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Monday, May 26, 2014

Ogden Marathon

Approximately 15 years ago I ran my first marathon, Top of Utah in Logan.  The plan for the marathon was a "one and done", check it off my bucket list and move along with life.  Funny thing is, I haven't been able to get it out of my blood. This lead me to the starting line of Ogden Marathon, 2014, it would be my 17th marathon but I felt less prepared than I had for any other marathon and was actually quite nervous.  When I signed up for the lottery (kind of hoping I wouldn't get in), I realized that Ruby would only be 7 months old at the time of the race but thought it would be plenty of time since I ran St. George when Luke was 5 months old and it wasn't too bad.  Unfortunately, two babies in two years has really put a lot of stress on my body and it has been much tougher to get back to running - especially distance - than I had expected.  My training runs were tough and slow but I just kept reminding myself how fortunate I was to even be capable of the training.  Tim was super supportive, encouraging my progress, and being willing to watch the babies during my very long training runs.  As race day got closer, I got more and more nervous.  However, I just kept reminding myself that I knew I could go the distance and that there was no pressure to hit a certain time.  So, Friday morning we packed up and headed to Ogden.  It has always taken me a long time to pack for a marathon, but this time packing for a marathon, and the two babies, it may have taken me longer than the entire race.
We met up with my parents and Sean at the expo.  I was a little out of my element and feel like I missed half of the booths, but we both picked up our shirts and packets and made it out in time for dinner.  Erika had made reservations for us to eat at Pizza Pie Cafe where she works so we ate, stopped to pick up last minute drinks and headed to the hotel.  My parents were super sweet and offered to have the babies sleep in their room.  I resisted because I was worried that they wouldn't sleep well.  Little did I know.  They convinced me they wanted a sleepover and Sean, Tim and I went off to sleep in peace.  We didn't find out until after the race that Luke was up puking all night.  My poor parents were dealing with vomit, changing sheets, giving baths, and Ruby up and playing throughout the night.  Talk about amazing grandparents.

So, on to the race.  We got up super early and headed out.  Tim went to a separate set of buses for the half marathon and Sean and I got on the bus to go up the canyon.   We arrived at the staging area with about an hour and a half before the race but the time went quickly -a lot of time in the bathroom lines and chatting with friends, old and new.  Part of me could hardly believe I was at the starting line of another marathon.

 Before I knew it, the gun went off and it was finally time to run.  My plan was to "race my pace", try to just run according to how I felt.  I started off feeling fantastic and felt so blessed to be a part of the whole event.  I was running faster than most of my training runs but the effort felt pretty good.  This lasted for about the first 10-12 miles.  From there I started to feel a little more tired and my pace slowed by about a minute per mile.  A marathon gives you a lot of time to think, I reflected on how much has changed for me since my first marathon and what my goals are for the future. I also thought a lot about how nice it would be to have a cold coke.  It was a hot day and as I got more dehydrated I started to get quite nauseated.  Most of the aid stations had oranges so I tried to eat a few of those in addition to lots of gatorade and water.  The further I went, the happier I was with my progress, but that came with a price of pain and I really started to hurt. Sean has been running fast and his plan was to come back and find me for the last few miles.  He called and checked on my progress and ended up meeting me a little after mile 23.  It is always nice to have someone run you in but I was especially grateful in this race.  I wasn't in a condition to be pushed but it was just nice to have someone to talk and listen to me whine.  Erika and Clark jumped in with me for the home stretch, they were so sweet and encouraging the I found the energy for a small kick.  

Crossing the finish line felt like such an accomplishment.  I'm so grateful that despite all the changes in priorities, my time, my body, etc, I can still do the things I love.  And the ice cold coke at the end, never tasted better!  My time was a 5:10, not fast, but about 20 minutes faster than my expected/goal time.

He is and has always been one of my biggest supporters,
So fun to share another marathon with Sean.

Tim ran a fantastic half marathon,
Took care of the sick babies,
Then was at the finish line to cheer and welcome me home.

