Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Year in Review

January - March

  • A new house, duty station, job for husband
  • Steven's birthday
  • Declan playing in snow
  • Steven's cast came off
  • I got a new engagement/wedding ring
  • Steven participated in the St. Baldrick's fundraiser and raised over $750
  • Abigail turned 1
April - June
  • took a trip to the National Zoo with Gramps, Uncle, Aunt E, and Ellie
  • Abigail and I took part in the setting a Guiness World Record for the most people changing a cloth diaper at the same time
  • first Alwine Easter egg hunt
  • I got my Keurig :)
  • Declan and I discovered goldfish shaped bread
  • Abigail had her first hair cut
  • Declan started riding his tricycle
  • Abigail started walking
  • I ran 3 5ks (Earth Day 5k, Semper Fred 5k, Global Race for the Cure)
  • Sorensen family reunion
July - September
  • Alwine summer vacation - 4th of July in New Market and PA River trip
  • My birthday!
  • Declan turned 3
  • Billie & Mike's wedding and our trip to St. Louis
  • lots of summer bowling and pool trips
  • Alwine Beach Vacation in Nags Head
  • Declan started preschool
  • We got a dog .... Delilah
  • I ran the Tunnel To Towers 5k in NYC

October - December
  • trip to the dentist
  • Double Baptism
  • several pumpkin patch visits
  • Halloween and Trick or Treating
  • 4 more 5ks (Halloween, Give Thanks to Lebanon, Turkey Trot, Reindeer Run)
  • first Thanksgiving I've hosted - 15 people here!
  • family pictures
  • Christmas preparation
  • Santa pictures!
  • Holiday Army Ball
  • Christmas at our house
  • 5th Wedding Anniversary

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Eve - A New Tradition?

This year, our first year together as a family of four and the first in our Maryland house, we treid something new for Christmas Eve. We went to our church, a 4pm service and then headed down the street to a friend's for dinner. We had tacos, the kids played for hours while we waited for the best Ft Meade tradition yet, SANTA! Each Christmas eve after the sun sets, Santa is escorted down every single street of base housing by the Fire Department. It takes over 4 hours to see all the kids, but its well worth it! We are one of the last neighborhoods, so the kids saw Santa about 9pm.

We wrote a letter to Santa and filled his mug with coffee. We left some carrots for the reindeer and some Nutella fudge for Santa. Then quick into bed without a fight.

It was a wonderful way to start the Christmas celebrations and I do hope we can do it again next year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Baking

nutella fudge

Today I started my Christmas baking. Abigail baked in her kitchen while I was in mine and we both danced to Mannheim Steamrollers on Pandora. First up, I made Nutella Sea Salt fudge. These are AMAZING. Tomorrow morning I'm dividing them up, packaging them, and assigning them to people so I don't keep eating them.

Pinned ImageThen I made my own granola. I have grand plans of making more things from scratch and buying less things from the store, and overall be able to spend less time scrambling for meal ideas. Declan and Abigail eat their weight in yogurt each week, so I thought some granola would spice up the bowl a bit. I used this recipe, but only had enough oats for a quarter of the recipe. A good trial, I thought. It was wonderful! I may actually eat yogurt again!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Button Tree

Today I finished my Christmas Button Tree. I love it! I will absolutely be making more of these for each season/holiday that we celebrate.

Styrofoam cone
pins with the pearls on the end (I used white for this tree, but I'm thinking pastels would look cute for Easter)
buttons of various sizes and colors

Then push a pin through one of the holes in the buttons, taking care to leave very little, if any, of the cone showing. 

Overlap buttons if necessary, alternating the colors and sizes.

I'm still deciding what to put on the top. I'm toying between a star button or some ribbon. Thoughts?

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Pinteresting Day

Today was fueled by Pinterest. I had my friend's adorable little girl this morning and she joined in our craftiness. We made homemade ornaments! The girls made hand prints and Declan helped me make some with cookie cutters. As soon as we paint them, I'll post the pictures.

