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Saturday, May 25, 2013

April races

I am a really good goal setter. I am NOT such a good goal keeper. I've committed to running dozens of races over the last year, only to back out for one reason or another. Finally, after a 9 month hiatus from any organized race whatsoever, I got back in the saddle with back-to-back half-marathons. The first was part of the Bentonville Running Festival in early April. The course wove through downtown Bentonville, a smallish town in Northwest Arkansas that we have pretty much fallen in love with. It was a gorgeous run on a beautiful morning with a few hills to make it pretty challenging (including 3 miles of uphill at the end). I ran the race at 18 weeks pregnant and honestly hardly noticed the baby bump other than a little bit slower pace. This race was pretty big and very well organized. The vendor tent at packet pickup was a free sample mecca. I had the whole family with me so we scored 5 of everything, including Aquaphor, sunscreen, Powerbar, Gatorade and Affresh. Yup, I am one of those people who gets excited about the free samples that come with a $45 registration fee.

As a side note, my cousins-in-law, Nate and Laurel, were going to run this race with me, but had to back out when Laurel found out she was pregnant with twins! High risk pregnancies = no running. They were awesome cheerleaders, though, and camped out at several spots on the course to cheer me (and others) on. Now Laurel and I can "run" the pregnancy race together instead. :)

I didn't get any pictures from this race, but we did get a couple (courtesy of Bryson) of us watching General Conference afterwards. My favorite is the picture of Jeff sleeping with a baby doll on his chest. I think one of the girls put it there. They just know that the best place to sleep is on daddy's stomach and figured their doll would be happy there.


Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Three weeks later I ran a second half-marathon with my lovely, talented, amazing friend Allie. I met Allie shortly after moving to Oklahoma because I was desperate for a running buddy (which are kind of hard to come by out here). It only took a run or two for me to realize I had found much more than a running partner. Allie and her family are our "Oklahoma family." They have taken us in and helped us out on so many occasions. Plus she totally understands my borderline obsession with running. What more could I ask for in a friend? Well, since we started running together 18 months ago we have tried to run a race together. The stars aligned when we found a half-marathon IN Oklahoma City on a SATURDAY. Those three things are virtually impossible to find together. The trade-off is that is was a very small race, with only about 80 runners total. Once again, I lucked out with the weather and it was a gorgeous day for a run. With Allie at my side I was able to run faster than I had in weeks and finished just a few minutes slower than my personal record. The day of this race I was 21 weeks pregnant and felt it.

(For documentation purposes:)
Bentonville Running Festival - 2:05:38 (33/108 in age group)
Tatur Little Doubler - 1:58:22 (2/9 in age group)

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I'm sorry to say that after these two races my running has taken a severe hit. I had hoped to maintain my speed and distance until at least 30 weeks, but lately I am lucky to make it 3 miles at a somewhat depressing pace. I read this quote the other day that has helped me not feel so bad about it:

I have run a marathon, but nothing feels quite as much like an accomplishment as running a 3 miler when 30 weeks pregnant. Seriously, it's like the pinnacle of toughness. And sorry guys, I don't know if there's any distance you can complete that will impress me as much as a woman who is running in the 3rd trimester of her pregnancy.
- Jess of twentyonedayhabit.blogspot.com
 I've got 2 weeks before I'm in the 3rd trimester. If I can just go for a few more weeks I'll reach the "pinnacle of toughness." I can do it!

Sister Pendletons

With the influx of missionaries due to lowered age limits, our ward now has a set of sister missionaries in addition to our elders. It's been fun getting to know them and work with them. One night when we had them all over for dinner the sisters pinned their spare badges on the girls. They were so excited to show them off. I guess I should start getting used to the idea that these two will probably serve missions. :)

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Last year of unaccountability

"Happy birthday, Logan! Enjoy your last year of unaccountability." This was the message sent from my Dad to Logan on his 7th birthday. Always the tactful one, that Grandpa Mackay.

For the months building up to his birthday, Logan had planned and replanned his birthday party. I hesitated to encourage or discourage it, because on the one hand, he's only ever had one other birthday party and I felt like it was justified, but on the other we really don't know very many people in our new area yet and I wasn't sure who to invite. Plus, Jeff has some deeply ingrained moral issue with birthday parties that I battle every time I bring it up. In the end, we decided to give Logan options. He could:

(a) have a smallish party at home with less than 10 people.
(b) take 2 friends out to the Lego store and to lunch/dessert.
(c) go on a golfing outing with Dad.
(d) have $30 to go spend at the store (in addition to whatever birthday gift we were already giving him).

Jeff was shocked when Logan still chose to have a party at home. He countered, offering $50 if he forfeited the party, but still Logan wouldn't budge. Finally, Jeff texted two people whose opinions he respects and trusts, asking if they approve of birthday parties for 7-year-olds. When both responses came back in the affirmative, he finally gave in. Our poor kids. I hope they don't all have to fight this hard.

