Silver Lake

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ahhhh... how things have changed with children (obvious statement of the day).

Russ and I have always loved camping/hiking/etc. We took the twins hiking with us for the first time yesterday to start off our Memorial Day weekend. Russ had given me a nice Deuter brand hiking backpack from ebay for Mother's Day and we were excited to give it a try (it rocks, by the way). After packing up half our house, loading up the truck with car seats and toys and sippy cups, pacifying screaming babies as we off-roaded on some dirt road up to Silver Lake, we were finally on our way. 

It. Was. Beautiful. 

Getting out in nature is always such a refreshing change of pace. The babies even love it. The trail we were doing was only 2 miles up, 2 miles back. After what seemed like quite a while we checked to see our progress - .6 mile. Oh my. 

Babies starting getting restless in the backpacks. 

Backs were getting sore. (we have big babies after all)

We finally made the decision to turn around at about a mile. My goodness! Everything takes so much longer/is way harder hauling two 19 month babies up a mountain! Even though it felt like a bit of a failure, we still had a great time, escaped into nature, and got off the mountain without any tears or injuries. So, by golly, I call our first hike with the babies a success! Next time we may just do a less steep hike :)

Utah, you are beautiful. The end.

Mother's Day

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I'm a week and half late, but I just wanted to express my gratitude at the chance of being a mother. This last Mother's Day was especially poignant for me. I felt incredibly aware of how precious these little people were and how they have been entrusted in my care. As many of you readers know, motherhood did not come easy for me or in the timeframe I wanted it to. But it did come, and I'm glad I continued to persevere through the battlefield we call infertility. 

I am also still incredibly aware of how Mother's Day can be a little bit of a sting for those who are still in this position. I have a handful of close friends who are in this boat, and I thought of them all weekend long. Don't give up, friends. Don't give up.

I am so grateful for my babies and the chance I have to be their mother. They make me want to be a better person. I am grateful that even after our hardest days they still think I'm the bees knees. I hope that never changes. :)

My Marathon Experience

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I finished my first marathon! 26.2 miles.... check!

WARNING: Slightly detailed and probably overly wordy explanation below. This was just such a huge momentous day that I really want to get the whole experience down in writing before I forget! 

I always told myself I would never do a marathon. It just seemed so unattainable, even after a half marathon. However, things changed when Whitney, the wife of Russ's cousin, emailed me last December and asked if I wanted to do the Ogden Marathon with her. Luckily Russ is in tune and knew that I secretly wanted to do it. With some not-so-subtle hints he convinced me to sign up. He bought me a marathon training book by Hal Higdon for Christmas. Two weeks later I started my 18 week training program. 

For the most part I enjoyed the training process. It felt good to achieve another milestone week after week, especially once I had passed the 13.1 mileage and started reaching numbers I had previously never hit. The 15 miler was especially significant. As the mileage continued to build and I was doing 30+ miles a week, it started getting rather stressful, exhausting and causing a bit of anxiety. It might have something to do with my crazy twins. :) I was having to find babysitters to go on long runs (which seems crazy to me), Russ was picking up a lot of slack with Max and Clara, and I was just really physically tired. As race day approached, anxiety started building and I was having a hard time sleeping. I just wanted to get this race over with! One of my favorite things about those super long runs, however, was when my little support crew would find me on the trails. It always made my day! Again, Russ is pretty much amazing.

On Friday after work, my mom came to stay at our house and Russ and I drove up to Ogden. We stayed in a crappy little motel since we were late on the whole "get a hotel next to the shuttle bus" thing. :) As per usual with races, I barely slept (maybe about 3 hours?) due to nerves.

So, so, so tired at 4:15 am after 3 hours of interrupted sleep. I think I was contemplating driving home instead of getting on the shuttle at that point. :)

I was so glad I had my San Antonio friends, Stacie and Andrea, to be with before the race. I also loved knowing Ryan and Whitney (Russ's cousin and his wife) were in on it, as well! Runners are a crazy bunch, but at least we are all crazy together. We got to the starting line and had to wait for about an hour and a half. It was freezing and even started lightly snowing at one point! When we threw our clothes bag into the bus to take down to the finish line, I put my rain jacket in the bag thinking I would probably be fine (very quickly regretting my decision). At the starting line I had just my tank top and a plastic bag over me (because rain WAS in the forecast). I wanted to kick myself! What had I done?! I said a silent prayer that I would be OK. After the starting buzzer went off, I was slowly walking to the line in the crowd and saw a few items of clothing on the ground that others ahead of me had discarded. I pulled to the side and picked up this random rain jacket that was a few sizes too big. I wore that jacket the ENTIRE race. Haha! That was a new low for me, but I was also so incredibly grateful for that stranger's rain jacket - an answer to prayers for sure. 

The race was such a rollercoaster of emotions. I was so pumped up to finally be doing the thing I had worked so long to achieve. I was exhausted, especially halfway in. I was frustrated that this huge day I had been looking forward to had the worst weather EVER. It started raining pretty heavy at about mile 1 until the very end. It never stopped raining, and at some points there was horizontal rain directly into our faces. Super brutal conditions for a 26.2 mile race.

My main goal of this race was to 1) FINISH and 2) try to run the whole thing. I am so incredibly happy that I can say I achieved both of these goals! Aside from walking through the water stations, I never stopped running! At mile 17 I made a friend named Lindsey. We ran with each other till about mile 23. I am so grateful for her! She helped distract me from the dreaded "20 mile wall" I was super nervous about. I was so shocked to also feel a boost in energy and endurance around mile 22 or so. I picked my pace up for the last 4 miles, something I also never thought would happen. Previous to the race I had only ran about 19 miles, so I was fully expecting the need to walk near the end. 

