It’s almost time to runDisney again!


In just three weeks, WE’LL BE AT DISNEY WORLD! I might be just a tiny bit excited. I get to see my parents for the first time since Easter. I get to see my brother, his wife, and their boys for the first time since Easter…it’s the first time my husband will meet our sweet nephew Henry, and he hasn’t seen any of the others since last December! Oh, and it will be Levi and Henry’s first time at Disney World. I’m so glad I get to be there.

In addition to all the normal planning and excitement that goes into a Disney vacation, I’m also preparing to run the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Some of you may remember that I ran a half marathon with pretty much no training in September…and PR’ed. So weird. I have been running more since then, but I completely ditched the Jeff Galloway training plans. I’ve been alternating a pretty laid-back week of running with a more intense week that includes a long run. I ran 13.1 two weeks ago – on a treadmill, because the weather was horrible that day. I had a lot of pain in my quads for several days after that. I’m blaming that on the treadmill. Blech. It didn’t make me very excited about winter coming.

Anyway, I’ve got one last long run planned for next week, and that will be it until race day! I can hardly believe it’s this close. Bib numbers and corrals have already been assigned for race day. I’ll be wearing #4388, which puts me in corral F. I’ll be right in the middle of the pack, exactly where I am most comfortable. :)

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Is my costume ready? Of course not! I completely forgot to add it in my big list of costumes the other day. I decided to run as Cruella DeVille. I have most of the components sitting around, ready to go. I’ve got my sparkle skirt, my running shoes (which I thought were red when I ordered them, but they’re pink), my tank top, and my running sleeves. The tank top needs a little dalmatian embellishment, and I’d like to find some big, green earrings like hers, too. I’ll skip the cigarette.

I had grand intentions of attempting to run in a wig for this. I even bought one, but the more I think about it, the more it scares me. If my head is overheating, I will lose my mind, and will probably end up throwing the wig away. I can’t really bear the thought of just tossing a $30 wig, so I’m trying to come up with a new plan.

I think that I will either a) wear two braids, or b) wear some crazy, teased-out pigtails. Whichever of those I choose, I’ll spray one half black and the other half white. What would Cruella do? Braids or pigtails? I really do need help deciding, if anyone wants to throw their two cents into the pot.

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Catching up…part two…

I know you’ve just been sitting around for the last two days, wondering what else could possibly be keeping me so busy that I’m not updating my blog. I’m back to add to the list, and ease your curiosity. (ha!)


This year, Aidan has chosen to dress as a Minecraft skeleton, and Neely is going as Anna from Frozen…with the request that I dress up with her, as Elsa. She comes by it honestly. I love a good group costume.

After many stops and restarts, I finally finished the Anna costume last week.

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The skeleton is still a work in progress. I’ve got the body/sweat suit done. It’s the stinking box head that I need to buckle down and finish. I know it won’t even take that long. I’m not sure why I haven’t motivated myself to get it done yet. Poor Aidan. This will probably be the costume that isn’t ready until October 30th. At 11:59pm.

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The Elsa dress is nowhere near finished. I got the bodice sewn together, three weeks ago, and when it came time to attach the skirt, I realized I’d cut a piece out with the wrong side of the pattern on the fold. No problem, I’ll just go get more fabric, right? Wrong. I bought the last of the bolt. I waited a week to see if our Joann’s would restock it, and they didn’t. They can’t ever tell you if they’re going to get more of something, either. It’s ridiculous. So I ordered more online. One week later, my order is canceled, BECAUSE IT IS OUT OF STOCK ONLINE!!! I checked my local store again. Still nothing, and there wasn’t anything left in the same color to make due. My super wonderful fantastic mother saved my butt. She went to her Joann’s, in Tennessee, found something in the same color, and shipped it to me. It arrived yesterday, so I need to get back in gear on this dress. At least all the other material I bought and already cut out won’t be going to waste, the way I was afraid it would be.

I’m a bit afraid to share the last costume I’m working on. This one is for me, too. We’re attending a Halloween-themed event on November 1st, and I’m weird. I don’t want to use my Halloween costume for it. This dress is a major work in progress.


