Sunday, September 30, 2007


Yesterday we drove down to Annapolis to see AF play Navy. Unfortunately, AF lost in a good game.

The weather was beautiful, hot actually and we're all a little sunburned. There were 4 or 5 other families from Brad's graduate class that went, too. We sat on the lawn in the end was good for the kids because they weren't confined to a seat. Prior to the game the kids were able to slide down the hill on cardboard boxes. I think that was the highlight of the day for them. Oh, and petting the AF Falcon...the real bird, not the mascot.

Classmates of Brad gave their son his first haircut...a mohawk...colored blue for the occasion. They also let their two year old long as it is in context...such as "look, doggie shi@#*&#!" NICE! This is the boy I am trying to protect my girls from.
It's "cool" to wear an old jersey if you have one...not "cool" for the actual player to wear his old jersey but "cool" for his wife/girlfriend to wear the jersey. It made me feel a little like I was in high school wearing my boyfriends letter jacket...but it was definitely the thing to do and while I would feel completely foolish wearing the jersey anywhere else (I even passed on going into Starbucks on the way to the game because I felt silly) I was stylin at the game!
Despite not being obvious Navy fans, you have to appreciate the patriotism you experience at a meeting of two military academies. Brad was recruited by the naval academy...I think he is glad he didn't go there just because of their white uniforms! It felt very "Officer and a Gentlemen." But who picks white? All white? Down to the shoes. That is just cruel for a 18 year old boy...keeping all white clean!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


If you check out my counter on the far right you'll see I passed the 10,000 mark today. I know there are blogs out there with that many hits in one day...but regardless, I appreciate the people that find my family interesting or amusing and keep up with our activities. I appreciate it even more when I inspire people to start their own blogs instead of just reading others (ahem...Kate, Jaylynn).

I've been looking into getting my first year of my blog published so I have it for the kids someday. It requires a little computer knowledge so I hinted to my hubby that it would be a nice Christmas present!

Here's to the next 10,000 hits! Hope I keep it interesting enough to keep you reading.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pictures From The Week

These are just some random pictures I took over the course of this week of Brooke..she is always up to something and always making me laugh!
This hat Daddy brought home from Russia on a trip last year has suddenly become a favorite. Brooke will put it on and play for the next hour...I have to distract her to take it off and usually she is all sweaty.
Notice the one shoe...she never even tries on a second shoe. Just finds one, then she is off. I like it when she plays this game because I can hear her all over the hardwood floors and I can keep track of her.
I heard Baileigh and Mckenna laughing hysterically and came into their bedroom after baths to see Brooke trying hard to sit on the doll house chair. What was even funnier was she knew she was being silly and entertaining her sisters so she made a big show of it and loved the attention.
I think she really liked Daddy's Chocolate Peanut Butter Playground ice cream cake!
The hat again...I wasn't kidding about her wearing it lately. Every. Single. Day.
I found Brooke like this in the driveway. She had slipped Baileigh's helmet on her head and managed to get her leg over Mckenna's bike. She stood this way for about 30 minutes watching her sisters and our neighbors playing in the driveway. If you even attempted to get near her or the bike she started throwing a fit and yelling "Mine!" "Mine!"

Monday, September 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Today is Brad's birthday. This evening he is in Queens at Shea stadium watching the Mets game with a friend. He isn't a Met's fan...but he is a MLB fan and wants to try to go to every ballpark in the US if possible. So, in that effort, when my Mom was talking about a birthday present I suggested that Met's tickets would be a great gift since he had never been to Shea stadium and it's scheduled to be torn down in a few years when they move to the new Citi Field in 2009. I know that he has a busy week, so the timing wasn't perfect...but hopefully he'll enjoy the game. Happy Birthday!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Look Back

A look back on my first triathlon season...I really wanted to do this for myself to remember, but I thought you may enjoy it, too.

I couldn't get the music track to work right with the slide show so the song you hear from my playlist is meant to accompany the slide show (Miracle of the Moment).

Down at the Boardwalk

Despite a list of responsible things we should have stayed home and accomplished...we decided to enjoy the warm weather and head to the boardwalk at Ocean City for one last weekend of summer fun. We spent some time at an amusement park on the boardwalk. There weren't any lines...partially due to the scattered showers but also because of the fact that the season is basically over.
The view from the Ferris wheel. The temperature was around eighty and very muggy with occasional sprinkles.
Although the girls have both conquered roller coasters much larger then this...they still seem to enjoy the small rides just as much.
A trip to the boardwalk wouldn't be complete without some ice cream.
My "little girl" is getting so big! She was excited to be at the boardwalk...but disappointed she wasn't going to get to boogie board.

