Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Goals

So now that I have looked at my year in review, I'm thinking ahead to next year.  I'm not big on "resolutions" & I don't believe you have to wait until Jan 1 to start something new or improved.  But I do think the new year is a good time to reevaluate where you are & make a few goals for the next 12 months.

One of the biggest things I will concentrate on this year is my health & fitness.  I'm so blessed to have a big group of friends & family who continue to support me on this journey, both in person & virtually.  The other day my friend Anne posted that she will be joining the "13 in 2013 Challenge."  Well I love races & I love a good challenge, so I'm in!  I will be finishing 13 different races this year.  I'll do a variety of lengths, mostly 5Ks with a few 10Ks & at least one 1/2 marathon throw in.  I will also be doing a few virtual races to fulfill this challenge.  Here is my schedule so far:

1/1 - First on the First 5K in Westerville
Jan - Sandy Hook Elementary Memorial 5K (virtual)
April - Restore the Shore Virtual Run - 5 miles
5/4 - Cap City Half Marathon
9/8 - New Albany Walking Classic

I will also be doing the 5 by the 5th Virtual Series from Jan-June.  My plan is to do a 5K each month, although I may go up to a 5 miler for May or June.  I also plan to do a beer run with Adrian again this year, March of Dimes & hopefully the Emerald City 1/4 marathon so that will give me 12 of the 13 races.  I'm sure I'll find at least one more to do, maybe more if the budget/schedule allows.  :)

In addition to exercising, I will be watching what I eat & will continue to count my calories using My Fitness Pal.  I hope to be under 200 lbs by my birthday, but after eating a ton this Christmas season that seems like a super lofty goal.  I will probably adjust it to be under 200 by the 1/2 on May 4th.  I'd really like to lose 2 lbs/week for the whole year, but we will see how the year goes.

My other big personal goal is to do some organizing in this house.  I had it pretty under control & then I think when I added the 3rd kid I kinda let it slip.  I'm going to take the first 3 months of the year to go room to room & declutter.  I will be getting rid of a lot of stuff!  This will hopefully make it easier to keep up with the house.  I'm a big fan of Flylady so after I go thru each room, I'll continue to follow her method to clean up the house.

I also have to get our pictures organized.  As you all have probably seen, I take a lot of pictures.  I have a bunch to put up on our walls, including one of Zak every month since he's been born.  I also have all of the 2012 pictures to label & organize.  And I have some artwork pictures and clothing pictures that I'd like to scrapbook.  I'm planning to meet up with friends at least once/month to work on this stuff.

These goals are of course in addition to all the stuff I do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.  Should make for a busy & interesting year.  I'm up for the challenge!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in Review

I can not believe another year is almost over.  I've been looking back on this year & I think for our family the best way to sum up the year would be change.

The biggest change that happened this year was on Feb 8 when we became a family of 5.  Zachary Christopher joined us that morning at a whooping 10lbs 5 oz.  It was love at first site for the 4 of us existing Jones family members & we have been falling more in love every day.  He is such an amazing addition to our family & he completes the Jones Family of 5.

Me & Zak in the recovery room together

Another big change that happened this year was that AJ started Kindergarten and Daniel started preschool.  We have had to make adjustments a few times with this new schedule, but I think we finally found our groove...just in time for Christmas break to mess it up!  ;)  Both boys are doing really well in school & I couldn't be prouder of them. 

Our extended family also grew this year as we added my newest niece Isabelle in Feb and then my brother Carl married his long time girlfriend Sarah in Oct.  I was also thrilled when Sarah got a job here in Ohio & they moved to Gahanna this summer.  It has been SO long since I've had family this close by & I'm loving it.
Latacz family - 2012
We were lucky enough to take two big trips this year:  we went to NJ for spring break in March & then to Disney World in Sept.  We really enjoyed both trips!  We're hoping for repeat trips in 2013 (more on that in the goals blog coming soon.)  We also had lots of family visit us this year.  My uncle & cousins made their annual trip out here in August.  My parents visited 3 different times.  My brother Jon & his family came in Oct for the wedding as did my grandparents.  I feel very blessed that my boys got to spend so much time with their extended family this year.

Like every family we had trials & sadness this year and one of the hardest times for me was when my Grandma passed away in Jan.  She & I were very close & it was very hard to lose her.  But she has been sick for a while & I know she is in a better place & with my Grandpa now.  I miss her every day.  Christmas Eve was especially hard but I was blessed with a special gift from my aunt that made it easier.  She gave me 4 of my Grandma's Christmas ornaments for my tree. 

Finally one of the biggest changes for me personally has been the switch to a healthier lifestyle.  I started on this path last year, then I got pregnant & took a right turn off it.  Thankfully I didn't get too far off the path & came right back to it this year.  As soon as Zak was old enough, I started going back to the gym.  I also trained for & finished my first 1/2 marathon.  Adrian & I changed our eating habits & we have both lost a lot of weight & are feeling great.  We will continue to improve in 2013!

Well that's a brief look at my year.  Obviously another small change was that I started this blog.  I'm really enjoying writing it & I hope you all are enjoying reading it.  

I wish you all a very Happy New Year!!

Jones Family - 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thankful Thursday - SNOW!

Yes, I am thankful for snow!  I love living in an area that has all four seasons that we get to enjoy.  I don't love everything about snow, but I am thankful that we got some yesterday.

The boys have been begging asking for snow for over 2 years now.  They were so excited to see the light snow we got the weekend before Christmas & couldn't wait to get out to play in it.  Then they were thrilled to get more the day after Christmas.  So far this season they have had a few snowball fights, made a snowman & went sledding.

Another fun thing about the snow this week was that Adrian got a half day off of work.  He wasn't ready to go back to work after the holiday & we didn't really want him to go back so it was nice to have him home a few days early.  Thankful his boss puts their safety above work & sent him home before the roads got bad.

Thankful for the snow so far, hoping for more this winter so we can go play in it some more!!

AJ working on his snowman during the first snow

Daniel "Ka-booming" our fence with snow

AJ & the finished snowman

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Christmas Break

I am excited & thankful  for Christmas break for more than one reason. 

First off, after the tragedy in CT & the fact that AJ's school was broken into the same night, I'm just thankful to have my babies under my care for the 2 weeks.  My mind knows that they are safe at school,  but my Mommy heart seems to have different thoughts.

