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! ;)