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!


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!




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.


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 :)




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.




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…


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!

Oh ya, my bad…

Oh kind productivity, I’ve missed you.


My wonderful friend Sara pointed something out a few posts back that I forgot to share. I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve been getting a bit lax about that lately. Going from having the summer off to capturing births again has got my website updates a bit more spaced.


You know we have been a one-car family for most our marriage. Up until Stephen got a work vehicle when he worked with Bayer, we were riding in the same vehicle pretty much everywhere we went. It was a huge and lovely change having a 2nd vehicle, especially a truck we didn’t have to pay for.

So we went from 1 paid off car, to having a paid off car and company vehicle. Not having car payments was one of the reasons I was able to stay home when we had children. The small things really add up each month.

We love not having that debt, especially me and my don’t-owe-people-money brain. Having student loans is another toughie for me. I think we are still paying for my 1 semester at FSU, and that’s after 8 years of payments. Eesh. So not having car payments with 2 vehicles was not only awesome, but a necessity for us.


We talked off and on about getting a van for a few years. Stephen knew I wanted one one day, so we started saving. I know he loooooves it when I monitor every single teeny tiny purchase from our account. It’s one of those things he has learned to accept about me, or at least I think so. That’s why love is a choice folks, you choose to love everything about your mate – everything, and my Mr.  is super kind to me and my money micro-managing self.




We saved for a while and would occasionally check online to see if there were any great deals out there. It surprised me how hard it was to find minivans, at all, and at a great price was even rarer. Apparently people don’t let go of them very easily. Which makes sense to me now. People keep them til they fall apart, kind of like the matrix we sold, only it didn’t fall apart as much as have a fun visit to the shop ending with a years worth of car payments as the bill. I’m putting it all out there for you guys. After all, that was part of our decision process.


After lots of searching, making lists of dealers and individual sales to check out, we visited a few places and got ourselves a new vehicle! Well, not new-new, but new to us. The best kind in my opinion ;)


Somehow it’s already been two months, because it was back in August we made the jump and got a mini-van. We sold my car, which I’ve had for over 8 years, and made the beautiful leap to a roomy mom-mobile. You guys – all the room. The spacious spaciousness is so amazing. When we go places we can now fit my sister, my niece Addison (in a spare carseat we keep in the back row), my mom AND still have 1 spare seat, 2 really if you count the one in the middle that the girls use as a stepping stool.



It took a bit of getting used too, and I still don’t know the buttons, but we are really enjoying the new Ringl-mobile. I even got a sticker for my back window this week. It’s similar to our old one in that if you understand what the sticker means then kudos, you are an awesome person. If you don’t get it… well, then you will just stare at it confused and think we are weird, which is also true. Embracing your inner weirdness is a beautiful part of life. Especially when you do it boldly and without regret ;)

Funny enough, the car search story doesn’t end there.


The week after we got the van Stephen got a job offer.


His job with Bayer was great and he was doing really well. I’m talking “win a free all-paid vacation to a private island” well. He was in the top 10 of the company. Not 10%, but top 10 people! I don’t unbiased’ly brag on my husband much on here, so you’ll have to just bear with me during this part of the story.

Stephen was doing awesome in the company, our insurance was wonderful (which is unheard of these days), he had a free company vehicle, he and his boss got along amazingly, and there were several end of year bonuses to look forward too. When he first got the job offer I didn’t think much of it. The Bayer job in itself was unexpected and an answer to some heavy prayers. Stephen needed change at that time for a few heavy reasons and the Lord provided. So this job offer really caught us off guard. It was actually from the company he used to work with, and while we loved him being nearby at a local job, there really wasn’t any topping the current job and incentives he was in line for.


Then stuff got weird. Like, Jesus is pointing things out in a way you can’t ignore, weird. Stephens schedule was somehow getting busier, which I didn’t know was possible. I never really talked about his job much except with close-close friends and family, but his hours and the traveling was HARD. His trips up north for training weren’t too bad because we knew what to expect, but the frequent overnight trips, or being gone until we were all in bed, that part was hard to get used to. I think it took me 7-8 months to adjust. Thankfully I’m a pretty laid back person. I don’t run on schedules, so that made it easier for my personality type. Of course, that’s not including the girls adjustment period. The weekends were often “office work” days, which were nice because he got paid, but not nice in that he was working during the weekends. He was doing what was required of the job – hence the wonderful incentives and bonuses; Bayer knows it’s a time consuming job so they compensate you the best ways they can.


