Thursday, September 30, 2010

The One Big Item on my Birthday Wishlist

My "Girls Night Out" surprise party was just one of 3 awesome birthday celebrations I have to look forward to this year. I know 3 different birthday parties seems a bit excessive, but you only turn 30 once and it only seems fitting to have one party to celebrate each decade. Ha!

My second party is next weekend and it is actually going to be a joint birthday celebration for my SIL Diana and I. We thought we could celebrate our 30-something birthdays together to soften the blow :-) We are both asking for one big ticket item that the family can go in on. Di wants a composter (if you read her fabulous blog, this won't come as a surprise to you :-). I, on the other hand, want something that Diana wouldn't be caught dead on...



That's right baby...a TREADMILL!!! I simply have to have one of these things if I am going to keep up with my running over the winter. I am not a big gym person and I know I won't be able to handle running outside on a cold winters day. The old Jen would probably look at this as a great excuse to quit running or working out, but I am addicted now and I don't want to stop.

I have yet to try this treadmill out in person, but I am hoping to do so this weekend. But before I commit to buying anything, I would love some advice. Do any of you own a great treadmill? Do any of you own a crappy treadmill I should stay away from? Do you know what brands hold up the best? Any additional insight I could get on this topic would be very helpful :-)

So there you go. I am turning 30 and instead of asking for jewelry, fancy clothes, or a new Coach purse...I am asking for a treadmill. Ahh...I guess that just comes with getting old...er. Although, if anyone wanted to throw a new Coach purse my way...I wouldn't send it back :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blake is 9 Months Old!!!

See this cute little bugger?


Well he is 9 MONTHS OLD!!! Can you even believe it? We had his 9 month well-baby check today and he weighed 20 pounds and was 29 1/2 inches long!!! Looks like he is going to end up being long and lanky like his sister as soon as he burns off the rest of his precious baby fat. Although, I hope that sticks around for a while because I LOVE his meaty little cheeks and thighs :-)

These days...Blake is crazy about his sister. I guess it's a good thing too because he really doesn't have a choice. Addie needs to know where Blake is 24/7 and she usually won't do anything without bringing him with. It's kind of sweet really :-) Just look at the two of them out for a walk...


I love that Blake can chill in his wagon now...


Although, I think sometimes he wishes that the wagon was a single-seater so that he could avoid all the mauling...


But then again, it doesn't just happen in the wagon. Blake gets mauled by Addie on a daily basis. But really...does it look like he minds?


In addition to becoming best friends with his sister, Blake has also taken a HUGE liking to animals. He is all over Howie most days and when we go to visit my cousin-in-law Katie, he is ALL OVER their dog Gunner...


Maybe it's just because Gunner is so soft and cuddly...


Or maybe it's because Gunner is such a great listener...


Either way...Blake loves his doggies :-)

And speaking of likes, Mr. B is all about food lately. He is addicted to Baby Mum-Mums, crackers, Gerber Pinwheels, Yogurt melts...and pretty much anything he can eat on his own. He isn't in love with pureed baby food anymore, so I am trying to start incorporating chunkier foods and some more table food. He ate some whipped potatoes the other night and was in heaven. I just need to bust out some of my old baby cookbooks and get creative again. I have really been lacking in that department lately because making one meal for dinner has become hard enough, let alone making a separate meal for Blake. But I can tell that I am going to be left with no choice soon :-)

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by how much Blake is eating these days, considering he crawls and explores NON STOP! We are over the jumperoo and exersaucer, which I am secretly happy about because I can finally get them out of my family room. But...this means that there is no longer a place to restrain him. He is totally independent now which means my days just got that much busier. He has also grown out of his baby carrier so we will be switching him to his "big boy" carseat this weekend. Gosh...I just can't believe we are already at this point!!! He is such a big boy!!!

But don't worry...he is still holding on to a few baby traits. You know...like NOT SLEEPING THE NIGHT!!! We were making a lot of progress in this department a while back. Cry it out was going well and he was really only waking up one time a night to eat and then go back to bed. But this past month, we have regressed. He is waking up 1-3 times a night again but I really think this has a lot to do with the 3 new teeth we cut this month!!! Blake has a total of 8 teeth now!!! The kid can chew steak for crying out loud! Our pediatrician said that he should be done with teeth for a little while now so hopefully we will go back to making some progress :-) This should improve a lot too when I quit nursing in a couple of months.

Before we left the office today, our pedi said she would see us at Blake's 1 year appointment. That gave my goosebumps. How could we possibly be only 3 months away from his first birthday???!!!! I am going to have to start planning his party in another month or two which is nuts. But don't worry...I already have the theme all picked out :-)

Now...if I could just figure out how to make time slow down. Anyone have any suggestions? :-)

*Sorry all the pictures in this post are terrible quality. I used the camera on my phone the past few days*

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Birthday Surprise

With my 30th birthday still 2 weeks away, I never imagined that the "date night" my SIL Dana and I planned would turn out to be a SURPRISE PARTY!!!


