Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I am a runner....

I saw this quote recently....

I am a runner because I run. 
Not because I run fast. 
Not because I run far. 
I am a runner because I say I am. 
-John Bingham, author and runner

Good stuff, huh? Well, I am almost 30 and am just now becoming a runner. Here's a little timeline on how I learned to love running...

3 years old - I entered my first race. Ha! Well, it was a fun-run with my dad's work. My dad did the whole thing with me and carried my baby doll the whole way. I even got a medal after that race. I think I came in 3rd for my age group - out of 3 people I'm sure.

8 years old - My parents signed me up for soccer. I LOVED my team because we were called the Pink Predators (I know...intimidating). I really liked our all-pink uniforms, but I apparently told my parents that soccer involved too much running and didn't want to play another year. Really it was because the other girls were mean to me, but I didn't like the running either. I wasn't very good.

14 years old - It was the summer after middle school and my friend Becca and I went to register for high school together. There were so many tables set up with opportunities for extra curricular activities. It was a little overwhelming, but something drew us to the cross country table. We were both interested as we talked to the coach and some of the runners. We were then handed a summer running schedule and I about died. What? You have to run for how long? Of course, I gave up the idea of becoming a cross country runner because I didn't think I could do it. Becca, on the other hand, became an awesome runner. She ran for miles and miles and continued on with track. Looking back, I wish I had pushed myself to do it.

For the next 15 years, I didn't run. I may have run on the treadmill for the bit at the gym or around my college campus. I was never consistent with running and I never did a race. I have never been the most sports-oriented person. I'm not competitive OR coordinated. I was a cheerleader for 12 years of my life. It suited me just fine. I could be happy and peppy and jump around and wear cute bows in my hair!

28 years old - Isaac was a few months old when I decided to enter my first 5K race. I didn't train at all and had never run more than 2 miles in my LIFE. However, I finished. I didn't run the whole way, but I finished. This race motivated me and I knew that if I had a race to look forward to, I could have the inspiration to train.

29 years old - I discovered the Disney Princess Half Marathon....
Are you kidding me? Did they create this race for people like me? I get to wear a running skirt and sparkles and a tiara and not look crazy?! AND It's at Disney World?! AND I GET TO RUN THROUGH CINDERELLA'S CASTLE?! Sign me up!

So, now I am training for this half marathon and I have worked up to running 5 miles so far. When I first started training, I couldn't even run a whole mile. I looked at my training schedule (that my awesome coach husband created for me) and saw that I should be running 5 miles by November. I thought that once I could run 5 miles, I would officially be a "runner". It's still hard to call myself that. I need to remember the quote above. I am a runner because I run.

I still have a long way to go, but I am proud of myself. It is so fun to see myself improving and getting better at something. It goes against all laws of my nature to get myself out there and run. I am not an athlete by any means. I just want to exercise and be healthy (and get a tiara medal).

I am not really concerned with how long it takes me to finish the Princess Half Marathon. I just want to run across that finish line. Ideally, I want to run the whole race without having to walk. I cannot wait!

I am a runner because I say I am.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dominican Vacation

After our time of ministry, we ended our trip with a little family vacation. The Dominican beaches are so beautiful. I'm a little spoiled by them actually! Sam and I laugh all the time and say, "You know people come here for their honeymoon, right? We do this every summer!"

I don't take it for granted that we get to vacation in the Carribean. I am so thankful that we are able to do it! 

We spent some much-needed family time together. We were completely unplugged from the world around us. It was just us, the turquoise ocean, unlimited fruity drinks, and amazing food!

This resort was great! Sam and I love having a variety of restaurants and food choices and this one did not disappoint. We had Mexican... delicioso!

Japanese Hibachi grill & sushi. Isaac loved the sushi. He ate it better than he ate the whole time in the DR! So funny!

We also had Italian and "American"/Steakhouse food. Everything was so good.

We loved watching the show every night. It's definitely put together for tourists, but it's very entertaining and usually hilarious!

We loved our time in the Dominican. Sam has passed his love for this country onto a little four-year-old boy. Michael cried the night we got home saying that he missed it. It was heartbreaking to see him so sad, but Sam also felt a little joyful knowing that his son is just like him.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Doing Ministry Together is Sweet

We took both boys with us to the Dominican Republic this year. This was Michael's second time and Isaac's first trip. We flew out on Michael's fourth birthday - July 9 - and met Sam at the airport. He had just finished the basketball mission trip and was ready to dive into another one. This trip was our family trip - Sam's parents, his uncle, three cousins, a family friend, me, and the kids. Also, some great friends of ours from Indiana joined us. There were 15 of us in all!
A roof-view from the church
We partnered with our pastor and friend, Quina. She is amazing! She oversees four churches and constantly has a heart for ministry. Whoever needs help, she is there to offer it. She also cooks amazing food for our team while we are there! Yum! I'm craving some of her rice and beans now.

