Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Video & Recap

This is a long post ... there is a video link at the bottom that you can skip to if you'd like:).

The Army Ten  
A dream I always had, but never really thought I'd actually achieve. 
A dream I had almost forgotten about until a friend posted on FB in April that registration was open.
A dream that hills and 80+ temperatures almost crushed this summer.
A dream that seemed impossible to make without Richard's help at home or running the last month leading up to the race.
A dream that after one hour, twenty-one minutes and twenty-nine seconds is now a memory.

Our weekend

Richard flew into the ATL airport Thursday morning.  The girls and I picked him up then drove to Fayetteville, NC to see some sweet friends of ours (and best friend of Hanson Ellis).  We spent the night and most of the morning Friday in NC.  Although I was struck by how little voices have changed and now sound so much older, it was as if the three years that have passed were just moments.  So fun to be back in that town where Richard and I have left so many memories.  And so interesting to see how much my girls actually don't remember!  I wish we could have stayed so much longer ... so much I wanted to do and see and show the girls ... and oh how I wanted to visit with the Dailey family for just a little longer.  It was so nice to feel at home again.  The Dailey's are super and I just never want to leave there house when I'm there.  I love that family!  

Friday we drove to Virginia.  We had a dinner date with the McNeil family.  We met this family while living in Monterey, CA.  They kept Hanson Ellis while we were at the hospital having Parker. We left CA when Parker was four months old.  We have not seen them since.  Parker will be nine in January.  It has been a long time!  But despite the time that has passed, seeing Laura greet us at the door was wonderful and familiar and we were welcomed into their home like we were family.  It was wonderful to see them again and to visit and fellowship together.  Laura spoiled us with her cooking:) and they even volunteered to take the girls to church Sunday so that Richard could run in the race with me.  What a blessing that we were not expecting!  We are forever grateful!!

While we spent the night with the McNeil's Saturday, we actually drove down the road a bit and spent the night with the Little family Friday night.  Richard met Bobby and Sheila Little when he was a young 2LT at Fort Benning, GA.  The then LTC Little held a weekly Bible Study in his home for young Officers.  Richard has always held the Little's in high esteem.  As soon as I met them, I was smitten, too. They are the most amazing people we've ever met.  If you want to feel the JOY of being a Christian, spend five minutes with the Littles.  They are just incredible!  I only got a few minutes to visit with Sheila, as she was leaving to fly to Florida to attend to some Grandmother duties:), but Bobby and Christopher (their fifth child) took good care of us.  The girls adore Christopher and Grandfather Bobby:).  Christopher played with the girls, performed a mini skit for us and Bobby cooked for us and let Patterson help with making cookies.  We always leave the Little home encouraged.  We are so blessed to be called brothers and sisters in Christ with them.
**note * the Little's work for Christian Embassy ... to learn more about this important ministry, click the link on the top left of my blog**

The race was Sunday. 
The race was amazing, inspiring, humbling and FUN.
The Army Ten sold out (30,000) in 36 hours.
I believe 22+thousand actually finished the race.
A lot of people running.  I've never experienced anything like it.  A beautiful route that started and ended at the Pentagon ... running over the Potomac was unbelievable!  The weather was almost perfect.  I just can't imagine having a better experience.  I can't describe the excitement and energy there.  Seeing the sights, seeing the Wounded Warriors run, seeing the names of those who have died on shirts, signs, etc. ... very powerful.  

Monday we woke up at 3, left at 3:49 and drove 11 hours back to GA.
We are still recovering:).

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be there, for the people who encouraged me, for the families who opened their homes to us.  I am thankful that Richard was able to return from Kuwait a day early to make the trip ... I am thankful for my girls who thought I could win the race:).  
I am thankful for a God who gives us the desires of our hearts.

Hanson Ellis worked on a video of the weekend.  There are no images from the race, as I couldn't bring my camera.  But the weekend was more than just about the running.  It was about life, and the video captures that pretty well, I think.  I tried to upload it onto the blog but I think it was too long.  SO, here is the link to it on You Tube.  The quality is horrible because it is on You Tube, but hopefully you'll enjoy it all the same.  It took her most of the morning to put together and I'm pretty proud of her:).  


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Through Hanson Ellis' Eyes

Today was our first full day back home with Richard.  The bottom two girls went to preschool, but the Davenport School took a vacation day (although I did find that Parker snuck away to do her history online:)!).  We spent the day just trying to settle in and unpack from our weekend and Richard from his trip.  We carved the pumpkin, ran some errands and Richard spent some time exploring the woods with the girls and throwing the football with Parker.  It was a good first day back as a family.  I'm still swamped with things to do, so my post about the weekend will have to wait one more day.  For now, here are some of the photos Hanson Ellis took Saturday while we spent some time in D.C.  Always fun to see what's on their camera ...

