Monday, April 23, 2012

Phone Picture Dump

Picture 1...For Cloey's birthday (which is tomorrow), we spent all day Saturday doing fun stuff as a family. One of the things we did was spend a couple of hours at Six Flags (we bought season passes for our family which we are LOVING). The girls are SO brave!! I took this picture while we were waiting in line to ride the Texas Giant (one of the fastest and highest roller coasters there). Afterwards, they admitted to being pretty scared but they said they would ride it again. Picture 2...Last weekend I drove down to Arlington to go to Time Out for Women with my sister. It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!! Not only did I hear some beautiful music and very uplifting talks, but I also had so much fun spending some alone time with Andrea...and Makalya of course. :) Picture 3...This is a wreath on one of the doors in our complex. I LOVE it!! I love all of the Ranger shirts that I see EVERYWHERE on EVERYONE!!! I grew up going to Ranger's games so it is really fun to be part of all the excitement...especially now that they are actually pretty darn good. Picture 4...The last couple of days have been really emotional for me as I have been trying to wean Makayla. Emotional because I really want to fly up to the marathon without a baby and she was refusing to take a bottle. Emotional because I finally figured out that she would take a sippy cup and then I had to deal with the fact that I was done nursing possibly my very last baby. Emotional because after going 24 hours without nursing, I was a disaster. I was leaking milk everywhere, in incredible pain, and all I could think about was going through the same thing after I loss Clairisa. It was just too much. So, I am now using a pump and giving it to Makayla in her sippy cup. Whew...way too many emotions to even explain. Picture 5...This picture was taken on the very first trip we took to Six Flags a couple weekends ago. This was also the girls very first time to ride a roller coaster that went upside down. I was seriously SO STRESSED out about it. Cory rode with the girls while I sat on a bench with the babies. I was SO nervous! But, they were just fine and ready to go again. After I rode a couple of rides that day, I started feeling so sick. So, I decided on future trips I would have to avoid all and any rides that involve spinning in circles. Picture 6...Last but not least, my very favorite picture that I took last week. It is the picture that is now the background on my phone. I LOVE my little girls and I just couldn't imagine life without them.


The best part of living in Texas is living near family. My girls are LOVING all of the time they are getting to spend with their cousins. I wish I had some pictures of Sean (Cory's brother) and Brittney's cuties but I forgot to take them when we were together. But, here are some with my sister's kids. Katelund just absolutely loves hanging around Abby (who just turned 12 in January) and Cloey loves to run around with Ethan (who is actually a month older than Katelund). It works out perfectly. One day I heard the girls talking in the other room. The conversation went like this...."Katelund, I think I have crushes on three new boys....our COUSINS!"

Dear Grandpa,

Saturday was my last long run. I have seven miles left to run over the next three days and then I'm done with my training. Grandpa, I can't believe that it is almost here. The day that I have looked forward to with anticipation, fear, dread, and excitement. Two months after I had Makayla I started getting back into running. I hadn't done any real running after I had Hailey and then between Clairisa and Hailey there was no running at all...just lots of crying. So, getting back into running was like starting from ground zero. I had baby weight to lose, a c-section to recover from, and a whole lot of stamina and endurance to build, but I was ready. I was ready to get my mind and body back into running and back into racing. I decided that in order to get myself going again, I needed someone to run with. So I asked Jenae. A girl whom I hardly knew, but somehow I knew that she'd say yes...and she did. We began our 5:30 am runs in September. I started out VERY slowly. I would get so frustrated with myself because I could hardly run half a lap around a track that was .25 miles all the way around. But, Jenae was patient and kind to me. She often reminded me that I had just had major abdominal surgery, and that I was doing great. Over the next month, the track became easy to run. So much so, that we were ready to venture out. Near the end of October or early November, we decided to run a half-marathon in February. That's around the time that Stephanie joined in on our 5:30 am runs. A couple of weeks later, we decided to increase our goal and that's when we decided to train for the Country Music marathon in Nasheville on April 28th. Now fast forward to about a month ago. When I first found out that we were going to move, I was devastated. I was so happy where I was and I did NOT want to give up on my goal of running the marathon. I had come WAY too far to just give up on it. So, I told Cory that us moving meant that I was going to buy a plane ticket to Nashville so I could still run the marathon. He was, and still is, so supportive. Training for a marathon takes a lot of time. Thankfully, most of the time was in the early hours of the morning when my children were still asleep, but the hard part was all of the long runs on Saturdays. Especially, when we ran 15-20 miles and were gone for 3 plus hours. Moving also meant a whole month of training on my own. I really enjoyed running with friends. We wouldn't even listen to music because we talked the whole time (except on the really long runs when we ran out of things to say and needed some up beat music to keep us going). So running on my own was NOT something I looked forward to...especially for the longest run of our training that was scheduled for the first Saturday after we moved. But, somehow I did it. It was a really long, hot, and boring run but I fought my way through it. I listened to all of Priesthoood session of conference, I talked on the phone, listened to music, made all sorts of plans and had lots of time to think. I even ran to Mike and Nancy's house to get some water (my camel back was not drinkable....long story). Then the next weekend I got to run with Mike. It was so fun to run with him. He is starting to look more like you Grandpa. All of your sons remind me of you in different ways. While we were running, he told me about the first time that the two of you ran together when he was a teenager. He said that he ran faster than you, but, you made sure that it was the very last time. He said the next time you ran together, you killed him...and he never caught up to after that. As we approached halfway, at 6 miles, he told me how your 10k time was 45 minutes. I can't believe that Grandpa! My fastest 10k time is 10 minutes slower than yours, and I'm at least 20 years younger than you were. Last Saturday was my last long run before the race. As a ran, I thought about what it would be like to run with you again. The very first and last time I ran with you was in Arlington. Do you remember that? You had already stopped running but your walking pace was just as fast as my "run". I knew then that I had a long ways to go to keep up with you. Since that time, many years have past. I have ran races, improved my speed and endurance, and I'm finally ready to run the race that I told you'd I run someday. After Saturday, I will have ran close to 500 miles in three different states and seven different cities. The other day I was talking to Grandma on the phone. She told me how much she wished that she could be there to cheer me on at the finish line. I wish she could too. In fact, there won't be anybody there cheering me on at the finish line besides complete strangers and Jenae and Stephanie's husbands and children. When I first realized this, it really bothered me. And, I still wish somebody would be there cheering just for me. But, as my Grandma said this to me I quickly responded back by saying "I know Grandma, but don't worry, Grandpa will be there cheering me on." I really hope you are Grandpa. I hope that you, Clairisa, and Kelly are all cheering me on from the other side of the veil. In fact, I wouldn't mind a little nudging and help in those last six miles. :) I love you so much Grandpa. I will think of you every step of the way. I don't know if I will ever run a full marathon again, but I do know one thing. I know that this experience has been incredible....incredibly hard, incredibly painful at times, incredibly emotional (especially when I thought I wasn't going to be able to run it because I hurt my ankle and also the last couple of days as I have been trying to wean Makayla), and incredibly amazing. 5 more days..... Love Always and Forever, Melissa