I walked into one of my favorite restaurants last night to find a gorgeous table filled with balloons, picture boards...


And all of my favorite girls :-)


My mom, MIL Patti, and SILs Dana and Diana threw me the BEST party ever...



They also showered me with some amazing gifts. In addition to a lot of great giftcards (for buying new clothes) and some money to put towards my treadmill fund...I got new perfume, a new book on running, some cute socks (I totally love socks), some Honeycrisp apples...


A bunch of HILARIOUS cards...


I also got this beautiful quilt from my mamacita...


She made me this quilt out of all my favorite t-shirts from junior high, high school and college. She started it several years ago and was waiting for an excuse to finish it. I have to say...it was well worth the wait. I LOVE YOU MAMA!!!!


After gifts and a BUNCH of laughs...we decided to dive into my cupcake tower...


I insisted we skip the "Happy Birthday" song, but no one listened. And since we didn't have candles, Dana provided a lighter so I could still make my wish :-)


I am not sure what my favorite part of the night was...being completely surprised, indulging in yummy food and drinks, or just getting some alone time with my girls. I guess I should just answer all of the above. It was such a wonderful surprise and even though I still wish I would have taken more time to get ready (haha), I am so happy to have all these fun memories to look back on.

Thank you SO MUCH Mama, Patti, Dana and Diana for throwing me such a wonderful party! I love you girls so very much. And to all my other family and friends who made their way out to celebrate with me (or were there in spirit), thank you, thank you, thank you :-) And Mama...thanks for going against everything I know and actually keeping a secret from me. HA! And finally to Eric, who I yelled at before leaving the house last night, thank you for not being mad at me when I got home and for working so hard to make this party happen. I love you very much :-)

Ahh...only two weeks until the big 3-0!! What a great way to start the celebration!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Crossing the FInish Line

Today was the big day! My first 5K race!!!


I arrived bright and early with my own cheering section :-)


And then I made all my fellow race buddies smile for pictures with me. Here is my friend Joe (a.k.a. Uncle Joe) who was also running his first 5K.


And here is my old high school buddy Dan, who is a seasoned 5K runner. This was the only time I saw him all day because I was eating his dust. Haha!


Here I am with my cousin Liz, who was also running her first race today. Isn't she a cutie?


Lining up to start the race was pretty exciting. My nerves had died down a bit and Joe and I were cracking jokes like we always do. But the minute the gun went off and I saw the confetti fly into the air...I wanted to puke :-)


Starting the race was easy. Everyone is in one big clump and you are just doing your best to keep pace with those around you...


But then the passing starts. All the serious runners are bobbing and weaving all around you and what you thought was a "good pace" seems kind of slow in comparison. A woman with a jogging stroller passed me at one point so that kicked me into gear. I had a lot of adrenaline pumping at that point and I think that helped move me along too.

Before I knew it, I was rounding the corner and I could see the finish line in the distance. I'm not going to lie...I got a tear in my eye at the sight of the finish line. I couldn't believe I was actually doing this. At the start of the summer, I couldn't run 30 seconds without feeling like I was going to die. And today, I kept pace with some people who have been running 5Ks for years. I still can't believe it...

But just so there is proof that I actually finished, here I am crossing the finish line. Um...yeah...those are my hands above that guy's head...


I was clapping as I crossed :-)


And I had an AWESOME cheering section when I made it. Nana, Aunt Diana, Addie and Blake were all waiting for me :-)


When I finished, Addie said, "GOOD JOB MAMA!!!" That might have made me tear up too :-)


Now, I was pretty darn proud of myself for finishing my race even though I was up about 4 times with a certain someone who likes to party all night long. But that isn't HALF as amazing as Uncle Joe, who finished his race after working a 14 HOUR NIGHT SHIFT!! Yes...Joe worked all night and drove straight to the race this morning. And he ran the whole thing and crossed the finish line!!!


I am just on cloud nine today.


I set a huge goal for myself and I accomplished it.


Some of my friends and family are still in shock that I started running. I have always despised it and aside from dancing my whole life, I have never been a serious athlete. And to be honest...I didn't start running with the intention of becoming one. I just wanted to lose a few more pounds and since running is something I can do anytime, anywhere...I thought it was a good fit.

But what started as a weight loss plan has turned into a new passion. Learning to love something that I once hated has been a really motivating experience for me. It is one of the few things in my life that I do just for me and it feels good. REALLY good. I can see now why so many people start running 5Ks and can't stop. I already look forward to the next time I can hear that gun go off and feel the sheer excitement and accomplishment of crossing a finish line :-)

But I have to say...I could NEVER have done this without all the amazing support and encouragement I have received from friends and family. Thanks to everyone who has cheered me on the last 15 weeks. I appreciate it more than you know :-)

And finally, I just want to give one last HUGE thank you to my mom and sister-in-law Diana for coming out to my race today to support me (and help with the kiddies). It meant SO MUCH having you both there :-) Love you girls!!!! Until the next race...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Preparing for Race Day

I know preparing for my first race should be all about nutrition, hydration, rest, etc. But instead of worrying about those things, I have chosen to focus on what's really important...like what I am wearing.