Second, school is hard.  Between being the bus, getting homework done, volunteering, etc.  It's exhausting.  I'm thankful that we can sleep as late as we want, don't have to leave the house if we don't want to & don't have any place that we "have to" be for the next 2 weeks.  I do love our routine & will probably be thankful to be back to it in 2 weeks, but for now I'm going to embrace the chaos.  I'm also thankful that Adrian gets some time off & we can spend some time as a family.

Finally, I'm thankful that Christmas break means Christmas time!  I'm SO excited to give the boys their gifts this year.  They are going to be so excited.  I'm thankful to have time with my family, I'm hosting both Christmas Eve & Christmas Day.

Hope you all enjoy your Christmas break as much as we plan to!  And if you want to get together during these 2 weeks off, let me know.  When I asked AJ what he wanted to do he said "play with friends."

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day of Rememberance

Today I have so many emotions swirling around in my brain.  I'm sad, anxious, nervous, scared, angry, happy, proud, etc.  I don't even know that I can put what I'm feeling into words.

As I'm going through our normal Mon routine, trying to get everyone ready to get out the door on time, I'm mostly thankful.  I'm thankful that I am doing it, so many aren't.  I'm thankful that my kids have no idea what is going on, so many don't.  I'm thankful in just 3 short hours I'll have all 3 of my babies together & with me for another 24 hours, so many can't.

To all my friends who have to send their babies off to school today.  I'm right there with you.  It's going to by far be the hardest drop off I've done.  But we have to do it.  Give them an extra hug, kiss & I love you & trust that it will be OK.  Then call me & remind me the same thing.

To the educators, principals & support staff at schools across the country...THANK YOU!  It doesn't seem like enough but it's all I've got.

To Newtown CT, I am praying for you.  RIP all who were lost on Fri.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Shopping with Daniel

Daniel loves to shop!!  Food shopping, Target, etc, he loves it all!  I don't know where he gets that from...I hate to shop.  I only do it when I have to & even then I go in with my list, get what I need & get out.  But Daniel loves it & gets so excited when we go to the store.  He makes me laugh with some of his observations when we're shopping.  Here are a few of his recent ones.

D - Mom, can we please get these Oreos.  We have never had these special red Oreos before.
M - Fine, we can get them, put them in the cart.
D- Awesome!  I bet Santa made these & brought them to the store so we could buy them.  They are so awesome!

(in the bathroom)
D - Mom, I heard someone else come in.
M - Yeah sweetie, it's a public bathroom.  Someone else is using another stall.
D - Oh OK, is it another boy?
M - No D, it's a girl because we're in the girls' bathroom.
D - Oh, it must be a big girl because she got to come in here all by herself.  Look I see her feet!
(This woman was a Mom with older kids, she came out & thought he was so precious)

Daniel also knows the weekly Aldi list by heart.  And he recites it as we walk through the store, getting lots of smiles & laughs as he goes:  Cheetos, Fudge Stripped Cookies, Nanola (granola) Bars, Flower Flower (cauliflower), Bean Beans (green beans), Green Balls (avocados) & a pickle (cucumber).  Hmmm, maybe I need to switch up our list.  :)

The only down side to Daniel wanting to do all the shopping with me is that he wants to buy everything.  So this of course sometimes leads to a huge breakdown in the middle of the store, usually Target.  Seriously, our picture may be up in that store.  In the past month he has thrown huge fits over the fact that I wouldn't buy him the orange finger paint (I bought them other finger paint because we got more for less & it wasn't ColorWonder) & and a Tigger stocking (I already bought the stockings he wanted to decorate).

So I take the bad with the good and usually take him shopping with me.  Sometimes out of necessity, sometimes just because I'd like a buddy with me & he makes me & the other shoppers laugh & smile.

OK, where do the groceries go??

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Santa!

I'm really thankful that I'm getting to see Christmas through my kids eyes.  Each year they understand a little more about it, both the commercial side & the religious side.  It is so fun!

This year, AJ & Daniel have been all about Santa!  They wrote letters (AJ wrote his himself), we had breakfast with him, went to his workshop & went to see him at the mall.  AJ & Daniel have run right up to him & talked to him every time.  Zak is a little more hesitant, but we've got a few cute pictures with him.

The boys are super excited for Christmas Day & can't wait for Santa to come.  They love their candy countdown to Christmas & every day they remind me how many days until Christmas (I am not thankful for this, it is stressful.  Seriously stressful.  Where is that wine glass??)

Here are some of our super cute Santa pics from this year.

Santa at the mall.  AJ wanted to do a silly picture.

The 5 of us at breakfast with Santa

Westerville's Snowflake Castle

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Zachary - 10 months

Yikes!  I can't even believe another month has passed & my baby is 10 months old already.  This month has been chock full of fun for Zak.  He is growing so quickly & learning something new every day, or at least that's how it seems. We just had his 9 month well check (due to 2 cancellations we were very late) & he is growing like a champ!  He weighs 20 lbs 14.5 ozs (60%) & is 29 inches long (75%).  The doctor said everything looks great!!  And the nurse wondered why I needed the gym, I can just lift my not so little man.  :)

This month his big accomplishments have been learning how to climb up all of our stairs, getting up to a standing position unassisted, standing on his own for a few seconds & learning how to clap.  He is also babbling a ton & can say Momma & Dadda pretty clearly.

He continues to learn how to eat everything!  His current favorites are granola bars, chocolate chip pancakes & mac & cheese.  He also loves cantaloup & strawberries.  He loves to feed himself, he's pretty much off baby food now.

Finally, he continues to love to play with his brothers.  He will crawl all around the house looking for them & loves to be near them.  They seem to be enjoying him most of the time, unless he is "messing up their game."  I love watching the 3 of them play together!!
The 3 boys wrestling one morning

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Ignorance

Well, maybe I should rename this to "Thankful Whatever Day I get a Minute."  :)

Disclaimer - if your kids are not in school yet, you may not want to read this blog.  Live in ignorance for however much longer you have!

