Sunday, July 28, 2013

The second half of beach week

The second half of our beach vacation roundup. Amanda arrives!

Almost every morning we spent at the beach, I would get up early, lace up my shoes, and head out to pound the pavement ... er ... sand. It was a little ridiculous how much I was looking forward to my morning runs, even before we got there. The first morning, I tried out a paved path not on the beach, but every day after that, I ran on the beach. It was awesome. Such beautiful views. And, I could take as long as I wanted because the kids were not going to be home alone. When  I got back to the house, I would sit on the porch, watch the ocean waves and wait until I semi-dried off.

Some mornings, I would read while I waited for the sweat to dry. Yup, that is the life. 

Wednesday was a very exciting day, as it was the day my best childhood friend and her daughter were coming to join us. Amanda lives outside of Charlotte, NC, now, so when my mom said we had space open in the house, I asked Amanda if she could come spend some time at the beach with us. Growing up, when we would go on vacation to the beach, we were sometimes allowed to bring one friend along. My mom thought it was easier (and way more fun!) for the kids to each have someone to play with. I always brought Amanda. So, needless to say, I was beyond excited when I found out that she could come. Her daughter, Mallory, is only a year older than Molly, so it was going to be great fun all around!

On Wednesday morning, before Amanda and Mallory arrived, we discovered some boogie boards in the laundry room of the beach house. We had been wanting boogie boards all week, so this was a very exciting discovery.

Cory helping Molly float on a boogie board. Floating is pretty much all she did on it. She didn't really understand the whole "ride the wave in" business.

Jake named the dragon on his boogie board Ocean. It was a little confusing to hear "Ocean knocked me down. Ocean hit my leg," until I was told about the naming of the boogie board.

Some moms and their kids. Amanda and Mallory arrived.

I wanted a super beachy picture. Instead, I think I look like I came out of the 40s. Oh well.

Mallory and Molly hanging out on the boards. 
Mallory figured out how to ride the waves, though.

Gathering water to work on some sand project.

Molly and Cory heading back out into the water.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A week at the beach (part one)

I'm splitting this into two parts because it was just that awesome. Oh, and there are about a million pictures. 

I grew up in North Carolina. And, many of my childhood vacations were trips to the beaches of North Carolina. My mom would rent a beach house, then us kids would spend a week splashing in the ocean and digging in the sand. I have lots of memories of spending time at the beach, including my one-and-only trip to the ER for stitches. (Darn you sharp-tailed sea creature, I still have a scar!) But, despite the emergency room visit, I still loved going to the beach.

Obviously, living in Kansas hasn't afforded us nearly as many opportunities to beach it up. Especially having kids. But, my mom had a big birthday this year and wanted to celebrate with a big family trip to the North Carolina shoreline.

So, July 14th, we packed everyone up and headed to the beach. My mom rented a house again, and 16 people were going to be staying in it. Many of those 16 people chose to drive to the house in Emerald Isle, NC, but we decided to take the easy way with two children and fly.

My dad also flew with us because he had decided to have neck surgery two days before we left, and didn't think it would be wise to drive. I'm not so sure flying was that smart, either, but he made it there and back and is still alive, so I guess it turned out ok. But, that explains the neck brace in all of these pictures. I promise, my dad's fashion sense is iffy at best, but not that completely crazy. :)

Molly, Charlotte and my dad after getting off our tiny plane in New Bern, NC.
We rented a car and drove from New Bern to Emerald Isle. The girls were dying to see the ocean. It was both of their first times to see or be at the beach. So, after unpacking, we immediately went down to check out the water.
Such a great view from the deck of our beach house.

Sea shells!

Our beach house is the one on the right. We were majorly intrigued by the monolith on the left. We finally did some cyber-stalking on it and discovered that it rented for a mere $11,000 a week. 

Some girls and their dad.

Whee! My feet in the ocean.

Having fun.

The girls then decided they needed to be in swimsuits.

Molly loved being in the water.

Charlotte decided the sand was more her speed.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Great Lafferty Family Sleepover Adventure

The 4th of July wasn't just one day of celebrating for us. It was a whole weekend of activities. On the 5th, we all packed up our bags and trekked over to Lenexa for the Great Lafferty Family Sleepover Adventure. What's that, you ask? Well, all of us, including me and Cory, slept over with Cory's parents at Cory's parents' house with his sister Amber and her boyfriend Tom. It was one full house.

