running back and forth along Rt. 234.  Going 26.2 miles, no repeats, just seemed to make it DRAG on.  I was fairly confident at the end that someone out there was moving the finish line back each time I got close... and having a good chuckle at my misery!!!

2.  The MCM ends with a GIANT hill

Eileen is one of the ones that didn't
tell me about the STUPID hill!!
No joke.  No exaggeration.  I seem to get the SAME response from every friend I have talked to after the race that had run it before:  "Uh, yeah.  I didn't want to (or was afraid to) tell you about that."  Seriously?  Here I am, feeling pretty darn broken, yet GRATEFUL to have passed the 26 mile marker FINALLY, when, in my delirium (no joke), I look up and see runners straight ahead, above this grassy-patched hill, and I'm thinking, of all stupid things: "Hmm.  How'd they get up there?"  Uh, duh, stupid... See the course?  It's forking to the left and wrapping around up a HUGE incline.  *sigh*  Only Marines.  Seriously (although I've since been corrected... apparently the Boston Marathon ends that way, too... I guess these crazy loons want to make sure that you REALLY want it... they aren't going to just let you have it... because, you know, 26.2 miles in and of itself is not enough of a test)?

3.  Having your peeps there is EVERYTHING!

I have the best husband ever.

Love notes never grow old! :)
Seriously.  Poor guy has never really been on the Metro before- maybe once or twice- but that would be with me and without kids.  Suddenly, he's heading to the Metro on his own with three small kids in tow (luckily with Marlee, Eileen's daughter, along for the ride!) to be my biggest fan!!  Then, of course, they get there with PLENTY of time to spare and are basically just hanging out, not realizing how far away we really were (we were at 13.1 when they parked themselves at MM 18 to see us).  In case you don't know, small children aren't exactly the best at WAITING... even if it is to see their FAVORITE person EVER (ha, ha, ha, ha)!

HOWEVER.  We KNEW they were in front of the Natural History Museum and let me tell you:  that was EVERYTHING.  Of course I was growing more and more disgruntled knowing where they were (but not knowing the MM) as the Washington Monument had disappeared and I was fairly confident that we were somehow back in Arlington which meant we still had a WAYS.TO.GO. to get to them, but, it kept me going.  Seeing my babies and my hubby was exactly what I needed to change my attitude and give me the lift I needed to keep going.  Of course, the oranges that Eileen's hubby had packed might have also helped with that just a bit as I had choked down as much of a breakfast as I could in the morning, but not as much as I SHOULD have given the day's task.  Nerves can be killer!!!

As we continued on we knew we'd see them again at MM 19 which was just a quick walk across to the other side of the mall for them, but a windy, mile long loop past the Capitol (GORGEOUS scenery this mile!) for us.  And then once we started crossing the Memorial Bridge (aka "The Bridge that Never Ends" to us "Marathoners"... lol!) at MM 20, I knew my big brother and his lovely fiancé would be out at MM 23, so I still had that to look forward to.

4.  Your mental stability WILL be called into question...

And then MM 23 never seemed to come.  It was "only" three miles from MM 20 (yes, I can do math), but I think after 20 miles, each mile to come becomes like 2 or 3, mentally.  I was fine at 20, think I was fine at 21 (it's all a blur at this point).  But, by the time I FINALLY reached 23 and saw John and Virginia, I BROKE.  Virginia was smart enough to give John a shove into the course (yes, Virginia, I may have been delirious, but I saw that... and thank you!)...  I will forever have emblazoned in my mind the memory of my big brother jogging next to me in his jeans and brown loafers as I sobbed my little heart out, confessing that this was, in fact, the STUPIDEST thing I'd ever done.  He gave me the pep talk of ALL pep talks and I was able to pull myself together and he gave me a hug (don't tell!) and then I was off again, flying solo.  If I were to do this again,  I highly recommend, to anyone out there who's never done a marathon and is contemplating doing one, having someone at MM23ish with running shoes on to run with you for the home stretch.  I think that would be EVERYTHING.  John and I have already discussed that we will ditch the kids and he'll be my plant next time. 