Then later this afternoon I made the cookie dough for these fantastic looking cookies. I have a cookie exchange on Friday and love that I can make this dough up to 3 days in advance! 

For dinner I took an idea from my friend Rachel (who got it from our other friend Karen) and switched it around. It was awesome! 
Here's the reciepe:
About 1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 small tomatoes, diced
3/4 of a container of tomato basil cooking creme
Mix together and put inside crescent rolls and bake

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Race Report: Reindeer Run

A nice, brisk, sunny, winter day in Maryland. I was so excited to wake up and see the sun! The last race I ran on base was windy, rainy, and cold! I drove the race course last night and that was a huge mental help to me. I was able to see where I would need more energy and where I would be able to start pouring it on at the end. I started out well, paced myself decently down the hill and into the second half-mile. I loosely followed my normal run/walk ratio for the first 10 minutes or so and then buckled down into a run 4, walk 1:45 rotation until I hit the 2.75 mile mark. I knew I was a little off my goal pace but I felt strong and comfortable. When I turned the last corner, I picked up the pace and sprinted the last .1 mile. I finished in 42:29(ish- official results to come later) and was really disappointed with my time. But then I remembered that time isn't everything. I felt strong the whole race, I walked only when I was scheduled too and I finished strong. It was a great race to end 2011 and a wonderful way to head into the 2012 racing season.

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Traditions

This year marks our first Christmas as a family of four, spent together. Adding to that , we are in our own house and do not have to move this year! I am so very excited! Declan is over the moon about celebrating Christmas and we've taken the time to enjoy decorating/preparing with the kids this year. On Monday, Steven and Declan hung lights outside. Declan and Abigail race downstairs in the morning to move the present on the Advent Calendar and we've been enjoying crafts.

I have lots of Christmas decorating crafts planned, but today we did finger puppets. My friend Rachel made some with her kids and then sent them home with me for us to make some. We'll pass them along as well, here's the finished product.

Hopefully we'll be able to complete some more projects this weekend and be on our way to a nicely decorated house!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Let the Crafting Begin!

I've been bitten by the crafting bug, this time with a slight edge towards Christmas. Last night, I completed my first snowman wrap dress. I have made three of them and are hoping to sell them, since Abigail can't possibly wear 3 of the same dresses.

This morning I dug through a huge bag of "scraps' (that I bought for only $7!) and found the perfect material for an Abigail skirt. A few minor adjustments to my original measurements and its perfect. I'm so glad I remembered the elastic waistband trick from Aunt Sue. Its currently lacking a hem because Abigail is fighting a cold and is down for a nap.

I've got the kids working on ribbon paper, to make our own bows for wrapped presents this year. Its been an easy going, fun, and productive morning in the Alwine house. And this evening we get to see the Christmas Tree Lighting on base. The kids are so very excited!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Morning

Thanksgiving in the Christ house always began with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Mom started the turkey while we played, and inevitably Dad responded to at least one "oven fire" with the fire department. Five years ago, I brought Steven home to meet my family and we started our Thanksgiving traditions. 2007 was spent in California with Aunt Mary, Uncle Eddie, Grandma and PopPop. 2008 was spent apart, as Declan and I were home in Virginia while the army served Steven turkey in Afghanistan. 2009 we found out that our second child was a girl. And 2010 we spent with friends having a potluck feast in Germany.
     This year, we start our own tradition as a family. I ran this morning with Maggie, John, and Jennifer. The kids are now watching the parade. Declan is waving to the TV and Abigail is dancing around in her pajamas. I'm hosting a potluck in our house this afternoon for a total of 15 people. We have so much to be thankful for this year, most of all that we are all together. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Race Report: Give Thanks to Lebanon 5k

The most important thing I learned this weekend was that its pronounced Lebnin not Lebanon. Saturday morning was quite chilly, barely hitting freezing before we started. Chastity and I were all ready for our run! It was pretty flat course that started at the top of a hill and had spent some time on the trail. I started out strong, but way too fast. When I stopped for my first walk interval (planned at the 4 minute mark) I was ahead of Chas and she checked her GPS watch. I was on pace for an 8 min mile. That's only about 3 minutes faster than normal. It fell apart from there. Tight calves, cold chest, tired legs. I finished in 45 minutes. I am super bummed, BUT I did it. I finished the race running, I chalked it up to experience, consulted with the Running Moms and will do it again on December 10th.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Running Mom, Next Step: 10k

As many of you know, I've been dabbling in the running world for the last 18 months or so (mostly since Abigail was born) and I've accomplished a lot in that time frame. I've ran several 5k and I keep improving my time. My end goal is a half marathon, 13.1 miles in May 2012. 