This is Brooke's "mmmmmm" face after a bite of ice cream.
We had a great afternoon as a family. Last weekend was so crazy with the maration and triathlon that it was nice to just have a relaxing day. Oh...and Michigan won, even better!

My Inspiration

Just about a year ago my friend and former college roommate, Jaylynn, attempted her first sprint triathlon. I was privileged to live near her when we were in the Seattle area and we had the chance to rekindle our friendship. When I discovered her involvement in triathlons I'll admit I was extremely surprised as my memories of her from the college days didn't include great athleticism. But I do remember she always had a huge heart...and triathlons are more about heart and determination then athleticism.
It's 6:26am on the west coast as I type this and my dear friend is only minutes away from her first Half Ironman! YES...that is correct, today she will swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13.1 miles! She starts at 9am and hopes to be done by 4:00pm...7 hours of exercise! She has been my motivation as I've started this sport, too. I've been told by some of you that I'm inspiring...Jaylynn truly is...she just hasn't been cool enough to start a blog so you can follow her journey!
I wish I was there to cheer you on girl...I know you'll kick butt! I think you're insane, and that is why I love you so much.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Can You Relate?

My cousin put this on her blog and I loved I stole it to post on my blog. This woman is Anita Renfroe, a Christian speaker and comedian that performs at Women of Faith conferences.

I shared the link with some of my friends from our MTO group (MOPS) and we ordered the DVD so we could show parts of it at our meetings. I know the women will love it!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cheap and Trendy...NICE!

I remember reading a post awhile ago in my friend's blog about a line of clothing by Sarah Jessica Parker at Steve and Barry Stores. I know these stores for their inexpensive collegiate wear so I was surprised to learn they carry other things, too.

Being that I dress and look just like Sarah Jessica Parker, ahem, I stopped in the other day out of curiosity. I was really surprised! First of all, this Steve and Barry's was HUGE...I think it used to be a grocery store before it opened in April. It reminded me some of Old Navy back in their early days, when most things were around $10. The prices were good and then on top of that pretty much the entire store was 40% off. In addition to the line by Parker there was also a line by Amanda Bynes...I guess their hoping her name will sell to the teenage crowd (I don't even know what that crowd is called anymore!). I wasn't really looking for anything specific but I picked up a pair of chocolate brown cargo pants for $6.00, some earrings for $5 and a necklace, also $5. My total was under $20. Great, just what I need, a new store I where I want to shop (thanks Traci)!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Biggest Loser

Man, do I ever find this show motivating. I wish I could watch it at the gym...I think I would work out twice as hard.

I love to follow the personal stories of the contestants. I always justify my own personal weight issues by thinking, "hey, I'm less then some of their goal weights!" Terrible I know, on the flip side I also find myself so thankful for my health and my physical ability to exercise.

The best thing about this season, Sami Brady is hosting! Well, okay...Alison Sweeney as she wants to be called, whatever (we all know she is Sami at heart). Unfortunately, I find myself liking her...and if you watch Days you know that it's all about loving to hate her (not that I ever watch that trash). Regardless, she is so much better then Caroline Rhea...who kept gaining weight during the season, ironic, huh!

Anyone else watching? Anyone willing to put some bets on who will win? I'd like Neil to have a lot of success...he is so young but the heaviest contestant! I also like Phil and Jerry. I can't wait to see their transformed bodies...I'm trying to be down 10 pounds by the season own weight loss challenge riding on the coat tales of their enthusiasm and motivation.

Unexpected Yoga

This morning was my first workout post triathlon season. I felt a little lost. Since April I've been working out with a training plan and a purpose...I wasn't sure where to start today. I dropped the kids off and decided to check the class schedule. The next class was called Unexpected Yoga. The description said "expect the unexpected in this hour of balance, strength, and flexibility exercises while getting the mind and body in harmony." I was pretty stiff and sore from the triathlon so I decided to give it a try.

I really enjoyed the class! I think it was exactly what my body needed. Three out of the four women in the class were first timers so it wasn't intimidating. Although I've been a member at this gym since May it was the first class that I had attended. Previously I was just swimming and weight lifting...and running or biking inside on a rainy day. Now that I can change my focus I think I'm going to try to go to at least 3 classes a week and then try to run three times a week in the evenings when Brad is home. I can quickly regress in the running department so I would like to keep up running 5K's as a standard run.