This Thursday was a rough morning for school drop off.  After I finally got everyone where they needed to be, I was driving to the gym & I was thinking back to about a year ago.  I was pregnant with Zak & thinking to myself "Next year won't be so bad.  AJ & Daniel will be in school.  It will be just me & the baby.  We'll have so much time together."  Yeah, right.  I was so naive!  Ignorance is truly bliss in this scenario.

School is a lot of work for everyone, the kids & the parents.  I have to make sure everyone is where they need to be with everything they need every day.  I also have to volunteer & help out for various things at the schools.  And I have to make sure homework gets done everyday.  And there is way more homework in Kindergarten than I ever though there would be.

Now you may be wondering where my thankfulness is in this post.  Here it is...I'm thankful for the naivety & ignorance I had before this started.  I'm thankful to all my friends who just shook their heads & agreed with me when I said how easy it would be.  And I am thankful that my life is as crazy as it is, I wouldn't trade this time with my little men for anything...including the time we are doing homework!!  :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monthly AJ Update

AJ got his interim report on Friday...I can't believe we're already 1/2 way through the 2nd quarter of the school year!  This year is flying!  He did really well & is meeting expectations or progressing in all areas.  His strengths are recognizing his letters, writing his letters, counting to 100(!) & identifying letter sounds.  He needs improvement on writing his numbers & sight words.

I continue to be amazed by how quickly he is learning.  He wrote out his list for Santa this year, copying the words from the wish books.  He can also read lots of short books & help us read the longer ones.  His speech is improving & he has finally made a friend in his class!  He also has been very cute with Zachary recently, trying to help me take care of him.  I am such a proud Mommy!!

Finally, an update on his busing situation...soon after I posted about it changing, it changed again.  His bus had another kid stop riding so now the bus comes a different direction which means AJ has to cross the street to get on it.  This has been a big change for him and for me.  I now have to walk him down the driveway & help him cross.  The good thing is this means I am up & dressed to my shoes early every morning.

And just as we're getting used to this, we have another change coming this week.  Since our levy didn't pass, our high school lost busing.  This means all the other routes will be earlier.  Now AJ will be picked up 10 minutes earlier each morning.  This is going to be a problem on Tues/Thurs when I have to drop Daniel off.  We will be getting back right around the same time as the bus is scheduled to pick AJ up.  Not sure how this is going to work.  I have a feeling I'll be doing express drop offs soon...and that line is super long every morning!  I really want no parts of it, that's why we do the bus in the first place!  We will see how this plays out...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Girlfriends

Wow, maybe I should let the kids take over this series, at least they got their post up on time.  ;)

I have had this post in my head for a while and Thursday I was reminded even more why I am so thankful for my girlfriends.  A little background for those who may not know me that well...I grew up in New Jersey, moved around quite a bit for like 10 years & finally settled in Ohio when Adrian & I got engaged (that's the very summarized story, maybe someday I'll blog a longer version).  When we moved here I knew no one.  Adrian grew up here & it felt like he knew everyone.  I was glad we weren't totally starting over, but I was also adamant that I really wanted to make my own friends.  Now more than 7 years later, I am SO thankful for all the women I have met who have become dear friends.

I have Mommy friends, friends from work, friends from church, friends from AJ's school friends, friends who are in a book club with me, friends who retreat twice a year with me, friends who scrapbook with me (even though I don't scrapbook), friends who laugh with me, friends who cry with me, friends who buy my Bon Jovi ticket for me so I can still go to the gym, friends who exercise with me, friends who keep me on track with my diet, friends who allow me to cheat on my diet, etc...

I could go on & on.  I hope you are all reading this & I hope you all know how important you are to me.  I have some great friends who I still keep in touch with from growing up & I'm thankful for them as well!  I am a truly blessed & loved lady & I love you all right back!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Kids Edition!

I bet you thought I was gonna say I am thankful for my kids right?  Well of course I am thankful for them, but I figured in honor of Thanksgiving, I would let my kids write the blog.  Well, they would dictate & I will write it.  :)

I asked AJ what he was thankful for and he said:  books & video games, mom & dad, Daniel, the Christmas tree & everything that God gives us.  (Aww!)  I asked him "What about Zak?"  "Oh yeah, I'm thankful for Zak, but I forgot about him because he's just a baby."

Then I asked Daniel and he said he was thankful for Two Face, Lego Batman 1, the bad guys from Lego Batman 2, Sponge Bob mac & cheese, his Tigger pillow & Daddy.  I asked "What about Mommy?"  "Nope.  Oh, I am also thankful for Pop Pop & that he bumps his head!"  I'm thankful 3 only lasts one year!  ;)

Finally I asked Zak and he said "AHAHAHAHAH!"  Since I'm an interpreter I can tell you that means "I'm thankful for Mom, Dad, AJ & Daniel.  And I'm thankful that this is my first Thanksgiving with this amazing family.  And that I can eat real food not just that baby food anymore!  Pass the turkey!"  Well, that's a loose interpretation, but you get the idea.

I am thankful for so much not only today but everyday of my life.  I will continue to do these posts to remind myself of all that I have to be thankful for. I hope you all had a great day with your loved ones!  Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Weight Loss

Sorry this is a few days late.  It's been a busy week.  Then again, aren't they all??  ;)

This week (in case you aren't one of the 66 people who liked my status on Weds) I hit my pre-baby weight!!  I am so thankful for finally hitting this milestone!  I have been working hard, eating right, training for the marathon, etc pretty consistently since July.  And I couldn't have been happier to finally see this number on the scale on Weds.  My next goal is a certain weight before my birthday.  I have to lose 2 lbs/week every week to hit it.  I'm not off to the best start (one 1 lb/week for the past 2 weeks), but hopefully I'll make up for it.  I'll keep you posted.

I'm also thankful for all the things that have helped me reach my goal.  I'm thankful for my gym & their awesome class schedule.  I'm thankful that I got in when they opened on an awesome deal & now only pay $3/month.  I'm thankful for the friends & teachers there who constantly encourage me to do more & tell me how great I'm doing.

I'm thankful that my friend Anne started a secret Facebook group for a few of us who want to lose weight.  Some were friends before & some are now virtual friends.  They keep me accountable, encourage me, share awesome recipes & make me laugh.