5.  That BITCH!

Yes, I swore on my precious little blog.  It's justified... really... that BITCH!  Here I am, recently sewn together again by my brother when I hear peppy-mc-peppy, the stupid 5 hour pacer chick, and all her happiness (complete with her peppy 5 hour pacer sign decorated with  fancy red balloons) starting to breathe down my neck... she may have even passed me.  Making it to the finish line in under 5 hours was my secret goal and that BITCH was right there trying to take that from me.  I swear, at the time, it felt like the grim reaper...  Let me tell you, although I was a sore, whiny, mess at that point, seeing that chick, sent me to a place where I'd never been before.  No joke.  I dug deep (didn't know I had it in me), my body went NUMB, and next thing I knew my barely jog/blubbering mess turned back into my pace as if I'd just set out for a quick morning run.  I left her IN.THE.DUST.  And, that would have been all well and good if that had been mile 26 or even mile 25, but it was somewhere in mile 23 and trying to sustain that pace for another 3 miles (again, when one mile doesn't seem to be the standard 5,280 feet) just seemed like a futile effort.  I do, however, now know what it's like to be a fugitive, running from the law:  Constantly looking over your shoulder, knowing they're back there and that it's only a matter of time!! ;)  So, yes, if you've seen my posted time, that bitch did eventually catch up to me again and this time forever pass me.  I finished at 5:08.  And, I'm okay with that.  Really.  It gives me a good excuse to run a SECOND marathon! ;)
It is hard to know if my mind LET me give up or if my haggard body just gave in... In any event, at some point I knew it was inevitable and that I had to let myself be okay with that.  REALLY.  Come on, I'm running a MARATHON... finishing IS everything (unless you're from Kenya!). ;) 

6.  Running the marathon is the easy part, getting home is another story

Entertaining ourselves on the shuttle
So you make it to the end and you feel like you want to die... or for me, JUST SIT DOWN for even 5 minutes... but, no.  You have to walk for a solid half mile (if not longer) to meet up with your family.  THEN, you have to walk even more to get your checked bag.  And then, walk even FARTHER to catch the shuttle for which there is, no joke, an hour long wait (which is, believe it or not, a shorter wait than for the metro).  We are talking psychological warfare here!!  YIKES!  I finished running around 1:30.  We did not walk into the door of our house until just before 6... and we went STRAIGHT home (minus the drive thru at McD's because the kids were starving and, really, had been SOOOOOOO good).  It was rough.  Almost like the couple times where I'd done a long run and had to come home for a quick shower and then head out to the ball field.  Almost.  At least there I could prop myself up in a chair and glaze over.  Oh, wait, that's pretty much what I did on the way home...

7.  Rite of Passage

Having always been a quieter soul (unless you know me) who is a pleaser (God forbid we have a confrontation), I feel like I have really grown in my 30s (I mean mentally, although, physically, I am tipping the scales at my largest adult, non-pregnant weight).  Instead of holding back, I'm a much bigger fan of telling things like they are.  In fact, I feel like the world would be a MUCH better place if we'd all just be straight-forward and honest with each other (in a diplomatic way, of course).  I feel a connection my new theme song:

I had that song on my playlist throughout the run and it was one of my favorites of the day (except for this one http://youtu.be/UxxajLWwzqY that was blaring in the streets as I was feeling tapped out in Crystal City, shortly before I saw John and Virginia... even in my tired state, I kinda felt like dancing...no joke!).  I realized that running a marathon was the PERFECT Rite of Passage/metaphor as my 30s draw to an end (just to be clear, though, I got it in early as I still have almost 2 years left).  You pick a goal that, although totally possible, will require a large amount of discipline as well as a true desire to reach it.  You hunker down and then you blow it away proving to yourself that you can do ANYTHING if you really want it badly enough.