Sam and Dan (he's from Indiana)
We started off each morning with VBS for the Dominican kids. We taught Bible stories, sang songs, played games, and did a craft. Our theme for the week was how God is our helper. We told the stories of David and Goliath and Daniel in the lions' den. I loved seeing the kids in our family interact with the Dominican kids. They used what little Spanish they knew to communicate, but it didn't even matter. Smiles and love are universal and they shared God's love without reservation!
Michael playing one of the VBS games - pass the baseball glove!
Michael helped teach the Bible stories and songs. His favorite part was playing a sheep when we acted out David and Goliath. He was so proud of his little acting moment. Michael became great buddies with David, the son of our friends from Indiana. They were partners in ministry! Every morning, they would sit outside and watch the motorcycles and people-watch. 

Isaac did great, but had some rough moments. He was a little timid with the new people he was meeting. He also needed a nap during VBS every day. Thankfully there was a bedroom with a fan at the church! It was hot and it wore him out. Here's how our mornings looked....

Isaac also made a friend. Her name is Cristina. She was Isaac's little caretaker during our trip. She loved him and she loved taking care of him. Isaac had many moments where he would get frustrated with her because she wasn't his mommy, but he also had some very sweet moments playing with her!

Our afternoons consisted of hanging out and loving on the Dominicans. We played sports, shared some popsicles, and just shared life.

Our trip was good. It was definitely uncomfortable at times and was not easy with small children. But it was so rewarding and good for our spirits. Our kids had great attitudes and were so flexible. I love that they can experience other cultures and be thrown out of their comfort zone so early in their life. We are so blessed and I am thankful that we have the opportunity to bless our friends in the DR. They end up blessing us so much. The Dominicans are so loving and hospitable!

So, I will leave you with this....
One of the churches that we visited is Haitian. We have a special love for this church, the pastor, and for the people there. The children performed the song "Yes, Yes, Lord" in Creole, the Haitian language. It was beautiful.

Dios le bendiga! (Google that!)

*Disclaimer: I stole most of these pictures from other people - Dan, Monte, Marcia... gracias!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Basketball Mission Trip

The Dominican Republic is a country that is close to our hearts. Sam has been there many many times and I have joined him on several trips. Sam has had two dreams when it comes to mission trips in the DR- He wanted to facilitate a basketball mission trip as well as a family mission trip. Both of his dreams came true this summer.

Sam worked with some friends of ours from Indiana. They taught mini-clinics for young Dominican boys as well as played in basketball tournaments with the Dominican semi-pro teams. They were able to share the love of Christ all while playing sports! I just love that these "cool American guys" were able to demonstrate how it looks to be a man of God - a man of courage, integrity, and honor.

The pastor that we partner with, Quina, was at all the games to cheer for her boys. She even wore her Bethel t-shirt to show her support! She's the lady in the blue t-shirt...

This trip was so life-giving to Sam. He was in a place that he loves dearly, playing a sport that he loves, and sharing about a God that he lives for. It's pretty amazing how everything came together. Hopefully this trip will happen again.

After the basketball/mens trip was over, the kids and I boarded a plane with Sam's parents to join him in ministry.... Stay tuned for the next post!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Celebrating being FOUR and the FOURTH!

Happy Fourth of July!!

We spent this past week with my dad at his cabin. We started by enjoying the Independence Day parade in the town of Blue Ridge, followed by an incredible fireworks show that night. Isaac was too young last year to remember the fireworks from last year, so it was entertaining to watch him. Michael loved them, as usual, and watched through his "binoculars". Blue Ridge always does a nice job on the Fourth of July!

A few days later -on the actual fourth- We celebrated Michael's birthday a little early with G-Daddy and Mimi. This little man is going to be FOUR in just a few days. By the way, the picture on the top right is Michael's face when the parade ended. He was a little disappointed! He loves parades.... and the candy that they throw at him.

We enjoyed the rest of the week in the mountains just relaxing, taking it easy, drinking Yoo-Hoo, throwing rocks, and gem mining. Michael has never mined for gems before. He loved it. He thought he was looking for "treasure" like a pirate. We found lots of good treasures for sure! Isaac loved watching his brother have so much fun. He'll get to find treasures of his own next time.

We enjoyed our time in the mountains. It's nice to slow down and be away from home and do fun things with Grandparents. We didn't escape the heat though - it got up to 106 degrees! That's when you head in and drink a Yoo-Hoo....

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Fun

Summers in Georgia are so hot..... I mean, we rarely go outside if there isn't a water source. So, to remedy that we use our little baby pool quite often. The boys love to splash and play in the water and I enjoy watching them have so much fun. Every once-in-a-while, we'll go to the splash park in town or to a bigger pool, but we are satisfied playing in the driveway most days!

 Later in the evenings, the lightning bugs come out to put on a show for us. We love finding them and anticipating where we will see their glow next. One special night, we caught a few in a jar so we could get a closer look...

 I love the laid-back feeling that summer brings. I love the simple things - like swimming in a plastic pool and catching lightning bugs in a Mason jar. So thankful for moments like that with my family. It truly is a gift.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Fathers Day!