Does anybody have a guess? I may not share it unless it turns out. We shall see…


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I’ve got some catching up to do!

Time has been getting away from me lately. Last week, I sat down and started to write a big post about what’s been keeping me busy, but it was extremely disjointed, not to mention crazy long. I’ve decided to break it down into small bites throughout the week. You may start reading and think, “Who cares?” And that’s fine. Come back another day. ;)

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To begin with, I’m still getting over the end of summer and the kids starting school. Even though I’m not the one going day after day, I still feel busier. I have to be out of bed before everyone else. I’m packing lunches. I’m making sure everyone is awake in enough time to eat, get dressed, fight in the bathroom, etc. I haul my kids to school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. I unpack (often mostly untouched) lunch boxes. I empty backpacks and make sure homework is done. I help practice spelling words (painful), and I sign behavior charts. Daily.

Sometimes, I get to throw in PTA meetings and trips to the school to volunteer. We’ll be having Halloween parties soon, and a Book Fair, and parent-teacher conferences, and Turkey Bingo, and Popcorn Day…EEEEEK!

This is not even the only place I volunteer. I also have to, you know, find time to do the work I’m being paid for. I feel like I’m still in the adjustment period, even though we’re two months into the school year. By the time I learn how to balance everything just so, it’ll be time for summer break (which I’m totally cool with – I love summer break!).

Anyway, there’s reason #1 that I’ve been away from the blog for a while. I’ll come back with reason #2 another day. Small doses, people. This is all I can handle right now.

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Neely’s Frozen Birthday

My baby girl turned 6 this week. We had her Frozen birthday party last weekend, mainly because I thought it’d be a gigantic pain to make her wait until after her actual birthday to celebrate.

So you know, here I am, almost one week later, finally getting around to sharing the party pics.

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Me & my girl. She’s a kindergartener. She’s 6. I don’t know how much more of this growing up business I can take. This is my baby!

There were decorations. It was difficult, hanging fake snowflakes everywhere, knowing that I will soon be looking at real ones outside. The snowflakes and garland are from CSarber on Etsy. I’m sure if you have a Cricut or similar crafty device, you could make these on your own.


There was food. I found these adorable printable tent cards and water bottle on Etsy as well, by CE Marie Prints. We kept all the food Frozen themed, of course. The sandwiches and chips are pretty self-explanatory. The snow balls are just large marshmallows, dipped first in melted white chocolate, then in sugar sanding sprinkles. Frozen Waters punch? I found a lot of weird recipes for blue punch in my online searches. I ended up using one big jug of blue Hawaiian punch, one two-liter of Sprite, and I added scoops of vanilla ice cream to the top. I think it turned out well. The kids enjoyed it. :)

Do you want to see the birthday cake better?

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OK. I was having fits over this one initially. I’ve never tried to ice a square cake before. It isn’t easy. Thankfully, I had a lot of little extras to hide my lack of skill, and the critic that matters? Well, she’s six, and she really just cares that Anna & Elsa are on her cake. Olaf was an added bonus.

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This is the moment you know you’ve pulled it off. When you get a grin like this out of your kiddo. She had a great time celebrating with all her friends.

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We had almost every little one on the block, plus a few extras, crammed around our kitchen table. They’re not all in this picture. I think there were 16! It was one of the craziest things we’ve done in this house to date, but it was wonderful. At the end of the day, we had one happy little girl.

Happy birthday, Neely Bug! You are going to be one super six-year-old!


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Bomber Run Recap

I ran a half marathon yesterday. I know. What?!

My friend and I signed up to run ONE WEEK AGO. Because we are crazy people. The longest training run I’ve accomplished to this point was 6.5 miles, so you know, why not double it?

I’ll be honest. It took me all week to get my brains in check. Mentally, I did a lot of freaking out. What if I hurt myself? What if I die? What if I have to crawl across the finish line? On Thursday, I finally got myself in check. I have run this distance before. Yes, it’s been a while, but I’ve been running and cross training pretty consistently for the last few months. I should be in fair shape to pull this off. Especially since I’m not trying to win, and I’m not ashamed to walk a little.