Monday, October 25, 2010


Richard and I woke up at 3 this morning to get dressed, wake up girls, load up and make the 11 hour drive from Virginia to Georgia in time for Hanson Ellis to go to her dance classes this evening.  It has been a long day and we are looking forward to climbing in own bed after a busy, but priceless weekend.

I am still in that blank state of mind after completing the Army Ten Miler this weekend.  What a journey for me and what a race!  Driving into our community this afternoon, I sat in the van and looked at all the streets I've run in training for this race.  So much time on those routes ... early hours, mid day hours, late hours ... extreme cold, extreme heat and perfect weather days ... long runs, short runs, fast runs, slow runs ... and so much time in prayer and thought.  I was very anxious about the race this weekend.  I still doubted myself so much.  Richard ended up being able to run with me and I just can't describe to you what a fun and memorable time we had.  But I'll try:) tomorrow or Tuesday ... once I finish unpacking and catch up on a bit of sleep ... oh and catch up on some time with Richard.   This is the first he's been home since he left for Kuwait!   (and it's not even 8 and he's sound asleep on the bed behind me:))

Okay, I've got to go pick up Hanson Ellis from her two hours of dance.  I'm sure after our whirlwind weekend, early morning and very long car drive, she's lacking some pep in her step.

To God be the Glory.

Happy Birthday to Rebecca!

I am attempting to post while out of town.  I'm writing this on Wednesday, but hoping it will post on Monday.  I will be driving back from DC, but I will be thinking of my sister in law, Rebecca.  It is her birthday today and I want to tell her Happy Birthday and how much we all love her!  Rebecca is one of the funniest people I've ever met.  She is totally different than me:).  She is married to my brother and is the mother of two little men (5 and 2) who I absolutely adore.  We have not always seen eye to eye but we've never given up on each other.  And I don't know what I would have done last summer without her listening ear and almost daily encouragement while we were new here to GA, Richard was deployed and Momma was very sick.

In celebration of Rebecca, I am sharing her pumpkin bread recipe with all of you.  It is fabulous!! And one you'll love to make over and over again.

Miss Rebecca's Pumpkin Bread

3 c sugar
1 c oli
4 eggs, beaten
1 can pumpkin (16 oz)
3 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
2/3 c water

Combine sugar, oil and beaten eggs.  Add pumpkin and mix well. Combine
dry ingredients and add to the pumpkin mix.  Add water.  Beat
throughly and pour into greased loaf pans or bundt pan.  Bake in
preheated oven at 350 for about an hour.  Can also make muffins with

this recipe.  And if you want, throw in a cup of chocolate chips!!

I don't have a photo of the cake to show you, but I did purchase this for her birthday.  It is from Williams- Sonoma and if you want one, you can find it here.  

Also, the girls typically send her birthday videos:).
Here are some golden oldies for you!
Happy Birthday Rebecca!
We love you!!

***  And if you want to try something else pumpkin themed, check out these cupcakes.  I've got them on my list to try when we return from DC!! ***

Friday, October 22, 2010

Kayce Hughes

(perfect with my boots)

This is Kayce Hughes.  She is amazing and one of those people by which I am encouraged.  You might remember my post about her house that was featured in Southern Living.  You might also remember my mentioning that she is the owner of the Pears and Bears clothing line.  I just love this line!  If you have not checked her site out, please do.  Her line for women and children is both timeless and versatile.  
Here are my favorite picks for me and my girls.  

(bama game)

(love the pink cord and the tie.  my girls would love the pouf!)

(you can never have too many white shirts.  love, love the ruffle on the sleeve here)

(mini mk outfit!!  this style would suit all my girls)

(I love the blue cord and the cap sleeves here)

(another great outfit ... socks and mary-janes now, tights and boots later)

(what a sweet, different holiday print.  love the tie in the front.)

(unexpected in it's color and fabric and style.  definitely a piece to be dressed up or down and would look great thrown over jeans)

(probably my favorite.

Thank you for your inspiration, encouragement and prayers Kayce!! 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Almost Ready

Today is Wednesday.  Tomorrow we will leave for the first leg of our journey to Washington, D.C. for the Army Ten Miler.  I am excited.  But not just about the Ten Miler.  Richard is flying in from Kuwait in the morning.  The older girls and I will meet him at the airport and then we will surprise the younger two at school with Daddy picking them up.  Then we are driving to NC to spend the night.  We are surprising Hanson Ellis with spending the night at the house of her very best friend.

