Monday, March 31, 2008

Home Sweet Home

This is all so true about living in the Northern Virginia:

You have at least 2 friends who have no idea what their parents do because its "top secret" government work
You constantly complain about there being nothing to do, even though you are right next to DC
For the cost of your house, you could own a small town in Iowa
When people ask where you're from, you tell them DC because its easier to explain
It takes you 30 minutes to drive 10 miles
Your local news is national news
Despite the fact that Virginia fought for the south in the Civil War, you are NOT, under ANY circumstances, a "southerner"
The cars in the student parking lot are woth 3x those in the teacher parking lot
You are amazed when you go out of town and the people at McDonalds speak english
There are at least 3 malls within 20 minutes of your house
When traveling, you have your choice of 3 airports
An inch of snow and you miss 3 days of school
You call things "ghetto" even though in most of the rest of the country it'd be high class
When you were driving on the beltway at 2:13am on a Tuesday there was still traffic
Helicopters and airplanes flying above your neighborhood is a normal occurance
You have to dial the area code to call your neighbor
You refer to distances in minutes, not miles

Friday, March 28, 2008

Old Friends

Our dear friends, Jayne and Chris Thomas were in town this week and we were delighted to have them over yesterday for a little lunch fun.

I titled this post, "old friends" not because we are all old (no, no, we are still all in our 20's), but because our friendship began some 10 years ago when we both had 2 little kids and were just starting out.

Here we are years later, things have changed in the kid department, both of us with thousands of children, but we continue to "just start out."

Both Chris and Garth went to school to get their MBA's a few years back. Both took great jobs and both recently decided to start their own businesses.

Be sure to check in with both of us in 10 years. I figure by then we will at least look like we are in our mid-30's...

It was so great to visit with you...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Three times a charm, I guess. I was still feeling a bit too cute with this new do of mine and called my hairdresser for the third time (I think by now they will not be answerting my calls). I went from the "Bon Jovi" hair (not pictured), right into the blissful boy bob I like to call the "No Country for Old Men" Javier Bardem look to a little final tweak that suits my nerves a bit better. It isn't that different (Garth probably wouldn't even notice..guy thing) but I think I can live with this or at least stop obsessing about my hair.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Boys Camp Out!

Garth did a wonderful thing...he took his boys camping! As you can see from the looks on the boys faces, they had SO much fun. But if you could have seen Sommer and I as they pulled away, our faces would have looked similar! Garth is a super dad and hubby for giving boys exactly what they needed (fire and dirt) and his girl's exactly what they needed (peace and quiet, shopping and Panera)!
We know the boys had fun due to the amount of dirt on each of their faces. The Shenandoah River was a perfect scenic spot to camp...and from the sign, it looks like America agrees!
It was cold overnight with temps in the 20's, a little snow falling and the boys keeping Garth up all night long! But man did they have can't beat that...nothing a little nap can't cure!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Aunt Lisa takes Sommer on Birthday Adventure

Aunt Lisa (Garth's sister), told the kids a few years back that when they turned 12 she would take them on a birthday adventure anywhere in the U.S. Sommer was first in line to be whisked away on one super planned out trip! She picked Florida as her destination of choice and Lisa planned incredible activities for each day.

Day One: The ladies went to Sea World. They had backstage passes to actually touch and interact with the dolphins. That evening they were entertained at Arabian Nights, a horse show spectacular, where they had VIP passes inabling them to pet the horses and meet the cast.

Day Two: The Girls went to Aquatica. This is an outdoor waterpark where dolphins can be seen as you fly through waterslides.

Day Three: They were off to swim with the manatees. Sommer was lucky enough to see one! She says their skin feels like a tarp. Later that day they went on a airboat ride into a wild life park.

Day Four: Sommer's favorite destination...The Magic Kingdom! They had a blast hitting rides such as: Space Mountain, Stitch, Splash Mountain, and The Haunted Mansion!