I got all my gear ready that night, so all I had to do on Friday morning was get dressed, feed the little ones, and pack them off to school. Well, mostly that was all. We had a little incident where my boy scraped up his face pretty badly in a skateboard accident on Thursday night. Yesterday morning when he got out of bed, his eye was swollen shut. I got a little panicky, knowing I’d need a little extra time to go talk to his teacher about why he can’t see out of one eye before school and getting myself to the starting line. Regardless, everyone made it where they needed to be on time. Sometimes, I like to worry myself for no good reason.

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Here we are – before, during, and after the half marathon that neither of us trained for. The Bomber Run was a fairly small event. We were told there would be 300 runners, but I don’t think that many actually showed up. I’m used to being a middle-of-the-pack runner, but when you’re running a race on a military base, the game changes. We were squarely in the back from pretty much the very beginning. We maintained a steady pace the entire time (no walking!), and by the end, we started to pass people who’d burned out early.

Our finish time? 2:21:21. Without training. Y’all, I am ecstatic. As far as chip-timed races go, this is a PR for me. I finished the Princess Half at 2:26, and that was my best time to date. I fully expected Courtney to be dragging me across the finish line at 2:45. But we did awesome! Especially considering it was our first time running together. I really felt like we were evenly matched in pace, and I’m extra glad there was no judgment coming when I needed to dance or sing along to the iPod to make it through the next mile…because she was doing it, too. ;)

Here’s the catch, though. I just ran a half marathon without training, and not only did I live to tell the tale, but I BEAT MY OWN BEST TIME! I’m traveling for my next half marathon in two months. “The Plan” had me up to 9.5 next week. I’m really tempted to ditch “the plan.” I just ran 13.1. Maybe I should just do a long 10-ish mile run every other week until the race and call it good. My goal, as usual, is to finish in the upright position and to have fun, because, hey, it’s Disney World!

What would you do? Stick with the plan? Wing it with mostly maintenance runs and a few long runs thrown in for good measure?

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It’s runDisney costume time again!

The countdown is on! I’ll be runningDisney at the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in just 64 days, so you know what that means…it’s time to start creating my costume.

I have changed my mind eleven bazillion times for this one. First, I wanted to run as Anna from Frozen. 

Anna Running Costume

Then, I wanted to run as Olaf from Frozen.

And now? Well, I’ve decided that since by November, I will actually BE frozen, I want to dress up as something other than a snowman, or an ice queen’s little sister.

I’ve scoured the Internet for ideas, and I’m down to two favorites…


Option #1


Option #2

Option #2

I am definitely leaning toward one over the other, but….what do you think? Cruella or Mary?


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Back to School 2014

I have really big kids now. I blinked my eyes, and suddenly I’m packing lunches and dropping everybody off at the elementary school in the morning. The first day of school was a little rocky for me, but otherwise, it’s been smooth sailing so far.

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Here we are, taking the obligatory first day pics in the front yard. I think they secretly love it. Why else would they have been ready for school 45 minutes early???

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My big kindergarten girl. I just… that’s my baby… I still can’t wrap my brain around it.

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And this guy? This guy is a third grader! What the…why the…I’m not old enough to have a third grader, am I? (Try not to judge me for only having one clean paint stick. That blue sure does look nice in the living room.)

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I just hope their teachers are prepared for some shenanigans. Goofballs, the both of ‘em.


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Last-Time Kindergarten Mom

It seems that much of the country goes “back to school” long before us. Weeks ago, my Facebook feed was inundated with first day pics, pretty Pinterest-inspired teacher gifts,  and this blog post was shared several times over.

It was lovely, very well-written, and I may have shed a tear or twenty. But…BUT…what about me?