Hanson Ellis and this sweet girl met when they were four and have been friends ever since!  I cannot wait for them to see each other again. It's been since we left NC in Dec 2007!  Then we'll head up to DC on Friday and link up with some retired Marine friends of ours who we met in CA in 2001.  Hanson Ellis spent the night with them when Parker was born.  We haven't seen them since we left there in 2002.  We'll spend some time in the capitol city Saturday.  This is us on our last trip there.

It's been a while, yet we'll still have one in a carrier on this trip:).  I hope to get some better pictures, too, this time around.  Sunday is the race.  Oh, the race!  I was ready last week ... not sure about this week.  Just one more hurdle.  Just one more.

Thank you for everyone who has encouraged me and prayed for me since I started this journey in April.  I would appreciate your continued prayers for our trip this weekend and for continued health and motivation and just a sweet time of reunion with Richard and a little break from the day to day busyness with the girls. We all are in so much need of a break from the norm!!  But I would also ask, and more importantly ask, for you to pray all of our deployed soldiers and their spouses and families.  I have a list of those I know on the left of my blog page.  My heart especially goes out to the Kuhlmann family, as they just recently said goodbye for a year.  They are a super sweet family with four girls and a new baby boy.  They also recently have been through another deployment.  Please pray for them, for strength, perseverance and joy.  Pray that God will keep them close, even though they are separated.  And pray for safety for them all.

And finally, pray for the family of Chief Warrant Officer Brain Hazelgrove.  He died in January 2004 while serving in Iraq.  He had four children, 11, 10, 3 and 7 months at the time.  His sister is a dear friend of mine.  I worked with her in college when we were both employed for ACSI (the Association of Christian Schools International).  We lost touch sometime after I had Hanson Ellis, but her brother, Brian, came to visit her before deploying in 2003 and he found Richard's Army email and therefore got us reconnected again.  I'll never forget the subject line of her email ... "Please Pray."  I knew instantly and I have not stopped praying for them since.  There are so many families of the fallen.  Please don't forget to pray for their families.  But Sunday I will run for this family and I ask that you would specifically lift them up in your prayers.  May they feel God's people praying for them while I run, and may they know they are not forgotten.

Much love to you and your family April!  Praying for you always ...

To God be the Glory.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Than a Trophy

The closer I get to the ten miler, the more difficult to "finish strong" it is. I am almost totally unmotivated. I think I know it's about to be over and Richard's about to be home ... the "end" always just makes me want to curl up in bed. Whether it's a deployment or a race or a move or any big event, there is always the early anticipation stage, then the middle anxious/high stress stage and finally the "it's almost over, I've done what I can do, so whatever happens will be okay" stage. I'm in that final stage. There was a 5K in our neighborhood today. I didn't particularly want to run in it, but I needed a run and the race was on part of my route. So, I decided last minute to participate. I arrived 7 minutes before the start, registered, then ran. To my surprise, I was the first female to finish! I had a really good run time and just enjoyed the race and festivities. But I enjoyed my girls being there the most. I love those girls. They believe in me, even when I don't and even without my asking them to. They are my little cheerleaders:). They are super. After dinner Patterson mentioned to Hanson Ellis that she had learned all of a certain song she was working on in choir. Hearing my girls sing always make me tear up. Richard tells me I'm emotional. I know I am, and I know inside he's tearing up, too. :) Running across a finish line is fun and a blessing for sure, and getting a medal is even better. But this, this video is what brings me the most joy. My girls ... growing up and learning that their happiness is to be found in Christ.

note, if Patterson is looking a little hillbilly to you, she has a tooth that would probably come out if she would at least just think about wiggling it. But Patterson is not a nail-biting, tooth wiggling kind of girl.
(and at this point, I SOOOOOO wish she was)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Good Line

**note** Because Richard is away and because we just received orders for his next deployment, which just happens to take him back to where we spent the majority of 5 years without him as a result of one deployment after another, my blog posts my be a little "reflective" and filled with rambling thoughts for a while. **

 "By the time I recognize this moment, this moment will be gone." 

I heard this line from an old John Mayer song today.  How true it is!  I've been thinking a lot about days when I had time to sit with my girls and just take countless "self portraits" of ourselves.  It has been a long time since I had time to do this or even thought about doing this. I've also been thinking about how I used to actually dress the girls in complete outfits and how they used to play and play and play in the front yard, dragging things all out of the garage and making a complete mess, but it didn't bother me.  
We had time for it. 

I can't tell you how many nights I've lost sleep thinking about these moments that I didn't recognize until now.  I knew life was great then, but I didn't realize how special those moments would continue to be.  
Life seems so busy now. I can't tell you how much sleep I've lost lately just thinking about how the days get away from me and so much of "life" is lost in the busy-ness.  