So we had a party. A Lego party (of course). Logan has loved Legos since he was a toddler and they are still his #1 toy of choice. As the kids arrived, they built Lego cars to race. Here are all their cars lined up on the mantle.


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They also played pin the head on the Lego man and guess the number of Legos in the jar. Super original, I know.

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I always get off the hook so easy with Logan. He is not a big fan of cakes, but loves this chocolate bundt cake, so I make it for his birthday almost every year. He decorated it himself with his new Lego dragon (courtesy of Grandma Pendleton).

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Seriously, you will never go wrong getting this kid Legos.

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We ended up with the perfect sized group. I am a big advocate of small parties, and I thought this was just the right amount. So I guess it worked out that we don't know very many people.

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This was a Pinterest idea that actually succeeded (for once)! The lady at the Lego store told me to get the Lego man ice cube trays and use them to make chocolates, but I remembered seeing them used with crayons and went with that instead. They were super easy and turned out awesome! Each kid got to take a couple of these little guys home in their party bags.

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Logan's birthday spanned an entire weekend, beginning with his birthday on Friday, his party on Saturday, and wrapped up with his special birthday dinner on Sunday. By the end of it all, I counted four separate birthday treats I had made or bought him. On his actual birthday we drove north to Guthrie to see a rodeo. No pictures from that, but now he is convinced he wants to try mutton bustin'.

Six has been a fun year with Logan. He has grown and matured so much, yet is still as goofy and silly as ever. When he first started reading, I thought it would be ages before he could read independently, but now he stays up past bedtime reading in the dark using his alarm clock light to see. (Don't worry, I put a stop to that before he ruins his eyes.) He is a big help around the house and has started pulling some weight in household chores. He has a love of learning, particularly about the Gospel. I'll often find him with one of our illustrated scripture books reading by himself. For all his faults, he is a really good kid and a great older brother. I am looking forward to this next year of preparation for his baptism, even if it is his last year of unaccountability. :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bugz

In mid-April, all the first graders at Logan's school put on a play. Well, to be honest, it was mostly a concert with a few speaking parts in between. The play was all about bugs and the kids did a great job. Logan played an army ant and spent far more time planning and worrying about his costume than I did. He really wanted full camouflage attire, but I've never been much for camo so we had absolutely nothing to draw from. Finally I broke down and hit up Goodwill to buy him some army pants. I know he wasn't completely satisfied with his getup, but I think he looked pretty cute.


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Logan had one small line that was part of a sound-off style song. This kid does not have a shy bone in his body so I wasn't worried about stage fright, and sure enough he hammed it up and did a great job. It's a little hard to see, but in the first picture he is saying his line at the mic just left of center stage, and the second he is doing some funny dance move.

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It feels a little bit like Where's Waldo trying to find Logan in the masses. We were sitting clear at the back of the gym but I was able to come up at the end to get one close up. Now I can see why Logan was stressing a bit about his costume. I couldn't believe how elaborate some of the other kids' costumes were! Oh well, it's never to early to learn not to compare ourselves to other, right?

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

District of Columbia: girlfriend style

Once upon a pair of newlyweds, we lived in a cute neighborhood of townhomes, complete with a cute collection of neighbors. During the short two years we lived there, I developed relationships with many wonderful women that have withstood the test of time and distance. Now we are scattered across the country, but still find ways to stay in touch and get together whenever possible. When a trip to Washington D.C. to visit one of our recently estranged was proposed, I initially dismissed it. There was no way I could work out all the details, and our savings are in overdrive right now which means it's hard to justify any big purchases. But over the course of a few weeks, everything came together and next thing I knew I was flying out east!

Here are the four of us at MarKey's house in Maryland. We did not plan on matching so well, but that doesn't surprise me. That's just how we work. :) MarKey (purple) was an amazing hostess and made us darling welcome baskets that had a lot of much needed things, including hand sanitizer and a subway map. She also was a trouper and put up with tons of walking despite her 30-something week baby bump. Nicole (pink) and Lindsey (green) came out from Utah.


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We spent the first day touring MarKey's, uh, quaint, town. I actually loved it. It was smallish, but big enough to have everything you need, and was full of history. Driving along she pointed out "slave houses" next to the big houses. She also took us to an awesome donut shop. It is only open at night and is down an alleyway. You would never know it was there, but she says most days there is a line of cars going down the street. And well worth it. They were TASTY.

The next day we headed into the city. Before checking into our hotel in Bethesda, we stopped for some famous Georgetown cupcakes. I am not much of a cupcake fan, but these were pretty good. To be honest, though, I'd take the donuts from the day before at a fraction of the price if given the choice.

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Our first night we walked the streets of Bethesda before finally settling on an Italian restaurant for dinner. Our waiter was hilarious and we were a little slap happy so we were having a great time until another employee came over with a bottle and five shot glasses. We all looked around uncomfortably for a minute before MarKey blurted out, "Um, we're ALL pregnant." (Only partially true, but the easiest cop out at the moment.) 