8.  Another marathon?

Strike a pose?  Nope... car
is holding me up!
I think I only said about 6,000 times to Eileen during our run that I was NEVER going to do this again.  However, 24 hours out that had changed to "maybe in two years."  Now, a week out?  It is TOTALLY on my mind to run it again next year.  Will I?  One step at a time.  I did it.  It felt great.  Do I want to do it again?  Yes.  However, training was a bitch (there's that word again).  Yes, because there is a great deal of running, BUT mostly because doing all that running while having three small kids is all the more complicated.  I cherish my family time.  And, as all women succumb to, no matter how hard they try, I suffer a tad bit from "mommy guilt."  So, we'll see.  You'll have to stay tuned!!!

For now?  I'm going to bask in the glory of having run a MARATHON!  I feel incredibly blessed to not only have the health to have DONE it, but also to have so many good people around me to support me in this endeavor!!  As I am rounding out my 30s, I feel like a lucky woman!!!

THANK YOU for letting me drone on and on and on about it!!

:)  Two boys, a little Rose, John, & The Marathon Mommy! ;)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Marathons & Moodswings... Life at Its Finest!!

I think I can, I think I can... said the little engine that could.  Well, actually, I firmly BELIEVE that I can, I'm just SO. DARNED. TIRED!  To what am I referring, you might ask?  That stupid marathon which is FINALLY just two weeks away!!

Back in the olden days (that would be pre-kids), I would have documented this adventure with a scrapbook full of pictures mounted proudly with cute diecuts and stickers... These days?  More likely with a blog post... you know the one... where I check in, weekly, with my thoughts and feelings and cute little pictures of the little places along the way that will forever signal marathon training memories.  But, let's get real.

I started out well.  Found a training plan that called for running four times a week.  Given my work schedule, that meant only one day that I had to run AND work (you know, work outside the home... not including that whole mommy thing... but, anyone who's ever been a mom knows that job SURELY isn't much of a time-stealer... <insert sarcasm, in case it doesn't read>).  And, as I put one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, the training didn't seem to bad.  I was almost GIDDY from the excitement.  ANYONE can train for a marathon!!  I was going to do this!

Fast forward about eight weeks, halfway through training, and what do you get?  A raging loon.  Seriously.  At that point, the "fun" (i.e. seriously longer runs... half marathon being the shortest) began, and, coincidentally, so did school.  My favorite day of the week became Tuesday.  You know?  That ONE day that I had to run AND work.  Seemed simple in the PLAN... Dose of reality- picture this typical Tuesday:  Up around 5 a.m. (because I JUST can't get up sooner).  "Short" 5 mile run.  Shower & ready for work while getting the kids up and ready for school (John leaves for work somewhere amid this insanity).  Race Katy to my parents' house, often running later than I'd like because I should have gotten up sooner.  Get the boys and I to school, scarf a little breakfast while answering emails, and then begin my day.  Teach. Lunch (sometimes on the go). And teach some more.  School day ends and head off to class (don't ask... YES, I have two endorsements in addition to my original one.  Yes, I have my Masters.  Yes, I actually have 30+ class hours on TOP of my Masters, yet I still have to take a FUN, exciting, mandatory afternoon class that just HAPPENS to fall on Tuesday).  Learn to my fullest.  Grab the boys, race off to pick up Katy, and then meet John (unless he gets stuck at work which, fortunately only happened one Tuesday this year) at the baseball field where we have practice for Ryan and a game for Patrick.  We all get home a bit after 8, still having to get the kids settled and to bed before John and I sit down to eat, typically at 9ish.  Just to have to wake up (often for a before school meeting or training which happens twice a month on Wednesday mornings) and do it all again the next day.  Not one Tuesday, not two Tuesdays, but my usual Tuesdays since school began.  Most people can't stand Mondays.  I, personally, am over Tuesday!  Who the heck does Marathons for FUN?  Who does this more than ONCE in a lifetime?  Who??  WHO?!

