Category Archives: Inspiring

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!

Elanors Birth Story: Part 4

I looked at Jenny with a dumbfound look. Am I ready to have our baby? Did she really just ask me that? All I knew at that moment was that I was beyond thankful that she was done checking me. That contraction was the worst, and all I was concentrating on was not pulling away from her while she did her job. I couldn’t believe we were at this point already. Was it actually go-time? With a bit of excited confusion I asked her back “You tell me, are we ready?” I don’t know what I was thinking or expecting, all I knew is that I hadn’t mentally prepared myself yet. I was in labor with Sarah for over 24 hours, and this time it had only been 7 hours since my first contraction. I think she could sense my hesitation because she asked me how I was feeling and I told her I felt a lot of pressure and like I needed to push. It’s true when people say you feel like you need to go to the bathroom. And yes, I do mean “bathroom” as in you feel like you need to poop. Thankfully it’s just the sensation that feels similar, and not the outcome! She told me if I felt like it was time to push then it was exactly that, time to push.

While some nurses scrambled around we discussed birthing positions. I did a lot of research on this subject and told her I was interested in squatting. She got a nurse to grab the squat bar and attached it to the end of the bed. I tried standing and getting into a squat position and it was.NOT.happening. It hurt my knees and was far from natural feeling for me. I blame my height, squats have never been my thing. I hated them in high school and I guess I still don’t like them to this day. Jenny suggested what I’m going to call the “C” position. After deciding on a position that felt comfortable and natural I got mentally prepared. Just like that. It took me less than 10 seconds to realize and accept that this was happening. I was ready.

While Jenny was getting prepped, and I was working through a contraction, she asked me my feelings on having med students in the room for the delivery. I don’t know if it was my honest thought, or being asked the question during a contraction, but I told her “sure”. (This split second decision would prove to be rather interesting a bit later). Jenny got all her medical gear on and asked me if I wanted her to break my water. It wasn’t a question I had thought much about. I guess I just assumed it would happen on it’s own, naturally. I asked Stephen what he thought and neither of us were against the idea so we went for it. Less than a minute later I felt the strangest and warmest release I’d ever felt. I had heard from a lot of people that after their water was broken they felt a lot of uncomfortable pressure and their contractions were a lot more painful. I didn’t feel this. I guess I could have felt pressure, but wasn’t aware because it was after this that I started pushing. While trying to get into position a contraction started and I did my first set of pushes. I had no clue what I was doing during the first 2 pushes. They told me “curl your body like a C” and all my brain heard was “you’re doing it wrong” and I kept thinking “how the crap does my body make a C?” Turns out it’s really simple to figure out when you aren’t trying to think during a contraction.

I finally figured out the correct positioning and it was time to push again. I grabbed the hand grips, held my breath, and pulled my chin into my chest. Jenny and all the nurses were telling me “Push! Push!”, so I did. I did 3 pushes during that contraction. While waiting for the next contraction Jenny was telling me she could see the head. We were only 1 contraction in and she could already see our baby. I was excited and shocked. Before I knew it it was time to push again. I was pushing as hard as I could, 1 push and then another. I know it may sound crazy but I really don’t remember any pain. It certainly wasn’t painless, but it wasn’t so unbearable that I didn’t want to push. We made it through that 3rd push and Jenny told us “Look at all her hair.” I looked down and could actually see our daughters hair. It was incredible. She had a lot of dark hair, just like her sister did. It came time again and Jenny, Stephen, and the nurses were cheering me on to push. I pushed as hard as I could through 2 pushes and on the 3rd I stopped. I needed a break. The nurses were all saying “Push” and I told them “Hold on. No, I need a break.” I know my body, and I knew to stay in control and keep my energy up I needed to stop, so I did. I told them “I feel like I’m going to pass out, I just need a moment to breathe”, and they all listened. Holding your breath while you push is tough. During my very first set of pushes they told me not to waste any energy on making any noise, put all your concentration and energy into your pushes. That’s what I was doing, and that’s why I needed a moment to catch my breath.

