Thursday, October 20, 2011

Soccer Star

It's know what that means...all across America, kids are kicking soccer balls and parents are freezing their tails off watching!  Thankfully, the Saturdays this October have had their fair share of sunshine and we've only got one kid cruisin' the field!

Don't adjust your monitor...that's the actual color of the Timbers' jerseys.  I think part of their strategy is to blind the other team with sun glare! 

Seriously, these jerseys make it easy to spot the team on the field!  The matching socks push it right over the top.  I think the strategy is working...they've only lost 1 or 2 games.

Ty absolutely loves playing.  He's so sweaty when the game is over!  His favorite "sports move" is pouring water over his head.  Of course, when Mom fills your water bottle with Gatorade, it makes the situation a bit sticky!

I'm still hoping that I can grab a few extra of these jersey after the season...for family vacations...should make it easier to keep an eye on my kids!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Purple and Blue Challenge Run - 10/2/11

I've officially gone a little crazy in the running department!  A friend of mine suckered me into a Challenge Run.  It was a local 5k based on the Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash races.  I'm not really sure what convinced me.  Maybe it was the cause.  But I ran my first Challenge Run on October 2, 2011.

I got there a little bit earlier than Krystyn, so I went ahead and picked up my packet.  On my way in, I noticed a map.  That was when I started to panic.

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

I started to wonder what I'd gotten into.  Especially when the starting line looks like this...

I realize it was advertised as a "5k run with 12 obstacles", but I kinda thought we'd RUN before we saw some of those challenges.  Nope!  Straight into the woods and over downed trees.

First up: 3 HUGE tires.  HUGE! (No that's not me.)

Then some mud...some water...some more army crawl...some more water...(you get the picture)...

At one point, we carried car tires 1/4 mile.  That's right...a CAR TIRE!  How do you carry a tire and run?  I started the way this guy is, but after about 10 yards, it was digging into my shoulder with every bounce so I opted to wear it like a hoola-hoop.  Worked great to run...but boy did my arms hurt on Monday!

We crossed the brook around 8 times.  It was anywhere from a trickle of water to an actual swim under a bridge.  Ever try to swim through freezing water with sneakers on?  Quite a wake-up call.

Right before the finish line there was one last army crawl through mud.  We were quite the sight by the time we crossed the mat!

Here's Krystyn finishing strong:
We all had water-proof GPS anklets.  I sorta felt like I was on house arrest.  Maybe that's what helped me run through the woods.  I gotta tell you though, I'd be a horrible fugitive.  I would just give up.  I could never outrun anyone.

The goal of my race was to finish...finish and have fun! Mission Accomplished!  I've never had more fun running...ever!

So out of 140+ runners, I finished #44 overall.  I was pretty happy with a 41:48 finish and love the fact that I was in the top 10 women finishers!  I definitely see more challenge runs in my future!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Apple Picking 2011

What better way to start the blog back up than with some fun Apple Picking pictures...

I think we're officially back to an annual tradition of picking apples. I didn't think we'd ever be able to bring 5 kids to the orchard on our own. And honestly...we still haven't. A group of people from church all went together to a smaller size orchard (Overlook Farm) only 45 minutes away in Newburgh.  We had a blast:

The place was gorgeous and the weather was beautiful.

TONS of apples were eaten.

Eli really thought EVERY apple needed to be picked!

Cole ran off with two young ladies from church.  They had a great time...yes...that's him in the red...far far far away from Mom and Dad.

I'm sure he talked their ear off!

Ty looked for the highest apples he could find.

Any excuse to climb!

This picture just cracked me up!  We were teaching the kids to blow those wishing thingies (yes, that's the technical term).

And yes, Zoe was there...but like Cole...was too cool to hang with Mom and Dad...

And because you say I never post pictures of myself...

(Eating the world's LARGEST Golden Delicious apple ever!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tiniest Teenager Around

(Quick side note: I've been without a computer for almost 2 months...lots of ugly viruses...still don't have all my pictures back from the I apologize in advance for the cell phone pictures.)

Little Miss Ava has turned into quite the teenager-in-training. She may be small...

...but she doesn't let that stop her "attitude".

The other day, I was at a breaking point and completely fed up with my children's lack of listening and obeying. I admit it...I was yelling. Loudly. And at the end of my tirade, I told the kids they were to be silent the rest of the car ride. After about 5 minutes, I had gathered myself. I took a deep breath and began to apologize for the yelling.