Friday morning, DH was off (for Veteran's Day, his own very special holiday!) and so we decided to take the kids to the park. He drove them there, I left about 15 minutes earlier and ran there. It was my best run, EVER. No, I'm not exaggerating, not even a little bit. I ran 2.5 miles in 27 minutes. The route was hilly, as is most of this area, but it was a good run. I run 4 minutes, walk 2 and it really worked for me. I was on cloud nine all day. This carried over into the weekend and I have charted my next course.... a 10k. 

6.1 miles in 8 weeks. I can do this! I found a training plan online, consisting of 3 runs a week, 2 cross-training sessions, 2 strength sessions and one glorious Rest day. I'm switching the long runs from Sunday to Saturday, but you've got the idea. The bigger challenge is to find a 10k race in mid-January, but never fear. Worst case scenario, I plot a course, give DH a stop watch and go for it. 

I'll be sure to report in after my next 5k, which coincidentally coincides with my first 3 mile long run in my training program, this Saturday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bacon makes everything better

Last night I tried (yet another) new crockpot recipe. It required a little bit more prep work (maybe 10 min total) but it was excellent!

Bacon Wrapped Apple BBQ Chicken
In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, the juice of one lemon, and 1-2 apples, peeled and grated.
Place 3 to 4 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless as always) in the crock and cover with the apple mixture.
Then wrap (or cover) chicken and apple mix with 6 to 8 pieces of bacon.
Cook 8 hours on low.

I served it with steamed broccoli. The kids loved it!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Veteran's Day, in a new light

Usually I spend Veteran's Day with my favorite veteran. This year, I added something new to my routine. I volunteered for the Annual Veteran's Appreciation Luncheon on Ft Meade. This event is led by the Retired Officer's Wives Club and sponsored by most of the organizations in the Ft. Meade community. I was in charge of coat check, which was nice because I was able to see everyone as they came in.

Among those in attendance were some retired veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, several from Korea and Vietnam, and a few from World War II. The ones that really stood out to me were, one original Buffalo Soldier, who brought with him some ladies dressed in period garb, a POW from Vietnam who was in captivity for 3 years and his wife, and another Vietnam POW who was in captivity for over 7 years.

I can't believe that I am part of the same community that went through such hardships over the last century. I intend to make this a regular event, and hope to find more ways to serve our local community of Veterans.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Yes, I'm a Crockpot Girl

Today I made my first recipe from the ever popular, CrockPot Girls website. Super easy, super quick (only 3-4 hours on high, so you can forget about it in the morning and still have it ready for dinner), and super tasty. Declan had seconds and Abigail wanted thirds. Here it is:

Bacon Ranch Chicken

Mix together:
1 packet of ranch
1 cup of sour cream
1 can of cream of chicken soup
2 Tbsp (real) bacon bits
1 tsp minced garlic (I used garlic powder in a pinch)

Spread over 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cook on high for 3-4 hours. Shred chicken, and add some cooked egg noodles.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Amazing Arbonne Opportunity

Today starts my next step in the Arbonne journey. I am going to qualify for the Conference in Las Vegas in April. I will boost my business and my sales and enjoy the pampering that Arbonne has to offer!

I'm offering a special deal to any and all who are interested in making Arbonne part of their lives! When you sign up as a Preferred Client ($29), you save 20% off of all purchases for 12 months. You also qualify for a wonderful RSVP gift. That is $700 worth of Arbonne products for only $350 (+tax and shipping). For each person who chooses to join the Arbonne Family and use their RSVP in November, I will waive the $29 start up fee.

