Monday, December 29, 2014

#8 and #17 - Olivia's day with pictures

For Christmas, I wanted to give the girls some "experience" type gifts.  One of those gifts was a day just for them while we're all off for Christmas break this week.  Today was Olivia's day, and she got to spend a few hours alone with me, and then have dinner with Daddy.

We went to the Old Mill to take some pictures.  It's much more enjoyable to take pictures of them there now that they are older.  I remember when they were little that I would get so nervous being there with them, because there are so many places that they could just tumble over a railing into the water.  So, aside from the fact that it was cold and dreary, it was nice to wander around with her and take pictures of her.  She's 10, and not entirely fond of taking pictures, so I was thrilled to get some nice pictures of her actually smiling. 

Afterwards, I wanted to take her to the Arkansas Arts Center, but it was closed.  So we ended up at the mall, wandering aimlessly.  Then a trip to the orthodontist.  I wish the weather had been nicer.  It would have been fun to take a walk, but I know her well enough to know she wouldn't have had much fun in the cold.

She picked Golden Corral for dinner with Bill.  They rarely get to go there because I can't stand buffets.  Bill said she ate like a horse, which is unusual for her, but I'm glad.  She's so tiny.

We definitely need to try to do things like this again.  It's rare to have an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with any of the girls, and Olivia isn't as attention-seeking as her sisters in general, so it was a special time. 

#31 - Volunteer at a marathon - CHECK!

I checked the first thing off of my 40x40 list today!   I volunteered at the 3 Bridges Marathon. It's a fairly small marathon, I think only 300-400 runners.  But I adore the bridge system around here, so I've had a fascination with the marathon since it started last year. 

The plan was to bring the girls to cheer while I worked. I had been told I was working at the mile 19 station, so that would have worked perfectly. But I was actually assigned to the finish line, which was far more exciting, but I wasn't sure how well I could keep an eye on the girls.  I recruited my sister to come cheer with them so I didn't worry about them rubbing off or getting snatched. 

Now, the temp was in the 50s, so I thought it would be great. But it was windy and rainy, especially by the river, so it was COLD.  By the time I went home, I was soaked and freezing. It took HOURS to thaw my toes. 

My volunteer shift didn't begin until 11am, but we got there about 9am to cheer. Mile 19 passed by the Finish, so it was the perfect spot. But the girls were so cold by 11 that I sent them to the van and asked my sister to just come pick them up and take them home. 

I had three 1 hour shifts, passing out medals, then blankets, then clipping timing chips. I LOVED putting the medals around the runners necks! I enjoyed passing out blankets, too, and patting them on the back. I didn't clip many chips, because it was at the tail end of the race and only a handful of runners were left. 

My favorite moment was while I was passing out medals. A man came across the Finish and looked at me and said, "I need your shoulders. "  I was confused,  but stepped forward. He placed his hands on my shoulders and then just collapsed onto me. I held him up, telling him how awesome he was and helped get him to a table once he could walk. I'm not one to like to be touched, especially by strangers, but it was awesome to be there for him like that. 

It was just so inspiring.  All the different emotions in the runners' faces crossing the line. I loved every minute. And I stayed until the last runner finished, because I know how important it is to have support when you're at the back of the pack. I'll definitely volunteer again. Hopefully on a warmer day....

 The signs lasted about 15 minutes in the rain.  Bummer.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ho ho ho!

Oh my gosh, you guys, this Christmas has been so much fun so far!

Tonight will be my second time getting to play Santa's helper.  A friend of mine had a friend who had a friend who needed help getting presents for her kids this year, so I hooked them up with another friend of mine (is that enough "friends" for ya?) who is in the Salvation Army.  She was able to get them help, but couldn't get the gifts to them, so the girls and I are delivering them. 

The first time was Friday.  Thursday I had noticed the little angel tree at the grocery store still had 7 needy kids on it.  It made my heart a little sad and I wished I could just take them all off of the tree and taken care of them myself.  But I couldn't.  It wasn't a Salvation Army tree, it was set up by the school counselor at the school my kids go to and it was just kids from their school.  I know that the Salvation Army makes sure that all the kids are taken care of in their program, whether or not someone takes their angel off the tree, but since this wasn't an actual Salvation Army tree, I worried that these kids just weren't going to get anything at all.

