Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Workshop of Whoa, what did I just agree to?

Molly, my dear girl, is one of those children who needs constant activity to stay engaged and entertained. I learned this the hard way two summers ago. I didn't really plan anything and thought we would play things by ear. This was a horrible decision. We were both miserable.

So, last year, I learned the art of summer camp planning. I found a lot of different camps that would keep Molly entertained and keep us on a schedule throughout the summer. It was a much better summer.

This year, I knew I would do the same thing. The first activity up for the summer was Vacation Bible School at our church, theme: Workshop of Wonders. Charlotte was old enough to sign up, too, so I signed both girls up and said I would be happy to volunteer whenever they needed me.

Well, a couple weeks ago, I got an email asking if I would mind being in charge of preschool crafts for VBS. Yikes! I was definitely scared. I'm not a teacher, nor am I particularly crafty, and I've never been in charge of a bunch of little children. But, I do love the preschool age, and I didn't have anything else I was doing, so I said yes.

I really had no idea what I was doing, but luckily, everyone was super helpful. I was kind of panicky and stressed about everything. I was googling and Pinterest-searching like there was no tomorrow. But, it turns out, the crafts were mostly planned already, I just had to organize and facilitate the projects. Plus, I had lots of people around to ask questions when I needed.

As it happens, little kids are pretty fun. I ended up having a really good time. It probably helped that several of my parent helpers were already friends of mine (Thanks Lindsey, Megan and Kim!). It was also super fun to see Charlotte in a class setting.

Brook was taking pictures throughout the week, so I got some pictures of the girls from the week. So much fun was had. Molly LOVED the music, and you can tell in her face in the pictures. Charlotte loved snacks, and you can tell that from the pictures as well :)

The first day was RED day:

Molly singing and practicing her moves.

Molly in recreation.

Charlotte LOVES her snacks.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Heartland 39.3 x 3

In 2012, a new race series started in Kansas City. It was called the Heartland 39.3 and consisted of three half marathons within six weeks. With that under your belt, you are automatically qualified for entry into Half Fanatics, a group for runners who love running half marathons.

Of course, I signed up. I ran all the races in 2012 (Rock the Parkway, Kansas Half, and Running with the Cows). I ran all the races in 2013 (RTP, Kansas, and RWTC). And, I signed up again for this year. This year, they switched the Kansas Half that used to run in Lawrence to the Garmin Half Marathon. I was actually excited for this because the Garmin runs in Olathe (aka, my town).

The first in the series was Rock the Parkway on April 15th. It was a humid and warm morning. And, we had not had any warm or humid mornings. In fact, race morning was the first day I'd worn my running skirt for this year. That's not really a good sign. I also had a cold. (This is a consistent ailment throughout this series, unfortunately.)

Catching up with Ashlee and Anne before the race. Sorry, Ashlee, Cory apparently didn't notice your eyes shut when he took the picture!

In the starting corral. I entertained myself and the girls by making funny faces and sticking out my tongue.
I decided to start out with the 1:50 pace group. My PR for a half marathon is 1:47:30. I, of course, never say that it's my goal to beat my PR, but of course, it's always an underlying goal. Luckily for me, I ended up with the same pacer who paced me in Running with the Cows last year (the race in which I ran my PR). I loved him as a pacer, so I was super excited to get him again. I told him that I wanted to get under 1:50, so he kept running with me through about mile 7, then told me to take off.

The girls found me on the course (purple tank, hat, black shorts)! I was running with the awesome pacer.

They gave me quite a boost.
I took off around mile 7 and ended up having a great negative split. But, the humidity and heat were too much for me. I was really struggling for the last mile (though I did manage to pull out a 7:50 for mile 13) and ended up with a time of 1:48:25. Even though I didn't beat my unspoken goal of my PR, I was happy with how I raced. I'd definitely pushed myself and hadn't left anything on the course. In those conditions, I was happy with my time. When I saw my pacer guy after the race, he asked how I felt at the end. I told him, "bad, really bad." And he replied, "Good. If you had said you felt good, you know you could've done more." True.

I actually like this race finishing photo! Doesn't happen often :)

And, crossing the finish line.

I found Anne after the race!

My cute little cheerleaders.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Saturday night at the movies!

Well, Saturday night at eight o'clock
I know where I'm gonna go
I'm a-gonna pick my baby up
And take her to the picture show
Everybody in the neighborhood
Is dressing up to be there, too
And we're gonna have a ball
Just like we always do

Saturday night at the movies
Who cares what picture you see
When you're hugging with your baby
Last row in the balcony

Ok, are you hearing the Drifters crooning about going to the movies, yet?  Ahhh, love some old Drifters.

Anyway, this past Saturday, we had our very own night at the movies in our very own backyard. No balconies, and I was hugging my actual baby, but it was still quite magical. See, my little baby turned 7.

I can't believe Molly is now officially 7. I'm pretty sure I say that with each birthday, but, well, it's still true. Molly is a social butterfly. She wants to be doing something, seeing someone or going somewhere every minute of the day. Truth be told, it exhausts me. (Ok, if you know me at all, you are not surprised by this.)

So, when it came time to planning her birthday party, she wanted a huge party with everyone she knew invited. We started counting it up, and we were upwards of 30 kids. So, because I started having a nervous panic attack at the thought of that many children in my house, I told her we had to cut it down. I tried to convince her to have an art party at an art studio, but told her she could only have about 6 guests. And, she's been wanting to have a slumber party for a couple years now, so I said that we could do that, but, could only invite 3 girls. (No way am I having a ton of kids overnight!). Well, Molly, ever the people-pleaser and sweet soul, didn't want to leave anyone out. It was a no for the art and the slumber party.

After much discussion, we finally came up with a compromise. We were turning it into a girls-only party. And, because she really wanted a sleepover, but wanted more people, we started brainstorming. That's when someone happened to mention that they'd had an outdoor movie birthday for one of their kids. Perfect. It would be in the evening/night, so it was almost like a slumber party, but all the kids went home, so she could invite all her girlfriends.

Of course, next step: Pinterest. There are some great ideas out there, and I just took 'em all.

With the end of school happening, the party kind of got pushed back into the recesses of my mind, so I didn't start planning as early as I normally do. I did manage to make the invitation in advance. Honestly, of all the invitations that I've made, this is my favorite. I thought it turned out super cute.

I really should've planned better and done my shopping for the party before school was out. But, well, I didn't. So, I did all my shopping with both girls in tow. They really aren't bad, but when you have a million places to go, getting in and out of the car with two kids just makes everything take longer. I was ready to pull my hair out on Friday afternoon after a whole day of errand running, let me tell you.

What was a pleasant surprise is that Party City has a whole movie night section. I totally scored with a lot of stuff such as the plates, napkins, tablecloths, etc. I ended up having HyVee make the cake. I of course found one online that I liked and brought the picture in to them. They said "no problem." It was great, because that was only about a week and a half before the party! Cutting it close, people. Though, I'd originally told them a number of people, then we got more RSVPs, so I started freaking out if we would have enough cake. Cory to the rescue. He made cupcakes just like I'd found online.

We also kind of freaked out all day because it kept spitting rain. We had a whole plan for the backyard and rain was not in this plan. Luckily, it finally turned around and cleared up. It ended up being a beautiful night.

So, enough prep stuff. It's party time!