Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter 2015

He is Risen!  He is Risen indeed!

We are so blessed to worship a risen Savior!!

We had a very busy but lovely Easter weekend.  A certain someone had some special birthday festivities that took place Saturday (that I'll get to at a later date) so we were happy to have my parents in town for the holiday.  Saturday evening we dyed Easter eggs.  It's become a tradition that we do this the night before Easter.  Last year we accidentally waited until the last minute to buy an egg dying kit and all Chris and my dad could find was some kit called 'Dudley's egg dying kit.'  They bought 2 so I had 1 stashed back for this year.  I wasn't super impressed with Dudley's kit...only 4 color tablets and literally nothing else.
 
But I got out a white crayon so Sara Kate could write and draw on them and they turned out multicolored and speckled and kind of cool looking.  Chris thought they were neat.  But I'll remember to buy something earlier and a little better than the cheap ole' Dudley's next year. :-)
Sunday morning we woke up to rain but we enjoyed an awesome church service.  We really are blessed by a beautiful church, an amazing church family, and an outstanding pastor!  If any one is looking for a church in Northwest Arkansas, I highly recommend First Christian Church, Fayetteville!!  
Our one an only decent family picture from the day.  Sara Kate was being goofy and chewing blue peppermint gum but it's the best we got!
Since Chris works at the church and we are so busy and rushed Sunday mornings, our tradition is that the Easter bunny comes while we are at church.  He leaves Sara Kate's Easter basket by the front door and he hides the eggs we decorated the night before.  Since it was raining when we got home, we had lunch first.  Then the rain let up enough for us to head outside.
She was so excited to see new bath toys...she's been asking for some.  She's very into spelling words right now so I got a package of letters and numbers (yes I know, I can't believe we haven't bought these for her yet).  Last night she spelled 'the' all by herself with her new letters and she was so excited for me to come see!
 
 Happy girl with her loot!
After checking out her basket, it was time to hunt eggs!!  No she didn't wear pink flip flops to church, but after lunch that's what she grabbed for shoes.  I was just happy she grabbed shoes to go outside, ha!!
 
 
 
 Counting her eggs.
My parents left shortly afterwards to head south.  We are always sad to say goodbye to them, but we are so happy they were here for the weekend. No family picture this year because of the rain...grrr!!

After they left, Sara Kate and I headed over to my friend Elizabeth's house.  She and her family hosted a meal and an egg hunt for their friends.  The big kids hid the eggs outside for the little kids and as soon as the little kids headed outside to hunt eggs it started raining pretty hard.  The kids were just grabbing eggs to get back inside.  Sara Kate had so much fun and ended up with a full basket.  She kindly shared with some other kids once we were back inside. 
After the egg hunt, she decorated some cookies then we headed home.  It was so nice of Elizabeth to invite us and I'm glad we went! 

We ended the day eating left overs and just playing at home.  A nice way to end a busy weekend.  I hope everyone had a blessed Easter!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bentonville Half

Back in January I made the commitment out loud that I was training for a half marathon, the Bentonville Half.  At that time I didn't think I could do it.  I thought oh yeah, I'll run with this group of friends from church and they'll probably kick me out because I'm slow.  Even in February I didn't think I could do it, but then I signed up for the race so I definitely had to do it.  I had several friends tell me it was all a mental game, and your body will do anything your mind tells it to do.  So I started believing I could do it.  And slowly but surely I ran 9 miles, 10 miles, and 11 miles.  And then all of a sudden it was race week.  Cue the panic.  I looked at the race course and my heart started racing.  I ran 3 miles and felt every little twinge of random pain in my knees and feet.  Saturday morning we met at 5:30 to drive to Bentonville, and I was shaking with nerves.  Then all of a sudden we were at the starting line, we were singing the national anthem, the announcer said, 'Runners are you ready? GO!'  And we were off.  Races are exciting; this isn't my first race but this was my first half marathon.  There are lots of excited people, there's music playing, and there's people all along the race course cheering for random strangers.  This race was really exciting.  Over 2600 runners participated!  There were so many people along the race course cheering.  Some of my favorite signs were: 'Run Random Stranger!' 'This is the worst parade EVER!' 'Run faster, the guy in front of you farted.'  'Go faster, that's what she said!'  My favorite of course, was my sweet friend Sarah from church who made a sign and came to cheer us on.  There was so much support, literally from random strangers!  There were even 3 bands set up along the last 3 miles of the race.  I was running along feeling pretty good until about mile 6 and my hip started hurting (on occasion my right hip will hurt while running, not consistently though).  I though oh no, this isn't good.  So I started praying.  I prayed for strength and endurance and for healing.  The pain intensified through mile 7 and 8 and 9 and I thought the last 3 are going to be hell if this keeps up.  But then all of a sudden it was gone.  It was seriously such a blessing.  The last mile was tough.  It's all uphill, in a very steep way...whoever plans a race with the hill of death at the very end pretty much wants to torture you!  I walked the crest of the hill but that is the only time I walked the entire race.  I was very proud of myself for that!  And after the hill of death, there was a straight stretch and the finish line.  I got emotional.  I saw my in-laws, Sara Kate, and Chris, along with some other friends from church.  I couldn't believe I actually did it!  It was surreal. 
I was so happy to see this sweet face at the finish line!
 