Me. Pretty much everyday!
And then I listen to myself.  Complain. Complain. Complain.  Then comes the guilt... I signed up for this thing, didn't I?  And, I still WANT it!  And, woe is me, REALLY, for being healthy enough to actually train for a marathon.  And, woe is me for having a spouse who picks up the short end sometimes regularly so that I can train (not to mention RECOVER) hard on Sundays.  Oh, yes, ANOTHER thing I can feel guilty about... how much I'm asking John to do... missing out on time with the kids... and, really, planning our entire weekends this fall around my long runs.  Complain. Complain. Complain.  Whine.  Whine.  Whine.  UGH!  I did eventually snap out of that phase... Shortly after I became numb and just plain delirious!! ;)  Got back to simply keeping my eye on the prize!  I can do this... one step at a time, one foot in front of the other... knock off the whining!!

And, here I am... just two weeks shy of the BIG day.  I have reached the point where I have full confidence that I can finish.  I also have a full dose of reality that it is going to SUCK (poor choice of words, but I can think of no other)... BIG TIME.  The 22 miles that I did the other day brought me to the edge... and I will still have a solid 4.2 miles to go after that.  But, I know that for ONE DAY I can hold myself together and push myself further than I have ever gone before.  I CAN.  When I cross that finish line I will know that there is truly NOTHING that I CAN'T accomplish if I set my mind to it.  I will have proven this to myself. Will there be a better feeling than realizing that?  I don't think so... other than having my sweet little family there at the finish line to congratulate me... and, even better, getting a hug from John even when I'm all sweaty and stinky (OCD Johnny has to give sweaty Kimmy a hug)!  LOL... It is THAT moment that I will be holding in my head as my body begins to give, I ache beyond belief, I feel like I just can't go one.step.further and my mind tries to tell me I can't.

I do complain.  I am exhausted.  I have come to LOATHE having to run (is there a word stronger than 'loathe' because I'm not sure that's strong enough).  But I have seen that I am truly blessed.  I am surrounded by scores of people who have supported me either financially (I've raised nearly $500!!) and emotionally (letting me whine and complain or simply checking in on me and my progress).  And, of course, Eileen who has trained with me (15+ miles are MUCH easier with someone by your side!) and John who, quite frankly, I could not have done it without (those 3 kids can't raise themselves!).  I have learned about myself.  Most specifically that I am STRONG, committed, and capable of achieving even the most far off of dreams.

So, Marine Corps Marathon 2013.  BRING IT!  I am ready (well, I technically still have 37 training miles left to run... two to walk...and I'm trying to be positive about it)!!!  Mostly ready to have accomplished this goal and to have it all behind me.  Ready for that moment:  Sweet Victory!  And, if I'm being truthful, ready to have my life back!!

I close with a quote from the great General George S. Patton (my older brother would be SO proud... luckily, because of his sweet bride-to-be's interest in my blog, he might actually learn that I quoted him)... "Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing.  You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do.  The body will always give up.  It is always tired in the morning, noon and night.  But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."  See?  It's THAT easy!! ;)

<3 Kimberly, John, Patrick, Ryan, and Katy

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Two Boys & a Little Rose Meet the Lloyd Sisters

Four score and a lifetime or so ago, I was a young, single teacher just finishing her second year of teaching up in New York.  I was feeling restless.  Not quite sure what to do with my life, particularly, whether New York was the place for me or if I should move back "home" (-ish, hard to define "home" as a military brat).  So, I sent my resume down to Virginia and got called, nearly immediately, for two interviews.  The first one was at Montclair Elementary.  I instantly bonded with the first grade team there, particularly with whom would be my "next door" teacher - Angela Derecola.  Two interviews and two offers later, it was that instantaneous bond with the first grade team that had me packing my bags and accepting the job at Montclair.

Angela and I became friends instantly!  :)  We worked together, joined a gym together, traveled together, and enjoyed happy hours (especially those blue margaritas at El Paso!) together.  She was there when a certain police officer ran into some Montclair kids I knew at a bus stop and passed a cute little note to me through one of them.  Love was in the air for me by the end of that first year and, coincidentally, not too much longer after that for Angela!  In fact, we wound up only teaching two years together, side by side, since, by the end of the second year, Angela was taking a gamble on love and moving to New Jersey.