However, you can’t buy weekends, you can’t pay for missed family gatherings and date nights. There is no getting over being exhausted and missing worship, discipleship and church opportunities. Really, just time in general. You can’t rewind, and if you know me I’m not one that cares much about monetary things in this world. Getting new stuff is nice, sure, this job is what made us able to save and buy the mini-van I was just raving about, but when it comes to the short time we have in this world, that van doesn’t mean a thing to us. We would rather drive my old hatchback together, shuffling and car pooling, than miss out on the life the Lord has given us.


I guess after all of that it shouldn’t be a super huge surprise when I share that we prayed about that unexpected job offer. We prayed, we made pro-con lists, we talked and then we prayed some more. And despite everything we thought and expected, Stephen accepted the offer and is now working in the IT world again. The job came with a few adjusting changes for us, but in the 6 weeks he has been back it’s been amazing. I can see a huge difference in the girls and their bonding with him. We’ve gone on a few dates, which has been awesome. Most have been date nights in, but a date night is a date night folks, and this wife was missing them.


With this job change came a huge contender on the pro/con list of ours – no more company vehicle. We just spent our car-fund on a van, and now we need a vehicle for Stephen too. Being a 1-car family wouldn’t work for us anymore. Not with me doing birth photography and the weird schedule that involves. We had 3 weeks to search and find something before the new job started. We wanted to pay cash, no loans involved or car payments.



While things didn’t go exactly like I budgeted and hoped we did find Stephen a car. We went in with a number and left spending exactly that, not a penny more. Of course it took about 45 minutes of back and forth with the dealer, but that was more than worth it.


So we went from a 1-car family, to 1 car and 1 company vehicle, to then a van and company truck and ending up with 1 Honda van and 1 Honda accord. From zero hondas to two. I can already see the kids learning to drive in them, mostly because that’s how long we’re going to have them ;)

New job, new cars; I think we are filled up and don’t plan on any new changes soon.





The Simple

The past few months have been kinda weird. Weird and hard. And possibly a tad tiring.

Today Sarah came and excitedly told me she and daddy had a surprise for me. She told me to come see right away. I took a moment to finish up the cups I was washing in the sink before I followed her back to my bedroom. A few minutes later I walked back and she was beaming while standing at the foot of my now-made bed.

Acts of service is my biggest love language. Stephen knows that and today I witnessed him teaching our children that method of loving me.  Seeing her face, so pleased and proud with her work, was a beautiful moment.
While we stood there I pulled up the comforter to fix the bunched up blanket underneath that she probably couldn’t reach and told her how special she made me feel. I asked for some crazy big hugs and she happily complied.

Just a little while later I went back in our room for something. When I got in there I stopped. I just stood there and starred at my bed. My brain escaped from me, reflecting on that moment. I re-bunched the covers and undid my bed “fixing”.
There’s something amazingly beautiful about seeing my children love. Learning love. SHOWING me love in a new way.

It’s a far cry from what you see in a magazine or store front, and in this moment I couldn’t be more proud.
This is the most beautifully made bed in the world, and it’s in our home.



Dirt and Rainboots

When I started this photography adventure I honestly had no idea if it would go anywhere. I’m not a self-marketer and a pretty big introvert, so putting myself out there was and is not natural to me. Far from natural, really. I will say that being an associate pastors wife has made that a bit easier on me, I have had some major crash courses in social skills in the past 2-3 years.

All that to say, things are going well. I am on call right now for a sweet momma that is due anytime in the next 2 weeks. I am on a constant learning curve with the business side of things, but thankfully I have had a few friends take me under their wings and it has helped drastically with goal setting and marketing.