So, when my boss got to work on Friday, she told us about this person who went into a local Walmart in a low-income area, and paid off ALL the lay-aways.  (If you're not familiar with lay-away, it's where a store holds items for you while you're making payments on it.)  $31,000.  It reminded me of wanting to take care of the remaining kids on the angel tree and I mentioned that.  My boss looked at me and said we should go get them off the tree then.  Take up a collection among our employees and get these kids a good Christmas.

When I got to the store, there were only 5 left.  I asked when the deadline was to get the gifts turned in, and found out it had actually already passed the day before.  She said if I could get the gifts there by lunchtime they could get them to the school on time.  So we went to work, collecting money from my coworkers and the few doctors that were here that day, then my boss and I ran out to go shopping.  We had about $280 and my boss had pledged to make up however much more was needed.  We spent about $60 at the book store, which she paid for, then we went to Walmart.  We didn't really pay much attention to how much we were spending.  My boss figured she'd have to cover quite a bit, but she was fine with that.  But when we got to the register, it was $200.  Amazing.  We got the kids a $10 gift card each with the rest of the money.  My boss only had to cover about $30.  We were just blown away at how easily it all went.

We took the gifts back to the grocery store and the employee in charge of the tree was just so excited to see us, because she had been really worried about what they were going to do with those last 5 kids.  She said they were going to try to collect money among the employees, and ask if the store itself could make a donation, but she was so relieved when she came in to work to find that someone had taken all of them off of the tree. 

My wish I made the night before came true, in a way.  I couldn't do it alone, but that's even better.  People coming together to help out other people... you just can't beat it. 

I can't wait to take the girls to make the delivery tonight.  I'm glad I can share this with them... I want them to know how important it is to help out people, to learn early that we are just so blessed to have the opportunity to do so.  I do wonder how they will process this with the concept of Santa, if they'll ask me why we need to take gifts to these kids, why Santa won't.  I'm not entirely convinced this year they really believe in Santa, I know they've heard otherwise from friends at school.  If I am asked, I will tell them the truth.  That Santa isn't some fat guy at the North Pole.  Santa is a part of our soul, the part that loves to make people, especially kids, smile and feel loved.  And that the best part of Christmas isn't actually getting presents from Santa, but being Santa ourselves. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Isn't he cute?

Tonight I get a night off! I used to play a game with some friends of mine called Pokeno, but once the girls came along and Bill started working nights, I couldn't play anymore.  But at Christmas time, my brother-in-law offers to watch the girls so I can go play.  We do a Dirty Santa gift exchange, which is always a lot of fun. I have gotten a lot of really cute Christmas decorations from my Pokeno group.

This year, I decided to make something instead of buying something.  I had seen a Pin for a similar little elf and figured I could whip one up without a pattern (because the pattern for the Pin was not in English and crochet patterns rarely translate well).  I think he turned out really cute.


I got a little crafty with my presents for Bill's side of the family.  I had mentioned a few weeks ago that I was having Chocolate Gravy for breakfast and not a single one of them had ever heard of it.  It's a Southern thing, and they're all Yankees.... but it's soooo good.  (Not really good FOR you... you're basically eating warm chocolate pudding for breakfast)  So I decided to give them a taste.  I mixed up all the dry ingredients and put it in a mason jar.  Then I slapped a label on with directions and sent them off on Tuesday.  I can't wait to find out how they like it.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Inspired by Natalie, I put doing a Dietbet on my 40 before 40 list. I tend to buckle under the pressure of giving myself a goal like this, but I'm going to give it a shot. 

And I'm probably insane for this, but I'm starting one on Monday. Yep, over Christmas.  I'm always incredibly tempted by all the goodies and I REALLY don't need to indulge. So hopefully putting money on the line will help me focus on making better choices. 

Of course 4% isn't chump change in my case. It's almost 10 lbs, which is a tall order for 4 weeks. I'm not going to stress myself over it, just do my best. I considered doing the 6 month 10% route, but went with a smaller commitment time and money-wise.  Maybe afterwards? We'll see how I  do with 4 weeks before committing myself to 6 months.