Pat and Joan (Cory's parents) had the whole evening planned out with myriad events and activities. Balloon toss, tie-dyeing, slip-and-slide, bubbles ... you name it was probably on the list. We were not to be bored during this adventure.

First up was tie-dyeing. Molly had actually learned how to tie-dye at Daisy Girl Scout camp this summer, so she was very excited to do it again. We all got pillowcases, and then I read the instructions that came with the kit. I don't know if it will shock you or not, but I am always the only one who reads instructions in this family for games, crafts or putting together furniture. Why everyone doesn't do this, I could not tell you. C'mon people. They have instructions for a reason!

Tom and Amber working on their pillowcases.

Molly and Charlotte. Charlotte was very concerned with the gloves she had to wear.

Showing them how it's done when you read the instructions!

Next on the agenda was the water balloon toss. We don't have that many pictures of that because, well, we were all throwing water balloons everywhere.

Charlotte and Molly staking out the water balloons.

Trying to get everyone lined up for the game.

Then: the bean bag toss.
Charlotte's skills.

Somehow Amber and Tom got on a team together. You'd think that would make them front-runners. You'd be wrong.

Molly was very serious.

Eh, I was not.
As we were finishing the bean bag toss, Molly kept questioning who was winning. Like constantly. I mean, I have no idea where she could possibly get that competitive streak from. Er, oh, yeah, perhaps it was my awesome display of parental modeling from the day before at the 4th of July race. Whoops.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Dance like a lion

Molly has been taking dance classes for three years now. We're not doing competition, and she's not a mini Ginger Rodgers or anything, but she has a good time. Plus, this year, I scheduled her to be in the same class as Melese, my friend Terah's daughter. It worked out quite perfectly because Terah and I could hang out for an hour each week while the girls danced. Sometimes we would bring our younger daughters (Sydney and Charlotte) to play, and sometimes we'd just sit in the car and talk for an hour.

But, as most dance classes do, this one ended in a recital in June. We drove up to Lawrence a couple weeks ago for the big event. The theme was a showbiz theme, and Molly's class danced to music from The Lion King. So, of course, they had to dress up like lions. These costumes dropped feathers like there was no tomorrow. I had piles of them around my house, so I made a rule that the costume could only be put on at the recital and rehearsal.

Backstage at the recital is always crazy, but once the girls got dressed with their makeup, I made Molly and Melese pose for a picture.
Molly as the Lion King.

Two adorable lions.

They had dress rehearsal first, then a break, then the recital. We are allowed to get up close to get pictures during the dress rehearsal. Unfortunately, I still don't really know how to use all the functions on my camera, so the pictures aren't the greatest.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fitting it all in on the 4th

I love the 4th of July. Like, really love it. I'm not sure why. It might be because it's warm, unlike the other big holidays (aka Thanksgiving and Christmas). Or, it might be because it's been the one holiday where Cory and I have had the same tradition for practically our entire dating and married life. Or, it's just that it is fun. It is a fun, fun holiday.

This year, we had plans to do the same traditions that we do every year (Freedom Run and parade), then we found out the exciting news that Aunt Amber and her boyfriend Tom were going to be in town. Wanting to spend as much time as possible with them over the holiday weekend, we decided to tack on a 4th of July BBQ party at our house that same evening.

On July 3rd, we were talking with Papa, who had signed up for the Freedom Run, but then was told by his doctor that he shouldn't run anymore. So, we were trying to convince Molly that she should "run" the race with Papa. She wasn't having it. In fact, when asked why she didn't want to run it, she simply stated that she had already run a 5K. Apparently, she's a one-and-done girl. With 5Ks. Hmmmm ... we may have to work on that one later.

Anyway, out of the blue, Charlotte says, "I want to run, Papa!" Now, Charlotte's 3. And, I didn't believe for a second that she would really actually do it. I mean, she's 3.

The morning of the 4th, we all wake up bright and early, and Charlotte puts on her running clothes. I'm still not convinced. With as many races as Cory and I do, this one is special because it's the first one that either of us ever ran. I usually run the 10K while Cory runs the 5K. I always try to race it pretty hard. Well, not the year I was pregnant. That one I took kinda easy. This year, I really wanted to do well. I've been training even harder and gotten even faster. I was almost a little nervous.