I'm thankful for all of my family & friends who are putting up with me on this journey. They listen to me complain, tell me how great I look (I love the compliments, they keep me going, so keep them coming!) & keep me on track.  I couldn't be doing this without all the support I'm getting!!  Thank you all for reading & listening to me!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Daniel's Imagination

Daniel has been entertaining all of us with his imagination recently.  He comes up with great games to play & things to do.  He is also super artistic.  He loves doing crafts at school, church & at home.  I love seeing how much he can do & how is improving all the time.  He is getting really good at staying in the lines when he colors, cutting things out & fingerpainting.

His Halloween costume was one of his recent inventions.  He wanted to be a ghost because his favorite ride in Disney World was The Haunted Mansion.  But AJ was being The Joker from Batman & we all wanted to be "Batman Bad Guys."  Instead of caving to the family "pressure," Daniel decided his costume would be "A Ghost from The Haunted Mansion who Should be a Bad Guy in Batman."  Yes that was the full title.  Yes he came up with it on his own.

The Costume
Daniel also really likes to tell stories.  He comes up with all different stories to tell me during the day, usually when we're waiting for AJ's bus.  He also tells Adrian bedtime stories at night.  Most of his stories are retellings of shows he's seen, video games or other books.  But he always puts his Daniel spin on them!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Zachary - 9 months

Wow, I can't believe Zak is already 9 months old!  He is growing up so fast!!  It's definitely faster with the third kid, probably because I'm so busy with all 3 of them.

Zachary has had a busy month again.  He has been really branching out on what he's eating.  He has tried tons of finger food & has even had pizza & chocolate cake.  He has also stood on his own for a few seconds a couple of times, well on his way to figuring out how to walk.  He is constantly exploring & getting into everything.  He loves to play with his big brothers! 

We did have a few setbacks as well, I guess he's human after all.  :)  He got pink eye a few weeks ago & then has had a cold pretty much since then.  With all of that we have had quite a few sleepless nights.  I can't complain though, he is such a good sleeper most of the time!  But boy was I used to sleeping, very hard to go back to being tired.

First taste of chocolate cake at a friend's birthday party!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday - New Additions

This week I am SO thankful that we finally got a second fridge!!  We were blessed when we moved in to our house to get a used freezer as a gift.  We keep it in the basement & I try to keep it stocked with both cooked & uncooked foods.  Recently, I've had a seriously overstocked fridge all the time.  I know this is a good problem to have & I'm also thankful for that.

A few weeks ago, one of my friends told me there were moving (closer to me, yay!)  They had a fridge in their basement that they were going to just leave in the house.  I offered to buy it for $50, she said sold!  Yay!!

This weekend they were cleaning out their old place & we went to pick up our new fridge.  We have it in the garage now.  I immediately stocked it with some of the overflow from the inside fridge.  I also put the 20ish pounds of apples we still have left in it so they will stay fresh.

I was trying to figure out why my fridge is always packed.  I don't feel like I over buy.  And we use everything, it's very rare that I though something out.  Today I realized what it is.  We are eating very healthy these days.  Almost everything I buy is fruit, vegetables & dairy.  All of that needs to be in the fridge.

The other positive thing coming out of the new fridge is that Adrian is so impressed with how nice both fridges look now, he wants to put shelving in our garage so we can split our pantry as well.  If he does that, I would feel like I have a whole new kitchen!  Hopefully I'll be writing another thankful Thursday post about those shelves soon!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Happy Halloween from the Jones boys!
We love Halloween around here!  The boys love getting dressed up & going out to get candy (duh, who doesn't??)  I was never a fan of the holiday, until I became a Mom.  The boys ask us to dress up too, which is fun.  Plus it feels like it's the only holiday where I don't have to "do" anything.  I mean, I buy a few costumes, get dressed up & go beg for candy.  No cooking, no cleaning, no wrapping, etc.

Halloween for us also includes all the fun fall activities that we do, since a lot of them allow us to wear our costumes.  This year we missed a few of the due to other commitments like my marathon & my brother's wedding.  But we packed a lot into Halloween weekend, even though we were dodging raindrops most of the time.

We started out Fri morning by going on our last apple picking trip of the season.  The boys & I picked 10 lbs of goldrush apples at Lynd's.  I read that these stored well & was hoping they would at least last through the holidays...they said they will last until the summer!  Yay!  I love fresh apples!!

Friday night we broke out our costumes for the first time & went to a trunk or treat at a local church.  The boys had a blast!  We were the Batman "badguys" this year...AJ was Joker, Zak was Penguin, Adrian was Riddler, I was Catwoman & Daniel was "a ghost from the Haunted Mansion who could be a Batman badguy" (yes, that is the full title of his costume, he came up with it, I love it).  We met Batman at one of the stations & AJ thought it was so funny!

My bad guys :)

Meeting Batman!

Saturday we finally went out to The MAiZE at Little Darby Creek.  We learned last year that our boys love corn mazes & found this one but just didn't have time to make it out.  This year, we made it a priority.  It was very cold & rainy, but we still had a great time.  It took us about an hour & a half to finish the huge maze & we found 16 of the 20 "corn-nundrums" that were hidden in it.  There were also numerous other things to do there & we got to wear our costumes & trick or treat.  It was a very fun, very tiring day.
Zak & I ready to head into the corn maze
Sunday we headed down to The North Market for their Halloween party.  They did a great job with it!  There were tons of candy stations (with good candy!), music, a bug guy, balloon animals & lots of free samples for Mom & Dad.  We had a blast!  And it was all indoors so we didn't get wet...bonus!
Daniel changed his costume for this day.  He didn't fit the theme, but isn't he the cutest Tigger ever??
From there we headed to another church's trunk or treat.  They had to move it indoors, but it was still really nice.  They had a ton of games for the boys to play, food, petting zoo & of course the candy.  The boys had a blast playing the games & earning tickets to get some fun toys.
AJ & Daniel in a donut eating contest.  They didn't win, but loved eating the donuts!
After all this you would think we'd be tired of it by the actual Halloween, but nope!  On Wednesday, I picked AJ up from school & we headed out to Pickerington.  They have an indoor trick or treat & since the weather was horrible, I wanted to do that in case we didn't do much that night.  It was a very nice set up, they decorated their whole city hall & gave out candy.  You could tell they were overwhelmed but handled it great, people brought in extra candy while we were there.  Great job!!
AJ & Daniel outside Pickerington City Hall

Another Batman!  This one was at City Hall & then he followed us to the library.  :)

Finally, Wednesday night we headed out into our neighborhood for trick or treat.  It was cold & rainy & not many people were out.  It also seemed like less people were handing out candy, I would suspect the bad weather impacted this too.  We walked around the block & the boys were done, tired & cold.  We took a quick break in the house, then loaded up & went to our church for trunk or treat.  Even that was too cold, Daniel only made it about 1/2 way before heading back to our car.