Monday, October 31, 2011

November Running Mom Challenge

I'm hoping most of you remember my postings about the amazing group of women I've found that share my passion/insanity/love/hate for running. In September, I challenged our group of over 100 mothers to run 343 miles for the 343 fallen firefighters in 2001. We surpassed that goal within a few days and ran over 3,000 miles that month to honor each life lost on September 11, 2001.

In November, we are running to Afghanistan. 6,751 miles from the East Coast of the USA to Afghanistan, in honor of Veterans everywhere. Watch our journey here on my blog, and you can also view the progress on Daily Mile:

Feel free to leave us encouragement! I will update as we continue through November.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Today's Naptime Project

I realized that we were without treat bags for the upcoming Halloween festivities. And we're going to Trunk or Treat at Church this afternoon. Panic? No way. Sew one! Or two, in our case.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween 5k Race Report

Cold, windy, raining, yuck! Not a bad run for me, of course the rain tampered with the big clock, so I'll have to wait until Wednesday to see what time I had, but I'm thinking between 40 and 42 minutes. I did reasonably well with my 5:1 running/walking interval. I hit mile 1 at 12 minutes (my goal pace) and then slowed down with cold and fatigue. Finished strong thanks to my dear friend Jennifer (she comes back for me after she finishes!) and ran the last .6 of a mile and sprinted a tad at the end to keep someone from passing me.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Cookies

Baking cookies used to be really easy. I'd make the dough, bake the cookies, and be done with it. Obviously that was before I decided to attempt "Super Mom" status. Yesterday we made cookies. It was an all day affair. In the morning, we ran to the commissary for the extra flour I'd need (of course I pick a recipe that calls for 6 cups of flour!). Then I made the batter while the kids had naps (in between hemming clothes and working on Halloween costumes). After lunch we started rolling out the dough and using cookie cutters. Here's where the real fun began!

Declan and Abi wanted to help, but really, this was not a job for "helping." I sent the to their play kitchen, complete with a bowl, a spatula, and some cookie cutters. They made their own cookies, for about 10 minutes. I completed all the cookies and then decorated some of the little ones with the Spray Frosting for snacks. We'll finish decorating the rest this weekend.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Its starting to smell like crock pot season!

Tonight was crock pot meal number one for the week. I think this is a Kate recipe, but I can't be sure.

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

Toss 8 small, boneless, skinless chicken thighs in 3 tablespoons of flour and place in the crock pot.
In a small bowl, combine:
1/3 cup orange marmalade (I used some made by Kate)
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
2 T soy sauce
1 T grated fresh gingerroot
Poor the liquid mixture on top and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. Do not over cook, it will dry out the kitchen.

I served mine with brown rice. Yum!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Take Two

Our playgroup on base (well, one of them) went to Summer's Farm in Frederick to explore the Pumpkin Patch this week. To put this in perspective ... Six vehicles filled with 10 moms, 1 grandma, and 24 kids!

This Farm was full of activities for us. A hay ride, corn filled sandboxes, several big slides, mazes, animals, and a giant inflatable pillow for jumping. That's where our adventure started.

The kids and I had a blast on the slide. Declan adventured first, then I sent Abigail down. The best part was watching them try to climb the hill holding hands. At one point, they came tumbling down together. Then, I took Abigail down, it was so much fun!

Then we threw the kids into the corn filled sand-box. Of course, the day would not be complete without some adorable pictures. 

I made this little dress for Abi to wear on this trip. I really wanted to find Declan's Halloween shirt, but ended up dressing him in a green polo, which was wonderful, because in the sea of orange girls, I could find him very easily.

Crockpot Oatmeal

My kids and DH love oatmeal. So much so that when I sent DH to the store for oatmeal, he bought a big container of oatmeal so he could supplement his Quaker Flavored packets. Unfortunately, he bought Steel Cut Oats. The kind that takes over 30 minutes to make in the morning. Well, I love my family, but getting up 45 minutes before everyone else to make them breakfast? Eh. Off to google......

