Sunday, December 30, 2012

13 in '13

Okay, I gotta do something. I have seriously been one the laziest people I know for the past four months. For the past three years I have had the pregnant/nursing/new mom excuses, but now that sweet Lil is 15 months old (already?!?!?), I really can't justify that anymore. So it's time to find my inner-runner... the one who used to crave the pavement, live for the long runs, and not hesitate when signing up for a race. She's in there somewhere I'm sure.

My friend and fellow blogger, Jan, has become quite the runner herself over the past two years. She was inspired by a blogger she reads frequently and followed suit by committing to doing 13 races in 2013. I guess I'm just one more to jump on the bandwagon and join this revolution. I figure it can't be too terribly hard. I mean, even last year when I actually was a new mom I still managed this list:

Plus, I considered, but didn't sign up for, the Sharks on the Run 5K right here in the neighborhood and the Reindeer Ramble 5K. If I just commit to repeating that list, it covers half of them already. And here are some other ones that I'd consider:

I'm sure there will be a few other 5K's that pop up here and there, and those are easy add-on's to meet this goal. But dare I say that maybe in the fall one of these will happen:

Yikes. Throwing around that M-word again leaves me a bit nervous, but I figure that I've done it before, so surely I can do it again, right? And if you notice, I'm not even considering one of those until the fall considering this lady needs plenty of time to get back into that state of mind. But it's a definite possibility... we shall see.

So cheers to finding my passion for running again in the new year! And cheers to 13 in '13! Who's in?

Monday, December 24, 2012

From our Family to Yours...

Have the merriest of Christmases!

I hope you have an amazing few days of celebrating the season. I believe with my whole heart that Jesus is the hope of the world, and while I know we should celebrate Him every year, my heart swells with joy as we celebrate His birth. If you feel like you've lost your hope or that this world keeps getting darker, I pray that you find His peace this season and the comfort and joy that He brings to all. It truly is the greatest gift. And if you're just seeking and are not sure where to turn or who to ask, please feel free to email me, as I am always happy to share my story and how His love has impacted and changed my life. May your days be filled with love, joy, and family this Christmas season.
And just because I can't stop listening to this today, here's a little tune that sums up this day perfectly:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Crafty Christmas

Guess who actually had a successful crafting project for once?  Yep, it's yours truly! I rarely blog about crafting becuase (a) I hardly ever do it and (b) my project usually ends up looking like a kindergartner made it. I'm the person who would rather spend the extra money to buy something already made than save some money but spend my time working on something that, in all honestly, ends up looking homemade. So many crafters out there make things that  could be sold in stores, but I was not born with that gene. But alas, from time to time, I do try.

Last week our mom's group had a Pinterest party, which is pretty ironic that I went considering my thoughts on Pinterest. But more than anything, it was just a fun reason to get together. Since I don't Pinterest, I surfed some blogs and saw a bulletin board covered in fabric and ribbon, used to display Christmas cards, and thought it looked easy enough (seen here). Plus, I love looking at all of our cards and have absolutely no good place to put them up in this house.

I went a bit rogue once I got to JoAnn's (probably due to a curious 1-year-old running amok in the store... who knew Lilly would find crafting supplies so exciting!) and ended up purchasing a thick piece of rectangular styrafoam, 1 1/2 yards of fabric, a spool of ribbon, buttons, thread, and a needle. All told, I probably spent around $25, mainly due to the fabric.

The actual Pinterest party was a blast... this is the second time we've had one. Basically, everyone picks a craft and makes two of the same thing, or if they run out of time, they make one and have all of the supplies in a bundle along with instructions to make a second. We hang out, eat, make our crafts, and at the end we either exchange one of the finished crafts or the project bundle for someone to make at home. This party was Christmas-themed, so we had our holiday tunes blaring, hot coffee, and plenty of festive snacks... it felt so festive and really got me in the holiday spirit, which has been difficult to do this year for some reason. And after some debate, I ended up fabric gluing the cloth to the styrofoam and literally sewed the buttons on through it. I chickened out on the snowflak pattern and ended up with this:

I must say, I was quite impressed with myself, and since it didn't take too terribly long I decided to give it away in our exchange and make the one for my own house at home. As a sidenote, I took home a jar of homemade brown sugar body scrub that smells delicious and leaves my hands and feet so silky smooth! I would share how to make it, but I forgot to grab the directions. But back to this...
At home I got a little bit braver with the design and thought a Christmas tree pattern would be simple enough. Here is how it turned out:

The ribbon is literally sewn on through the styrofoam backing. It was kind of hard to find the button holes and I poked myself a lot, but it worked:

I'm sure I could've used hot glue and it would've been fine, but I could not find my hot glue gun. I added the cards, sliding some through the ribbon and used a couple of thumb tacks for the others, especially the heavier ones. Anyway, I still need to add a piece of ribbon to be the "trunk," but all in all I think it dresses up a blank wall in our dining room and I love how it looks with the cards:

And I bet some of my blogging friends can spot themselves on display:

I have to say that this has reinstilled my faith in my crafting ability... there is hope! I probably won't attempt anything more this season, but next year I have my eye on this wreath that was made at our party, and was surprisingly super simple (and under $20) to make! (sorry for the picture discoloration)

But for now, I think I'll just quit while I'm ahead. How do you display your cards each year?

Monday, December 17, 2012

There Are No Words

Our hearts are so very heavy today. I don't know a single soul who lives in or around Newtown, Connecticut, but this weekend I grieved as if I did. I cannot remember a single event that hit me in the gut this way... not since 9/11 anyway. I've had to take all of it in small doses, and I realize that I'm lucky that I can do that since I'm far away from it all and can turn on and off the news as I please. My heart breaks for every parent, grandparent, sibling, teacher, and friend of those children, as well as to everyone who will have to cope with the horrors that they have witnessed and experienced. I think we all feel helpless, confused, shocked, and deeply saddened, but there are no words that can make it all go away. I so wish there was.

I debated about whether or not I would even bring up this tragic news on my blog, especially since it seems to be everywhere and that town and those families need some time to just mourn and grieve. But I decided earlier today that I can mention it only to put more love out there, to be one more grieving mother who is sending every bit of love and prayer she has to those families. This morning I finally forced myself to listen to every single child's name and really look at every face, just so I could take a moment and breathe a prayer over every little soul and their loved ones. In times of dispair, it's all I know to do. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results [James 5:16]. Let my prayer be one more lifted up.

Today I encourage you to do the same. While we cannot do much, we can pray for this town and for all people involved. We can pray for our teachers, those who so selflessly protect our children when we cannot be there to do it ourselves. I come from a long line of teachers and can honestly say that I have never been more proud of all of them... I know every single one of them would have done all that they could to protect their class. We can pray for our government and our leaders, those who are trying to find a "why" behind the "what" that could possibly prevent these things from happening again.  We can pray for those battling disabilities and illnesses, and the parents and doctors who are trying to navigate the best path for their care.  And we can pray for our nation, our communities, and the people in them. I believe that most people are inherently good, and there is still plenty of good in this world. God loved us so much that He allowed us to choose to love Him, with the understanding that by giving us the choice to love, He also leaves room for the choice to hate. So today I'm choosing to love and I'm choosing to pray and I'm choosing to hold my loved ones a little tighter. I know it doesn't seem like much, but maybe if we all chose to do those things everyday, the good in the world would outshine the bad. It's worth a try anyway.

"And I am convinced that nothing can separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow- not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No powers in the sky above or in the earth below- indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus." [Romans 9:38-19]

Monday, December 10, 2012


Bet you've never seen that blog post title before!

A few weeks ago, Jake started talking about the "See-Kee-Gam-Moo" (which is the best way I can sound it out). At first, I thought it was just a word he made up, but it continued to come up in conversations. I even caught it on film once:

See? He was very serious about it, and very frustrated that I did not know what he was talking about (side note: isn't he just the cutest?... and sorry it is blurry for some reason). The only clues we got was that it was "scary" and that sometimes Jake would hear it at the door and then hide under a blanket. It was bizarre to say the least.

Over Thanksgiving I mentioned that my friend Christie and her two sweet kids came to visit. She was over when Jake brought it up and she immediately knew the answer to our mystery:

"Jake, do you mean the Silly Gilly Gumbo?" she asked. And was then nice enough to catch this small part of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on camera to send to me later. I was amazed at her mommy translating skills (and Clubhouse knowledge as I thought I had all episodes memorized by now).