Our final Halloween adventure was Fri afternoon when we went to a local dentist to donate most of the candy we collected to the troops.  The boys like the act of trick or treating, but soon lose interest in the candy (yay!)  And since Adrian & I are eating healthy, we don't need it all in our house!  We took a bag with 12 lbs of candy & they gave us $10 ($1/lb but there's a $5 limit per kid).  All in all, we really had a great time celebrating the season!  Now we're into downtime before we start up again with our Christmas stuff.  Hope you all had as much fun as we did this season!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Busing AJ

So a few weeks ago at my book club meeting, one of my good friends was complaining about her experience with the school buses the past 2 years.  After listening to her crazy experience I said "I'm so glad we haven't had any problems with AJ on the bus."

The next Monday, AJ got off the bus all upset.  Since he only goes half day, there were only 2 kids on the bus ride home this year.  Apparently the other boy was going to be picked up from now on so AJ was the only one on the bus to go home.  He didn't like being alone on the bus, but still loves the bus so we decided to keep him on it.

Then on Wednesday, a minivan pulled up in front of the house after school & AJ got out of the back crying.  I talked to the driver to find out that since he was the only kid on the route now, it didn't require a bus & he would be on the van to come home from then on.  She also apologized for not giving us any notice, she didn't know until late Weds morning.  I do have to say, I love our driver!

I talked to AJ & he said he didn't like riding in the van because there was no car seat (Woot!!  Go Mom & Dad!!)  He asked me to please do "express" (pick him up) from now on.  So I talked to transportation & now I pick him up from school every day.  I figured this wouldn't be so bad since I pick up Daniel 2 days/week & can go right to AJ's school.  The other 3 days I would plan to go to the gym & do errands.  Plus the school is literally 3 houses away.  I can leave at 11:50 (dismissal time) & still get there on time...not that I would ever cut it that close.  ;)

This worked great...until Mon when I had sick kids...and the baby fell asleep 30 minutes before I had to leave to pick up AJ.  Oh well, AJ is super happy about it & most of the time it won't be a big deal.  It also makes it easier if we want to do anything together, we can just leave from school (like our Thursday lunch bunch). 

 Also, if I didn't pick him up, I might have missed this gem of a conversation (for those who didn't see it on Facebook or just want another laugh):
AJ - Mom, today is November 1. Why do they call it November?
Me - I don't know sweetie, that's what they decided to name this month. Maybe we can look it up later & see why.
AJ - OK. I think they should call is "Yesvember" that sounds nicer.
Me - (speechless) Yeah, that's a good idea AJ!
AJ - I like to say Yes instead of No, it's nicer.
Me - Yeah, I like that too.
AJ - Mom, Can I have Halloween candy for lunch today??

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Jersey Style

A few of the other blogs I follow do a "Thankful Thursday" post & I love this idea.  While reading theirs I'm also reminded of all the things I have to be thankful for.  I have been wanting to start doing it weekly here too & thought November is the perfect month to start doing it.  I had another idea for this first post, but events this week have changed my mind.

This week I am thankful to be a Jersey Girl!  While I haven't lived there full time in 18 years, I always consider it home.  Seeing & reading about the destruction Hurricane Sandy caused there has been heart breaking.  I am so sad to read about friends whose homes are destroyed & see the beaches & boardwalks wrecked.  Seaside holds so many memories for me, some are a little fuzzy but I hear I had a good time.  ;)

Now that may not sound like something to be thankful for, but here's the part I'm thankful for.  I'm thankful to see people reaching out to people, friends, family & strangers.  I'm thankful to see the NJ pride & strength.  I'm thankful that my friends & family are all SAFE & that the things they lost can be rebuilt & replaced.  I'm thankful for all my memories, which are now a little more sweet.  I'm thankful that Seaside will be rebuilt & will probably be nicer than it currently is.

Even though I don't live there now, I'm a Jersey Girl at heart, always will be.  I've been oddly homesick this week.  Hoping we can get back there again this summer.  Until the next trip, I'm thankful I got to take all my boys to see where I grew up.  Stay strong Jersey!!

Here is a picture of the 5 of us at Seaside.  The pier in the background is now destroyed.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

One Moment in Time (1/2 Marathon Race Recap)

So it took me a few days to process the whole race & all the emotions I was feeling about it...then it has taken me a few more to find the time to sit down & write this.  Then yesterday at Zumba, the instructor played the Whitney Houston song "One Moment in Time" for our cool down & I started getting all choked up thinking about the race again so I knew I needed to make the time & get my One Moment out onto paper (so to speak).  This may be a little long, so bear with me.

Oct 21, 2012...Race day!  I walked 220 miles to train for this 13.1, I was ready..sort of.  OK, I wasn't ready, but I was doing it anyway.  :) 

The day started with the alarm going off 4:45am.  I had laid out all my gear the night before & was dressed, fed & ready to head out into the freezing cold by 5:30.
My shirt ready to go the night before

The race started at 7:30 & I crossed the start line around 7:50.  It was such a great feeling!  I was with about 6 other women I had trained with in my MIT group & we started out at a great pace.  There were tons of people lining the street cheering for us & different bands playing.  The first 2 miles flew by & I was so excited to see Adrian, the boys & my in-laws on the side of the street cheering around mile 2.  I got all choked up & was feeling great with the start of the race.