We get down to the race and pick up our packets. Charlotte is still convinced that she is going to run, so we go ahead and sign her up. I'm a little mad at myself because I didn't take pictures of the packet sign up or anything like I did with Molly. Again, I didn't actually think this was happening. We pinned her number on and then met up with Amber who was going to run the 5K.

Now, the parade is also in the morning of the 4th. It's usually quite hectic for us to finish the race, get home, shower and get back before the parade starts. And, we have a corner that is ours. I mean, really, they should just put a sign on it saying "Laffety and Friends Parade Viewing." I'm not sure why they don't. But, since they don't, we have to place our chairs there early enough to save our spots. So, in the midst of picking up our packets, getting a number for Charlotte and meeting up with Amber, we also had to carry a bunch of chairs from the back of the car and put them out on our corner. And, I had to pee.

It was a crazy hectic morning, especially when we saw chairs had already been put in our spot. How dare they! Turns out, it was our friend Chris, who had gotten there at 5:30am to put out chairs. I honestly didn't think he would've gotten up that early, so I was very upset at the imaginary person who had the audacity to put their chairs in our spot!

Needless, to say, it was crazy and by the time I made it through the porta-potty line and to the starting line, I didn't even have a chance to turn my Garmin on before the race started. Plus, my iPod has been acting funky lately. If anyone has any tips on how to get it to keep playing music after I clip it to my shirt or after it goes to black screen, please let me know! I ran the first 3 miles with my iPod in my hand.

The one picture I got before the race started.

Despite all that chaos, I actually ran a really good race. I was keeping a steady pace of 7:09 and feeling pretty darn good. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that the weather was amazing. Low 60s for a 4th of July race?!?! Unheard of! I started struggling a bit on the second loop (the 10K is essentially two loops of the 5K course), but my pace stayed below 7:15. On the second loop, I actually got to see Charlotte and my dad twice on the course. They were walking, but looked really good. When I came up behind Charlotte and said hi, she tried to run with me. I had to tell her to stay with Papa.

I had a goal of 48:00 for my race. When I looked down at my Garmin with a mile left, I knew I had that in the bag with time to spare. When a girl passed me around mile 5, I didn't push too hard to try to pass her back. This would later come back to bite me in the butt. I almost puked coming up the last big hill, but turned the corner to the finish line and felt awesome. I knew I was going to be way under my goal. I kept going, but didn't push too hard. I waved at my family when I saw them cheering.

I crossed the finish line feeling pretty awesome with a time of 44:47. A PR by a minute and a half. (Previous PR was 7.5 years ago.) I was way under my goal, and I knew for sure I'd medal. They give medals for the top 5 places in each age division. I went to the timing table to get my official time before making my way to my family. There, I learned the cold, hard facts. I was in fact 6th place in my age group. 6th. And, they give medals for the top 5. Blech! And, the worst part? I was only 5 seconds away from the 5th place girl. 5 seconds?!?! Remember how I was going to kick myself for not trying to pass that girl? Or, taking time to wave? Plus, I found out that I was the 10th female finisher overall, but 6th in my age group. That meant that 6 of the top 10 finishers were in my age group. Talk about stiff competition. Geez. Not that I'm still obsessing on it or anything 4 days later ...

Molly had fun hanging out with Tom while we all ran.
While I was pouting over my 6th place finish. Yes, I admit I was pouting. We waited for Charlotte and Papa to finish. I had passed them for the second time right before I got to the 5 mile marker, so I knew they were on their way. When they finally turned the corner, you should've heard the cheers that erupted from our section. Eventually, even the people around us got in on the action. I'm getting a little teary-eyed just thinking about it. It almost made me forget about my 6th place finish.

My dad said Charlotte ran for almost 3/4 of the first mile, then ran the last .1 mile to the finish line. She walked the rest of the time, but never asked to be picked up or carried. She finished in 1:02:19. My 3-year-old. I was so proud.

All the runners. Amber did awesome and PR'd in her 5K. Cory had a goal of a 21:00 5K. He clocked in at 21:05 and placed 7th in his age group. We're both kicking ourselves for those darn 5 seconds. And, yes, Charlotte does have a mouth full of muffin. Running a 5K makes a girl hungry.