At the very first phrase from my mouth, I heard a deep sigh from the car seat behind me...

...and, "Here we go again..." At the end of my apology, another small sigh, "That was awkward!"

She's three!  What, on earth, will she be like at 13?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Parents Are Cool

My parents are cool.  They're fun.  They're hip.  And what's even better?  They're fun GRANDPARENTS!

When I was a kid, our big family trips revolved around skiing.  Not downhill skiing, mind you...Cross Country Skiing.  I can remember thinking it wasn't as cool as downhill.  Or as hip.  Or as scary!  And I loved it.  I can remember one trip where my Dad and I were out at the end of the day...somehow a little turned around...and on a more difficult trail than I was up for (I refuse to say it was too difficult for me...I still blame the conditions and the fact that I was tired.) The sun was going down and I was starting to think they'd have to send snowmobiles for us. I remember having to take my skis off and hike for part of it.  And I remember coming around a corner and seeing a HUGE downhill.  HUGE.  I'm no thrill-seeker.  I was not excited.  And I don't remember all the details in how I got back to the lodge...but I do remember there being a good amount of tears.'s a great memory and parents have passed the cross-country bug on to my kids!

Monday afternoon, Grammy and Granddad took Zoe and Ty up High Point, NJ for an experiment in skiing.  We weren't sure how they'd do, but with a 1/2 day ticket option, my folks were willing to give it a try. The weather was perfect: We had 6 inches of fresh snow fall on Sunday night (shocking, I know). It was cool, but not fridged.  Warm enough that Zoe needed to take her hat off by the end of the afternoon.

Grammy was kind enough to provide pictures...

Zoe and Ty were sure to let us know how they were measured by this man for their rental skis: "Raise your in class...and the tip top of the ski should tickle you between your wrist and palm.  Then you put your arm straight out to your a 'T'...and that's how tall your poles are.  After you carry your skis outside, you step into the ski with your toes."

Granddad gave Zoe pointers on technique: "Put your weight on foot that's not in the front and push off with that leg.  Then you swing your arms opposite your legs and you can use your poles to make you go even faster!"

It took Ty a little while to get his snow legs.

And when he fell...he'd get tangled...

...really tangled!

By the end of the 2 hours, the kids were exhausted...but addicted.  They would've stayed longer (but probably would've needed a shot of "5 Hour Energy").

Thank you, Grammy and Granddad!  They loved it!  You gonna be up for taking the triplets in a few years?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ava's Adventure

I started the "Let's Play Catchup - Ava" post, but had to call a time out.  There's more exciting current things happening in her life: first stitches! should know that we are in the midst of the snowiest January in NJ history.  We barely make it through 24 hours without a flake falling.  The kids haven't had a full week of school all month.  This week, we managed 5 days...2 of them were 1/2 days!

Top the ridiculous weather off with the fact that Shane was on a business trip Tuesday and Wednesday.  He was in Chicago stressing about how he was going to get home in the midst of yet another storm on Wednesday night.  I, however, was home stressing about what to do with the crazy kids!

To say the kids were bouncing off the walls, would be an understatement. It was snowing...AGAIN.  School had been dismissed early.  They'd blown through all the DVDs they wanted to watch.  Dinner was over.  Dad was on his way home.  I was trying to keep them up so he could see them.

Now the scene has been set...

Sure enough, Little Miss Ava was trying to keep up with her brothers while they were jumping off the play table.

Not really sure what happened, but some how, she hit the entertainment center and came crying to me in the other room.  Being the loving, patient, empathetic mother that I am, I half-heartedly went to pick her up to shush her.  That's when I noticed the blood...dripping from her chin!

My knees went weak.  My stomach flipped.  It was 730p on a snowy night and I was home alone with 5 kids ages 8 and under. "Please Lord, don't let the cut that I'm about to look at be bad.  Please."

No such luck.  I knew the minute I looked at it, that Ava would be going to the ER.  But still, I sent a picture to my pediatric nurse friend, Sue.

She agreed.  That's when I called Shane.  He was still a half hour away.  As soon as he walked in the door, Ava and I headed out.

I should point out here, I had to actually ASK where the ER was.  I've lived in NJ for 13 years, yet still...never been to the ER.

It took us about 25 minutes to go about 7 1/2 miles.  Thankfully, Ava calmed down on the ride (she had started screaming as I was putting her jacket on...thanks to Zoe recounting how "she had stitches once and they really hurt") and she even fell asleep.