I'm thankful for my other mommy-friends for all kinds of reasons, but it's at times like this that I realize how much I need other moms in my life. They can relate to what I'm going through whether it's sleep deprivation, the "terrible two's" (which aren't so terrible by the way), feeding and diapering questions (yes, we discuss bodily functions quite a bit), and my favorite, the fun stuff like this. We can swap stories about the funny things our kids have been doing or saying and laugh about the times that we don't quite react in a mommy-of-the-year manner. It's a club that I'm proud to be a part of, and I love dearly.

Looking back at the years that I've known Christie, we couldn't help but laugh about this. We met when we were fresh out of college, starting our first jobs, and had years to go before we'd meet our husbands. We used to discuss fashion, celebrities, dating, and what our weekend plans would be. We've made countless girls' trips to Disney (some of the best weekends of my pre-married life), had many sleepovers, and used to enjoy many lazy Saturdays lounging on the couch watching movies like "The Holiday," our personal favorite. It's amazing to see us know, years later, being wives and moms and truly understanding who we are, who we want to be, and what we value in life. My how times have changed, but I wouldn't change it for the world. Some friends last the test of time and she is one of many... and she's great at 2-year-old translating if you ever need her services.

If you're a mom and you're reading this today, just be reminded that some days we don't have it all together, but if we stick together, we can get through anything. Be blessed this week and know that you're doing the best you can!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

How does she do it?

Happy Thursday! Sorry for my recent blog hiatus... I think this gal has needed a little break to get her priorities straight and I'm not going to lie- I needed a little breather. Sometimes I stress about how often I post, what to post, if anyone ever reads it, who is following me, etc., and then I forget that I started this blog for fun. So taking a step back to recenter my focus and remember what this outlet truly is for me is sometimes necessary. And like all most things, absence makes the heart grow fonder so my fingers were itching to type today!
Recently I've had more than one person ask me how I "do it all." On the surface I guess it may appear that way... I have a husband, two kids (who are both home with me a lot of the time aside from Jake's school schedule and scheduled trips to hang with grandparents during the week), a full-time job (from home), a house to keep, and all kinds of adventures with our growing church plant. On some weeks we're out doing stuff almost every night for the church- Sunday is our iConnect (membership) program, Mondays are usually free, Tuesdays I sometimes have MOMSource, Wednesdays are leadership and/or elder meetings, Thursday is our connect group, and finally the weekend rolls around and we have plans with friends or family, and sometimes just veg here with the kiddos, soaking in some quality time. We get invited over to have dinner with countless families (thank you by the way... we always enjoy getting to know our church family better!), and often have people over here, whether it be a new family that we want to connect with more, or friends that we don't see as often now that the church is growing so fast (what a great problem, right?). It seems like a lot, and sometimes it is, but I think it's first important to know that I, like everyone else, do not actually do it all. I will say, however, that the more I put on my plate and the busier we get, the more I realize that I can do- if and only if, those priorities are straight. Here are some things in my life that help keep it all in perspective:
  • People often say, "God won't give you more than you can handle." While I think that's true, I also think it's our responsibility to handle what God has given us well. We are all only given so much time and I've realized that we can either do a few things well, or a lot of things halfway. About three months ago I turned our kids' ministry over to a family who moved here for that purpose and it was so freeing! Becuase I had more on my plate than I could handle, I was not running the program with excellence and was instead stressing out all of the time and running around like a chicken with my head cut off on Sunday mornings. Sometimes it's hard to give up control and not be in charge, but remember that God has gifted others around you who can do it just as well, if not better, than you.

  • Realize that some things come first. When working at home, it's easy to get distracted. I found that when my kids were here and awake, I would get so frustrated because they continually acted out when I was trying to get something done. My kids are young, so they do not just play alone in there rooms. My frustration was that they were not acting within my schedule, and so I could never sufficiently do my job, and then one day it became clear that their needs come first. When my kids are here and awake, even during my "working hours," I walk away from my computer and focus on them. Jake loves when I get on the floor and play with him, and I have to make a concious effort to do that, especially during my work day. I will still answer the phone if it rings, and it often means staying up late after they go to bed to wrap up some things, but my kids are happier and I am less frustrated, and my work is still getting done. It's a win-win-win. Plus, I don't want to look back on these years and realize that I wish I had played with them more. Kids don't ever seem to nap when you "need" them to.