This was around mile 23 going up our last little hill of the race. You can see my awesome rain jacket. :) 

I saw Russ for the first time at mile 21. I started crying. Seeing him standing there, so excited and supportive, made me so full of love and appreciation for him. He has been my rock through this whole training process. He was on his bike and was able to bike along side me between mile 24-25, which really helped me stay energized. He left me at mile 25 to get to the finish line, and I started kicking it into high gear (such an amazing feeling!). When I could see the finish line far away, I started getting emotional again. I sprinted the last quarter mile or so. I was so, so so excited to be DONE and to get out of the rain. Despite the fact that every inch of my body was screaming in numbing pain, I found enough energy to do so. It is AMAZING what our bodies can do. 

I am convinced running is 49% physical and 51% mental. It truly is "mind over body."

Crossing that finish line was beyond incredible. Again, I was surprised by my emotions. There were times when I thought I wouldn't be able to finish - both during training and the actual race. But once again, I proved to myself that I CAN DO HARD THINGS. I finished at 4 hours and 38 minutes. I had never really set a goal time, but I am perfectly happy with that time, especially considering the horrible conditions I ran through. My main goal was to finish, and finish I did! 

I don't think I'm going to do another marathon for quite a while, if ever. However, this was something on my bucket list, and what an awesome feeling to say I did it. 

Sigh of relief!

Here I am with Ryan and Whitney (who I pretty much owe this experience to! If she hadn't asked me to run it with her, I would not have thought to do it). We were dry and had just had our complimentary massages, so obviously we were feeling much happier. I think it also helped that we had finally, for the most part, stopped violently convulsing from being so cold. Fun times! :)

18 Months!

Monday, May 11, 2015

My sister-in-law is an amazing photographer. Sadly, her and my brother are moving to Seattle this summer, so I wanted to take advantage of her amazing skills before she is gone. Max and Clara are at such a fun age right now, we wanted to capture them at this 18 month stage. The photoshoot went about as one would expect with two 18-monthers, but Bella was still able to capture some great moments. 

Such a good gem :)

My Little Hedgehogs

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I know this blog has been a little a lot twin-heavy, but hey, that's kind of my life these days! I love when I can match Max and Clara - it's hard to find exactly matching sets for boy and girl! These little hedgehog shirts were calling our names, especially since we have a little stuffed hedgehog that is well-loved. His name is Hedgey, obviously. 

We were on a walk at the pond in our neighborhood. I love where we live!

I kinda like these happy hedgehogs, in case you can't tell. :)

Birthdays, Tubes, Snow, and of course... Fun!

This is kind of just a summary of life lately, and obviously a lot of pictures of my two favorite little people. 

I turned 29! Russ did an awesome job of bringing in the last year of my 20's and made me special and loved. We kept it pretty low key with lunch, Museum of Curiosity (gotta keep the little ones happy!), dinner with my family and a fun drive-in movie with Jace and Bella. 

Mr. Max got ear tubes last week. It's something I wish we would have done 6 months ago, but hindsight is always 20/20. After recurrent ear infections that wouldn't go away with standard antibiotics (rocephin shot anyone?), we ventured to the ENT where he failed his hearing tests due to all of the fluid in his ear canals. Poor boy. This helps explain his unsteadiness with walking and delayed speech. He's had the tubes for a week and he's already a new baby - his walking has taken off and he has been so much more vocal! I can only imagine what a game changer it is to no longer feel like you are under water.  

Spring in Utah is the most bipolar time of year. One particular week we went from 75 and sunny, to a windstorm with 80 mph winds, to 6 inches of snow. We tried to make the most of it with some snow time. Clara loved the snow, Max is still on the fence. 

I love, love, love Clara's curly hair. But with curls comes CRAZY bedhead (from nighttime and naps). This isn't even that bad.

I love to catch moments when Max and Clara play well together, because honestly it's kind of rare. They are at the age when all they do is steal toys and bite each other. It makes for some long days, but I just keep hoping eventually they will grow out of it and become the best of friends. :) 

... and finally, our April fools picture. I still chuckle every time I see it. I've never been a big "prankster," but an April fools of this nature is right up my ally. Max is going to kill me for this someday.


Happy Easters!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

It's true what they say - kids make holidays so much more fun! I was excited to get the twins a few new goodies and toys. The looks on their faces were priceless and everything I was hoping for! The tunnel has been the biggest hit. 

Russ is pretty excited about the tunnel as well :)

We also had a fun easter egg bath session!

My mom hosted a fun Easter dinner and Easter egg hunt. I wasn't sure how the "hunt" would go with two 18 month olds, but they sure were excited about the idea of finding candy in these plastic goldmines! Clara got really into finding eggs, while Max decided to work smarter and not harder by staying in place and letting the eggs come to him! Haha! He sure is a quirky, funny boy and I love him so much.

He's walking! This is a REALLY big deal. It's still not 100%, but every time I see him walk and not shuffle on his knees my heart is so happy.

Eating candy like it's her job. "WHY have you been depriving me of this goodness?!"

Grandpa Brent has a thing for dirt bikes. Max can't wait till he can take one for a ride!

The night ended with a special visit from the Easter Bunny (aka Aunt Natty). Seriously, these babes are super lucky to have such an awesome Aunt. Clara loved it, Max was indifferent. :)

Happy Easter everyone. In all seriousness, the baskets and bunnies are nothing compare to the real reason for the holiday - celebrating our Savior and the miracle of the resurrection. I am so grateful for Him. This video is one of my favorites. Watch if you would like.