Race Day

I am going to be decked out in my cute new Nike outfit so that even if I come in last...I will be coming in last in style :-) I just can't believe the time has finally come. I have been thinking about this race for months and now here it is...just 36 hours away. The weather report says that it is going to be 66 and sunny. Seriously...could you pick a more beautiful fall day? I think not :-)

I know I have nothing to be nervous about. I have been running 5Ks every other morning for the past 4 weeks so I know I can do it. But if that is the case...why am I suddenly so worried that I won't make it??? I know it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to walk or if my time wasn't a personal best. But I have worked so hard for so many weeks that I feel like it would be a HUGE letdown if I couldn't run the entire race. But what do I do? The race is in 36 hours and training time has officially run out. So all I feel I can do at this point is take a deep breath...and try on my cute running outfit. That is, unless any of you other runners out there have some advice? What do you do the night before a race? Do you veg out? Do you do something for motivation? Do you go to bed at like 5:00 p.m.? I would love any advice on how to prepare and keep my nerves down tomorrow night.

Thanks in advance friends. Wish me luck!!!!!! My results will be posted on Sunday. Woohoo!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Looking on the Bright Side

It's hard to look on the bright side during weeks like this. Wakes, funerals, saying goodbye...none of it is easy.

But I tried really hard, for Aunt Odie's sake, to find the bright side of today. After all, Aunt Odie would have wanted it that way. She loved her family and even though she never had children, she treated my mom and all of her sisters and cousins like they were her own. And she treated all of us grandkids like we were her own too. Before she got sick, Aunt Odie was at every birthday party, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas Eve and special event that I can remember. She was always there to celebrate with us and I know that she was smiling down from heaven today as she watched all of her family laughing and having fun together.

And if I had to guess, I would say the person that had the most fun today was Addie. She got to meet my adorable second cousins Brittany and Maria...


Maria is 14 and cute as a button. Addie fell in love with her right away and Blake was pretty smitten too...


Addie didn't leave her side the ENTIRE morning...


The two of them played and danced and had a ball...


I can't tell you how much I wish that all of my mom's extended family lived a little closer, but seeing how happy everyone was to finally be together today might have inspired all of us to have a much-needed family reunion in the near future :-)

I will miss my Aunt Odie so much but I am at peace tonight knowing that she is in heaven. I will never wear sparkles or fancy shoes without thinking of her, but I take comfort in knowing that I will see her, and my friend Dave, again some day. Hug your loved ones extra tight friends...life is short. Enjoy every minute :-)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A LIttle Nana and Great Nana Time

Tonight, my mom and Grams came over so we could put together picture boards for my Great Aunt Odie's wake tomorrow...


I think the picture boards turned out great, and it was nice to sit and reminisce...


I know the next few days will be hard for my mom and Grandma, so I am glad we got to spend some time having fun with the kids tonight too...



I may not be able to post for the next day or so because we have a lot going on, but I promise to be back as soon as I can. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers :-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Addie's Ballet Class Week 2: Not Feelin It Today

Its official...I totally don't understand kids. For the past week, all Addie has talked about is dance class. She couldn't wait to put on her leotard today and pose for a few pictures...


She told this guy ALL about her class, her teacher, her new friend Ava, her new ballet shoes, etc. Poor Blake was so sick of hearing about dance class he actually took off down the hall. Ha!


I told Addie to get up and show me what she does in dance class. She said, "I put my hands on my hips"...


"And sing weal loud!"


And then she twirled and twirled until she almost puked. She was having so much fun I couldn't wait to get her cute little butt to class.

While the girls waited, Addie was in great spirits. She was showing Nia Tinkerbell on mommy's phone...


And then talking to Molly and Nia about how she is going to be Tinkerbell for Halloween...


Like I said, she was totally happy to be at class with all her friends. But when Miss Mindy called the girls back for class, I saw the hesitation in her step...


She still continued into the room but after about 30 seconds of having the door shut, I heard someone start crying. I was praying it wasn't Addie, but sure enough...it was. The rule at dance class is that if the kids are crying, they have to come out of the room so they don't upset the other kids. So I brought her out, talked to her about why she was scared, and all she could say was, "I want da Mama." Poor babe :-(

So I spent the next 30 minutes trying to gradually move her back into the room. First we stood at the door together and watched, then we crept inside and sat on the floor. Then we started doing the moves while sitting together in the back of the room. And then finally she stood up and jumped in line. I was just about to make my exit when she saw me and down came the tears. So rather than take her out again, I just jumped in line too. I did all of the activities and dances with the girls today and by the end of class, Addie was hanging with all her girlfriends, pretending like I wasn't even there.

I am not sure what got into her today, especially since she hasn't been clingy to me in so long, but oh well. By the very end she was fine and when we talked on the way home I asked if she wanted to stop going to dance class and she said, "NO MAMA!!! Addie loves dance class." I guess we will see how true that is come next week :-)