Of course, Angela came back to Virginia the next fall to be in my wedding.  And, I was in her wedding the following school year.  John and I were welcoming Patrick to the world around the time that she and Brian were thinking of starting their own family.
April 2004
 We took turns being pregnant, each time balancing each other out... me having two boys to her two girls (who have their own blog... check it out here: The Lloyd Sisters).  Angela decided to let me have the last turn, opting out of our maternity game after her second. ;)  We do the best we can with keeping in touch.  But, let's be real...two working mommas with young kids living life in two different states does not always leave much time to keep up.  However, we manage to...usually with marathon phone conversations on a non-school day, scheduled, at least in part, around nap time.  And, as the saying goes, you don't need to talk to your truest friends everyday.  You can very easily just pick up where you left off the last time, yet know, at a moment's notice, that they would drop everything if you needed them (and that you'd do the same)! :)

Lunch date to Chick-fil-a-
Summer 2011; Kids
played for HOURS while Ang
and I gabbed.  K was napping in the
infant seat! ;)
We try to see each other every year.  Patrick went to Kirsten's 1st birthday party (I spent the entire time chasing after him as he wobbled around after balloons weighted down by rocks that seemed to be EVERYWHERE... they are 13 months apart).  Kirsten came to Ryan's (they are 13 months apart, too!).

First summer playdate- Summer 2010,
Little Rose was in the belly
(gender still a mystery!)
We have had two summer playdates (although the last one was a simple lunch TWO years ago, so this was a novelty for all involved).  We had hoped to do a sleepover visit last summer because John was supposed to be out of town one week, but his trip got cancelled and we had to shuffle yearly physicals around for the boys and then, next thing you knew, the summer was DONE.  This year, I was determined to make it happen- especially since Angela turned the big 4-0 (to be clear, SHE'S OLDER... ;) LOL) in February and I was unable to make it up to her bash due to obligations of being a detective's wife.
Summer 2010- Ryan got big
brother practice with Addison!

In any event, the trip to New Jersey wound up being our summer finale!!  We headed up there last week on Monday and stayed through Thursday.  We enjoyed backyard fun (Angela + Kimberly + bottle of wine= Brian playing baseball with 5 kids) and day trips.  The BIG trip being the Philidelphia Zoo.  The kids, as they now "always" seem to do, got a long SUPREMELY well... any conflicts reserved to the siblings and meltdowns to overtired, we've-had-too-much-fun kids! ;)  In fact, on Tuesday morning the boys were already asking me if we were going to get to come back again!!  I had such a great time, too!  Angela has mellowed over the years... yes, she still can be a tad-bit obsessive (where is the class list??!), but, as a momma, she's super go-with-the-flow and allowed us to explode all over her house, be picky eaters, and even have a potty-training oops!  It truly felt like a vacation as it was incredibly great to be able to have such quality, relaxing time to catch up!!!

But, alas, all good things must come to an end!!  We hope to get up there again soon.  Just got that whole school year thing to get through... *sigh*  I've already set foot back in s-c-h-o-o-l.  I am back lower key three days next week and then on contract the following.  Where DOES the time go?

Thank you, Angela, for your friendship.  It seems like a lifetime ago that we'd grade papers with Mr. Sketch markers (Is there a better scent than blue?  And, that's DARK blue...  not light!) late into the evenings.  Fond memories, those years, and I know that those two young things would be proud of the chaotic, grayed, frazzled mommies we've become!

Two blogs in a week!!  And, since school is looming, I will likely blink and it will be fall before I return.  Maybe I'll get to that "Fall Fun" post that I saved space for last year but never returned to write!  No promises...

Until next time...
<3 Kimberly (and John, those two stinky boys, and our sweet little Rose)

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Be a Good Friend! :)

So, what do you do when when one of your closest friends decides to open a photography business??!  Volunteer your little family as "perfect" practice for her, duh!  Because, surely, if she can survive two boys and a little rose, then she can conquer anything, right??!