Sam and I are both blessed with wonderful fathers. I have said this before, but I love that my boys have awesome Grandpas in their lives. They let my boys have fun being boys. They go fishing & gem mining. They take trips to McDonalds & Burger King. They let them eat hotcakes, moonpies, and drink YooHoo. They buy them suckers whenever there is a concession stand available. Obviously, the boys love their Grandpa and G-Daddy... Who wouldn't? I am so thankful that our dads are awesome! We wouldn't be the people we are today without them.

Our boys are just as blessed as we are with such a great Daddy. I can spend all day with Michael and Isaac and have great times, but nothing compares to when Daddy walks through the door. He's more fun and lets them branch out a little more than this cautious Mommy does. Sam loves spending time with his boys and doing "boy things" like shooting basketballs and wrestling on the floor. He's teaching our boys how to be brave and courageous and how to be men of God. He's also teaching them how to jump off of couches and run fast. :) I love watching the boys play together. It's such a heart-warming moment.

For Fathers Day, we celebrated with my dad by going to dinner with the whole family. It's always nice to get my brother and I and our families together. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures of the event. What? Nevertheless, we enjoyed spending time with him. Thank you for everything, Dad. You're the best! :)

Earlier in the day, we took Sam's family and some friends of ours out on the lake. We used to go on the lake every day when we had our boat. Now, it's a special treat when we get some time on the water. We soak up every minute and go big. We brought the wakeboards, the tube, and the slalom ski. We really had a great time.
Michael rode the tube with Grandpa and even practiced his rope-holding skills for future wakeboard runs.

Grandpa slalom skiied and Sam was able to wakeboard. I'm glad Sam and his Dad got a day that they were able to enjoy! Happy Fathers Day!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Racing with Daddy

Every year, our town has a 5K on Fathers Day weekend. We are making it an annual tradition for our family. So far, Michael is the only one who has participated, but we are hoping to all run together in the future. Michael ran the Fun Run Mile for the first time last year (when he was two). This kid loves to run and he loves to be fast. We made sure to eat a good dinner the night before and get a good night's sleep so that he would have lots of energy!

Michael woke up early with a great attitude. He put on his Superman shirt for some motivation. He laced up his running shoes....
Got his racing number....
And he ran fast!

It was a challenge for him. He wanted to quit. He wanted to walk. He was fighting back tears as he finished. But, he finished!! Yay! He even got a medal as a reward for his hard work. That was one proud 3-year-old.

We enjoyed watching the 5K as Michael caught his breath, rested, ate some snacks, and debriefed with Grandpa.
We are so proud of our little runner. I could learn a lot from his perseverance. I got a little emotional thinking about the many races in his future!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mother-Son Date Knight

I have seen Chick-fil-a's Daddy-Daughter date nights numerous times over the last several years and have always mentioned that I wish they would do one for Mothers and Sons. Well, my thoughts were heard and this year they had a Mother-Son Date Knight! I was so excited when I started seeing the advertisements. Maybe this wasn't the first year they have done this, but it was the first year I noticed!
We made our reservation weeks in advance and I got Michael excited to take me on a date! He even wore his "handsome shirt" for me! Chick-fil-a did it up big. I am always so impressed with that company. We were welcomed by a real knight in shining armor and a cow knight. We had our picture taken (and they printed it and gave it to us!) and then we were seated in the restaurant by the King and Queen's court.
It wasn't a normal day at Chick-fil-a. Our orders were taken by the waiter and he brought our food to us. There was a man making balloon swords for the boys and balloon flowers for the moms. There were questions on the table to act as conversation starters for mothers and sons. They were for older kids, but we had fun talking about how to be a gentleman and how to be courageous like a knight. Michael loved it! 

Isaac loved it too! He got his first kids meal on this night. The grilled nuggets and applesauce were just what he wanted!

We completed the night with some ice cream. I am so glad that I got a date night with my boys. I look forward to many more of these. I pray that they will grow to learn how to treat a lady with respect, to use good manners, and to act like gentlemen. I will gladly let them practice with me! :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Isaac Turns "Uno"!

For Isaac's first birthday party, we went with an "UNO" theme. I thought it was quite appropriate since we are teaching our kids Spanish (and it's just cute!).
 Our typical party food - deli sandwiches (and my Dad's famous pimento cheese sandwiches), fruit, chips...
 Kid food - animal crackers and applesauce...
 The first cake I have ever made...ever!! An uno card!
I didn't get Isaac's picture with many people, but I did get a few of him with my dad. I love this picture! Isaac has such a sweet face. You can get a good look at his Uno shirt, too! :)
 We enjoy having our childrens' parties at a local park on the lake. This is where the kids usually end up... throwing rocks into the lake and getting Georgia red clay on their shoes!
 Michael loved being a big brother at the party. He was so proud of his one-year-old buddy. When Isaac needed help opening presents, Michael was right there! Of course he had to have a shirt to match the party theme....
 And here's the birthday boy after enjoying his cupcake! Someone has a sweet tooth like his mama!
Isaac loved being the center of attention! He is surrounded by many people that love him. He is one blessed boy!

On another note... I did learn a lesson at this party. I tried to be responsible for taking the pictures myself and missed out on so many opportunities. We didn't even get a family picture at the party! However, both of Isaac's Grandmas are so nice for taking pictures and letting me steal them! Thank you!