Monthly Archives: May 2013

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What a lovely day for a Field Day! The sun was shining and there was a wonderful breeze to keep us from overheating. As I sat in the bleachers, watching the kids run their races and do all the funny field games, like tug-of-war and the sack race, I couldn’t help but think about my own elementary school days. I ran those races and played those games on the very same track and field all those years ago.

Tonight, our niece, Alexis, and nephew, Josh, will graduate from high school. What? They were just babies when Jake and I got married. Those tiny little people are now grown and will take the next step in their lives.

This time of year always makes me reflect on years gone by. I’ve got some serious nostalgia going on right now.

jacob goes to washington

Last week, Jake went with our brother-in-law, Jeff, on a little guy trip and they spent a day in Washington D.C. I am very jealous because I have never been to the capital and I would love to go someday. Jake took my camera along and got a few hundred pictures, so I was able to see it through his eyes. He said he tried to shoot like I would, which made me smile, but I think he has a pretty good eye for getting great pictures without my influence.

Here are a few of my favorites from his trip. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Someday, D.C. I will visit you!

monday’s list | memorial day

Before I get to my list of things we did over the weekend, I must first stop and remember all those who gave their lives for our country. As a former military wife, I know what it feels like to let your loved one go and serve, with that underlying fear that something may happen to them. So many have given their lives for our freedom. Thinking of them and their families today.

• Jake was gone on a “man trip” with our brother-in-law Jeff at the end of the week. They went to Pennsylvania and Washington DC.
• Mom and I came up with some fun things to do with the kids while he was gone.
• Picked them up from school on Friday and went to see the movie Epic (so cute!) and dinner at Applebee’s.
• Saturday, we went to the beach in Holland, hung out, watched Chloe do cartwheels and back walkovers in the sand, walked along the channel, had a picnic, got some ice cream. Took lots of pictures! The kids both kept asking me to take pictures of them, so of course, I obliged.
• Didn’t feel great on Sunday, so it was a quiet day of movie watching around here.
• Jake arrived home on Sunday evening with lots of tales of the trip. Can’t wait to get all his pictures loaded and hear all the stories.
• We’ve had a nice Memorial Day off. Watched some HGTV, did some dishes, baked banana bread. A nice quiet day.
• Now we’re heading into the last 9 days of school and the whirlwind that surrounds it.
• Also excited to attend our niece Lexi and nephew Josh’s high school graduation this week.

evening sky

The sky was so cool last night! It had been cloudy all day and finally the clouds started to move away and that late day sun just made the green of the trees pop against the dark sky in the distance. Love that.

So happy the weekend is almost here. It’s been a tiring couple of days around here with early wake-ups making me a grump. I need my sleep. Looking forward to sleeping in a little and enjoying a quiet holiday weekend. And maybe some fun stuff with the kids, like a movie, the beach and some ice cream.

And I just realized that after today, we are down to single digits until Summer break begins! 9 DAYS!

Happy Friday!


That’s what I’ve been calling Chloe lately. Flipper! She is constantly flipping all over the house. And our house is tiny, so that’s a challenge. If I went back through my years and years of photos, I’m sure I could find many examples to share. But I thought I would share this video I took last month of her at gymnastics class practicing cartwheels on the balance beam. They learned to do it a couple weeks before this with teacher assistance. Chloe just kind of took off with it on this day, while her teacher was helping some of the other girls. She makes it look easy. Still working on keeping her body straight, staying on the beam, and pointing her toes as she goes over. She’ll get it.

She’s about to get a LOT more practice starting in June. Team tryouts were this past Saturday and she made it. Chloe was really happy (and relieved) and she’s looking forward to this big team party/sleepover coming up. I’m excited for her!

monday’s list


• It was one of those crazy busy weekends around here, where you sit down at the end of Sunday and wonder where it went.

• Jake and I ran on Friday evening. I didn’t use any running program this time. I just ran as long as I could, then walked for about 90 seconds, then ran some more, and repeated that for about a half hour. Ended up running three intervals: 7 minutes, 4 minutes, 4 minutes. I was pretty proud of that since I haven’t run anything more than 1.5 minute intervals in six months.

• Chloe had her gymnastics team tryouts on Saturday and did great! She was pretty nervous beforehand, but she really had no reason to be. She totally deserved to be on the team!