In case you thought
I was kidding!!
Mrs. Jones, as the kids know her, just plain Nikki (now of Nikki Lee Photography... check out her website here... www.photographybynikkilee.com ) to me has been a friend for many years now, but turned dear friend over the last couple, especially after she was Patrick's first grade teacher.  She had a knack for photography then... most notably, back then (and, to be real, sometimes even still) Patrick had the GOOFIEST, most UNNATURAL smile known to mankind, but behind Nikki's lens?

He was a SUPER model with his gorgeous bluish-green eyes and a smile to match.  It was a challenge to her to capture his genuine smile and then became a joke between us as she would find me in the halls to sing "nah, nah, nah, boo, boo once she had... well, not QUITE, but pretty close!! ;)

I mean, SERIOUSLY!?!

So, here is our VIDEO!!

http://photographynikkilee.blogspot.com/2013/07/lennox-family-slide-show.html (or rather the link to the blog where Nikki uploaded our video... won't upload here directly and I'm too lazy to fight with it!!)

We also have our own blog post, plus are featured in a few others because we are great entertainment for Nikki over the summer!!  Check them out:

So, umm, yes... after all that, I'm sure you'll agree!  There are two things for certain:

1.  Nikki is a NATURALLY talented artist who does BEAUTIFUL work.
2.  We have had MORE than our fair share of GORGEOUS pictures this summer.  WAY more!

And, so, in true "How to Be a Good Friend" fashion, if you're on FB, please like her page https://www.facebook.com/photographybynikkilee !!!

And, if you're as in love with my family as I am, here is a link to where I have uploaded a majority of the pictures so you can order anything you'd like: http://photos1.walmart.com/walmart/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=10534517001/a=10285240_10285240/otsc=SHR/otsi=SALBlink/COBRAND_NAME=walmart/

TTFN (Ta, ta, for now for you non-Tigger fans!),
Kimberly (John, two boys, and a little Rose)

P.S.  I'll let you finish with this philosophical question:  In this equation (i.e., above Blog post), WHO is showing How to Be a Good Friend?!  This is a reading comprehension question on your upcoming SOL test (yes, I am getting punchy... it's August and work is on the brain)!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Am I a Runner??!

Am I a runner?
Me after sophomore year:
Don't you want to pinch my cheeks
(or, wax my brows...if you can't make
fun of yourself!)?

I laugh, because this is the question that I still ask myself on a regular basis, even after almost two decades of leisurely running (well, perhaps more accurately JOGGING...i.e, at a pace pretty equivalent to, if not slower than, a speed walker! ) and the past year of fairly active running including a huge goal achieved and another one set.  Last fall I ran the Woodrow Wilson half marathon.  This year, I plan to run the Marine Corps Marathon!

It all began after my sophomore year of college... After I had packed on the dreaded "Freshman 15" plus an additional 5 more for good luck.  My parents had both been fairly active runners while I was growing up, so I had great role models for setting fitness goal and keeping them.  Truth be told, my mom has always been better at this than my dad...sorry, dad, she just has that determination that nothing will get in the way of what her mind is set to do...but I can't really remember a time growing up when they weren't both at least fairly regularly running.  In fact I still have people telling me that they see my mom out in all kinds of weather conditions walking (the body can only withstand so many years of running... Of course, that number of years depends on the person, but my mom has hit it).  So, when I was tipping the scales more so than I wanted, they helped me come up with a plan and stick to it. 

I had always been a stationary biker.  Running was hard for me.  I always became winded and crampy.  I didn't understand the fascination, let alone the downright ADDICTION some people seemed to have with it.  But, then it all changed... kind of... I met Colonel Bahr!  Colonel Bahr was the father of one of my freshman year besties, Tara, (and to this day one of my dearest friends!).  He taught me the SECRET to successful running!  Apparently, it's all about the breathing.  Who knew?  I learned the art of breathing... Counting steps as as I breathed in and then breathing out the same number of steps... Usually 3 or 4 steps in and then 3 or 4 out, but reducing it to 2 if a cramp moved in to work my way through it without stopping my run.  Now to you REAL runners out there, you are probably chuckling to yourself thinking, "Well, DUH!", but this was really a game changer for me.  I was able to run!  And after nearly two decade of running (YIKES... I am getting old!!), the breathing pattern has become second nature.

