Category Archives: Friends

That Time I Was a Runner..

Back in July of 2015, which was somehow a year ago, my sister and I decided to train for the Pensacola Half Marathon. It was the first time in over 4 years that neither of us were pregnant or nursing babies and so we decided to celebrate with the joy of exercise (aka: a bit of freedom and brain break time). I totally understand now why women ages 29-39 are the biggest age group of runners. Running/training = FREEDOM!!!! Oh, and healthiness, I’m sure that has something to do with it also.

We signed up for a boot camp class to kickstart our muscle growth because that is a sure fire way to get your body ready for anything that requires long endurance. And a half marathon definitely would require that of us. After a few weeks of grueling but amazing workouts we went running for the first time and were both floored that we made it 3 miles. This coming from two gals that probably couldn’t do more than 1 mile a few weeks before. We actually got a picture when it happened – check out all that sweat… running in July you guys, it’s no joke!

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We continued working out at the same place and ran 3-4 days a week. On Saturdays we did our long runs at a nearby trail or in our neighborhood and surrounding roads. We gave ourselves almost 5 months to train for 13.1 miles. It was pretty much a perfect timeline for us.

We would text our mom and dad photos after our runs. I’m telling you, those endorphin’s were awesome for our tired mommy selves.

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Our last long run before the race! Only 1.5 miles short of what we’d be doing on race day.

 

 

Race Day: We had a crazy thunderstorm roll in and one thing we read was about wrapping your feet in plastic bags to keep the rain from soaking your socks. We looked silly but it seriously helped a ton. I think I got a good 5 miles in before my first one broke. Miriah wasn’t as fortunate, but anything is better than having soaked feet before you even start running.


At one point around mile 5 (which is why I still had energy to jump) we saw a friend and she snapped a few photos of us while waiting to see her husband.

 

The finishing stretch!

 

 WE DID IT!!!

 

Our race time!

my post-race attire

 

We kept running after the race, though not as consistently. Then one day at the end of December I told Miriah I wanted to run the Pensacola Beach Half Marathon and that she was going to run it with me. So I did the sisterly thing and signed us both up and locked her into it so she would HAVE to train with me ;)  #SiblingLove

It was in the middle of January and I thought it was a great race. The weather was super damp and cool, with flat terrain the entire time. Miriah may give a tad different account, but I’d say it was a great start to our 2016 running. I even made us special shirts for it. Nothing quite like some fun clothing motivation.

Plus, we invited mom and dad to come and were SO psyched when we saw them at the finishing stretch. It was awesome. I hope to one day do a race and Stephen comes and has the girls there. It’s such a huge motivator.

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This is when I saw dad. We were in the last 1/4 mile of the run and it was such an exciting moment to see him there cheering for us!

 

 

 

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I don’t know what she’s doing, but this one is too funny not to share :)


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My friend Nicole and I ran 1 race before this and then 1 more after, the Jackon Blues Half (the first week of January) and then the Gulf Coast Half. Both were a lot of fun, though the Jackson Blues race about killed me because of the crazy hills all over the city.

A before and after :)

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I ate the biggest breakfast of my life after that race! We made it back to the hotel with 20 minutes til the continental breakfast was over.

Then the Gulf Coast race -

 

 

Miriah came with Addison to this one. It was a blast seeing them there at the home stretch. Addison made me a sign and everything ♡

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Between all those races Miriah and I ran one more, the Pensacola Double Bridge. It was a fun race and we had amazing tail wind the entire time! We found Nicole out there while waiting for the race to start.

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And just for fun – this is what happens when mom agrees to watch the girls so we can go running on a weekday, without us waking up at 5:20AM to do it before the kids get up…

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They always find us …   ;)IMG_0305

 

Here’s hoping some more running occurs in the rest of 2016 and at the very least 2017 is a year of running again! Just looking at these photos has me wanting to get out there!

Life Update: iPhone version

The summer season has come on fast. It felt like we just had Sarahs 5th Birthday and now we are 1/2 way through May.