I was feeling good again and then it was time to go another round. My contraction started and I pushed as best I knew how. I remember while I was pushing I could hear Jenny saying “keep pushing, her head is almost out”, so I did just that, I kept pushing. After that contraction I looked down and saw our little girl for the first time. I remember hearing Stephen say “Cassie, she’s so beautiful” and I remember saying “Look at those cheeks!” She looked just like Sarah, except with the cutest little chunky cheeks I’d ever seen. I love that I have such a vivid first memory of seeing our daughter. Being so aware and alert just staring at her face while Stephen held my hand. Another contraction came and I closed my eyes and pushed with all the energy I had left to push with. It was during this moment that Elanor was born. It was an incredible sensation, feeling our daughter being born. I watched as Jenny had her in her hands and immediately brought her up and laid her on my chest. She had started crying while they were rubbing her off and Stephen and I just stared at her. Then, it happened. That instant and incredible love that people talk about. The one you worry you won’t have with a second child. Stephen and I both asked it…”Will we love her enough?” “How can we possibly love her as much as we love Sarah?” It’s the most amazing thing feeling that new bond while your heart fills with love for this new child. I didn’t get to experience those thoughts and sensations with Sarah, and I was so thankful that I was finally getting to have this moment.
It all happened so fast. It had been less than 30 minutes since Jenny came into the room to check on me, and we were already holding our new baby. I never would have thought that it could go by so fast.

Stephen was kissing my head and telling me how happy and proud he was. I was able to have my dream delivery, and it was far beyond anything I could have imagined. Any pain I had felt was gone. I honestly don’t remember it hurting. I know that probably sounds crazy, but it’s true. The moment I was done with that last push and they were bringing our new daughter up to our arms all I felt was joy, excitement, and love. The endorphin rush was stronger than anything I had ever felt.

While we were admiring our little girl Jenny came and gave me a hug. I loved having such an open and strong relationship with our doctor. We told Jenny exactly what we were wanting and hoping for with this delivery, and she helped us achieve just that.

I was physically ready this time. I even thought I was emotionally prepared, but anyone who’s had a child knows there is no way to prepare yourself for the overwhelming love, joy, and thankfulness that fills your heart and mind. The emotions are all there, along with feelings you can’t explain and weren’t expecting. Then, before you know it the experience is over and you have your story. The story you’ve been dreaming about for 9+ months. That, my friends, is the beginning of Elanor’s story.

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Ready For Change

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2011 is the year I will…

  • Become a mom.
  • Try to live more in the Spirit, throughout the day.
  • Grocery Shop WITH a list.
  • Learn to ask for help when I need it.
  • Eat less pizza, more salad and fish.
  • Be more of the Proverbs 31 woman.
  • Accept that it is okay if our bed is not made.
  • Bake more bread.
  • Get my body back.
  • Go to the dentist.
  • Learn to live without sleep. :)

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Attitude

I like the idea of having art on the wall that inspires me to have a positive attitude.

Something like this:

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I believe everyone of those statements. I also think it’s important to remind ourselves of the small things in life that make us different. When walking down the street I feel a splurge of confidence if I see a woman smiling while she walks or talks. Someone else’s smile has a way of lifting others spirits, and I want to be able to do that.  It’s so easy to live in our bubbles today. We can talk on our phones, text, or the endless games and features when you add in an iPod or Laptop in every scene and scenario of our environment. When I first started college people would sit and talk before class. I met a lot of new people that way. By the end of my college career things had changed. People have 20+ ways to keep themselves distracted and busy. It feels like people are turning to a new way of life where no need of direct communication is necessary. With texting, emailing, facebook, and the endless internet, I wonder how kids are developing the social skills that we made when I was young. When I was a kid we had 1 phone line in the house, and we had a curfew/time limit just to use and share it. In 2008 it was reported that 71% of kids had their own cell phone. That is a HUGE number. Are cell phones a good thing, yes, of course. Is it necessary for over 50% of 7-12 year olds to have their own phone?  Wow, that I’m not sure about. A “household/kids phone”, sure, I can understand that for communication reasons if a parent needs to reach their child.