Everything was going along great until around mile 5.  I started to get really tired & a few of the people I was walking with started walking much faster than I was able to.  But then around mile 6.5 I again saw my family, now joined by my brother, sister in law & niece.  I cried again.  But seeing them plus my honey stinger chews gave me the jolt I needed & I kept on cruising.
That's me in the black (next to the girl in pink) approaching mile 6.5ish
 Then it was mile 9 & I was exhausted.  I honestly didn't think I could walk any more.  All of my training buddies had already moved ahead.  The course was closing around me & I was fighting with myself (& downtown traffic) to keep going.  I had decided I would get to mile 10, since I had done that twice in my training, and then I would stop & have Adrian come & pick me up.  Then I got this text from him "Go Mom!  We're waiting at the finish line for you!  We love you!"  I cried.  Again.  And I knew I couldn't give up.  I crossed mile 10 & convinced myself I could make it to 11 & then I'd quit.  :)

Somewhere between mile 10 & 11, I fell in step with 2 other women.  They were amazing!  We started talking & before I knew it we were at mile 12.  We met up with their friend who was on a bike for the ;ast mile or so with us & she cheered us on the whole time, especially up the huge hill on High St.  It was great to have company for those last few miles.  I don't know if I would have made it or not without them.  I know they wouldn't have been as much fun.

I finally made the last turn onto Nationwide Blvd.  Both sides of the street were filled with people & I could see the finish line.  I was excited!  I saw my family on one side cheering for me & I cried.  Then I saw my friends on the other side "screaming like crazy" for me (their words, not mine) & I cried some more.  I finally crossed the finish line, got my medal, chocolate milk & cookies & headed for the recovery zone!
Me looking good heading to the finish line...never would know I was ready to give up 3 miles ago

Me & my biggest supporter!

My brother Carl & I at the finish line - he helped me train, was at the race & cooked our recovery dinner!

My amazing family!  So glad they could be there to support me!!
So this race almost felt like 2 races for me.  I loved the first half, hated the second half.  I was upset that my training partners left me behind & also that the course was closing around me.  I am still confused why that happened, the website said I had 4 hours, I finished in under that.  But it also said you had to do a faster than 16:00 mile, I didn't do that.  I know everyone else that did this race loved it, so I would recommend it.  I won't be doing it again...until I can be under that 16:00!!

My final stats:
Finish time:  3 hours, 40 minutes, 16 seconds
Average pace:  16:49/mile
Overall place:  9790 out of 9931
I passed 31 athletes overall

Now, what's next??  I am already signed up for the CapCity 1/2 marathon the first weekend in May.  I spent all week going back & forth if I would do it.  I have decided...I will!  I'm going to take off the next 2 months from official training & start back up around Jan with the New Albany Walking Club.  My goal is to go faster & finish in 3:30.  For the next 2 months I will continue with my exercising, including doing the 30 day shred with Adrian in November.

Thank you all for reading & supporting me on this journey!!  I could not have done it without all of you!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Daniel Update

Daniel continues to be a typical 3 year old, loving & fun one minute, in time out the next.  :)  He has had the same 3 big things going on that AJ has:  school, Disney World & Uncle Carl's wedding.  He also says some of the funniest things in this house.

Daniel has been loving going to Eastpoint Church's preschool.  This is a new program so we weren't sure how it would go, but it has been amazing.  He loves his teacher (so do I!) & is learning a ton.  He's able to recognize his name & a lot of his letters already.  His favorite times at school seems to be snack & recess since those are the only things I hear about.  He's especially excited when he gets fruit snacks for snack since that means he gets more than his daily allowance of them.

Daniel had a blast at Disney World despite being 39 3/4 inches tall & missing a few of the rides he was excited for.  He was especially bummed to miss the Star Wars ride at Hollywood Studios but thankfully a show started soon after we sat down so the crisis was averted.  His favorite ride by far was the Haunted Mansion, it even inspired his Halloween costume of being a ghost.  He also really enjoyed Goofy's roller coaster & Toy Story Mania.  Daniel really enjoyed all the parades & shows & meeting all the characters.  He especially liked meeting Jake from "Jake & the Neverland Pirates" while wearing a shirt with a picture of Jake on.

Finally, here is my favorite Daniel story from the past month.  He had "homework" to bring in something that represented what his Mom and/or Dad do for a job.  So we sent their toy laptop because "Daddy's job is to play with computers all day."  And we sent a pair of Mr Potato Head arms because "Mommy's job is to use her hands to talk to dead people."  :)  Good thing I sent a note to tell the teacher what I really did!

Daniel in his tux at the wedding.  It appears he grew a little from when we tried it on.  Bet he makes 40 inches now!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

AJ Update

Since I've missed the past few months, I thought I'd just give you a quick update on AJ & hopefully one on Daniel tomorrow.  There have been 3 big things that happened for AJ the past few months:  school, the trip to Disney World & being a ring bearer in Uncle Carl's wedding.

AJ seems to be doing great in Kindergarten & I'm amazed with how much he's learning.  We have parent teacher conferences next week so I'll have a more accurate picture of his first 2 months then.  He loves doing his math homework every night (no surprise there since Adrian & I are both very good at math) & is getting better with his writing practice.  AJ is also starting to learn how to read.  He can recognize around 10 sight words & he's adding 2-3 per week.  He can read short books to us & that really makes me so happy.  AJ also seems to have inherited a love for reading (again no surprise) & I love watching him develop those skills!

Disney World was an amazing week for AJ!  I still hope to blog our trip, or at least get our pictures up on Facebook soon.  For now, a few of AJ's favorite parts of the trip.  He loved meeting all the characters & getting his autograph book signed.  His favorites were Goofy & Donald.  He also loved every single ride we went on.  His favorites were Everest at Animal Kingdom because "the gorilla (yeti) came out & broke the tracks so we had to go backwards," Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom, Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom & Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios.  I think he also enjoyed watching the shows, especially the one at the castle in Magic Kingdom, & the parades, especially the Animal Kingdom one.  He is still using most of his souvenirs & asking when we can go back.

 Finally AJ & Daniel were both ring bearers in Carl & Sarah's wedding.  They were adorable!!  They both looked great in their suits & were on their best behavior that day.  They started down the aisle & looked a little nervous, but then they saw me & calmed down.  They started out walking nice & ended up running/galloping down the aisle.  AJ threw his pillow at one point too, which was very cute.  Numerous people commented (& I agree) that their walk was totally "them."  :)

AJ in his tux at the wedding, with Grandpa's cake pop

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Zachary - 8 months

I can't believe Zachary is already 8 months old!  He has had an exciting month.  He cut his first 2 teeth, the 2 bottom ones.  He also started eating a ton of finger foods including puffs, Cheerios, goldfish & wagon wheels.  He loves feeding himself, prefers it to us feeding him.  He is also crawling all over the place & getting into everything!  I feel like he's into more than his big brothers were, but then again he has 2 horrible wonderful role models showing him what to do.  Zak is doing great getting up to standing & back down to sitting & is even starting to cruise on the furniture & with our toy shopping cart.