The whole race I was behind a sweet girl Chris teaches with, LeAnn.  It was her first half marathon too.  I was so happy to see her at the end!
I couldn't have done it without my awesome group.  They are amazing.  For 5 of us, this was our first half.  We ran fast and rocked it!  Thanks again Sarah for the sign!
I finished in 2 hours and 34 minutes, averaging 11:36 min/mile.  I'm not a speed running, never have been, never will be...my goal is always to finish.  I'm pleased with my overall time (although I was hoping to finish by 2 hours and 30 minutes) and I was pleased in my averaging time.  I was very consistent in my pacing, which I was also very happy with, and I think it probably helped in the end.  
 
7 months ago I had surgery to remove 18 inches of my colon and Saturday I ran a half marathon!!  This just goes to show you can do anything you put your mind to.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 
-Phillippians 4:13

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Snow Days

We've had a relatively slow and uneventful winter.  Until the last 2 weeks.  It's been really cold and all of a sudden we've gotten snow and then a little more unexpected snow, and then some more unexpected snow.  2 weeks ago we had a winter storm that passed through over night and left everything blanketed in a layer of white.  It wasn't much, maybe 2 inches, but it was enough for us to stay home and play in.  It was FREEZING cold but Sara Kate and I sledded for a couple of hours...she had a great time.
 
Then a week later an unexpected band of snow pushed through during rush hour and caused all kinds of headaches trying to get home!!  I picked up Sara Kate from school and she said, 'Why is it snowing again, mommy?'  Haha.  I said, 'Because it's winter and snow happens in the winter!'  It took us over an hour to get from her school to our house.
Then this past Friday another storm came through.  I was out soil sampling Friday and when I got back to Bentonville everything was covered in snow.  Once again I had a heck of a time getting home from work!!
I finally made it home Friday and I haven't left the house since!  It snowed all night and most of the day yesterday, and then the snow transitioned to sleet and freezing rain in the afternoon.
We finally managed to make it outside to play yesterday afternoon.
 
The one thing Sara Kate has been asking to do all winter it build a snowman.  When it snowed 2 weeks ago and we were home the snow was way too powdery and it wouldn't ball up at all.  Yesterday's snow started out too powdery but it turned into good packing snow once a little sleet fell on top of it.
Now ya'll have to remember, I'm a southern girl from WAY deep south Arkansas, where we do not get snow.  Except this past week when they did get snow.  But growing up we didn't get snow.  If we got anything it was ice.  So my snowman building skills are pretty pathetic.  But I tried, haha.  Our snowman kinda ended up looking like a pirate.  We used caramel popcorn clumps for eyes, a pickle for nose, and a mouth made out of aluminum foil.  So ghetto.  HA!!
Sara Kate didn't want to go sledding yesterday but she wanted to go today.
 
We walked down to what she calls 'the sledding hill' down by the park and everything just a sheet of ice.  It was so slippery today!  It was obvious the hill had been used quite a bit yesterday for sledding but thankfully it was still plenty slick for today!  I love hearing her laughing with so much joy!!
video
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In other we're-stuck-inside-and-can't-do-anything-else news, Sara Kate has been doing gymnastics all over the living room since she didn't have class yesterday, there's currently a blanket tent set up in the living room, and she's been crawling around all afternoon on the floor with a flip flop in her pants with the dogs acting like one of the dogs (the flip flop is her tail).  In other words, we're going stir crazy in this house!!  Ha!!  But I'm glad we finally got some snow days to do fun 'winter' things!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kindergarten Registration

I cannot believe it's here.  The first step in the process has come.  That means it's real.  She's old enough.  It's time.  Kindergarten registration was today.  It's early this year.  I wasn't expecting it until April but Chris' mom said everything is earlier this year because the district is 'reorganizing.'  Chris is out of town so I had to go this one alone, which was ok.  This one was simple.  Easy.  I told Sara Kate about it last night.  She's been looking forward to kindergarten since she saw her cousin Hannah graduate from kindergarten last May.  So last night I made a big deal about what was going to happen and she was so excited this morning.  She kept saying, 'we're going to kindergarten maration.'  Haha.  She didn't have to come, but by taking her with me it saved me a trip across town and back to take her to daycare.  Plus I wanted to make it special for her.  We had to go to the bank to the safety deposit box to get her birth certificate and social security card first and then we headed to registration.
It was anti-climatic, in that the office staff made copies and I filled out the enrollment form on the computer, they printed it, and I signed it.  But the office ladies were so nice and were making a big deal to Sara Kate about starting kindergarten.  She kept wanting to write her name on the sign in form with their cute little flower pen.  They said, 'oh she looks ready!'  Yes, she is!  And just like that, my baby is registered for kindergarten.
 