I don’t know. I guess as strange as it sounds, I miss the days when people would chat in the hallway and on the bus. When people weren’t too “busy” texting and always having headphones in listening to music. It’s crazy how much the world has changed in the past decade. I can’t even imagine how much it’s still going to change in the coming years.

This topic has sparked a lot of conversations between Stephen and myself lately. I’m all for the advancement of technology, I’m just trying to find the balance in living life and “reading life” through a computer. We were discussing how weird it is that we can be so out of touch with people, yet know everything they’ve been up to without speaking to them in years. I think this is one of the reasons I have decided to delete some of my distractions, for example my facebook account. Not only has the company continually crossed the line with dissolving all privacy boundaries, but I’m tired of finding out that someone got married, had a child or lost a parent, without ever speaking to them. I have a cell phone, and I have not been the best at using it (I’m more of a one-on-one meet up and talk person), but i feel it’s time I pushed my own comfort zone and got out from behind the glowing screen of a computer.

So, if you need to reach me in the future drop me a comment here, or shoot me a phone call. I feel it’s long overdue that I get back to the basics of communication for a while. I have gotten way too comfortable keeping my distance from people. I love writing letters and receiving them. Emails are okay, but not as wonderful & personal. Most of all, I love talking over a cup of tea, or a yummy meal.

It’s time to share our smiles with the open world, friends. I hope some of you will join me. Let’s brighten this world up.

Cushions & Pillows

My sister, Helena, texted me a picture of a recent project she finished.

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She made the cushions and the pillow. Don’t they look amazing? And get this, it’s her first sewing project!!!

She totally motivated me to finally make some pillows for our couch with my leftover headboard fabric. They’ll be blue & free, so seems like a win-win to me :)

Smart Move, Hubs

While at work today I got a call from Stephen.

S – “Hey babe. I have a proposition to run by you.”

Me – “Really? What is it you are wanting?” (I’ve gotten a few of these phone calls over the years…)

S- “Target is giving away $50 gift cards when you buy the XBox Arcade.”

Me – *silence*

S- “You know I’ve been wanting to upgrade mine, and if we got this one we could finally sell the old one and that would pay for the new one.”

Me – “So, what are we talking about doing?!”

S- “We could get you a $50 gift card to Target, sell the old XBox, and actually make money off of a new purchase.”

Me – *silence*

S- “So, do you wanna go get one after work? I checked around and they have them in stock.”

Me- “So you’re telling me that if we get you a new XBox, it’s basically free and I get $50?”

S- “Yes.”

I love this man.

To explain… Target had a misprint in their Ad this week and listed the XBox for $199 with a $30 gift card.

The AD said it came with a headset, but it actually didn’t, so they reduced the price AND upped the gift card because Walmart’s price went way down.

So, I now have one of these with $50 on it.

Thanks Target!

Music at my Fingertips

After getting home from work and having some delicious (Firehouse) sandwiches I had a music moment. Stephen was playing a video game and so I got on the computer to watch the ‘Glee’ finale. I haven’t kept up with the show, except on hulu every now and again, but the music and talent on the show surprises me more each time. One song in particular really grabbed me today.

This is what I’m talking about friends:

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I don’t know if you have heard of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, but he does an AMAZING rendition of  ’Somewhere over the Rainbow. I’m not much for emotions, but this song really tugs at my heart when I hear it. Something about the combination of a soothing voice and a, get this, ukulele. It’s surprisingly wonderful. It gives the song an entirely new feel, and ‘Glee’ reminded me of that today.  I immediately got on Grooveshark so I could snag up the song before I forgot. If you haven’t heard of grooveshark you need to start, it’s like iTunes, but the songs are free! While you can’t put the songs on your iPod, you can listen from any computer by signing into your account. No, Grooveshark isn’t paying me to write this, haha, it really is just that impressive! An endless & free version of iTunes, it doesn’t get much better.