Its so simple! Here are the basic steps:
  1. Line your crock pot bottom with some Aluminum Foil
  2. Find an oven proof bowl that will fit all the liquid you will need AND will fit in the crock with the top on(4 cups for 4 servings) - I used my Pampered Chef Pour-able 8 cup Batter Bowl
  3. Pour in the oats, then add the water and milk. We like our oatmeal creamy, so I did half milk and half water.
  4. Add water to the crock, at least enough to cover half of the oatmeal bowl.
  5. Put the top on, turn on low, and go to sleep.

I made mine with peaches, so I put the them into the bowl before cooking them. The peach flavor was everywhere! After it was done, I added some extra milk, a little brown sugar, and Yum!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Double Baptisms

October 9th, at our "home" church in Harrisonburg, Virginia we celebrated the Baptism of both of our children. It was so nice to have our families with us and to do it in such a welcoming and sentimental place. DH and I were married there almost 5 years ago, and the kids have frequently visited that church. Pastor Dave, who helped us start our lives together, officiated.

Abigail's sponsors are my sister Maggie, and our dear friends (who we met while in AZ in 2007) Andrew and Kate. Declan's are my best friend from college Rachel, and his Uncle David and Aunt Carrie. We are so happy that everyone could make the trip for their special day.

After the service, we gathered downstairs for some lunch and, of course, cake. Here is one of my favorite pictures from the day, a family picture!

31 Days to an Organized Home

My friend Kate turned me onto this blog in an attempt to calm me down after one of my weekly freak outs. (I can't help but do this weekly when I feel my house/life is out of control.) Most of you are probably thinking, yeah right, Rebecca has it all under control. I normally feel this way too, but sometimes I just get behind in housework and life in general. I quickly read Day 1 and realized that clutter is bad! Especially when you move frequently. So, I skipped ahead to Day 2 and redid my closet!

What I changed:

  • shoe bins for the kids on the shoe shelf by the front door
  • condensed all paper products and put them in the storage unit in the garage, freeing up shelf space
  • stacked two bins of winter clothes to create more floor space
  • put all "running gear" in a basket, condensing clutter on the shelf
  • created a dry erase calendar to keep my daily packing list so I don't forget to put anything in the car
What I have left to do:
  • gradually replace mismatched hangars so everything looks uniform
  • remove puzzles and games from the shelf, when I have a designated place
  • move shoe shelf into closet? 
  • add some hooks for umbrellas, hats, leashes, etc.
This is the blog, and I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shenandoah Valley Pumpkin Patch

A few weekends ago, we hit the road and headed southwest to the Shenandoah Valley. While visiting with our families and baptizing the kids, we also visited the local pumpkin patch. (The same one Declan and I went to in 2009.) Here are some pictures!



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Catching up on Life

I can't believe how fast this year is flying by. We're already halfway through October. Christmas is about 10 weeks away. Wow. Last year at this time, we were awaiting our visitors in Germany and preparing for trips to Munich and Nuremburg. This year, we're settling into fall with pumpkin patch trips and afternoons playing outside. Declan and Abigail are growing and learning new things at an alarming rate, its really quite scary. But one thing that hasn't changed over the last year is how much they love to play together.

October 2010

October 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Declan's Photo Shoot

My dear friend Kate took some amazing photos of Declan. Here are some more of them!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Own Your Stuff!

This morning's sermon was spot on, yet again. I love that each and every week is exactly what I need to hear at that time! Today the pastor spoke about self-control. About owning your own stuff and letting other's stuff go. I really do need to remember to focus on me and not on anyone else. ("Me" includes my husband and my children, just so we're clear.) I do not need to worry or let anyone else's problems affect me. This is very hard for me to do, I always feel the need to fix situations. And I often worry about my friends and anything that may be bothering them.

This week I am focusing on letting everyone else's "stuff" go. Please keep this in mind as we talk this week. I am, of course, always willing to help out my friends, but I really need to stop stressing about it. I need to focus on what is mine. I need to Own My Stuff.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

This Running Mom

Logged 19 miles of running in September.
Ran one 5k.
Contributed those September miles to help the Running Moms run a mile for every life lost on 9/11. (And we did!) Collectively we ran 3165.5 miles in September. Amazing!