There are a few other classes that I'm interested in trying...Butts and Guts is first on the list! Nice name, huh! They also have a class called 500 Plus and is described as "500 reps targeting the abs plus a whole lot more with this fast-paced hour of strength training interspersed with short cardio bursts." Fun. Fun.

I think I've convinced one or two of my friends to join the gym so it will be fun to have someone to attend these classes with...however, I know I tend to get the giggles sometimes and I'm pretty certain that some of the humorous yoga positions would probably illicit some inappropriate laughter if I actually knew someone in the class! Oh, well...that just means I'll get a better ab workout.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The End of The Beginning

When my alarm went off at 3:45am yesterday I was void of any interest in going to the Danskin. I rolled out of bed and straight into my car (I honestly don't remember much) and made the hour in a half drive to Sandy Hook. Although I had only passed a handful of cars all morning I suddenly found myself in what looked like rush hour traffic...100's of cars holding bike racks and waiting, none too anxiously for their inevitable fate. I had questioned my sanity during the entire drive, yet I was beginning to have a sense of comradely with these other crazy women.

My GPS showed me in the Atlantic Ocean...actually the blue triangle is over the small peninsula where the tri was located. It was a beautiful setting with large million dollar beach homes and water views everywhere...I discovered that later...right now it was still too dark to see anything since it was ridiculously early! The black around the GPS screen is the view out my window...just darkness. Did I mention it's early...and COLD!

After waiting in the line for parking, I had to wait in the line to enter the transition. It was FREEZING! It was around 48 degrees and windy. The thought of getting in the ocean in a few hours was FREAKIN me out! While waiting patiently we decided to kill the time by taking pictures of each other. You make friends quickly with perfect strangers when you feel like you may be experiencing the final moments of your life...we were either going to freeze or drowned!

While waiting in line the sun seemed to spill over the horizon bringing life to the dark sky and momentarily made me appreciative of my insanely early wake up call. The transition area was filled with anxious women. The Danskin has a lot of first timers, Survivors, and women running in honor of someone or to raise funds for cancer research.

I had to take my obligatory "muscle" shot for the girls. I thought I would look extra sexy by taking it just before the swim wave. Nice look, I know your jealous...and you have to admit it takes guts for me to show it to anyone.

If your considering this sport...think about what a great look it is!
The race itself went like this...tried to not think about the ocean factor but the gulps of salt water I consumed made that difficult. The swim was choppy and crowded but not too cold and went well (aka I wasn't mistaken by a shark for a seal). My feet were numb though from the cold pavement and I never really felt myself kicking.

I transitioned to the bike without any issues and the first half of the ride went great! I kept my speed up around 18 or 19mph. Then I hit the half way point and turned around to finish the bike and hit a huge head wind. I didn't realize that a lot of my speed on the bike out was due to a great tale wind! Suddenly I was struggling to go 14mph. It was depressing. The ride was along the ocean and really breathtaking (figuratively and literally). The con of being on a peninsula was definitely the winds!

I finished the bike and left on my run. I was trying to keep my pace around a ten minute mile. I ended up being at 10:11, not my best but it was okay. My goal was under 1:30 and I finished in 1:27:34.
During my early morning adventures Brad was back home in bed recovering from his marathon. He crawled in bed around 2am after driving back from Ohio (the same day he ran!)...less then two hours before I headed out for the day! He finished his race in 4 hrs. and 22 minutes! Considering I can barely run a 10K, I was impressed! What a crazy weekend. And for what? Well the bling bling of course! Brad got this huge medal that weighs about's very impressive and I guess if I was willing to run 23 more miles that is what I could get! I took home my finishers medal from the well as my prize from Helzberg Diamonds! My number was randomly selected with 9 others to win this 18K white gold diamond star pendent necklace! At least that was the pitch I was told when it was presented to's probably worth no more the $99 but still...I won something (which I never do) and it's a nice memento of my first triathlon season! I decided to take a few minutes on my drive home to stop and enjoy the beach and reflect my first triathlon season. I knew that I was just south of NYC but until I made the walk out to the beach I hadn't been able to see the skyline in the distance. I love the contrast of the city with the ocean.