I really am looking forward to it, though. I've not been feeling that spiffy lately.  My blood sugars are higher than they should be and that always makes me feel like poo. I seem to do this to myself this time of year.  I had hoped having half-marathons lined up to force me into walking would help, but that all kind of fell apart. So I really want and need to get off my bottom and clean up my act. 

After a lot of thinking, I've decided to take a break from half marathons right now. I hate giving up on my goal of having 13 races before I turn 40, but physically and financially it was going to be too stressful. Hopefully I can do a few a year, but 6 in one year...  it's just not realistic for me right now. I want to focus on a consistent routine, instead of this nonsense of crash training for a race.  Once that's in place, I'll get back to my races.

Monday, December 15, 2014

40 before 40 - The List

I turn the big 4-0 December 6, 2015.

Here are 40 things I hope to accomplish before my 40th birthday!

  1. Keep a gratitude journal all year.  At least 3 things per day.
  2. Send a handwritten letter to a friend
  3. Send someone flowers
  4. Get my drivers license updated with new address
  5. Get a new tattoo
  6. Take at least one photo per month with the girls
  7. Have a professional family portrait made
  8. Take photos of Olivia
  9. Take photos of Isabelle
  10. Take photos of Zoe
  11. Read at least 20 books
  12. Read at least 5 books to the girls (chapter books, not picture books)
  13. Buy a must-have "classic" book for the girls' library every payday
  14. Plant a hydrangea bush
  15. Plant a flower box
  16. Put up a birdhouse
  17. Have an Olivia day
  18. Have an Isabelle day
  19. Have a Zoe day
  20. Have dinner at Sonny Williams with Bill
  21. Go to a play
  22. Go to Garvin Gardens
  23. Go to Eureka Springs
  24. Go to the Snoopy exhibit at the Clinton Library
  25. Paint pottery with the girls
  26. Crochet a mandala
  27. Crochet a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
  28. Sew myself an apron
  29. Learn how to can
  30. Do a Dietbet
  31. Volunteer at a marathon  completed 12/27/14
  32. Climb Pinnacle
  33. Walk/run at least 500 miles total for the year 
  34. Finish Turbo Jam
  35. End the year weighing less than I started the year
  36. Empty our storage unit
  37. Get a dresser for our room
  38. Paint and decorate our bedroom
  39. Make a budget for 2015
  40. Go to the GYN

Monday, December 8, 2014


I got my notebook for this year. It's inspired me to read Alice in Wonderland to the girls. 

I finished my 40 before 40 list. I'll organize it any type it up for the blog when I can get to a computer. 

My goal for the year, like I said is to be more positive, more grateful. Of course, the year started of with a rough day. But I tried to focus on my goal list to try to not dwell on it. I'm going to focus a lot on trying to treat others the way I want to be treated instead of reacting to how I'm actually treated. Hopefully what I put out will come back to me. 

I'm also hoping to get our Christmas card photo done tonight or tomorrow. We all have cheesy Christmas tshirts.  We aren't really sweater people, so this is our version of ugly Christmas sweaters. ;)

I finally finished Santa.  He's kinda cute sitting up on my mantle. I didn't find Mrs Claus all that cute, but considering  how little I enjoyed making Santa, I like how he turned out. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Approaching the top

Since 40 is "over the hill", I guess my turning 39 tomorrow means I'm approaching the top of the hill?

I'll admit it, turning 40 actually does freak me out a bit.  Maybe I'll get over that during the next year.  I doubt it, but maybe.

I have a weird thing for wanting to have a theme for the year, so I'm dubbing this next year The Year of Gratitude.  I'm going to go get a cute little journal and come up with 1-3 things every day to put in there.  I'll try to remember to share with you.  This past year has been very chaotic, so I'd like to go into this year with a fresh attitude, and that needs to start with gratitude.  I want to focus on happiness and being satisfied with the here and now.

I also need to focus on my health, taking care of myself so that 40 isn't really my "over the hill" moment.  I want to keep going up. 

I'm thinking of making a 40 before 40 goal list.  I bombed on my 37 list, but I think I need some goals for my last year as a "thirtysomething."


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