How I Feel

This is the way Hailey wears her shoes each day. It's not that I won't put them on her correctly, it's that SHE wants to do it and she doesn't want me to help her at ALL! The other day she was walking down the stairs in her flip flops with the toe seperator between the wrong toes and the shoes on the wrong feet but she didn't seem to be bothered by it at all. About half way down the stairs she stopped, made a really funny face, and then bent over. I thought for sure that she had finally decided that something just wasn't right. The toe seperator in the wrong spot would drive me CRAZY!! But, nope, she was bending over to pull the strap back up around her heel and then once that was fixed she was good to go again. I was laughing so hard. She is just so stinking cute....but also, very stubborn, independant, and absolutely the most active, mishevious and fearless two year old that I have raised. Life would be so much easier for her if she would just let me step in and help her more often. The last three weeks have been really hard for me. In fact, adjusting to our new life in Texas has felt very similar to wearing flip flops on the wrong feet and with the toe seperator in the wrong toes. If Cory and I hadn't received that confirming answer that we were doing the right thing, I would say that we had made a mistake. But, I know that is not the case. Nonetheless, it still feels like shoes on the wrong feet. I know that part of it is the fact that we are still in temporary housing and not in our house yet. But, I also just feel so out of place in our ward and everywhere else (even the Target is laid out so weird that I can't find anything!). We have moved A LOT in our 11 years of marriage, but each and every time it takes me the longest of anyone else in our family to adjust. L ast week when Cloey was saying our family prayers one night, she said the most beautiful prayer. But, the line that hit me the strongest was when she said, "Heavenly Father, please help us to start feeling like Texans." That's exactly what I needed to pray for. I had been praying for so many things, and yet, praying to feel like I fit in here was not even something I had considered praying for. There we all were sitting in our bedroom praying together, and all of the sudden I realized that I was no different than Hailey. All this time I have been the one insisting that I put my own "shoes" on. I hadn't even considered that the reason it felt so wrong and uncomfortable was because I was not asking for help. So, my prayers have changed. I have tried to be so much more prayerful and grateful the last few days. I have begun to look for all the blessings we have received and even some very sweet tender mercies that have helped me recognize the Lord's hand and his constant awareness of our needs and desires. No, things are not quite comfortable yet. Yes, I still very much MISS Chattanooga, but I know that we are where we are supposed to be. And even more than that, I know that if I trust in the Lord and ask for his help, that he will make this process much easier and a lot less painful.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Adapting to Dallas

I actually have a lot to say about this subject but I'll just keep it simple for now because I need to feed my "starving" children.

We really stand out like a sore thumb in the temporary housing we are living in for the month of April (we can't move into our house until May). I think we are the only family living here (the rest are young recently graduated and very schwanky (aka hip). We are a big family of six with young crying kids, a minivan, and come from Tennessee. :) My children sing and stomp on the balcony of our third story apartment and we have a baby that cries off and on all through the night. Yesterday, I took the girls on a walk around the surrounding area. Cloey was freaking out about the nice cars....especially the red corvette. We got some strange looks as they watched Cloey begging for a picture with the car. Yes, we are total country folk... and quite happy about that I might add. The big city life is just not my thing, too much vanity, materialism, etc.

On to another subject...

The marathon is only 25 days away!!! Crazy, right?! Since I've heard that the course is quite hilly, I really need to focus some training on hills. But how do you do that in such a flat city? I figured it out on my run last night...parking garages. They are all over around here and they go up about five or six levels. I have found some Texas mountains. :)

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