The girls and I have been enjoying a few of our favorite warm weather activities. Miriah and Addison are often with us with the help of our extra seats of the van. It’s also hard to believe we’ve had that for over 9 months already.

So in March Sarah turned 5. We had a little get together with family at our house and the kids all had a blast.

We got her a bike and she is really loving it.

The week after that I turned 32! We had a joined bday fajita dinner at my parents for Jeff and I since our birthdays are close. A friend from church, Melissa, made me a from-scratch strawberry cake. It was amazing!

After that was Miriah and my camping trip, which I wrote about a few weeks back.

Since then we have gone on a few beach trips, blueberry picking, and visits with friends and park trips.

                   Fort Pickens visit

 

Easter 2016

I love the real-life of this group kid photo.

Stephen on puppy-patrol at the park.


Just a couple girls cruising the neighborhood.


Burying Nana :)


Stephen and I slept in one Saturday morning and found the girls like this around 7:30…

My sweet friend Rebekah, who is about to cross the globe with her two kiddos to join her husband in New Zealand,where they are moving to. So excited to see their adventure unfold (Instagram to the rescue!)


Family meal at Jason & Kelley’s. Dad was there too, he snapped the photo to send to mom, who was out of town.
Grandma with her girls.


And that about sums up a life update from my iPhone photos.

Mississippi Blues Run

Around Christmas my friend Nicole asked me if I would run a half-marathon with her. She missed the race the year before and we have talked for months about a girls weekend, so it was the perfect excuse to take a trip. Plus, I think I’ve caught a little thing called “run all the races” bug. When she asked I immediately said yes, bought my packet and then asked Stephen. Ya, I didn’t do those in the right order. Thankfully I have a gracious husband.

Nicole booked us a hotel online and we awaited our trip to Jackson to run the Mississippi blues race. During the weeks leading up I did a horrible job training. I probably ran once a week and met up with Nicole one Saturday morning so we could do a 10 mile run together.

The Friday before race day I dropped the girls with my mom where Stephen wuld pick them up after work. Nicole met me there and we loaded up in the van and started our trip.

 

 

It’s about a 5 hour drive and after we got there we stopped at the race expo to pickup our packet which has our bib, local info, race tag and shirt.

We went from there to the hotel. The hotel. Ya. When we drove up we both looked at it and thought “okay, this’ll do for 1 night”, then we went to our room. When we walked in it made me think of the 80′s, only no one had been in it since then, or at least no families had. I’m sure it’s had a lot of visitors, just not the kind that stay for an extended period of time. After sending a photo to her husband for laughs, Nicole and I sat in the room a few minutes discussing dinner ideas. We checked the room out which had cleaning products on the front table, a sign that informed all guests to deadbolt their door and not answer unless expecting guests, and the bathroom was just…ick. I was making a joke about not sleeping under or on the covers when Brandon, Nicole’s hubby, texted her that we should go find a new hotel. We debated for about .03 seconds and decided the $74 loss was worth it to not be there another minute, much more overnight.

 

We drove across the highway and the second hotel we checked had a room available. Hampton Inn to the rescue. When we walked into the room to a giant king sized bed, bright working lights and a shower with normal sized towels we didn’t look back for a second, except to laugh at the concept of staying in the other place. I think it was only $35 more for this room, which had a later checkout (so we could shower after the race), continental breakfast and an immeasurable amount of peace of mind.

That morning we woke up to rain, just like the Pensacola half I did in November with Miriah. We got dressed and headed out to wait with the crowds.

 