As usual, Sommer came home with a myriad of new stuffed animals. She even brought back her little brothers some fun souvenirs! We know you had fun...but we sure missed you! Thanks Aunt Lisa for taking Sommer on such a memorable and special vacation!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sham-rockin' Half Marathon Pictures

The pictures are in...if you would like to take a look at my race experience click here. The picture with the lighthouse in the background, gave us some pretty wicked cross winds. When I saw the photographer, I really tried to fix my "cute" hair, but obvious I had no control over the elements...or my not so favorite haircut (which by the way, I am going in for the 3rd time on Wednesday to try to get where I like it...soon I will have taken so much hair off I will be bald). The final mile I overheard a gal talking about her upcoming trip to the Boston Marathon. I joined the conversation and we introduced ourselves. We were neck and neck until the last 800 meters where she pulled ahead. I decided at 400 meters I would make my move...she wasn't having anything to do with my move making and she immediately surged ahead. With maybe 50 yards, I decided I would "dash" and take her by worked. As you can see on the finishing photo...I beat her. I love a good competition.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Find Your Happy Pace!

I love to put a little sticker or two on my car (maybe this started from my awesome sticker collection I had growing up). I drive people nuts by changing it all of the time (they get used to seeing my car with a certain sticker on the back). I currently have one that says, 26.2 and RUN. Well, I am so excited, I just found a new one this weekend at the Shamrock Running Festival in Virginia Beach expo. It says, "Find Your Happy Pace." Love it!

So as I mentioned, I went to the running festival in VA beach this weekend with a bunch of our run clubbers! We had a blast! I was thinking about doing the full marathon, but decided to play it safe/smart and only do the half marathon. I figured I could go all out and see what kind of pace I was running these days to predict what kind of time I could get a Boston. I haven't been doing any speed workouts this training cycle due to my heel problem (yes, the plantar fascistis is back with a vengeance) and knee issues.

The morning of the race we walked out of our hotel room at 6:30 and were greeted with the heaviest winds ever! I tried to think of some way I could get myself back in my room and curl up and go to bed. But of course I couldn't do that. Instead I decided to "dress up" for the occasion and sport two brown garbage bags. Everyone loved the look and were quite jealous from the stares I received.

I was thrilled when the gun went off to start the race at 7 am to find the wind had stopped! I kept waiting for it to blast me down, but we never encountered it the entire 13.1 miles! This was the flattest race I had ever run...and man that was SWEET! Everyone was dressed in green or dolled up in fancy hats, boas, beads, etc. It was so much fun. After the race, they had a big party tent with bands, beer (I gave my free tickets to others in need), and the BEST beef stew.

Everyone that that ran from Run Club did a super job and had a super time! My biggest thrill of the weekend was when I got a call from my friend who was already at the expo. She said, "Heather, what were you wearing when you ran the Richmond Marathon?" I told her. She said, "Well you are on the cover of the 2008 Richmond Marathon brochure! I don't have a scanner to show you the actual pamphlet, but I did email the guys and they sent me the picture. The other pictures are of some of the runners at the expo and Ashton sporting some of the "freebies" I pick up at these events!
So everyone...go find your happy pace!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ethan's "condition"

Ethan wore a baseball cap to school yesterday. They are not allowed. There was a sub that day so I guess he decided this was his chance to wear his cool baseball cap. She immediately asked him to take off his hat. He told her he didn't have to due to "a condition." He then told another teacher later that day about this same "condition" that would give him permission to wear the cap. Today, his teacher was back and heard about "the condition" that warranted him permission to wear a hat to school. He had no answer for condition. She then emailed us wondering why he had been defiant/dishonest at school and to talk with him... or to let us know if we knew about any "condition" he might have that would allow him to wear his hat.

Ethan felt really bad when we sat him down after coming home from school to discuss the goings on regarding the cap and his mysterious condition. He claimed, through tears, that he just wanted to wear the hat. I thought that maybe "a bad hair day" might have worked as an excuse...or maybe his premature male pattern baldness!

Happy Birthday Sommer

Our little girl is 12 today! What a blessing this lady has been in our lives. She came only 3 days before our first anniversary. We were so excited to finally meet her after months of anticipation. She is the most laid back and happy person I know (she takes after her dad) but it wasn't like that the first few months of her life.