After we left the school, we went back by the safety deposit box then to the grocery store to pick out a special treat.  She picked 'little white donut,' which she loves.  It's fine with me because it gives her some breakfast the next few days!
When I got to work I took a look at the packet of information they gave us.  It included a calendar, what's expected as far as vaccinations, and things she should know.  Shapes...done.  Numbers...done.  Alphabet...done.  Lower case and upper case letters...done.  Comfortable using a pencil, markers, scissors, glue, paint...done.  Comfortable writing their name...done.
So that was our big day.  She's ready.  And she's excited.  And I'll be excited for her, once I get my emotions in check after each step in the process, ha!!  My baby's growing up!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Look Back at December & January

Happy February!  Cannot believe we're already into the 2nd month of 2015!  Another 2 months have passed with no blogging.  Life is so dang busy, ya'll!  One thing I've been wondering is is blogging dying out?  I find that alot of the blogs I've followed over the past 5-6 years, no one is writing much anymore.  I don't want my blog to die, but finding time to upload pictures, do any editing, etc. is time consuming (even though I put alot of iPhone pictures on here).  And it never fails, as soon as I sit down to start writing, Sara Kate wants me to play with her or do something with her.  But I started this to document our lives and I want to continue to do it as time allows.

So in the past 2 months, the main thing that happened was Christmas.  And we had a great Christmas!  
Our tree on Christmas morning, when all was still quiet.
But then a certain someone woke up and had to check things out! 
 
 She looks so tall here!
 She said, 'Oh my goodness, Frozen panties!  I asked for these and wanted these!' 
After her stocking, she had a few presents to open.  We don't stress 'Santa' but we don't discount him when she talks about him either.  We don't want her to be good only for Santa, she needs to be good all the time.
 
She asked for 2 main things, a Frozen castle (which every place was sold out except Amazon and they were majorly price gouging) and princess magic clip dolls.  Those we were able to find.  We found a 7 pack of the princesses and got Elsa and Anna clip dolls separately.  She was SO happy!
 
She got a few other things too, like Ariel dress up stuff, Frozen lip gloss, and a new coat, hat and gloves! 
After Christmas I made breakfast.  I made Cinnamon Roll Bites.  So good and super easy.  Here's the recipe. 
After breakfast we headed to Bentonville to have Christmas with Chris' family.  A good time was had by all.
The whole crew, including some new faces from Texas.  Think the kids love having lots of cousins around.
 Merry Christmas from the Michaels family!
 Present time!
 It was a Frozen/Princess Christmas for this little girl!
A couple days after Christmas my parents came up for Christmas.  We waited until they were here to go to the Lights of the Ozarks on the Fayetteville square.  I love this about our town.
 Love this picture of me, Sara Kate, and my mom.
 She was so excited for a pony ride and did so great.
Of course we had to climb on top of the rocks and get a picture with the Razorback!
And last but not least, our little family.
2014 ended with something that reflected the last 6 months of my life.  I had a colonoscopy on New Years Eve, it was my 3rd in 6 months, and this one was awful.  It was supposed to be at 7 am but it got moved to 1 pm, so I had no food from the night of December 29 until the evening of December 31.  I also threw up half my prep, which might just be the most disgusting thing any person will ever have to drink.  
But I got good news in the end.  The pathology definitely shows Crohn's (which we knew) but there was no inflammation which means there is no active disease right now.  So that's a blessing.  Unfortunately when I had my appointment with my GI doctor in January I found out I was going to have to get on medicine I don't want to get on to keep me in remission.  Maybe you've seen commercials for Remicade or Humira on TV, but one is an infusion and the other is a shot I would give myself.  It's a decision I'll have to make in the next few months.
In other January news, Chris and I went to Tulsa the second weekend of January to see Garth Brooks in concert.  We couldn't get tickets the day they went on sale because they sold out so fast but thankfully we were able to find them on StubHub.  It was beyond amazing!!  It was a total bucket list concert for me and totally worth getting home at 1:30 am on a Monday morning!! 
A week after Garth, Chris and I went to George's Magestic Lounge on Dickson Street to see Pat Green, who is one of my all time favorites.  My buddy Matt took me to my first Pat Green concert probably 12 years ago and I got hooked.  He puts on a great show and I was glad we were able to go!
The week after Pat Green I had my annual girls weekend in Memphis with my girlfriends from college.  We had so much fun in college and it's so great to still get together and have just as much fun...maybe just a different kind of fun, ha!!  But these girls are a blessing and I'm so glad we're still super close!
 
The other thing I want to say about January is I'm training for a half marathon!!  A group from church started running together back in the fall, thinking about a half marathon in March.  In January we officially started training, and I registered today so it's definitely official.  AHHHH!!!  Scary!  We run 3 times during the week on our own and get together on Saturday's for the long runs as a group.  Having a group really helps with the long runs.  Yesterday we ran 7 miles...and yes, we RAN 7 MILES!!  Before this started, I was running 3 miles 2 or 3 or times a week.  This has become a huge goal and I'm determined to make it happen!  Thankfully we have a great trail system in Fayetteville that makes it easy to get many miles in!  
This little guy is sitting on a bench along one of the trails...any day is a good day for a Razorback sighting!
So that's whats been going on the last 2 months.  Once again, I'm going to try really hard to get back into blogging to document our lives.  2015 has big things in store and I want to remember everything!