It took a village of support to get me through this marathon
And I couldn't be more grateful and appreciative.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

We had a fun few days celebrating Mother's Day this year.  Saturday night we met the big kids at Siegfried's Deli in Salt Lake for a German meal.  It has been a long time since we have taken the time to make the meal ourselves.  Siegfried's was good, but we all agreed that our homemade is actually better.  Over the years we have each figured out a part of it that we do best.  The babies were kind of wild, but it was fun to be together.  Erika (and the boys)  brought some really sweet gifts for me - I left feeling really great.

Selife with the scarf they gave me.
 Sunday morning we slept in, then Tim got up and made us all breakfast.  He and the babies had bought me some great gifts, including chocolate covered strawberries.  Since they are fruit, we decided they went great with our omelettes.  Luke definitely liked a little strawberry with his chocolate.

Another selfie, this one to show the great necklace and earrings I got,
They are blown glass, one of my favorites.

Sunday afternoon we went to my parent's house to celebrate.  I definitely feel so blessed to have such a great mother who continues to love and support me and now my growing family.

My mom has really wanted a family picture, but can't seem to get everyone here at the same time.  Craig was here last Sunday so my mom had us all pose, with room on the porch for Sean.  Her plan is to take a pic of Sean and then have Jami photoshop the two together.  I know that Jami has amazing skills but I'm not sure how that is going to turn out - stay tuned.

Tim's parents had been out of town but stopped by so we could celebrate together.  I felt very blessed to have a day to remind me how lucky I am to be a mother, as well as to celebrate the women who have and continue to mean so much in our lives.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ruby Seven Months

Such a big miracle in such a little girl.....

This little girl continues to amaze and delight us.  She is truly the most pleasant baby.  She laughs a lot, sometimes when prompted and sometimes she just giggles on her own - usually at something Luke is doing.   We have started calling her our little jumping bean because she is so wiggly and squirms around whenever there is something that has caught her attention.  She has gorilla arms like Luke and often surprises us with what she can reach - oops.  She is getting much better at sitting up and rolling over, at least one way.  She hasn't quite mastered rolling from belly to back.  A few nights ago I heard her crying shortly after putting her to bed.  I went to check on her and found her stuck on her belly, she was tightly swaddled but had still managed to get turned over and was not happy about it.
Ruby loves to play with toys - rattles, teethers, etc.  She has a really strong grasp and has become very interested in the sounds and textures of different toys.  She doesn't love it when Luke steals her toys which unfortunately is really often.  Any toy is much more interesting if sister has it.  Speaking of big brother, he still loves the girl (baby as he calls her) but has started to have some jealousy issues.  He doesn't like to share and a few times has kicked or hit her.  The poor girl, she just looks so shocked like she can't figure out why he wouldn't adore her.
At the beginning of the month she had a doctor's visit and had another set of shots.  She tolerated it quite well and didn't seem to have any issues with fever or even being cranky.  At that visit she weighed 16.3 pounds. It seems like overnight she has grown out of a lot of her clothes, luckily the change of seasons has made it a good time to rotate her clothes.
A few other details.  Ruby still drools a lot, made worse by her constant spitting.  She has discovered her feet and absolutely loves rolling around in a classic "happy baby" pose.  Recently she has started doing a little fake cough.  When it catches your attention she just laughs.  We have started calling her "Ruby Rube" a lot, that and "sister" seem to be the most common nicknames.

We had a few visits from Grandma and Grandpa Whitesides
This month which Ruby loved.

She is already becoming a pro in the double jogger

Baby girl went swimming for the first time.
The baby bikini is adorable but she is going to need a suit
With a lot more coverage to protect that white skin.

First trip to St. George

First Easter

The girl is almost too big for her bath.