Sommer loved to cry! I think she was just showing us early on how dang smart she was...she was not about to let us put her down for anything. I remember pacing up and down the hall with her as she cried and cried. Garth would take the next shift. We would bring her to the Grandparent's house and they would take turns holding her. Sommer was pretty much held her entire first year...And we loved every minute of it!

She started her passion for reading early on too. I have picture after picture of her sitting surrounded by books. I even have a picture of her in the book basket reading. To this day, we catch her staying up extra late with a small light on under the covers with a book!

Sommer loves her brothers. She never begged and pleaded for a sister. With each brother, she immediately showered them with love and attention. She also showed them who was boss and has never let one of them bully her in any way. Her brothers love her so much, they fight about who gets their turn sleeping with her each night (we only let them do it on the weekend).

Sommer loves her friends. She has always been a good friend. I have never seen her treat a friend harshly or purposely do anything mean to hurt them. It has been fun to see her in middle school surrounded by friends...I read a quote once they said, "The type of friends that you surround yourself with show what type of person you are." She has chosen good friends that have been great examples to her.

Sommer brings such joy to our family. I feel so blessed to have such an obedient child that loves the Lord. She is happy, smart, patient, loving, helpful, thoughtful, reflective, kind, tender-hearted, gentle, silly, sweet, and beautiful...that is our Sommer!
Happy Birthday Sommer!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Joey watches TV

Joey loves to watch TV. But he is very selective as to which shows he prefers to spend time watching. He loves, "America's Funniest Home Videos" when they show clips of funny dogs and cats. He also is a fan of "The Dog Whisperer." He has really taken the advice from "the whisperer" to heart and has really showed us some super improvements with his behavior. I have to put my foot down when he wants to watch shows like, "Top Model" or "Desperate Housewives." They are just a waste of his time and do nothing for his disposition.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sleeping beauty

I need my sleep. So much sleep is needed that 9-10 hours per night is a must for me. I am not as lucky as Garth who lives a beautiful existence with an average of 5-6 hours per night. I am sure he would like to add on one or two, but teaching seminary at 6 am, does cut into his schedule a bit. He really doesn't need much sleep.

I wish I went to bed earlier so I could arise earlier. I wish I would have my lights out by 9, but man, I enjoy my free and quiet time. Sometimes (okay often), I don't go to bed until 11:30. So getting up at 7 the next morning, can be tough, if not impossible.

I get sick if I don't get enough sleep. I get cranky if I don't get enough sleep (just ask Garth). I cannot take "cat naps." I have tried many times to do just that. But I can't seem to fall asleep, unless I unplug the phones, know that I will not be disturbed by a doorbell or child, I am in comfy sleeping clothes and I have at least 2-3 hours. I know this in unrealistic, so I don't even try to nap. Garth on the other hand, can be found sitting at his desk, sound asleep with fingers still on the keyboard. Or if he plans well, he will lie down on his hard floor at the office and sleep for a few minutes. No way, could I ever do that!

So yesterday, I was battling cold number two (just got over one last week) and sneezing like crazy. My stomach hurt and I was just as tired as they get! I was worried about that time change and knew I was going to have to get up even earlier to make 9 am church on time.

Darling Garth, told me I should just stay in bed. He said he would take the kids to church. He knew I needed my sleep to get better...I had been going and going and was just about gone! So I went to bed at 10:30 and you won't guess what time I woke up.....12:30 the next day!

Man I love my sleep! I feel so good today! Thanks Garth.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Costco's workout

I love a good bargain that bulk can provide but man Costco makes me tired. This is my normal workout when I go to Costco:

Pick up a huge case of water and attempt to get it in my cart.
Pick up a huge case of Gatorade and do above routine.
Pick up totally heavy box of kitty litter and hope a male sees me struggling, if not, lug it over the side of cart.
Break my back lifting dog food (are they 100 lb bags or what?!) into cart (no macho males around).
Find room for the laundry soap.

Now my cart is full and I haven't even gotten to the food. But I must finish my workout...