The guy looked at us in disbelief, then said, "ALL of you?" MarKey stood up to prove her point, and he just shook his head and poured himself a glass. "And here I thought you were going to tell me you're Mormon." At that we couldn't help but bust up laughing, and tell him that that was also true. He filled his glass again (pretty sure he was tipsy to begin with) and asked us to tell our waiter that we were all pregnant and that it was the same father. Since we were already in a goofy mood, we went along with it and had some fun really creeping out our waiter. Before we left, we made sure to set him straight and assure him that we do NOT actually do that.

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The next two days we packed in as much sightseeing as we could. But first, we had to figure out this:

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Of all the subway systems I've ridden, this had the most complicated ticket vending machines I've ever seen. It took us 15 minutes the first day just to figure out which farecards we needed and how much to put on them. Once we got that figured out, the next challenge was finding a machine that was actually in service. Eventually, we made it to the mall. Notable stops included the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Arlington Cemetery, Ford's Theater, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Vietnam Memorial, WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and the Holocaust Museum. We couldn't have come at a better time. The cherry blossoms were at peak season and the weather was amazing.

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I really enjoyed Ford's Theater, especially after reading Killing Lincoln. It was a haunting experience to sit in that theater and imagine what it would have been like to be there.

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The tower of books on the right are all about Lincoln. Pretty amazing, huh?

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This was going to be my favorite picture of the whole trip, but handing off my camera to strangers is always a gamble. So enjoy the tack sharp cherry blossoms and the blurry faces as best you can. Oh, and the Jefferson Memorial in the background.

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The trip was over much too fast. We wanted to milk every minute together, and as such stayed up way too late the night before our EARLY flights. Yuck-- remind me not to book flights that require waking up at 4:30 am anymore. Thank you ladies for a wonderful and memorable trip! Next time... New York!

Ice, ice baby

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Isn't weather an interesting thing? It is something that everyone has in common, and it is always changing. As cliche as it is, talking about the weather is always a safe bet, and almost everybody has an opinion about it and it seems like it's always interesting. At least I think it is. One of my favorite parts of moving to a new area is experiencing new weather. And Oklahoma has plenty of it!

In April I finally witnessed the famous ice storms I had heard so much about. More dreaded than snow, ice storms typically close businesses and shut down schools. I happen to be at the gym when this one hit, and drove slowly home in awe of the beauty of the storm. All around me people were complaining (and for good reason-- the storm took out tons of trees), but I could not get past how beautiful everything looked. It was as though the entire world had been dipped in water then flash frozen. Every tiny branch and wire was coated in a glossy layer of ice.

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I loved the itty bitty icicles on everything. The power lines got their share too, which left many communities without power (another reason for the complaints) but we were lucky and didn't lose ours.

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The trampoline net was a solid sheet of ice, too. It's amazing how quickly this all happened, too. Within an hour everything was frozen. And by the end of the day it had pretty much melted. I'm just grateful I got to appreciate it while it lasted.

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Easter with the missionaries

Easter Sunday we went to a shortened block of church, then had the missionaries over for dinner. We've loved sharing our holidays with the missionaries. They help us not miss our families so much, and I like to think we help them not miss theirs. One of the elders' mother sent them a bunch of money filled eggs. Jeff and the kids hid them, and them we set the missionaries loose. I have never seen two boys so excited for an Easter egg hunt. This is Elder White in the top picture, and Elder Winterton below. Elder White was recently transferred and we were sooo sad to see him go. I mean, you know you have a quality missionary when he eagerly uses your daughter's pink Easter basket for his egg hunt. :)


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We tried to get a picture of all of us via timer, but Jeff's head is cut off and Izzy has her finger up her nose in every picture. I forgot that I had set the camera up to take 15 pictures in a row, so after 4 or 5 we got a little silly. I apologize for the picture overload, but you have to see the entire sequence to appreciate it.

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Easter outfits

A few weeks before Easter, I was in a major rut. My energy was zapped (I'm blaming pregnancy hormones) and I was having trouble finding motivation to do anything. I decided I needed a project to help me snap out of my laziness. Easter skirts turned out to be the perfect thing. These skirts were so easy and turned out so cute!

I was also excited to have an excuse to get an updated picture of the kids together. When I got around to uploading them to my computer, I was super bummed to find that Logan was the problem child in every single one! Really? My almost-7-year-old? What a stinker.


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It really is nearly impossible to get a natural smile out of this kid. I'm impressed I got him to give me this much.

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Savannah on the other hand, is such a poser. I did not prompt her for any of these photos. Just point a camera in her direction and this is what she does. I'm in SO much trouble.

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See what I mean? What a little diva.

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And here's baby Izzy (who I will continue to call my baby for the next 4 months until she loses the title). Isabelle loves her Easter hat. It has now made its way to the dress up box and has been modeled on numerous occasions with many interesting combinations.

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For a child that has had a head of hair since birth, I am only just now able to get a small french braid out of it.

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Just for the record, as much as I complain about the drama, I love having girls. Matching Easter skirts is just one of the reasons why.