Tuesday, July 1, 2014

ten miles

I'll admit, I'm worried about summer vacation. 

For the last few years, those words - summer and vacation - haven't always seemed to fit together. When you have a child that needs help going to the bathroom and eating every bit of every meal, being home all day just sounds like more work. Because it is. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Leah. I love being with her. And I honestly don't mind doing those little things for her each day. Sometimes it just makes me tired. 

So, this summer, I decided a few things:

  • I want some structure to our summer. Things to look forward to each day or each week. 
  • I want the girls to get outside (because, um, we can't do that for 6 months of the year apparently). 
  • I want the girls to move their bodies and stay active (watching TV/listening to music and books is the only thing Leah can do all on her own...and it's almost too easy to just let her do it). 
That's when I decided we would have a running/walking goal. If you saw the three of us in action, you might call it a herding cats goal. But however you put it, we have a goal to run/walk 10 miles this summer. That doesn't seem like a lot, but running up and down the hallway and rocking on the couch don't count, so it actually is a lot for the four little legs in my care. 

I have two days each week set aside to do this. And so far, we've gone both of those scheduled days. The girls get about a half mile out and then we turn around, making about a mile each time, depending on how much they wander. 

They stop and smell the flowers. All of them. 

And they pause to rest on the benches. All of them. 

We aren't fast. And we look like a circus. But it wears them out and gives me energy, so, win-win! I'll report back in six weeks. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

june in an instant

So, June happened. 

Really fast. 

Some days seemed like they'd never end - like the few we spent driving through Nebraska. But mostly the days flew by. 

Really fast. 

Hoping to catch up and document all that we were lucky to be a part of...

...really fast. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014


With no long runs scheduled these days, our Saturdays have been feeling mighty free lately. Sometimes a little too free and we end up wasting an entire day. So, we decided to take a short drive to Galena, Illinois today to check out its famous Main Street. 

Kate perfected her lip balm application skills, Leah out-ate both of her parents at a local cafe for lunch and Ryan was in root brew heaven at a little store called Root Beer Revelry. I counted at least 50 different brews and he chose a mere 13 to come home with. 

Other than the ridiculous humidity (seriously, I might as well have been swimming fully clothed) and the apparently too-small shoes I chose to wear, we had a great time. 

Plenty more to see and do, and plenty more root brews to try, so we'll be back. 

Friday, June 27, 2014


Our friends are out of town this week and they asked if Ryan wouldn't mind mowing their lawn for them once while they are away. In an effort to sway his answer in their favor, they mentioned the girls were welcome to come jump on the tramp while he mowed.

We took them up on their offer. Though, have the record show, we would have done it even if they didn't own a trampoline. 

The girls and I bounced our hearts out. I haven't heard them giggle that much, continuously, maybe ever! It didn't stop...unless I stopped. Which I did a few times because apparently I'm not 15 anymore and jumping (in 99% humidity, no less) is a workout! I was drenched by the time we left. 

I don't think Ryan had as much fun as we did...but the lawn sure looks great!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

may in an instant

May started out with all four of us at HOME...and it's ending the very same way. 

It was nice to just kind of "be" after a few months of go go go. Don't get me wrong, we were still busy, but it was a great kind of busy. Busy celebrating anniversaries and little birthdays. Busy working and playing in the yard. Busy attending end-of-year celebrations. Busy barbequing. Busy running (but not for four hours at a time). And busy enjoying the (finally) incredible weather. 

That's my kind of busy. 

on giving myself some credit...and a break

I have a list a mile long of things-I-must-get-done. Some of these things are, actually, things I must get done. Some are...not. 

Catching up on my blog (um, Boston? Turkey!?) has been high on my list every single day and things always get in the way (the actual things-I-must-get-done). For a few weeks it was our internet connection. That is finally fixed (Mediacom is a bad word in our house). Now it is the gathering of pictures. I've half-written most of the posts, they just aren't ready to be published...and I feel like I need to give myself permission to cross it off my list for a bit. 

So...self, take a break. 

There. I did it. I gave myself permission. 

It feels really good. 

School's out for the year (yay and eeeeek!) and I've got some things on my plate for the next few weeks, so you won't see a lot of action over here for a bit (as if that's unusual as of late?). But I'll get it all recorded. I want to do it for myself, so it will get done. I just needed to not feel guilty about it.