This is not my first time at the rodeo. I dropped my first-born off at kindergarten three years ago, and it was terrible. He was so little. (Think I’m kidding? I had to buy size 3 pants for his school uniforms.) He was so scared – when we told him he’d be staying at school all day, he took that completely literally. The poor little guy thought he’d never get to play with his toys or sleep in his bed again. I’m so thankful we figured out the problem before he cried himself to sleep the night before school started. Even the dog stood staring out the front window all day long, trying to figure out where his boy had gone.

Even though I left a piece of my heart at the elementary school that day, I still got to bring another little piece back home with me. I still had a little companion to take care of, to take shopping, to feed, to pick up after, and to talk to.

School starts in just two days, and this time, I’m dropping my last baby off at kindergarten. And this, my friends, THIS is already harder.

I’ve put a brave face on it, talking about how great it will be to go grocery shopping alone, how wonderful it will be that I can clean the house without a tiny tornado destroying everything right behind me, how much I will be able to accomplish in those six blissful hours that I will be alone every day.

But if I’m honest, it’s me who is completely terrified this time. I’m closing the door on a big chapter in my life. Yes, life with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers is challenging, but it’s all I’ve known for the last eight years. And I have loved it. Preschoolers are just about my favorite thing in this whole world. Short of a big OOPS!, I will never hold a baby of my own again, and this is the last time I’ll walk one to their first day of kindergarten.

I’m not as worried about my little one this time around. Kindergarten teachers are special people, y’all. I am pretty sure God hand-picks them. I know my girl will be well cared for. And she’s ready. Boy, is she ready. I gave her a taste of freedom this summer – letting her run and play outside without hovering over her every move. She has loved every minute of it. It’s bittersweet, seeing that she doesn’t really need me all the time anymore.

I’m anxious and excited to see what this next chapter of motherhood is like and how having TWO elementary school kids looks at our house. But if you see me on Wednesday, it’s probably best to silently give me a hug or pass me a tissue. I can already tell you how I’ll be doing, and it won’t be pretty.

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North Dakota Sunflowers

A little something a didn’t know about before I moved to North Dakota? The sunflowers. There are fields and fields of them all around us in this part of the state. I can’t actually tell you about everywhere else, as I haven’t left Minot since June. But here, you can’t drive anywhere without seeing them right now. They are beautiful.

I mean, I knew sunflowers are beautiful. I’ve seen a few of them here and there in my lifetime, but I had no idea how incredible it is to see an entire field of them. The kids and I finally went out and find some to take photos of yesterday. When we started out, I was afraid we wouldn’t have much luck. The first few fields we visited, the flowers were already looking droopy and sad.

Not to worry. We found some good sunflowers before it all was said and done.


Oh, look! There’s an adorable little girl out there, too!

Frolicking in sunflowers isn’t for you if you are afraid of bees. They’re everywhere!


There are no pictures of the boy. He didn’t want to get out of the car.


I’m glad I remembered to bring my LensBaby. This photo is my favorite. That isn’t a filter – the lens actually bends the light to make the image blurry. It’s so cool!

Now that we’ve seen the sunflowers up close and personal, my summer 2014 bucket list is complete. School, you may commence. In a week.

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Eleven Days of Summer

Ferris WheelSummer. It wasn’t that long ago that I sat in this very spot, wondering how on earth we’d fill such an expanse of time. Now, there are only eleven days left until school begins again.

We have had a good summer, filling our days by playing outside, riding bikes, making new friends, swimming (but not much, since we’ve had pretty mild weather), sharing picnics, eating LOTS of popsicles, traveling (a little), going to the fair, eating s’mores, enjoying fire pit evenings with friends, and many more “summer things” than I can list. Summer things are more special to us now, since so much of the year, we’re confined indoors doing winter things.

The beginning of school will soon usher in fall. Pumpkins and football will transition us into cold, snow, and wooly socks. Hot cocoa will replace our popsicles. Snow pants and sweaters will replace our shorts and swim suits. Sooner than I would like, if I’m honest.

For now, I have eleven days to cram full of wonderful summer things. We still need to find a field of sunflowers to frolic in. We may need to eat another box of popsicles, too.

And Ellen, just in case you’re reading…SPRINKLE!

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