I also had some emotional moments this month when we retired a few things.  After over 5 years, 3 kids & millions of miles, we finally retired our bucket carrier car seat.  While I have been struggling with carrying it recently, I am kinda sad to see it go & see all 3 boys in bigger car seats.  We also retired the baby bath tub since Zak is loving splashing around in the big one.  Finally we passed along all of our clothes that are size 6 month & pulled out the 12 month stuff.  The 6-9 month stuff is still being used, but not for long.

Monday, October 15, 2012

1/2 Marathon Training - Weeks 16-19

So those of you that have been following along have probably noticed that I haven't done an update about my training in awhile.  There are 2 reasons for that.  First, there hasn't been time. Since Aug I have had school start, Disney World trip, Mom's retreat weekend, Carl & Sarah's wedding, marathon training & fall activities.  I hope to blog about all of those one day, but realize that may never happen.

The second reason I haven't blogged is because I haven't been thrilled with my training recently.  I'm still walking, just not as much as I should.  I have many excuses, and there have been a lot of schedule disruptions, but the honest truth is I just haven't been getting it done.  I did do two 10 mile walks, which were exciting for me since they are my only ever double digit walks.  I have also got to walk with a lot of my friends recently, sometimes less miles or slower than my training plan suggested, but I will always take the great company over the training plan.

So now I'm just 6 days from the big day and I am feeling pretty much every emotion.  I'm first off excited...I'm going to walk a 1/2 marathon!!!  That is so cool.  And so many friends will be there with me at the finish line.  I'm also very proud.  A different Christa (like the one I knew 6 months ago) would have quit when all the disruptions started happening.  And of course I'm nervous...hello, it's 13.1 miles.  I have never even come close to walking that far!

I also have an injury I'm dealing with.  A few weeks ago after my first 10 mile walk, behind my right knee started to hurt.  I kept stretching & ignoring it, hoping it would go away.  It hasn't.  In my last training walk this past Sat (6 miles) it started to hurt again around mile 4.  When I finally finished up the 6, I went straight to medical (so thankful my Marathoners in Training group offers this!) & got a plan for the week.  The plan is to walk 2-3 miles every day & stretch...A LOT!  The therapist showed me some really good stretches.  She also suggested new shoes, which I had also realized I needed to get.  Sat I went & got the shoes & did a bunch of stretching.  Sun I cleaned all day & kept stretching throughout the day.  Today I walked 3 miles & have been stretching all day.  As of now, I feel great.  Hoping I stay that way for the next 7 days!

I'll do one final recap next week after the race.  Thank you all in advance for all the love & support you have given me through this training.  I could NEVER have done this alone.

My new shoes - they are pink & I love them!

Monday, September 17, 2012

1/2 Marathon Training - Week 15

This past week I was suffering from vacation hangover.  I remember when I started this blog I was talking about needing a "recovery week" from a vacation & this past week was exactly that.  Between me being lazy & the boys not cooperating, I didn't get in near enough training walks this week.

And I learned something...I need those training walks for the long weekend walks.  I did my 10 mile walk on Sat with my MIT group & I was in pain!  It was probably the hardest walk I have done.  Now it was also my first double digit walk (woot!) so I'm sure that was part of it, but I could feel it in my legs & they were tired.  I am recommitted to the training now, I will do whatever I have to do to get my walks in during the week for the next 5 weeks.

I am very proud to say that I am keeping up on my plank a day challenge though, I did them every day this week.  And today I made it for 1:00 in each position!  That's TWICE as long as I could do them only 17 days ago.  I plan to continue this even after Sept is over.  I'm thinking of adding an additional strength training thing next month, any suggestions??

Here's what I managed to do this week:
Mon, 9/10 - rest day
Tues, 9/11 - rest day
Weds, 9/12 - rest day
Thurs, 9/13 - 4 miles at Blendon Woods
Fri, 9/14 - rest day
Sat, 9/15 - 10 miles in Westerville with MIT
Sun, 9/16 - rest day

Monday, September 10, 2012

1/2 Marathon Training - Week 13 & 14

Well my training took a slight hit with sickness, back to school craziness & vacation.  I did what I could & I'm proud of that.  And I did walk at least a marathon in the Disney parks, all while pushing, pulling and/or carrying at least one child.  Have about 6 weeks left so I need to hit it hard now!
I also started a new challenge the "Plank a Day" challenge on Facebook.  You do planks everyday, once a day for as long as you can.  Three different positions, prone, left & right.  I started in FL & missed 2 days with the travel, but am doing it twice/day today & tomorrow to make up for that.  I can already hold myself :10 seconds longer, I'm up to :40 seconds in each position.  Goal is 1 minute in each by the end of the month.  Join the challenge if you're on Facebook!!
Here is the little I did the past 2 weeks:
8/27 – 3 miles on treadmill
8/28 – rest (my legs were super tired from doing 12 miles in 3 days)
8/29 – rest (sick kids stopped my trip to the gym)
8/30 – rest (travel day)
8/31 – rest (travel day)
9/1 – 3 miles in FL heat at Dad's pace, 2 miles at Downtown Disney, :30 planks
9/2 – 6 miles at Epcot, :30 planks
9/3 – 8 miles at Magic Kingdom, :30 planks
9/4 – 5 miles at Hollywood Studios, :30 planks
9/5 – 4 miles at Animal Kingdom, :30 planks
9/6 – 9 miles at Magic Kingdom
9/7 – rest (travel day)
9/8 – rest (travel day), :35 planks
9/9 – rest (I spent the day watching football - I love DirectTV!), :35 planks

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Zachary - 7 months

Wow, another month has flown by!  It's true, it goes in the blink of an eye, and it's even quicker with the third kid.  Zak has had a busy month exploring the whole house now that he is super mobile.  He is crawling all over the place & getting into everything!  He has also started pulling himself up to standing!!  We had to lower his crib today since we found him standing in it this morning.  He wants to walk so badly so he can keep up with his big brothers.  He's also eating a ton now, he loves his baby food & is super interested in our food.  We are starting him on puffs & a sippy cup now that we are getting back into a fairly normal routine.  He continues to be an awesome baby & super flexible with the crazy schedule we have.  He was a CHAMP at Disney as well!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer Rewind

Well, I can't believe summer is pretty much over for us.  The boys started back to school last week & this week they started all their fall activities (gymnastics, soccer & AWANA).  We had so much fun this summer & I didn't have time to blog most of it so this is a short summary.