So, with the publishing of this text, I no longer feel guilty. Ta-da!

I'll leave you hanging with a picture of Kate the Great posing (Seriously! She poses!) in front of Honest Abe's home in Springfield, IL. A picture we took on our 22-hour getaway for Memorial Day...which will also be posted when I return to the digital world.

Catch ya on the flip side. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014


When we moved into our house last summer, we were thrilled to have a backyard all to ourselves. Ryan and I have never lived in a house before, let alone one with real estate that is meant for just us. The flower beds were renter-proofed (filled with rocks) and the lawn had seen better days. The first day we went outside to relax in it, we rested in weeds, bugs and rough, pokey grass. 

The yard was a lot of work throughout the fall and winter what with our three large maple trees (and their leaves and roots), but the big hill in back proved to be perfect for sledding (those four days that there was sufficient snow and the temperatures weren't frost-bite worthy).

As spring arrived and the sun showed its face, we decided we really wanted to enjoy the yard this summer. So, we invested in some lawn care for the bugs, weeds and overall roughness (and it's working!). Ryan enjoys his weekly workout pushing the lawnmower up the uphills and trying to keep up with it on the downs (still wearing those incredible shoes!). 

We purchased a box from Target and turned it from this:

to this:

Then another box and turned it from this:

to this:

Then we dusted off the special needs swing seat we purchased on Amazon a few years ago (knowing we couldn't pass up the price and that we would have a swing set one day!). You should have heard the giggles.

Swinging sisters are the best. 

We removed the infested grill that previously protruded from the middle of the deck (and had since probably 1970), added a rug so we wouldn't contract any diseases from the splinters that would have inevitably lodged themselves in the bottoms of our feet, and were gifted some chairs, where Kate happily tested her first Popsicle (a bold move by mom as Kate was wearing white pants...but she did surprisingly well!). 

I think project enjoy-your-backyard is off to a good start. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Springfield, IL

We're trying to take advantage of the fact that, even though we live in the "middle of nowhere", we actually live so close to a lot of incredible places! We spent a quick 22 hours over Memorial Day exploring Springfield, IL - the land of Lincoln! 

Our first stop Monday morning was the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. It's the smallest national park in the United States, just a few blocks in diameter, but it is the location of the home Abraham Lincoln lived in with his wife and children for 17 years before he left in 1861 for the White House. A park ranger took us on a tour of the house (where Kate decided to throw a mini temper tantrum at the bottom of the stairs - nothing a few iPhone selfies couldn't fix). And then we wandered the street taking in the historic feel and touring a few other homes that housed artifacts and information galore. 

{check out the wallpaper and carpet surrounding his writing desk!}

Our next stop was the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, which I highly recommend. It was amazing and actually had fun things for all ages and interests. They had a holographic theater show about Lincoln as well as a special effects show about the Civil War. We walked through a replica of Lincoln's childhood farmhouse as well as the White House as it looked in 1860. I was completely impressed with all of the exhibits. There was a powerful 4 minute video showing a map of the United States and it changed, day by day, depending on who had control over each area (the Union or the Confederates) as well as a growing tally of deaths for each party until the war was over. 
{The special effects show was apparently so riveting it put Leah to sleep!}

Kate and Leah had a great time in Mrs. Lincoln's Attic where they could dress up in various uniforms and dresses, play with a dollhouse version of Lincoln's Springfield home, cook in a kitchen typical of the mid 1800s and even play with Lincoln Logs. It was perfect! 

After the museum we drove to Lincoln's tomb. The girls had both fallen asleep in the car (can I get a hallelujah!?) so Ryan and I took turns walking around the grounds and entering the beautiful marble monument to see the 16th president's final resting place. It was a beautiful afternoon and a wonderful place to be to honor our country on Memorial Day. 

After the tomb we drove around town a bit and decided to stop in and see the Illinois State Capital. It's a beautiful building inside and out with an elaborate dome at the top. We climbed up a few flights of stairs...and down a few flights of stairs (anything to keep Kate busy)...and wandered around the fountains and the giant statue out front (best foot picture ever!). Until it started to rain. And then pour. So we ran back to our car and headed home. 

It was a fabulously fun and jam-packed 22 hours perfectly close to the middle of nowhere.