• The kids were both busy on Saturday evening. Zach spent the night at his cousin Austyn’s and Chloe was at her friend’s birthday party.

• I got to escape for the evening and spent some time with my dear friend Jen. We had yummy Panera for dinner, went to Holland to the beach, watched the sunset, then got some ice cream on the way home. It was a fun friend day!

• Chloe came home from the birthday party yesterday and said the girls pretty much never slept all night. They stayed in a camper overnight and just had lots of crazy silly girl fun. She pretty much slept all day with the exception of a light lunch, about fifteen minutes blowing bubbles at Grandma’s house, and a light dinner before bed. But she had the best time! I’m so glad she took pictures with her iPod. She came home with a bunch and shared stories with me from every photo. I loved every minute of it!

• Went to my parents’ farm for lunch. This weekend was the one year anniversary of my Grandma’s passing, so my Grandpa came up to my parents’ to visit and get out of his house. I’m sure he didn’t want to be there with all those memories all by his lonesome. We had a nice lunch all together and he showed us pictures from his trip to Africa with my Uncle Dan, where they built an airplane runway and a pad for helicopters to land on. What an experience!

• Went for a sticky run this morning. The air is thick with humidity, but we did it. We completed Week 2 of Couch to 5K. I was so proud of Mom. She had a headache at first and didn’t think she felt well to run, but she did it anyway and felt better afterwards. Yay!

Have a great Monday!

fear not

On our refrigerator dry-erase board this morning.
Written for our boy, who had a rough night after a
friend told him some scary horror stories at school.

Thought it was a good reminder that God’s got us.
No matter what we’re scared of or worried about.
He is with us.

Happy weekend, everyone!

mom’s day card

How is it the middle of May already? I’m not complaining. The weather is lovely and we are in the teens in our “last day of school countdown” now. That’s just fine with me.

Thought I would share the little Mothers Day card I made for my Mom this year. I can’t remember where I saw a hand sewn card (Pinterest or on a blog perhaps!), but I liked the idea and I wanted to give it a try. I found some extra double-sided cardstock I had lying around (I think from the original Project Life kit) and trimmed it into a card size, folded it and trimmed a strip along the bottom of the front so the blue on the inside would show through and match the blue embroidery floss I chose to use. I wrote “Mom” in pencil in a pretty script and sketched some little x’s into flower shapes. Then I poked holes through the paper with my needle to make it easier to stitch and went for it.

I think it turned out pretty cute. :)

a Road Warrior’s Wife

When Jake first told me he wanted to run a 25K, I think I said, “Not a 10K first?” Since he had never run more than a 5K, I thought it was a lofty goal to shoot for the 25K, more than a half marathon, when he’d never run more than a few miles at a time.

Then, he learned of the Fifth Third Road Warriors team and decided to put his name in to become a part of that group of ten, and, lo and behold, he went through the interview process and was chosen.

borrowed these pics from Jake’s facebook photos

When he became a part of the team, I had no idea I would not be seeing my husband very much for six months. He was training three, four, sometimes five days a week, and it was stressful at times. Especially causing extra stress on our checkbook for all the extra gas he had to use to drive an hour away for training and Saturday long runs and such. I tried to be supportive. I won’t lie. It was hard at times.

But as the months went by, he got stronger and stronger and lost around forty pounds. He was shrinking before my eyes. And he got excited about the longer distances he was running and the improved times. He was feeling better and more energetic every week.

I admit, I wasn’t as thrilled as he was. I felt bad because I wasn’t more excited for him. And that was in part because of the very tight budget we were now living on, he was gone a lot, and because I was doing no running of my own during the long winter months that dragged on and on this year.

As the day drew near, I could feel his nervous energy. He was more than ready, but he was on edge. I tried to lighten the mood by telling him he totally had this. I don’t think it really helped much. ;)

The night before the big race, Jake spent the evening with his Road Warrior team, took a trolly ride along the race course, had dinner, was interviewed once again by “Maranda’s Where You Live” on local TV, and took part in a fashion show to model Brooks athletic apparel.