  • Take a long, hard look at how you spend your time. At the end of the day do you complain that you did not have time to clean your house, but you spent two hours on Facebook, blogs, and catching up on shows? I'm not saying you have to give those things up, but they do burn time quickly without you realizing it. Every January I fast (give up) TV for 21 days and use that time instead to read, play with the kids, talk to my husband, etc. And every year I realize how little I miss those programs. And every year I care less about and watch less TV, and if I do watch something, it's usually while I fold laundry or clean the kitchen. As for Facebook and blogs, I think they're fun, too, but I've found that setting a timer is essential. Fifteen minutes goes by in the blink of an eye and I don't need much more time than that to stay connected.

  • Don't waste a step! On your way to the kitchen to get a snack, pick up the toys in your living room or bring that laundry basket up the stairs. Sometimes I do this so much that I don't even remember what my original mission was! Use your time wisely and pick things that are productive!

  • Ask for help! I'm terrible at this and always working to get better. I come from a long line of poor communicators (sorry, but it's true... myself included!) and sometimes I'd rather assume that Josh knows what I need and then get mad that he didn't read my mind rather than just ask him the in the first place. Never once has he said "no" when I've asked him to rearrange his schedule so I can meet a deadline or take out the garbage because I hate to do it. It's a much better outcome when I ask on the front-side rather than get frustrated after the fact, for something that could have been avoided.

  • Learn to say "no." If we committed to everything we were asked to do, we'd never see each other let alone our kids! Sometimes, even if it's something fun that I really, really want to do, it's just not in the best interest of our family or for what we get done that week. And when I feel like I really missed out, the feeling usually only lasts a day or so and then I forget about it.

  • Find "you" time. Sadly for me, that's only ever found either late at night or early in the morning, so it's accompanied by large doses of coffee. But in order to spend any quiet time in the Word, or just catch up on blogging, reading, working out (which I've neglected to do over these past few months altogether), etc., I have to sacrifice a little bit of sleep to fit that stuff in. It's always worth it, even when getting out of bed is really hard.

  • Lastly, keep in mind that nobody "does it all." If anyone is putting pressure on you, it's probably YOU! Try to stay away from comparing yourself to other moms, bloggers, etc. and just do the best you can with the time that you've been given. And no matter what, remember to use some of that time to just serve, love, and encourage others. A short text message to a friend going through a difficult situation only takes two minutes (if you're a slow texter like me) but can turn that friend's day around complete.

And just so you know, this post was written over a span of three hours, with many, many interruptions from two of the cutest kids I know!

What advice do you have to be a woman (or man, although I doubt any men aside from my husband and dad read this) who "does doesn't do it all"??

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dear Blog,

I guess I should apologize to you for neglecting you over the past few weeks. You see, I've been, well... overwhelmed with some things and it seems that when I have to cut back, you are the first to go. It doesn't mean that I love you any less than all of the other things in my life, it's just that as a mom who works full-time at home, my favorite hobbies sometimes fall on the bottom of the priority list. I should probably go write a letter to my running shoes next as well as all of the half-finished books on my nightstand. And just so you don't think that it's only things that I love that fall to the bottom of the list, you'll be happy to know that similar letters are probably owed to things like the vacuum cleaner and piles of laundry, too. Yes, sometimes I just get behind on life, and before I know it, I've let this little place in the blog-world go weeks without a visit. So again, sorry about that. But just so you don't think I'm making all of this up, here are a few things I've been up to during my blog-absence:

We made an impromptu day trip up to Cincinnati to meet my new nephew, Samuel. And to my defense, I would've posted about this, but I wanted to let his mommy post the announcement first. He also spent some time down here over Thanksgiving and I got to snap some fun photos of the little guy. Oh how I love him so!

In conjunction with Sam's arrival, one of my best friends, Christie, and her two cutie-pie kiddos came and visited for a few weeks to help out with baby and just visit of course.

We've also done a little shopping... both online and on Black Friday, although we agreed it wasn't quite as exciting this year and somewhat overcrowded.

It's that time of year to reconnect with old friends and family, so we've been doing a lot of that, too... catching up with loved ones is always fun.

We also had Thanksgiving of course, which means lots of holiday baking! I had some help in the kitchen this year, even though she was much more interested in sampling.

And what's Thanksgiving without a little relaxing, parade watching, and football?

On top of all of this, I've been a bit under the weather for longer that I would like and my card-reader on my Mac has decided to stop working, which makes uploading photos difficult. Excuses, excuses I know, but when added to the crazy past few weeks, it really does all add up.