  Run at least 1 mile, or log 30 minutes of exercise, each day of October.
  Run 50 miles in October.
  Run a 5k in under 40 minutes in October.
  And do it all with a smile!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tunnel to Towers 2011

Yesterday (Sunday) I ran in the 10th Annual Tunnel to Towers Race in New York City. I was in line for the Start by 8:30, over an hour before the race started. I couldn't even see the starting line from my perch on the sidewalk. During that hour as I waited for my turn to start, I thought about how I even got to that point. I woke up at 5:15, was out the door by 5:30, for a 9:30 race. I took a car to a train, to a shuttle bus to the registration center and then walked about 1/2 mile to the starting area. I was right in front of Engine Co 202 and Ladder 101 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York. 

Amid the throngs of almost 30,000 people were firefighters, soldiers, marines, children, and grandparents. People from as far away as 29 Palms in California and members of the London Fire Brigade. T-shirts identified people's locations, from the Massachusetts Police to high school soccer teams to Fire Departments across the country. As the Opening Ceremony started, we could see the presentations via large video screens. And then, it was 9:30 and the race was on!

I didn't cross the starting line until almost 10am, and then it took a lot of self-control not to speed down the hill into the tunnel, I knew the tunnel was going to be crowded, warm, and full of jostling people. I paced myself well for the first mile or so and then got stuck in throngs of people and found myself being way too polite. After being bumped a few times, I made up my mind to stay just left of the walkers and go at my own pace, people could pass me if they wanted. I took a few walk breaks, which ended quickly when I saw someone in full turnout gear or a ruck sack shuffling along. I knew I could pace with them until I got back in the groove.

Exiting the tunnel was overwhelming. On the left were thousands of cadets from West Point holding American Flags. On the right were 343 firemen all holding a banner with the picture and name of their comrades lost on 9/11. The line stretched for a long time. We crossed into Battery Park and came across a lot of bottle necks as we turned and ran along the river. Here is where you could start to feel the finish approaching. There were high school cheerleaders and marching bands pushing you on, and spectators applauding your efforts. We turned out of the park and could hear the voices of the people at the finish line. I decided to sprint towards the finish and was able to squeeze through pockets of people to do so. 

Post race, I gathered up my back which was efficiently transported by UPS truck and headed home on the train. I knew my time was not going to break any records and I am still telling myself that time doesn't matter in a race like this. Will I run this race again? Yes. Next year? Probably not. Its a fun race, but I don't think I can handle the number of people and the potential for injury from all that jostling. Maybe for the 15th year, if I can get a group together to go with me.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall 2011

This Autumn is going to be full of activity and adventure for the Alwines. I have a lot planned, don't tell DH, and I think the kids are at a perfect age to enjoy these activities.

I promise to (try) to upload pictures and tell the stories of all our Fall 2011 Alwine Adventures.

Running Mom ... That's Me!

My next race is on Sunday. I'm both nervous and really excited! If this were any other race I would have backed out by now. My hip has been acting up, my training is not where I wanted to be, (excuse, excuse, excuse)  BUT, I'm going. Mom and I are packing up the kids and heating to Grandma's where they, along with Aunt Kathy, will watch my kiddos. PopPop is insistent on driving me into New York City and that's just fine by me!

My goal for this race is to run the whole thing. No walk breaks. That's it. I don't even care what my time is, I just want to run. Consistently. I know this race will be full of emotion and I'm hoping that will also work to my advantage. No way can I stop running knowing what the race is commemorating.

Expect a race report on Monday. And hopefully I'll remember to take some pictures.....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Day in Declan's World

So, after yesterday's information about "beeping" ID Cards, Declan decided I was not able to handle this situation and informed the guard of her mistake this afternoon. He said, "You're supposed to beep the ID Card, is your beeper broken?" She was not amused.