Our time at the hospital was rather dull.  Sue and her husband (Rob) met us there to keep us company (and hold my hand).  The numbing gel didn't work and Ava needed Lidocaine...not a fun experience and one that I'd like to forget. Rob is one of Ava's favorite people and having him there really helped her.  Sue is one of my favorite people and having her there while Ava was fighting to get out of the papoose really helped me!

After 4 stitches and a dose of Tylenol, we left for home around 1030p.  7 1/2 miles, remember?  There were at least 4 inches of fresh snow since we got to the hospital, so I knew it was going to be a journey.  I figured the highway was a better bet than the side roads and we headed out. 

We were going about 10-15 miles an hour behind a tractor trailer, and I was fine with that.  Then...we stopped.  Completely.  As in "Park".

After 20 minutes, the plow to my right got off and the car in front of me followed.  So did I! Turns out, there were power lines down across the highway and it was closed about 20 feet in front of us.

We fish-tailed our way through unplowed streets to a parallel street that would bring us home.  Of course, as we pulled up to that street (Franklin Turnpike) our light was red.  Oh boy.  How was I going to make a right onto the road from a dead stop in 5 inches of snow in my minivan? Just as I finished a quick prayer, two plows passed in front of us and cleared a path right as my light turned green.  I gunned it...and followed them within a half mile from my house.

At 1145p, we pulled into the garage.  My whole body was tense.  It felt so good to exhale.  What an adventure.

Ava slept until almost 9a Thursday morning.

And when she woke...she was smiling!  Swollen...but smiling!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let's Play Catchup - Zoe

Zoe had a great summer...turned into QUITE a fish, swimming anywhere and everywhere she was given the opportunity!

Just like her brother, Zoe had a few nights away from home.  She enjoyed a week in CT with Grammy for Missions Expo at their church

Sunday night, Zoe and I met my parents halfway for the "drop off".  Monday morning, Grammy and Zoe headed to the day camp.  After lunch with Granddad, they embarked on a variety of afternoon activities...including (and this is my personal highlight of their time together) back-to-school shopping!  That's right...I barely had to do ANY.  Grammy and Zoe hit Walmart and even picked up Ty's supplies.  Wednesday, Granddad headed up to camp to meet up with Ty for their adventure.  So,  for the rest of the week, it was just the ladies.  They had a great time.

In August, we headed to Hershey Park as a family.  Yes, even the "babies" (let's just say they didn't enjoy it like we thought they would).  Zoe really loved it (Ty did too).  The last time she was there, she was almost 4.  This time, she was bigger...

...and could go on more rides.  She LOVED the roller coasters!!!

Poor Shane.  He had to ride over and over.  Thankfully, Granddad Christgau was there and got to ride, too.  I rode a few...and we left Grammy to the slow train with the triplets (she was extremely thankful).  While we were there, we ran into a few of the kids' friends, including two sisters a little older than Zoe.  She was psyched to get some time with them on even more "big kid" rides.

The end of summer meant 3rd grade!  A move to "the other side of the school" and "the upper playground".  I can't believe my baby is so big!

For her 8th birthday party, Zoe opted for a sleepover with the 3K's!

That's right: Karalyn, Kaylyn and Kaylee.  It was quite a tongue-twister!  A bunch of fun was had by all!

Also like Ty, Zoe played soccer (at her mother's insistence).  She did A LOT of running...

...and snacking.

At some point during the summer, Zoe started getting regular phone calls from Kaylee (her cousin).

Listening to them talk about life for hours at a time (okay, more like half hours) was quite humorous.  They'd talk about Webkinz, swimming, you name it!  I have a feeling Zoe's going to be needing the "unlimited" plan if and when she ever gets a cell phone!

Over Thanksgiving, we discovered Zoe's future occupation: TEACHER!  Aunt Roo (a.k.a. Shane's sister Bethany) is a teacher in Baltimore and let Zoe grade a few of her student's tests.  Zoe was a natural!

Zoe ended 2010 with a slam (chuckle chuckle). Probably not a highlight for her, but definitely one for me, was the loss of her door!  Yes, the rule in our house is "You slam it, you lose it!"

By the way, our doors are solid wood and not exactly light. So Zoe, next time you slam your door, could you do it when DAD is home so I don't have to lift and carry that thing!