Had to include this one because it is just so cute.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Girl You Left Behind

I recently finished listening to The Girl You Left Behind and can't stop thinking about how much I enjoyed it.  The characters were fabulous and I loved the historical background to a really interesting story/dilemma.  The ending completely surprised me, in the best way possible.  In fact, it was so good that I "rewound" and listened to the last hour a second time.  I found this review for The Washington Times and loved the synopsis and commentary.  Grade for The Girl You Left Behind, A

From John Greenya: 
Had I known that Jojo Moyes had twice won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, “The Girl You Left Behind” would quickly have become the book I left behind — which would have been a big mistake. What the author has written is not a love story within a historical setting, but an excellent historical novel that is also a moving love story. Excuse me, make that love stories. The book opens in 1916, the midpoint of World War I. The small French town of Peronne — which actually exists, then and now — is occupied by the Germans, whose soldiers have taken everything worth taking, all the valuables and, of course, all the decent food. Even though the townspeople are starving, the Germans want more from them.
The commandant informs Sophie Lefevre that every Monday night she must feed his soldiers in her family’s small restaurant, Le Coq Rouge. Sophie is in no position to object or to resist — her beloved husband Edouard, a gifted painter, is, like all the adult males of Peronne, in the French army, fighting the Germans in some unknown part of the country, though odds are he is a prisoner of war. The commandant tells Sophie that he will provide the food, and she and her sister will cook and serve it (and the wine) with appropriate hospitality.
It’s the last requirement that earns Sophie the ill will of her own townspeople. She has already proven her mettle by standing up to and staring down the Germans in a magnificent opening scene, which I will not reveal here. Yet some of her neighbors expect ongoing heroism.
That theme, once established, remains a leitmotif throughout the World War I sections of the novel, as does the existence of a beautiful painting of Sophie done by Edouard when they were falling in love. The commandant, no barbarian (at least not culturally) covets the painting, and, eventually, Sophie, in equal measure. However, just when Sophie is taken by the Germans and whisked away in the back of a truck to an unknown fate, and the plot has thickened almost to the point of congealing, the author whisks us away (reluctantly, in the case of this reader, and deposits us in London in 2006).
The painting of the book’s title now hangs in the bedroom of Liv Halston, a 33-year-old Londoner who, like Sophie before her, has just lost her husband. The difference is that when we left Sophie, her Edouard was, presumably, still alive, whereas David Halston, Liv’s husband, a brilliant young architect with an even more brilliant future, has died, very undramatically, in bed at home at age 36.
As Liv tells someone, late in the book, “‘Can you imagine you slept through the person you love most dying next to you? Knowing that there might have been something you could have done to help him? To save him?’”
The torch Liv carries for her husband, who had bought “The Girl You Left Behind” for her on their honeymoon, burns very brightly for very long, and then, when it appears she is about to slip through the safety net of her meager social life, she meets another man and falls for him.
Paul is a professional art-theft investigator, and the company he co-owns specializes in restoring European art stolen by the Germans (in both world wars) to the heirs of their rightful owners. In an intimate scene (that strained my credulity more than a bit) he sees “The Girl” on Liv’s bedroom wall and recognizes it as a painting his firm has been hired to find. From that point on, the novel speeds to its resolution, but not before going back in time to pick up, and finish, the Sophie-Edouard story, and then returns to Liv-Paul in modern-day London. It is to author Jojo Moyes’ great credit that she accomplishes this difficult task not just with aplomb, but with a compassionate conclusion that is entirely plausible.
This is a novel with many tangents, little streams flowing off the main body of water in the way of so many tributaries. It’s a bit like reading a family tree and learning how every one of the main family members fared in life. The secondary characters are all believable and marvelously well-drawn. Here I think immediately of the commandant, but also of Sophie’s siblings, her heroic sister, her doubting Thomas of a younger brother and one fellow resident of Peronne in particular.
In the 21st-century London sections, there’s Mo, a younger hippie-type who befriends Liv, and vice versa, as well as Paul’s partner, a woman with a heart of gold bullion — all in all a superb cast and an excellent story. There’s even a fast-moving court scene sequence, which, being set in Great Britain with wigs and all, provides an interesting difference for readers more familiar with American legal thrillers.
By the end, “The Girl You Left Behind” had become not just a picture-perfect historical novel, but also a true mystery-thriller. And I no longer cared how many romance novels Ms. Moyes had written.