The race started promptly at 7 and it only took about 35sec for us to get across the start line.  I felt good when we started. I usually take about 3 miles to get in my groove and that held true for this race. Then, the hills. So many hills. At one point I heard the man behind us telling the people he was running with that we were about to reach the highest point in Jackson. I looked right at Nicole and said “then why in the world are we running to it?” That sums up how I was about to start feeling. The first 5 or so miles weren’t bad, we pushed through the city hills and we’re keeping a good pace. We eventfully turned and ran along the interstate and under an overpass to the other side. Nicole took a little video which made me laugh and we kept trucking along. Then we hit mile 9. Oh the dreadful 9th mile and its jerky jerk hill. I took my first chew at that point, which for me says I’m seriously feeling it. We ran through some downtown neighborhoods, which I always enjoy because of the different architecture of homes in old towns. Then we made the turn back into the city. One thing that was different about this race was how thankful and appreciative the volunteers were. They were thanking us for visiting their city and running the race, it was really nice and encouraging. The ladies were so southern and sweet. At mile 12 I got a nasty cramp and our pace slowed down but knowing we had just a little over 1 more mile I knew I could push it. We made the last turn, which an older man called the “time to smile turn” and we sprinted to the end. Crossing that line felt great. We walked a bit to let our legs relax and then grabbed a photo at the finish line.

 

After we finished and walked around to cool down we both got hungry fast. The pizza, cookies and chili that was offered was not sounding good to either of us and after checking the time we saw we had 25 minutes left until breakfast ended at the hotel. 

 

After a huge and filling breakfast we both cleaned up and packed our overnight bag to head home. The drive was a lot easier than I thought it would be, but Nicole and I had a lot to talk about and catch up on so that made it fly by.

When I got home the day continued as normal and then that night I ate most of an x-large pizza from papa johns. What can I say, I run to eat

E is 3

 

I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since the day Elanor was first placed in my arms. Oh how the time has flown. There were days that flew, and some that felt like an eternity. I think that sums up part of parenthood, in a way. It flies, even though some days/weeks or months feel like they will never end. Three entire years though? This truly has flown by.

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Elanor was such an easy baby. Her labor and birth were peaceful. She nursed like a champ and did so until the day she decided to quit at 15 months. She still loves to cuddle and does the sweetest thing where she tucks her arms in underneath herself and against our chest, which is when we know she’s there to stay for a while.

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Physical touch is probably her biggest love language. Lately she has been asking me to lay with her when she falls asleep for her nap and at the occasional bedtime. When she sneaks in our room at night, maybe once  a week, she cuddles up next to me and pulls my arm out to lay her head on it, she calls it her mommy-pillow.

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She is fierce, strong, tough, hard headed, independent while also tender, soft spoken, shy and gentle.

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When I wear dangle earrings she always notices and she loves to slowly take them out of my ears and then put them back in. I don’t fear it a bit because she is so focused and soft with her movements.

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She went through a stint between about 18 months and 2 1/2 where she didn’t take a nap during the day. Something amazing happened and she is back to taking a nap in the early afternoon. She gets up around 6:30 and is usually ready to nap around 11. Sarah stopped napping around the same time, but never started back like Ella has. I think she needs that extra sleep to keep up with her sister.

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She loves peanut butter sandwiches, pancakes, bananas (and pretty much all fruit), yogurt, smoothies, hotdogs, food off of our plates even if it’s the same thing that is on her plate, grilled cheese, any cheese (sliced or shredded), bacon, eggs, rotisserie chicken, and dipping everything in ketchup.

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And cereal. Lots of cereal.

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She loves to play princesses with Sarah. She also enjoys pretending to be a cat or frog, or being a baby while Sarah is a mommy. Pretty much any game if it’s with Sarah.

She is a firecracker while simultaneously a quiet independent child. She is such a beautiful girl and we could not be more grateful for her and the joy she brings to our family and one day to the expanses that Christ gives her.

 

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Happy 3rd Birthday, Elanor S0-Silly Ringl. We love you more than we can explain or comprehend.

 

 

A Quick Trip

Last weekend Stephen and I took a fun trip to Orlando with our friends Brandon and Nicole.

We have talked about going somewhere together since our last adventure to Houston in March of 2014, for our friend JD’s wedding. We randomly decided in July that if we did go somewhere it should be to Orlando to visit what I’m just going to call the amazing World of Harry Potter. Well, that is just what we did.

Stephen turns 30 in a few days, so we used his birthday as a reason for the trip. Not that we really need a reason, but it felt more justified this way for my budgeting brain.

We left on Thursday and got back Sunday afternoon.