With all of that going on I have had to learn to become a night owl in order to get job related work done. If you knew me in years past, I have always been an early bird. In high school I went to bed at 9, and earlier in the winter. The sun setting and moon rising were like my natural clock. Not anymore though. That changed a bit when we had kiddos, but has changed even more since starting this new venture. It’s been like body training, only not the workout kind that gives you muscle tone, but more of the late night snacking and sitting kind… thankfully I chase kids around during the day so exercise exists whether I want it to or not.

Speaking of chasing kids around, these girls of ours are growing at a rapid pace! They are both so much fun.

Sarah has become such a little girl, loving art projects, playing in dress up clothes, and anything that has to do with cooking and baking. Elanor is talking up a storm, learning new words all the time. She is my independent player, loving to just do her own thing (minus when she’s teething, then she reaches human-leech status). I am so glad that I get to be their mom. Stephen’s new job has made for a lot of changes, and thankfully one of those is that he gets to see them a bit more. With him traveling he does a lot of his computer/office work in the morning, so he gets to have time with them before he leaves for the day. It’s so nice seeing them have morning-play time rather than just before bed time and post-work Stephen during dinner/bath rush time. They all love it, and it’s a joy for me to see and watch their relationships grow.

Okay, Elanor is waking up from her nap so that is the end of computer time.

A photo of each before I sign off…

Pietruszewski Family




Yogurt Faced

While Elanor was having a snack today Sarah decided she wanted to share it with her. Meaning of course she fed Elanor some of her very own snack and then ate some herself and asked me to refill “their plate” more than once.

It was adorable and sweet. It also quickly led to a much-needed bath.

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yogurt 3

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That last shot is Sarah going to the backdoor and telling me she wants to go and play outside. I’d probably let her go out there more often if she’d keep her clothes on. Girl loves to hang around in her panties.

I have so much chaotic fun with these girls.

A Home Day

We do a lot during the sunlight hours. And by a lot I mean tons of tiny different things. Lots of bathroom breaks and diaper changes. Snacks upon snacks upon more snacks. Playing outside several times. Playing music because anything can be a drumstick when youre a kid (or husband driving and keeping beat on the steering wheel). Then, when I feel like we’ve exhausted all activities/my wits end, we watch a movie (Frozen is the current favorite). Sometimes on repeat.

This is an honest space guys. I’m not gonna sugar coat my parenting style. I already beat myself up more than I knew possible over technology vs low/no media. We are a movie-watching family. Especially on days like today, where the rain won’t stop and the kiddos seem to be morphing into monkeys, clinging to my every limb.

Does rain make other peoples kiddos act up? I’ve already handed out multiple fruit snacks and it’s not even 9:30 in the morning! Anything for them to just sit for a few moments. I put Elanor down for an early nap because for some crazy reason she woke up at 5:30 this morning and randomly started asking to nurse, after weening herself almost a month ago.

It’s already felt like a long week, and it’s only Tuesday. Of course by Friday I’ll be saying this week flew by, and Sarah will be a week closer to being 4 and Ella will be saying new words that I didn’t even know she was learning. The simple blink of an eye.

Speaking of eyes, Sarah informed me I had several spiders in mine and she had to remove them for me. Dr. Sarah to the rescue.




When we play with Sarah’s medical bag we take turns being the patient and when it’s her turn I’m Dr. Mommy. It’s one of my favorite names.

Sometimes, occasionally weekly, I move furniture around. I think it makes me feel like I’m “accomplishing” something when the laundry pile won’t stop growing, no matter how many loads I do, or I don’t want to mop pee off the bathroom floor for the third time. This desk has lived in several places. We are trying it out in our room because for some reason I won’t allow myself to accept that it will probably just become another drop-zone for misplaced mail and half full plastic cups. It started with good intentions, and that means something to this lady.




Then, sometimes (rarely), I get smart and use my time wisely. Grocery list making from the swing set. Sarah has learned how to turn the hose on, and I’ve decided it’s not a battle worth pursuing. They both love playing with the water hose, especially when it involves making mud puddles, so if our yard turns into an overwatered lake, so be it. They’ll only want to do this for so long, so I better enjoy it while I can. #TakingTheHighRoad


I’ve been attending an early morning Boot Camp with my friend Dahlia. It starts at 5:30, so I’m up by 4:45. Week 1 almost killed me. I had no idea how out of shape I was until all of last week. We only signed up for a two-week intro course, so I’ve only got 2 more days of non-stop muscle exhaustion. On the plus side, Stephen has been getting up just after me and having some time to himself in the mornings. I get home around 6:15, grab a good bye kiss and he heads out the door for work. It’s made for some really early bedtimes around here, and not a lot of spouse talk time, but with our bodies adjusting I think we’ve found a good new system.