I took some time to reflect back on my first triathlon season. The first thing I want to acknowledge is my families support. Almost a year ago I told Brad I wanted to do a triathlon and he never had anything but encouraging things to say. Although they couldn't make it to all the races, I couldn't have put in the necessary time training and going to the tri's if they hadn't been willing to make some sacrifices.

In many ways triathlons were exactly what I had anticipated and in a lot of ways they are so much more. It confirmed in me some of my strengths and weaknesses...things I've known in the back of my mind but don't take time to acknowledge or deal with unless faced with a situation where you're stretched. I'm slowly acknowledging that perhaps I'll never have the physique I desire in my mind, but just because I may not be a certain size I am more physically fit and capable then a lot of people. The triathlons gave me a focus to my exercise other then just "weight loss" and instead helped me recognize my need and desire to just be athletic and fit and a good example for my girls.

But probably the most important thing I gleamed from this summer is my respect and admiration for a lot of people that, despite the fact that they are nameless and faceless to me, inspired me by allowing me to catch a brief glimpse into their own journey and achievements by completing a triathlon. Danskin's motto for this season is "The woman who starts the race is not the same woman who finishes the race." It's really true, something changes...for each individual it may represent something completely different in their journey. For some it's a crowning achievement, for others a first step. I'm still pondering what I'm taking from it and where I'm going with it, but I'm thankful along the way for what I've already gained.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

On The Run

At this very moment Brad is running his first marathon. He is participating in the Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. He has been dedicated to his training, running over 300 miles in the past three months! I've been impressed, but I think we'll both be glad when he is done.

Tomorrow it's my turn...I'll be swimming in the Atlantic in the Lower New York Bay by 7:45am...ahhh. I don't think I realized this was an ocean swim when I registered for the Danskin. I'm freakin out a little about the thought. However, despite the poor projected forecast and the fact that I'm going stag to the event...I'm looking forward to my first Danskin. In the tri community they aren't known for their difficulty as much as they are for the inspirational stories you'll find! I'm guessing at least half of the participants are probably first timers so there is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm...hope that is enough to get me into the water for the swim!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ready for tomorrow!

Today was not a great day. I'll spare you a lot of details. Amongst the bad though were a lot of God's provisions.

I found Brooke screaming and with a face covered in blood today in the bathroom. After my initial panic, a call to the pediatrician and a phone call to my friend (poor Melissa, I called her when Mckenna needed to go to the hospital, too) for her opinion...I determined that the gash to her forehead, caused by the corner of a drawer that she opened, could probably be treated with a butterfly band aid. If I took her to the ER (the ped. said they don't do stitches) I think at most she would have gotten a stitch, maybe 2, and more likely some surgical glue and the same butterfly band aid.

Ideally I would have liked her to get a stitch or a little glue, but I didn't think that it would change the scarring outcome significantly to warrent everything that it would have required for me to take her to the ER. I definitely think it will leave a mark, but hopefully not more then a chicken pox scar...and if she wears bangs you won't see it. I'm tempted to peak at it but I don't want to remove her band I guess I'm just waiting and praying.

This is what she does if you ask to see her boo-boo.

The second small blessing of the day was the recovery of my credit card. I realized today that it was missing, for about 24 hours. I started to retrace my steps and look through everything. I was feeling sick to my stomach at the thought of loosing the card and the implications and hassle.

On a whim, I decided to go back to the bank where I had used the ATM on Thursday morning, it was the last time I knew I had the card. I pulled up to the drive thru window and asked the girl if they had any type of lost n found for credit cards. She said "did you use the ATM?" When I nodded "yes" she smiled and said, "We have about 50". And guess what...I was one of the mindless people that pulled away from the machine despite the beeping warning me to remove my card. I was so relieved and thankful I decided to check.

There seemed to be a ton of other anecdotal events that I could relay, but the two previous alone have made me tired. I'm ready for a new day.

My Ballerina

Baileigh started ballet yesterday. This is our first dance experience. I made it almost six years without giving in! Being that I'm not really a girlie girl I was fine with foregoing any type of dance classes. Baileigh continued to express interest and so this is our year for ballet.

I found a great studio that is an addition that a woman built to her house about 15 years ago. It's a beautiful Victorian house with amazing gardens and landscaping and the studio is better then a lot of the other places I checked into in shopping centers, etc.