Get 5 or 6 jugs of milk and get irritated as they keep falling over in the bottom of the cart.
Try to find room for the large boxes of cereal, goldfish, huge bag of frozen chicken and the many other over sized heavy items.
Balance bag of rice on Tate's lap
Try not to smash bread or break eggs

Now I am forced to check out because there isn't anymore room and you can't see the kids anymore in the cart.

As I go to check out, I am upset they don't have any boxes. This makes the loading into the car and unloading the most tedious task known to man. But I shouldn't complain too much because when they do have boxes, they usually give me a huge one and put the heaviest of heaviest items in there and I can't pry it out of the bottom of the cart.

Now for the most difficult part of the workout.

Our Costco brilliantly designed the parking lot to be uphill. I literally have to get a running start and ask my little kids to help me push it up the hill to the car. And when we do finally get it to the car, the cart will not stay in place and keeps rolling back. I then I have to lug out the case of corn and put it under the wheel as I unload the items that I have just loaded into my cart, out of the cart and into the car.

This workout isn't over yet...

I then have to drive home and make a call to Garth in route to see if he can leave work and help me UNLOAD (yet again) the blasted items. Bless his heart, he would love to also get in a workout and help but he can't leave work. I am then left to do the final muscle building portion of the workout and carry everything into the house and put it all away.

Forget all the running...Costco's workout is just fine!

Monday, March 3, 2008


Ifanyone was wondering about my hair (and I know so so many people out in the world have), I will let you all know that it has been confirmed (at least 100 times), that it is "cute." I was wondering if there might be another word one could use for this new do of mine instead of cute. But alas, cute isn't so bad.
As many of you know, I chopped 10 inches off my luxurious hair in September and donated it to "locks of love." I liked the cut. After five months, I decided I had either trim it a bit (and grow it back out) or get it cut again. I decided to go with the second option and keep my hair shorter for a little while longer. So as you can see it is as "cute as can be." I am missing my longer locks a bit but hopefully a beautiful wig is out there, lovely and long, making someone feel "beautifully cute."
You just gotta love the above pictures! Ashton, my 3 year-old took the pic of me. I squatted down so Mr. Shorty could get the shot. He then wanted a picture of himself and immediately squatted down too!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


We were so grateful Grandma and Pops Gair came to help out at the waterpark on Friday! We had so much fun going down the slides and getting wet! Ashton spent most of his day in the hottub. The other kids were going and going and gone...for hours. It was next to impossible to get them to pack up after 6 hours!

How can you beat snow tubing, lounging around, hiking, skiing and hitting the indoor water park as MassaNothing? We really had a great time. And although Garth could only stay one day due to work obligations, he filled that day with lots of tubing and even took Calvin night skiing!
The Family did enjoy some fun tubing time! It was so cold though! Notice Ashton, the prince, nestled inside his tube with a blanket, where he was escorted up and down the hill for 2 hours without even getting out!
As much as I enjoy the mountains, I am not so fond of them when I have to run! I had the toughest time getting in two days of running on hill after hill!
Here are a couple of cute things Ashton said this weekend:
1. On our climb up to the mountain we began to drive through lots of trees. He said in the most matter of fact way, "Well, I guess we are in the forest now."
2. While saying our prayers (I say something and he will repeat) I said, "We are thankful we could go to church today." He replies back, "I am not thankful I went to church today."

Sometimes the Wind Blows

Have you ever ran 18 miles with 40 mph wind gusts? I hope not! I wouldn't wish that on anyone. (If you don't mind, this is when you might want to start playing your violins) I had the great joy of running SOLO (you know I hate to run alone on long runs) not to mention total windy conditions on Saturday. I ran every excuse through my mind , hoping I would come across something that could keep me home curled up in my warm bed, but decided that sometimes the wind just blows...

And even though there were times when that darn wind was next to impossible to run against, how sweet it was when I turned (sometimes even just a bit), and found myself at ease, the wind at my back, pushing me along...

And so it is with life, the wind blowing and blowing and blowing...but one small turn in the right direction, and we have the wind at our back, giving respite and making life easier.