I’ll check back next week and let you know how hilarious I find that statement and the idea of not getting every precious minute of sleep my children allow.

I was also able to plant some herbs. I really enjoy getting my hands dirty, especially when the girls follow behind me and take all the fresh placed soil out. The rosemary and lavender smell amazing, as you would expect.



Sometimes Sarah plays dress up in random peoples clothes. Today was daddy’s shoes.


Then, when it’s been an extra long day and I can’t seem to get my thoughts organized, or even form full sentences because I’m so scattered from a three-year olds endless questions, her younger sister asking up-up while at the same time spilling cheerios on the floor while I try to search our pantry to see what I should make for dinner… aka: everyday. That’s when popsicles enter the pictures. Popsicles and bubbles in the bath. Run on sentence, much?!




There you have it. Another typical day in the Ringl house. The girls are getting crazy big and I’m finally learning how to make myself healthy snacks so I don’t consume goldfish and leftover PBJ’s all day. Parenthood is all about baby steps and not having crazy high expectations for yourself or your family.

And because you are wondering, yes, those popsicles are delicious.


An Exciting Site Update: Photography

I’m excited to share a new addition to with you. Lookie here, we’ve got a new page…

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I’m excited to show you this new tab that’s joining our little website. If you click on over I explain everything about it, and if you feel comfortable please feel free to pass the information on to anyone that may be interested.

This is all a little new, putting myself out there, but that’s what we do when we are passionate about something.

Thanks for clicking around, and if you have any questions just leave them below, shoot me an email, or send them to my Photography website, NewLightBirthPhotography or the Facebook page .

Almost 3

In a little over a month Sarah is going to be 3 years old. 3. Years. How in the world did time go so quickly? I blame sleep regression, and time travel. Mostly the lack of sleep though. What did I do with my time before I had children? Did I nap all the time? If not I should have.

It’s incredible how much Sarah has learned lately. Her brain is absorbing things quicker than I can spew good information out.
Hearing her have real adult conversations blows my mind. She may be small but she talks just like we do. Hearing her spout out entire, and correctly ordered, sentences with full recognition of what she’s saying. Asking questions about everything. Wanting to know how I’m feeling and what words mean. We’ve always spoken to her the same way we talk to everyone else and I think that shows itself in her conversational skills. #mombragmoment

She is almost completely potty trained. Keyword: almost.
The other day she was asking for a diaper while wearing panties (she does this when she needs to poop). I was doing dishes and the next thing I know she comes back into the kitchen, wearing a pull-up and tells me she needs to be changed. That’s a clear picture of a kid that should be out of diapers. Changing herself INTO a diaper. Crazy child. For some reason, although she’s done it several times before, Sarah will have nothing to do with using the bathroom for her #2 business. I’m really hoping she will have the realization that it’s the way to go, because as much as we want her too, you can’t make a kid go in the potty (trust me, I’ve tried!)

We are really pleased that Sarah is still good at taking an afternoon nap. While she doesn’t get one daily, which is more of a scheduling problem than lack of need, she is great at sleeping for 2-3 hours. ::Everyone please hold while I go knock on wood::

In the past month or two Sarah has started finding her way into our bed during the night. She has been having issues with nightmares and while we used to go into her room when she woke upset, she has decided to just come into our room and crawl in the middle between Stephen and I. Thankfully she has learned to stay still so I’m not getting kicked and shoved, and she doesn’t do it nightly, but it is something I never expected and haven’t figured out how to handle yet. My sister recently gave Sarah a new light pillow. She just has to push a button and stars come on that light up the ceiling. She loves it and I think it has helped some, since she has been staying in her room a few more times than recently before. That’s parenthood though, a continual learning process. If nothing else, having 2 little ones has taught us that every child is different. You gotta keep trying til you figure out what works.