Richard has alway deployed under Special Operations.  His upcoming assignment will put his boots on the ground back with Big Army and thus we actually have more than two months to prepare (aka anticipate).  We are thankful for this and are trying to square things away as much as possible prior to him leaving.  For me it is going to be such a battle to really enjoy the now and not miss it for focusing so much on the future. 
It is hard to process another deployment.
It is hard to digest how old the girls will be when all is said and done.
I don't want to plan my life away that fast.  
I don't want Richard to miss any more of our girls growing up.
I worry about them not having a Daddy around.
I think about this little girl on the phone today with her Daddy.  

There was a point where she didn't say anything, but did not want me to take the phone away ...
 as long as she had it, she was "with" her Daddy. 

I just sat there and looked at her and thought,

I know God is sovereign and He will provide.  
I don't know exactly how He'll provide, but I know He will. 

 I also found these videos today.  

They were from one deployment.  
They remind me of a simpler time in our life, but also of a very long time without Richard.
Yet, they make me smile. 
They are a great reminder of the joy that is always there.  

We just have to recognize it.

For those of you who pray for me, pray that I would sleep:).  
Pray that I would be who the girls need me to be.  
Pray that I would be who Richard needs me to be.  
Pray that God will strengthen this family and fill us with endurance.
And pray that our girls would be mighty women of faith!

And on a final note ... I am very much looking forward to attending another Ball once Richard PCS's (moves).  Here is a shot of me at one of the last ones we attended.  

I was pregnant with my Kate (very newly pregnant, obviously).  It was taken at the Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville.  SO MUCH FUN to be able to walk through the museum after hours!!  Such a cheesy shot, and totally not reflective of my very serious real personality, but how could I resist posing with all the young paratroopers??? 

Goodnight Everybody.
And goodnight Richard.
Remember Who You Are!
To God be the Glory.

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Friday Night

It's Friday night.  When you are a homeschooling Momma, Friday nights are just about as exciting at 36 as they were when you were 13.  I like to joke with my Momma and say, "Yeah! It's Friday!!  No homework:)!" I have a little more "time" on Friday nights ... especially when Richard is away.  I usually get an early start on my weekend cleaning.  But sometimes I am just not in the mood.  (imagine that!)  

I had a pretty good week.  I accomplished so much and survived!  And then there's my running ... I started it off with a quick "fun" 2 mile/8 minute pace run on Sunday.  Then Monday I went for a 8.3 mile run.  I followed up with a very fast and challenging 4 mile run Wednesday and then a 10.5 mile run today.  I used to think I was a short distance runner.  Now that I've been training for the Army Ten Miler, I'm starting to think that I am a distance runner.  After about mile 4 I just sort of feel like I'm flying.  It is the greatest feeling to just be free like that. I enjoy the time to just let my mind go from one thought to another and not be interrupted by little ones or things that need to be done.

While this week was good, I still find myself with an ache and an emptiness with Richard being gone.  
When the girls go to bed and all's quiet, all the thoughts I keep pushed back come up.  Our life is insanely busy and filled with separation.  I live in pretty much a civilian world right now.  Thus my life is completely different than those that live around me.  So many remark, "I don't know how you do it." Honestly, I don't know how I do sometimes.  
All I know is that I've got to wake up and do it again tomorrow:). 

So what's a girl to do when she starts to feel discouraged?  I put my ipod on, pull up iphoto and start scrolling through our life.  I came across the above image tonight.  I had totally forgotten about this photo.  I took it the last day we were in KS before we loaded up and moved here. My! Patterson has grown so much in the 21 months since this was taken.  All the girls have.  I had forgotten about taking this, but I remember the day like it was yesterday.  We were only in KS for 11 months, but we have a lifetime of memories from our time in the middle of the country.  I wonder if we'll ever return ... 

back side of our housing units in KS

front side of our housing units in KS (our movers packing us up here)

neighborhood friends

main post chapel where we went to church and it was right across the street from where we lived

parker and patterson in the hotel new year's eve en-route to GA

a quick stop in TN to visit our neighbors from NC
two families, one house, nine kids
it wasn't quiet, but it was fun

setting up the playground at our new home

fun on all the broken down boxes:)

sweet little kate :)

All the girls.  All so little. Time is flying...

It is Friday night and I am enjoying seeing the reminders of all the smiles our family has had during the journeys we've had as a military family.
Yes, it is hard and I don't know how we (I) do it.  We are tired.  I am tired.  
But we are thankful for the honor of living this life.

Wow. Looking at this photo ... these girls ... they are my life.
I love them so much.

And my wonderful ... 
thank you for choosing me to live this crazy life with you.
 I'm so blessed.