Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas just keeps getting better every year for us. I think watching the kids enjoy Christmas may be more fun than I ever remember Christmas being for me as a kid. Even Mason was pretty excited this year, which just added another layer of fun.

Seeing Santa got us mixed results. Aubrey actually talked and smiled for Santa, which is huge progress for her. Mason, on the other hand, was pretty pissed about being dumped on some stranger's lap. Poor kid.

We took the kids to walk through the Christmas lights in McAdenville and had such a good time. The weather was perfect and Mason was amazed at all of the lights.

Todd, Aubrey, and Mason started the Christmas festivities the weekend prior to Christmas by visiting family in Raleigh. I had to work, so I stayed behind with the puppies. Both kids had a blast playing on the farm and seeing their cousins. They also started with round 1 of Christmas presents.

Christmas Eve was spent at our house with my family sharing presents. I think the present of the year was given that night when Mason opened a remote control train. He is currently obsessed with this train.

We also added a new tradition of leaving food for the reindeer in the yard, in addition to Santa's snack of peppermint pie (yeah, we forgot to bake cookies and realized this around 9:30, so pie it was).

Christmas day was busy in the morning with opening Santa's gifts and visiting Todd's family in Mooresville. But, we spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the new gifts.

While Christmas was a blast, we are a little glad the Christmas season is over. Our family has been so busy for the past month that we are wishing for some quiet time over the next few weeks before the craziness of the birthday season begins for us. 

Friday, December 27, 2013


Our last month of a 1-year old in the house. I was remembering tonight as I got Mason ready for bed how 2 years ago I was sitting in the glider in his room relaxing and preparing for his arrival. And, now we have this crazy little toddler that is almost 2. It just seems impossible, but here we are.

**No new teeth came through this month, but we are pretty sure those 2-year molars will be here soon. He still chews on things like crazy and has a runny nose so I am just waiting to see them.
**His language continues to get clearer and easier to understand. He still has his jumbled words (we call it Mason-ease) but he is working so hard everyday to say more.
**He refuses to eat from his high chair tray anymore. He wants his chair pushed to the table so he can eat like the rest of the family.
**We have finally nipped all of his crying at bedtime in the bud. We realized that leaving his door cracked when he goes to bed keeps him from screaming, so we let him fall asleep with the door open and close it after he is asleep. Bedtime is much more pleasant without a screaming toddler. 
**He made his first trip to Atlanta for Todd's cousin's wedding. And, he spent his first 2 nights in a regular twin bed after we forgot to bring the pack-n-play. (That was a really long weekend, I might add).
**He has handled my transition back to work pretty well. I was worried about it since he has been so attached and clingy to me, but my mom is watching him and Aubrey, so that made the transition really smooth.

He has become obsessed with play-doh

Thanksgiving lunch with Aubrey

Christmas family session 2013

We had our annual Christmas family session in November of this year with Nikki from Magnolia James Photography. As always, she got some great family pictures  and we were so excited to share them with everyone.


2.5 years ago, I got a text from Todd saying "they want me to go to grad school." I texted back "who is they and are they paying for it?" "They" turned out to be his employer and yes, they were paying for it, so we jumped at the opportunity for Todd go back to school at UNCC. It was a crazy decision, especially knowing that we were trying to get pregnant at that point and pretty sure I wouldn't be going back to work after we had a 2nd baby. But, we couldn't pass up that chance so Todd started studying for the GRE and getting ready to go back to school. A few weeks before he started school, we found out we were pregnant with Mason so we knew the next few years were going to be a roller coaster, but we were determined to make it all work.

And, we were right. The next 2.5 years were insane. But, we all made it through and on December 14, we got the ultimate reward of watching Todd cross the stage to accept his Master's degree. And, his graduation day fell 1 week short of the 10-year anniversary of my Master's graduation at UNCC, so it was nice to be back in the same arena 10 years later to watch my husband celebrate the same milestone.

And, in true Todd fashion, he had to one up me on the Master's degree by finishing with a perfect 4.0 GPA to my 3.8-ish GPA. I know the numbers don't mean a hill of beans once you graduate, but it was a friendly competition over the years and  am so I proud of him for working so hard to make all A's in school.

So now our family can enjoy the return of some normalcy in our lives and enjoy the happiness of no school until we start kindergarten next fall.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

13.1 miles in the bag

Back in July, I got the bright idea that I could run a half marathon. Around September, I wrote about losing my mind.  I somehow made it through the training and felt pretty good after my first few 10 mile runs. However, about 2 weeks before the race, I got sick and that put a damper on things because I felt terrible and missed a few training runs, including my last 10 mile run. 5 days before the race, the doctor diagnosed me with a sinus infection. By the actual race day, I was feeling a little better, but still not back to 100%.

I woke up at 5:30 on race morning with serious butterflies in my stomach. I gulped down my protein shake, got dressed, and was in the car by 6:30, still a little in shock that it was actually race day. Luckily, parking was easy and by 7:30, my bag was checked and I was standing in line ready to start. I decided to jump in the corral for the 2:08 pace time, which was a 9:45-ish pace. I thought that would be pretty managable. The first few miles didn't seem to bad, but by mile 4 I started feeling not-so-great. It took that long for the congestion to thin some, but evidently my corral was a popular one and a huge group stayed with the pace runners almost the entire race. The pace team did get a bit ahead of me, but as long as I could keep them in sight, I felt ok. This course was really hilly, but when I crossed the 10k mark at 59:53 I was ecstatic. I was slightly ahead of the pace team at that point and feeling pretty good. Then, at mile 10, it went downhill. My left calf muscle started tightening up, plus the balls of my feet were killing me. I powered through, but around mile 11 I couldn't stand it and started walking. I walked most of mile 11 and did a walk/run through mile 12. I was so happy to see the finish line and started crying immediately. I really don't remember crossing the finish line and there was certainly no happy face from me. I was sobbing from pain, but thrilled to have crossed the line. I then began to search for Todd, my mom, and the kids. A volunteer gave me my medal and it seemed like a surreal moment. I was trying to call Todd but had a poor signal, which didn't help the crying. Finally, I saw Todd and I buried my face in his shoulder and cried and cried. Finally, I was able to calm down, explain what was wrong, and that seemed to help me feel better. I was able to smile and take my finisher's photo and walk back to the car, so I was pretty sure there wasn't any serious damage. Todd got a text showing my official time and I was a little disappointed to have finished almost 3 minutes slower than my pace team. My official time was 2:10:41, which looking back, is still 4 minutes faster than my original goal. However, I know I could have finished with that 2:08 pace group if my calf muscle hadn't been hurting.

But, I now have motivation to do it again. I had even considered running another half in a few weeks, but Todd is graduating that morning and I would never miss watching that. Todd is also pretty jealous that I've finished a half now, so he is training with me to run another one in April. I've got about 20 weeks to train and I am aiming to beat that 2:08 pace with some time to spare.