In the meantime, the kids and I were at my parents’ farm having a nice pot roast dinner with my family and my cousin Josh, his wife Karen and their cutie twin girls. They were up from Ohio for a visit and to come cheer Jake on at the race on Saturday. We had a great evening together. After dinner, we turned on the TV to watch Jake’s Maranda interview. :)

Jake was up very early and gone before we awoke at 5 a.m. My mom and Josh & family met at our house and we drove up to Grand Rapids together at 6 o’clock to find parking and make our way to the starting line to watch all the racers take off.

We got some coffee and found a place near the START line. The 5K was the first to go. They were released in waves and there were thousands and thousands of them. This was our first time as spectators of the race and the sight of the entire street just packed full of runners was very cool. The 10K took off at about 8am. Then at 8:20 it was Jake’s turn, the 25K. Over 6,000 runners participated in the largest 25K road race in the country. Amazing!

We thought we might not be able to see him since it’s really hard to pick people out of that crowd, but Karen spotted him and I got a couple (crooked) photos as I tried to shoot pictures and cheer him on at the same time.

After he was on his way, we knew we had a few hours. He was hoping to finish right around 3 hours. So, we went across the street to the Subway and got some snacks and drinks and warmed up (it was in the low 40’s and windy. brrrr!)

We took a walk along the Grand River next, across the pedestrian bridge toward Gerald R. Ford Museum, through the park there, then over to the blue pedestrian bridge. Grand Rapids has such a nice downtown area. It’s such a great small town big city, if that makes sense.

As we made our way to the FINISH line area, we could hear the crowd begin to cheer. People from the other races had been coming in, but the first runner from the 25K was about the cross the line, a runner from Kenya. We got there just about the time that he and the other elite runners finished. So fast. Like less than a 5 minute mile. That’s insane.

For a couple hours, we stood and watched runners come in and I texted with Jake’s sister’s, Heather and Brenda, as they were on the road, almost there, hoping they would make it in time to see him cross the line. They made it.

As the three hour mark approached, I started feeling this nervous anticipation building. We thought every runner with an orange shirt was him. We climbed up on a wall to get a better view. I kept zooming in with my 75-300mm camera lens to see. At about the 3 hr. 20 min. mark, we finally saw a little dot of orange down the street. It was HIM!!!

We cheered him across the line! He did it! He ran 15.5 miles, a longer distance than he had ever run before. The most he ran during training was 14 miles. What an accomplishment!

Jake came over to the fence, where we were standing, just as Heather, Brenda and Brenda’s boyfriend John were joining us.

We had to walk down quite a ways to be able to even hug him since they had this long chain link fence set up to keep the runners moving down and out of the way of the others that were coming in.

He hugged me and held on tight and started to cry. I squeezed him tighter still. I was so SO proud of him!

a friend of Jake’s took this picture. favorite!

It was a long six months of training and being away a lot of late nights and weekends and spending too much money on gas, but it was a huge accomplishment, something that helped him move into his 40’s much healthier than he ever was in his 30’s.


So … now it’s my turn! Yikes! My mom started teasing that next year she will be in the bleachers taking pictures of both of us as we finish the 25K. Jake says we’re doing it. He’s going to start training me this year so that I can run it with him next year.


monday’s list

• It was the big FIFTH THIRD RIVER BANK RUN 25K weekend! Finally!
• Went to my parents’ farm on Friday night for dinner while Jake was in Grand Rapids for some Road Warrior race events.
• My cousin Josh and his wife and cutie twin girls were visiting from Ohio. Had a nice evening visiting with them.
• Got up at 5am to get to Grand Rapids early enough to park and see all the racers take off.
• This was our first year as spectators, as well as Jake’s first year running, and it was amazing to see these huge waves of runners filling up the entire street. Over 6,000 in Jake’s 25K race alone. (21,000+ in all the races combined – 5K, 10K, etc.)
• Hung out downtown for a few hours while Jake was running.
• He did it! He finished! Will share more pictures and thoughts from race day later this week.
• Went back to the farm after the race and had some pizza – Jake’s celebratory dinner request was BBQ Chicken Pizza from Jet’s. So yum! Mom + Dad O stopped by to congratulate our runner.
• We all went home and crashed. So exhausted!
• Mother’s Day was spent on my couch with my friends on HGTV. I woke not feeling the greatest, so I stayed home while Jake and the kids went to his Dad and Mom’s for lunch with the family. Sad I couldn’t be there, but I needed the rest.

and last but not least …

AJAXed with AWP