I hate this picture because I think she looks like she is eleven years old! Must be how she is sitting. Who taught her to sit like this? Not mommy!
I said to Baileigh, "Show me what ballet looks like." This was her move. This is before the first day of class. Not bad, I guess. We'll see how she answers that same question in May.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Yesterday was Mckenna's first day of Pre-K. She will go three days a week in the afternoon, which works nicely with Baileigh's school schedule of M-F, also in the afternoon. The only complication was trying to pick up Mckenna (Baileigh takes the bus) during Brooke's afternoon nap. My neighbor's daughter is also attending this Pre-K program and her son takes an early nap so her conflict is with dropping off her daughter. See where this is going. I hinted at carpooling, she jumped on board and now I'll drive to school and she'll pick up! YIPPEE. PERFECT. That means I'll drop the girls off and return home by 1:00ish and I'll have until 3:15 before Mckenna returns! Brooke will go down for her nap around 1:30 so that means that 3 times a week I'll have almost 2 hours in my house alone! Let's just pray the kids don't change their nap schedules!

It's kinda pathetic that excites me so much. But you moms know what I'm talking about. It's one thing to get out of the house alone...but isn't it more of a rarity to be alone in your house? My dilemma will always be to do the practical or indulge and do my own stuff!
We're still growing out Mckenna's hair. Not sure what the goal is...but she decided she wanted it longer, "maybe like Baileigh" was her comment. I miss her cute bob, but I'm getting used to her new look.
Doesn't she have a mischievous grin?! It definitely goes with her personality
The backpack...she likes it but she still pouts that I put her initials on it instead of her name. How do I explain my rational..."Mommy doesn't want some perverted man to be able to read your name on your backpack and pretend he knows you and try to snatch you off the playground." So I guess I'm just the bad guy for now, she can add it to her list of being frustrated that I make her wear a bike helmet.
She sat down and folded her hands and crossed her feet then informed me she was ready for her picture.
I put this picture on for myself to remember what her scar looked like at this point and to compare in the future. Her hair is covering some of it, but I can see enough that I'll remember. I'll confess that I still see it, every time I look at her. I wonder if or when I won't. Or if or when it won't upset me in the back of my mind. It was 3 months ago yesterday, I suppose in light of that it is looking better. Today was a bad "scar day" for mommy...that's for another post.
I was touched that Mckenna told me she wanted to take a picture with me. I think she just likes to see how the timer works on the camera.
Mckenna with our neighbor and buddy, Julianna, at school.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Coastal Perspective

I took these photos in June of 2002 at Ground Zero.

An I-Beam cross resurrected at the heart of ground zero.

The "new skyline...noticeably absent of the towers.

A memorial wall informally created outside a church near the towers.

A fence with a memorial to firefighters and police officers.

It feels so much different living on the east coast on this day. I lived here on 9/11/2001 and besides the obvious reasons I was greatly impacted was the fact that 1) I was 34 weeks pregnant with our first child and my only thoughts were "what kind of world am I bringing this baby into?!" 2) my husband is training to fly a KC-10...what does this mean for our family in terms of his safety and his time away from home. That question was answered in 2002 when he was gone for 200+ days. In 2004 we moved to the NW and it was easy to feel removed from this event in our countries history. Now we're back east and living this close to NYC means there are a lot of people in this area that were personally effected by that day. And having had the chance to spend more time in the city lately (I love NYC) your constantly reminded when you see a firetruck go by with a memorial painting on it's front grill or the occassional memorial poster you may see in the subway.

I was downloading pictures for this post during today's Oprah episode. It's rare that I have anything non-animated on during the day...but since it was raining the girls were watching a video upstairs and I was downstairs. The show was being filmed in NYC and the guests were children who had lost parents in 9/11 and how life has changed over the past 6 years. All day I had been thinking about the personal aspect of the twin towers falling. Not the general numbers of people killed...but the widowed mom washing dishes at the sink. The kids starting school this week that only have 1 parent to attend "parents night". The toddlers, like Brooke, that are now Baileigh's age and would only know their parent from photos and stories. My mind had already been flooded with those thoughts all day...and then hearing the personal stories from these kids that were forced to grow up too fast made for a pretty emotional afternoon.

I try hard to think about 9/11...not just today, but frequently. It truly changed our families life as the military focus and purpose took on a new face to me. It has changed our country, forever. But like all events in becomes just that, a thing of the past. Honestly, I don't really think we should have to memorialize this day...rather I would like to think that it effected people on a level significant enough that we're more aware, sensitive and appreciative every day, not just annually on this day.