Now, for our normally broadcasted photo dump.


Playing at the park near the water is a favorite


Sarah has become a puzzle pro. She loves for us to watch her put them together


Dress up in the car with a scarf one of the youth at church, Eli, made her


She has become a big cuddler lately, which she never was as a baby


She talked me into donuts during a quick trip to Target


Digging her hole


She loves painting. LOVES all art. That makes me a happy mom


Cuddling with cousin Addison’s blanket during sunday school at church


Guys, we go through so much peanut butter. Not kidding. Buckets upon buckets.


She wanted to pull the wagon, so we let her.


Dry erase markers are awesome! Makes coloring cleanup super easy


Bubbles at Grandma & Grandpas


Playing outside at Nana & Papaws House


Visiting parks are so enjoyable for them AND me


Playing dress-up
(she moves quick, hence the iPhone blur)


Again, we love parks


Being a goofball


Swinging outside and showing off her lollipop


Sarah has started asking to eat cereal


Cereal? Out of a bowl? With milk AND an adult size spoon? Time, stop it! Stop it I say. Going way too fast.

It’s hard to believe that in a few weeks we will have a 3 year old. I don’t notice how big she is getting until I look at pictures and see it right in front of my eyes. It’s like a before-after with people and weight-loss. You don’t notice the gradual changes if you are around it everyday. I am so thankful for pictures. For being able to see her growth over just a few days, weeks, and months. They change so quickly.

Sarah Elizabeth Ringl. Almost 3. I remember finding out we were pregnant, for the third time. Being afraid to get excited. Praying so earnestly for a healthy baby. Waiting and hoping anxiously for each new day, week, and month. Finding out we were having a girl. Picking out her name. The crazy experience of bringing her into this world. And now she is a full-fledged toddler. Very quickly developing her personality. Choosing to be hard headed at times and tender at others. Deciding if she wants mommy to get up and get her breakfast, or daddy to sit with her to share animal crackers. Each day she makes her own decisions. We are showing her that some things are up to her parents to decide, and she’s the one that has to choose to be obedient and listen. Shaping her to be a leader, and to know when and whom to follow. Praying that she will come to know the Lord at an early age. That she can know His love and grace and skip out on a lot of mistakes and instead have the opportunities to honor Christ and be His disciple.

She hears every word. See’s every action and reaction. Watches our responses and body language. Everything we do she is observing. When we laugh. Cry. Snap. Hold our tongue. Raise our eyebrows. Roll our eyes. Getting angry and short tempered. Use sarcasm. Children are a wonderful vessel to remind us to keep our minds, actions, and words in check. She is learning every moment of everyday based on the people she is around. I have no doubt that when she says “shoot”, “oh my goodness” or “Elanor, it’s okay, don’t cry sweetie.” That she has heard each of those statements straight from my mouth. I’m just thankful she has picked up on more of the good than bad.

When did this start turning sentimental… whoops. There’s proof for you that she brings out every side of me. From humor to education then back to humor again. If you made it this far in, you win 3500 awesome points. Congrats! Now it’s back to the other tabs you have opened in your browser.

Park by the Bay

A few weeks ago we went downtown for some fun outdoor time. It started with us visiting a place called the Imagination Station at the Wahoo Stadium. It’s a free event for parents to bring their kiddos on the weekdays. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was awesome. Sarah and Elanor both had a blast. Plus, I got to talk to some other moms, which was really nice, while all our kids ran from play area to play area. It’s always great to go somewhere and not have to worry about your kids running around, making a mess, or being too loud. Imagination Station folks, if you are in the Pensacola area – hit it up!

Now for some pictures. You know me, a post isn’t legit unless I share some (super cute kid-filled) visuals.

Walking along the water

Playing in the Amphitheater

All you need is a puddle and a toddler

Probably apple #3 of the day

My mom, Miriah, the girls and I had a blast. We played inside from 9-11’ish and then walked along the bay. It was a fun, relaxing, and crazy hot day. Elanor took a nap in the stroller while Sarah jumped around and played her little heart out.

It was my first time at the Wahoo Stadium and I didn’t even have to go to a baseball game to see what a family friendly environment it is. We will definitely be going back soon :)