This morning he was at it again. He dropped his spoon on the floor during breakfast. "I'm so sorry Mommy. Now you are going to have to vacuum again." I told him this was a plus to having a dog now.

Oh, I didn't tell you? We got a dog.

Running Mom Challenge

We've got 9 days left and we've run 1880 miles so far this month. WOW!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Preschool is Amazing Mom!

Declan started preschool this week! He was so excited he couldn't stand it. He goes two full days a week, Monday and Wednesday and gets to play with his best friend Jacob as well as all his new friends. Here's his first day of school picture. I wish I could get him to tell me more, but all he can say is "I love preschool Mommy. Can I go everyday? My school is amazing!"

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Alwine Family Vacation

Saturday we set off on our Alwine Family Vacation to the Outer Banks, North Carolina. We are staying in a Beach House called Lost Shaker of Salt. Here's the numbers:

  • 8 cars in the driveway from 3 different states
  • 5 kids under the age of 4 with 1 on the way
  • 2 dogs
  • 2 great grandparents
  • 2 grandparents
  • 1 doting aunt and uncle
  • 3 moms and dads
We've been having a wonderful time on the beach, in the pool, and watching the kids play together. Its been a wonderful few days, and we're have several more left. The numbers are dwindling as work calls, but I'll be here until the end. And pictures will come when we get home (I brought the wrong cord with me).

Running Moms Update

507 miles

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Running Moms Challenge

So, its September 3rd and we're well into our challenge. So far, in fact, we've amended it.
We want to run 343 miles for the firefighteres killed, then an additional 72 for the police officers killed, then another 2819 for the civilians killed. A grand total of 3,234 miles for September. And as of tonight, we're at 231. I think we can do this!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Week 5 Couch to 5K .... Complete!

This morning I rolled out of bed at 5:50, met up with my good friend Jennifer for a 5 minute warm-up walk and completed Day 3 of Week 5 of my C25K training. A little over 2 miles later, I am so happy to say that I finished Week 5! Today I ran 8 minutes, walked 5 minutes, and then ran another 8 minutes. I'm looking forward to starting Week 6 on Sunday, although I know it will be extremely challenging.

On another great note, the Running Moms have hit 108 miles and its only the morning of the second day!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Running Moms Unite!

I have a wonderfully supportive group of friends who have two things in common.

  1. We are moms.
  2. We run.
We have joined forces to run 343 miles between September 1st and September 11th in honor of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. 

On Sept 1st we ran 53 miles!
Keep up with us here!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

September Challenges

I'm hoping September will be a turning point for me, and I'm piling on the challenges to help me get started.

1. Participate and complete the 30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge.
2. Join my Running Mom friends in jointly running 343 miles between Sept 1 and Sept 11.
3. Continue my running and average 10 miles a week for the month of September.
4. Finish 2 of my unfinished crafting projects.
5. Complete the Craving God 21 day devotional.

I plan to update weekly, so please, friends near and far, help me stay accountable!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back in the Game

I am so excited that I am back to running. Today starts my 3rd week back in the groove and it feels wonderful! I'm pain free, stronger, and faster than I was before my injury. I'm still going to physical therapy once a week for a few more weeks to keep working, but am able to train for my next race, on Sept 25th. I've restarted the Couch to 5K Program (C25K) and I'm on Week 5. This week that means:

Day 1: 5 min warm-up, Run 5, Walk 3, Run 6, Walk 3, Run 5, 5 min cool-down
             I did that this morning and covered a little less than 2.5 miles. It felt really good, the last 5 minute run my legs were a little heavy, and it was up a hill, but I made it.

Day 2: 5 min warm-up, Run 5, Walk 3, Run 8, Walk 5, Run 5, 5 min cool-down
             Wednesday morning run

Day 3: 5 min warm-up, Run 8, Walk 5, Run 8, 5 min cool-down
             Friday morning run

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good Night, Gorilla

Anyone who spent an evening with Declan last summer was probably asked to read Good Night, Gorilla to him. The rather hesitant ones quickly realized that their part of the reading involved saying, "Good Night" repeatedly. Declan filled in all the rest of the words. He even opened his eyes and mouth wide to act surprised just like Mrs. Zookeeper does.