So right now I am sitting on the couch with both the ‘Glee’ & ‘Ukelele’ version of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ playing on repeat. I’m surprised Stephen hasn’t handed me a pair of headphones yet. Then again, that would mean he’d have to pause his game… ya, I should be good for a while.

Life’s a Flash

Each day, month and year it seems like life goes by faster than ever. I can remember my 1st semester of college, and then before I knew it I was graduating after several years of pursuing my passion in Social Work.

Somewhere in that timeline I met Stephen, and unexpectedly fell in love. Then 2 years flew by and he asked me to marry him. Then, less than 4 months later we were married. Now it’s 2010, I have been out of high school for 8 years, married for over 2 years and am now a homeowner. Where does the time go?

I know where it went, and I have been happily enjoying the ride along the way. It just makes me reflect back, which is always enjoyable.

As of this past weekend all of my siblings are married and on their own (congrats mom and dad)!  My cousins Kim and Lindsey are engaged to be married (and they’re sisters!!), and my cousin Mark is marrying a total sweetheart, Becca, next year.

While Stephen and I have been planting our ‘roots’, per-say, here in the Panhandle on FL, we have had many friends move on to bigger and better things across the nation. Their choices have led to us meeting some wonderful and amazing people and building friendships that I know will last forever.

It has really been a quick and crazy year for us. My Papa had several intensive surgeries between January and April and after months of prayer he is now happily healing back at his home on Lake Martin. My good friend Melissa just completed her 1st year of law school and I’m proud and excited that she has an internship close by for the summer. My youngest sister is close to completing her Master’s Degree (which BLOWS my mind), and my youngest cousin is now done with his 1st year of college. I guess it’s just weird to look around and realize that I am no longer a child, teenager, or college student, I am an adult, and actually have been for a few years. Is that a weird realization for most people to finally see!?!?

I have been able to watch Stephen’s family do amazing things in the past 2 years. His sister and her husband accepted Christ, which we have been praying about for years. His mom continues to amaze me in her walk with the Lord. His dad recently went across the world to Makati to lead job training.  Thinking about that takes me back to when I first met Stephen and he went to Indonesia with a relief team after the Tsunami. Was that really over 5 years ago?

I suppose I am in a bit of a reflective mood today. It just amazes me to look back and see how much has happened in my life, Stephen’s life, and our families lives. It has been a wonderful journey, and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.

A few things that I am specifically excited about:  Greer Family Reunion the 1st weekend of June!  Trip to Houston in July!  Kim, Mark and Lindsey’s Weddings (they always make great family get togethers!) The plans we have for our house, and whatever else pops up along the way!

Life is so precious, and each day should be cherished. I know we aren’t promised tomorrow, or even tonight for that matter, so be sure to kiss your loved ones goodnight, and if you have been meaning to call someone then do it, don’t wait another day. Life is a blessing, and I hope I don’t ever forget that.

Spring Looks

I was browsing through some websites today and found these great spring shots.

It’s so inspiring when I find pictures that… inspire me!  hah

images from Country Living, Martha Stewart,

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If I had that many windows in my kitchen I would do the same thing! I love that corner setup. I can see myself having breakfast there with some coffee, or maybe some orange juice if I’m feeling spunky!

That pantry is amazing. I have been switching over all our containers to glass for a while now, and that chalkboard door is so fun!

By now you know I love blue. That bedside table, yes please!

The last picture would be so fun in the kitchen! I am a big fan of  iron, it has a strong but sensitive feel to it. Can a metal have a feel?!  If not it does now :)   I can see my coffee and tea containers with a few mugs sitting delicately on that setup.

Now I want some crumb cake…