Our summer kinda had a few stages.  We started with a few weeks of nothing planned, just doing what we wanted.  Then we had a few scheduled activities including VBS, soccer camp & Safety Town.  We then had another few weeks of nothing, then family came to visit us for 2 weeks.  We ended with one more unscheduled week & now we are back to our fall routine.  However, the routine won't last very long because we leave for Disney World tomorrow!  I will try to blog that trip as we go, but will see how it goes.

I was SO pleased with the scheduled activities that we did this summer.  We started with a week at Epiphany Lutheran Church for Sky VBS.  I signed the boys up for this because all of my friends were going & I thought it would be fun.  I was really impressed with their program & how much the boys enjoyed it.  They came home excited to go back every day & learned all the songs from the program.  We still listen to them.  The next week was soccer camp with Ohio South Youth Soccer Association.  Again, one of my friends was doing this & she was telling me how cheap it was & that both boys could play at the same time.  I thought it sounded good so we tried it.  I was again very impressed with how well this camp ran, especially since 2 of the 5 days it was 100*.  The coaches were great with the kids & the boys loved it!  After that we were back to VBS, this time Babylon at Tri-Village Church.  This program was really great as well although I don't think the boys enjoyed it as much as Sky.  I think the difference is that Epiphany only has VBS up to age 6 so it is totally catered to the younger set whereas most other churches have a wider age range.  The boys did enjoy Babylon & learned a lot at both VBS.  Finally AJ had Safety Town.  I forgot to sign him up for this & by the time I did the only town that had openings was New Albany.  It was little more expensive than other towns, but he got a lot more too.  He had 2 weeks of learning all about safety including bike safety, water safety, bus safety, stranger danger & animal safety.  He also got to tour the local police station & fire station.  Again, super impressed with this program.  I plan to sign the boys up for all 4 programs again next year.

On some of our unscheduled weeks, we enjoyed spending time with our friends.  We did a lot of play dates at our house & at our friends' houses.  We also went to the local parks (when it wasn't too hot!), Gym Skills for their open gym & Kingdom of Bounce for open bounce.  I started going back to the gym so some days we went there to play.  We also had a few lazy days where we just hung at home & played & watched TV.

We did a few big day trips this summer as well.  We spent a day at the Ohio State fair where we rode a ton of rides & ate a ton of food.  The boys loved the frog hopper & the ferris wheel & I loved the fried Buckeyes.  We also spent a day at Kings Island with a big group of family.  AJ & Daniel loved the log flume & we rode that a ton of times.  We also enjoyed our time in the wave pool in the water park.  Zak got to have some fun there & rode his first ride & went in the pools with us.  We spent a day at Entertrainment Junction.  They have a huge train display, play area for the kids & a fun house area with different circus themed things.  The boys had a blast running thru the different mazes in the fun house area.  Finally we took 3 different trips to the zoo.  I wasn't brave enough to do the zoo on my own this summer, too many kids to push/pull so I only went when I had help.

All in all it was a great summer!  I really enjoyed my time with the boys, especially since school kept looming in the fall.  Now we have a very busy fall planned, typically our favorite season of the year.  We'll do apple & pumpkin picking, corn mazes and Halloween events.  Plus we have our trip to Disney & Carl's wedding.  Before I know it this year will be over!

Monday, August 27, 2012

1/2 Marathon Training - Week 11 & 12

Had another 2 good weeks with my 1/2 marathon training, although my weight loss & exercise haven't been what I would like them to be.  We are just in a super busy season of our lives right now.  School started last week & the 10 days before that I just really wanted to spend as much time with my boys as possible.  We are also gearing up for a trip to Disney World this week so as any parent knows this is a full time job for me right now.  I've decided to only focus on my marathon training for now, the calorie counting & cross training is on hold until I get back for Florida.  I didn't make my goal weight, but I am able to fit into pre-AJ clothes right now so I'll take that win!!

I had 2 races this weekend & while they were totally different, both were a ton of fun!  Saturday night Adrian & I ran the "Tap N Run" which is a beer chugging event with a little running/walking thrown in.  :)  We enjoyed walking through downtown & talking without the little ones around...and we also enjoyed the beers & the buzz that followed.  It was a 4K (2.75 miles) & we did it in about 45 minutes, so about a 16:00 minute mile.  Adrian commented a few times about how impressed he was with my pace, this made me feel awesome!

Adrian & I with our finals beers

The second race was the Emerald City 1/4 marathon (6.55) Sunday morning.  I did this one with 2 of my friends from my MIT group.  We started out a little faster than we thought we would, but felt good with our pace so decided to go with it for as long as we could, which was pretty much the whole race.  We loved this course, very flat, quiet & beautiful!  I finished in 1 hour 43 minutes which is 13 minutes faster than my last 1/4 marathon.  I am so pleased with my pace & finish time!!  I have at least 1, maybe 2, more 10K races before the 1/2 so I'll be looking to get those down to under 1:40.

Jeff, Tammy & I after Emerald City

Here's my training for the past 2 weeks:

8/13 – Zumba class
8/14 – Zumba class, 2 miles on treadmill
8/15 – rest
8/16 – bike 20 mins, 3 miles on treadmill
8/17 – rest
8/18 – 8 miles on the trail with MIT plus a family trip to the zoo
8/19 – rest
8/20 – 2 miles on treadmill, bike 20 mins
8/21 – rest
8/22 – rest
8/23 – 3 miles on treadmill
8/24 – rest
8/25 – Tap N Run race, 2.75 miles downtown
8/26 – Emerald City 1/4 marathon, 6.55 miles in Dublin, OH
My bling from the weekend