This summer, Declan reads his favorite book to Abigail. He reads all the words now, as she "helps" to turn the pages. She even remembers when to act surprised! She hasn't quite figured out the snoring part that comes at the end, but giver her a few more days.

Nothing is sweeter than watching Declan reading to Abigail. And absolutely nothing makes me prouder than to see them cuddled up together reading books.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake or Dinosaur

As I'm sure you know, there was a 5.8 earthquake in Virginia today. I'll admit, it was quite scary. Mostly because I didn't know what it was. And because the kids were upstairs (aka, away from me) napping. After it was over and the kids were playing again, Declan asked me if the ground was still shaking. I said no. He said, "It was a dinosaur, I saw him walking on Little Einstein's and he made the ground shake." Makes perfect sense! Almost more sense than (another) Virginia earthquake.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Perfect Family

Today's sermon at church was about replacing our image of the "perfect" family, with the faithful family. One in which we focus on sharing our faith with our children. The best way to do this, is to lead by example. Something I often feel I fall short in doing. This week, I'm focusing on putting everything else aside and spending time with the kids. To eat meals at the table all together, instead of them at their little table. To read more books and spend more time coloring. To be slow to anger and quick to hug. We'll start out small and see how it goes.
My perfect faithful family

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Motherhood: Amazing Changes in Lifestyle

Often times I forget how much my life has changed in the last three years, and especially in the last 18 months. I forget about how simple, easy, and yes, even boring life was before I had kids. This morning, for example, I awoke at 0430 to drive a friend to the airport. It took me 5 minutes to go from sleeping to walking out the door, with a fresh cup of coffee in my hand. I think my record for leaving the house with two kids is 20 minutes.

I notice other changes, too. Like my morning TV time used to be FoxNews, or when DH is home, ESPN. Now, it is fully consumed by Veggie Tales and the Disney Channel. Daily activities were planned at the last minute and I never had to think about being home in time for naps or whether I could fit any other car seats into my car. I was in complete control of my life and my schedule.

So why does it feel so much better to have these little ones run my life? Because there are moments throughout the day when I can see the difference it makes. I can see how much they love me. I can see how spending 30 minutes at night reading the same books over and over again, or trudging through another Dr. Seuss book will mold them into the readers we are.

Whenever I am having a "woe is me" mother moment, I will pause to reflect on the hugs I get in the morning and the kisses I get before bedtime each night.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Declan's Second Third Birthday

Yes, my children are spoiled, everyone who knows me knows that. BUT, they are fantastic children, so what am I supposed to do? Anyway, we had family up for a Birthday BBQ for Declan. He had a blast! The highlight of the day (at least in my mind) was the cake I made. I recreated a cake that my phenomenal cake decorating friend Rachel made for another 3 year old boy. 

Declan received some awesome presents! Including a new bookshelf, assembled by Uncle, and loads of new books to put on it! We read a few of those books last night and had a wonderful time! 

Thank you to all who made it out to help us celebrate. We are very fortunate to live close to family for occasions just like this. And for such wonderful military friends who we've been lucky enough to be stationed close to again!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Declan's Bit 0-3!

Declan turned 3 yesterday. I cannot believe it. But he had a wonderful day.

We went out to lunch at Chick Fil-A and for the first time ever, I let him get ice cream for dessert. His daddy helped him eat it, since it was huge! Then, after naps, we gathered at the pool with his friends and had cupcakes and went swimming. After his special birthday dinner, he chose meatballs, we opened presents and Declan worked on his new lego set with DH. It was a wonderful day for everyone. And we get to do it again with our family on Saturday!

Isn't it wonderful when your child likes the latest fad? Cars 2 Juice boxes!

Wonderful cupcakes, hand iced by the wonderful Kate Cole!

The birthday boy waiting for his cupcakes.

Opening his Lego Mater kit.

Showing Daddy how happy he is to have Legos!

The finished product.

The proud papa and Mater.