Visiting Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade were just awesome. It made me wanna re-read the books and watch all the movies. 

We stayed at a Universal hotel, so we took the shuttle to the parks each day, and also got 1-hour early admittance. The line wait was less than 25 minutes the whole time, except the Hogwarts castle ride. It seemed like everyone was in the HP areas so riding The Mummy and Jurassic Park rides was so quick. A definite nice break from the humidity and heat.

In the afternoon we grabbed the shuttle back to the hotel for a nap then got up for dinner and back to the park at night. It was so relaxing. In the evenings we would play cards down in a quieter spot in the hotel, in true McKenzie-Ringl spirit.

Thanks again to my parents for sending me pictures of the girls during their stay at Papaw and Nanas house. They had a blast swimming, going to the train store and eating loads of chocolate ice cream with marshmallows for 3 days :)

Here are a few photos of our adventures.

   
    
    
    
    
    
   
It was a wonderful trip and I’m already looking forward to our next one :)

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Elanor has definitely added naps back into her schedule. I am 100% on board with this addition, and I love when we find her sleeping in different spaces, other than in her bed. On this day my friend Kelly, who now lives in Houston with her hubby and sweet daughter, came over to hangout while they were in town visiting family. A definite bonus to living close to the same area you graduated high school – people return to visit family, and we are already here happily awaiting their trips.

The girls were laughing up a storm when we went to find them. They were all 3 bouncing around on our bed singing “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”. It was as cute as it sounds, actually more adorable. I love seeing my children play with some of my dearest friends kiddos, especially friends that go back as far as Kel and I do. It only could have been topped if our other HS gal, Melissa, and her little man could have joined us. Next time!

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http://www.thehandmadehome.net/2015/06/simple-outdoor-candles/My sister planned a night to take the girls so Stephen and I could go out for dinner. It was a fun evening and before leaving I told Stephen we needed a picture together because, well, it had been forever since we had one that wasn’t from the back of our phone. He  of course was being goofy and made me laugh. He always knows how :)

Aaaaand, I’m including a portrait version so you can see that he is tickling me and nothing more, due to the funny hand placement in the picture above. Now if you weren’t thinking anything about it you are, so oops and your welcome ;)

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Saturdays are always so random for us. Usually we try not to have plans so we can just relax and the girls can get lots of dad time. This one started with some projects, then we went to our church yard sale where the girls played for a bit and then two of the gals from church, Eli and Halie, came over to hang out afterwards. Stephen and Eli worked on music for Sunday’s service and Halie played with the girls in the backyard and in their room. It was a nice chill day. I got the lawn mowed while Halie played with the girls. They are both such quality time kids. They can be so skiddish and shy, which they get from both their introvert parents, but once you invest some good time with them they are all for playing and talking. Halie may regret that later ;)

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We went and visited my friend Amanda. Sweet Amelia was just chilling out in her baby swing and Elanor LOVES little babies so she gave her some love. You can see her excitement in that first photo, but what you don’t get to see was when Amelia got a hand full of Ella’s hair after that 2nd photo and I had to help her escape. I had a tiny proud-mom moment when after she was free she just looked at Amelia and said “silly girl”.

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The girls started and finished swim refreshers last week. They LOVE the water, especially with Mrs. Carrie, their swim teacher. Sarah and Elanor both light up when they jump in to her. It only took them 6 lessons to be good to go for this next swim season. Sarah picked up her float the first day, and Elanor followed a few days later. It is so wonderful to know that if anything crazy, unexpected or horrible were to ever happen around water they can rescue themselves and call out until they are found. Flip off the back of a boat? They know how to recover and float and call out, even in waves. Fall off a dock or a pool ledge? Flip over and either 1) Call out til someone comes, or 2) Find the side of a pool or shore and swim-float-swim until you are safe. Guys, seriously, ISR is just amazing. Teaching someone as young as 6months old to self-rescue is absolutely amazing. Drowning is the #1 cause of death among children ages 4 and below. Something I, as a parent and aunt, can’t even let my brain think about. Please check it out if you know anyone with little ones: https://www.infantswim.com/