Over the next decade I mostly ran as a form of exercise to keep healthy.  I never really ENJOYED it, more like I saw it as a necessary evil.  In my late 20s I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure several times... Twice for a co-worker battling breast cancer and once for Mrs. Bahr.  At that time a 5k felt like a million miles and I couldn't tell you what my pace was other than slightly faster than barely hanging in there.
Bryan, after WW 1/2 in 2011

And then, in September of 2011, I got an email from my brother Bryan seeing if I was interested in doing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge half marathon that October.  There wasn't time for full training at that point and I was not confident at all in my ability to run it without training properly.  But I went out to support him.  The whole time we were there I was trying to psyche myself up to set the goal to return the next year as a participant.
Cheering on Uncle Bryan

Of course when my friend Eileen (who IS, undoubtedly, a runner) found out, she swept me up into her running fun.  We signed up to run the "Jingle All the Way" 8k.  I found that I could not only do an 8k, but could do a halfway decent time, AND was more likely to make myself get out and run during the craziness that is my life as a working momma of three if I was signed up for a race.
Jingle All the Way 2011

In talking to my friend Tara (maiden name Bahr!) about the half marathon, she seemed excited and likely to commit to it.  This helped give me the shove I needed for two reasons.  First, the type A in her immediately went out and did research sending me all sorts of options for training plans and making me realize that running a half might actually be doable.  Second, she had just given birth and would barely be 5 months post-partum, so what was my excuse?
Before the WW 1/2
College Buddies

Bryan was going to run it again and my mom, who still has running in her blood, got swept into the excitement, too.  Throw in Eileen and another friend from college and I suddenly had quite the support system.  Last October, I returned to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half as a participant.  And, somewhere in the midst of the training, I fell in love with running!!  Running is a time that I can be ALONE.  As a busy mommy, that RARELY happens.  Add in some good music, and my mind can actually relax and sort through things and de-stress without someone interrupting, asking for a PB & J or where their bat-belt is.  It helps me feel good...both mentally and physically.
We FINISHED (we all did, even
if two aren't pictured!)

And now I've moved on to the REAL goal: to run a FULL marathon.  I know I'd like to be able to say that I've RUN a marathon, just not yet sure I really want to actually RUN it...ha, ha, ha!  I do get all choked up emotionally and have butterflies in my stomach at the thought of race day!  Of course, Eileen (who  has run this before and is going to get me through this!) and I tried to sign up the second registration opened with laptops, iPads, etc, but the site kept crashing and the race sold out before we were able to get through.  So, we have to go with plan B which is running to raise funds for an organization.  There is something more noble to it and makes me feel even MORE committed, even if it adds the stress of raising funds.  We are running for the Wounded Warriors Family Support group - an organization that should be near to everyone's hearts as it helps those who have been injured while fighting for our freedom!
My biggest fans!!
Eileen, who PUSHES me!

Week 1 of my 16 week training plan starts TOMORROW (well, today... wrote this in the car yesterday)!  I would LOVE your support!!  There are several ways to do so.  First, of course, to donate!  My page can be found: http://www.razoo.com/story/Marine-Corps-Marathon-2013?referral_code=share  Second, if you run, find me on MapMyRun (free running app that I use) so I can see YOUR activity which will help me on days I'm not feeling so motivated.  Third, come out on race day: October 27th.  I've heard that the last 6.2 are the hardest emotionally.  It would be so awesome to see familiar faces!!

I'd like to think I'm
setting a good example
for THEM!!

And, to get back to the original question, I can now say with confidence that YES, I AM a runner... Now, if only I could lay off the cookies (or, as with this morning, the cinnamon buns with my coffee)! ;)

Jingle All the Way 2012
An Annual Tradition?  Who's in
for 2013?