So yes, it's been a whirlwind month around here, but we've been having tons of fun, so I hope you'll forgive me? With the holidays coming up I cannot promise to be much better next month, but I'll certainly try. I'm just hoping that with this little break, absence will only make the heart grow fonder, so we'll see. Thanks for understanding and for always being here whenever I'm ready to come back. I miss you when I take these breaks, but always know that I'll never abandon you without telling you, okay? You're my piece of the world that lets me unload, reflect, and flex my creative muscle and I'm not sure I could make it without you. Thanks for being my blog.

Love always,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Better Late Than Never

Between the Florida Ironman Trip last week and then playing catch-up for a few days, I never got around to following up on my Halloween Costume post with pictures from this year. So without further ado (and as many of you guessed)... I bring you The Incredibles!

The Incredibles has been a favorite movie around these parts lately and Jake literally thinks he's Dash. When we first showed him his costume, he wasn't so sure about it, but once we wrestled it on him, his whole persona changed! We now have to hide the costume from him because he would seriously wear it everyday. I'm trying to figure out how I can work it into a reward program for potty-training!

Please disregard the crazy mess my hair was that night... it was awful weather here- cold and drizzly for trick-or-treating. We made it around one block before calling it quits and Jake tried to go into every house. Too funny. But apparently my Mrs. Incredible alter-ego got the best of me and on a whim on Saturday, I decided to make myself look a lot more like her:

It's not the first time I've chopped all of my hair off, but I was not planning on it until the scissors came out. After a bit of debating back and forth, we just went for it, and it feels great to have it short again... it's so nice to have those unhealthy ends off! I also love having a hair person I can trust!

So that's the scoop on Halloween... I'm not sure how we're going to top those outfits and I'm pretty sure they'll come out again sometime in the future. And now that we're halfway through November I'm looking forward to bringing on the holiday season! But first I have a niece or nephew that needs to hurry up and make an appearance already. There's just so much to look forward to!

Friday, November 9, 2012

How did you find me?

Awhile back, one of my friends did a post about how people made their way to her blog. I'm not sure if you've ever looked at it, but on both Blogger and Wordpress, there is a section on your dashboard that keeps track of your stats and traffic. Under Traffic Sources (at least on Blogger) is a section called "Search Keywords." So just for fun I thought I'd take a peek and share my findings. Here are the top keywords (well, phrases really) that will get you to my blog!
Mauneyland blog: Makes sense. My original blog was called Mauneyland when it was only about our family and it was imported into this one. The original blog still exists (for now), but just directs people here.
Seeds you sow Blogspot: Duh. I would hope that would take you here.
Come to worship: I'm guessing these words are somewhere in one of my posts about our church plant or maybe in a weekly Reflections post?
Running Tights: Now that I think about it, I have admitted to liking running tights in a recent post.
But here is my favorite... (drumroll, please!)
Mom parenting fail: Say what????
I almost went into panic mode wondering if that is how the blog world sees me and what I might have written that would direct someone here with that search. But then I realized that I'm glad those words brought someone here, because if nothing else, I always try to be honest and real. And you know what? Some days I am one big mess of a mom parenting fail... try as I might, I have those days. Some days around here I cannot find the floor of our house because of piles of laundry, toys, and other items scattered about. There have been moments where Jake has done something when I was already nearing my breaking point and I shouted at him, probably a little louder than I meant to. There have been days where I literally end up in tears because my kids will not nap on a day that I really need them to (because I have other [more selfish] things to get done). There are days when I absolutely do not qualify for any "Mom of the Year" nominations, and I'm okay with that... because I know I'm not the only one. And I know that there are others out there.
So if you ever search "Mom parenting fail" and find yourself here, to you I say "welcome"! This is a place where you can come as you are and realize that none of us really have it all together, nobody is perfect, and it's okay to share the joys as well as the frustrations. To me that's what mommyhood is all about- for every frustration we encounter there is joy ten-fold in the sound of a child's laughter, noticing that your child picked up a new skill or learned a new word, and watching him or her grow and change every day. It's a journey, and like any other journey, it's one with its ups and downs. But I can say without a doubt, that it is by far the best journey I've ever been on. I hope others can find comfort here knowing that we all just take it one day at a time, with some days being better than others. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ironman Success!

"YOU are an Ironman!"

Those words have been fueling my husband now for over two years. Yes, you read that correctly... this dream has literally been brewing for years- the dream of accomplishing the Ironman- a 2 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run... all in under 17 hours. It's quite the undertaking. In fact, there have been people who have finished this race in 17 hours and 30 seconds and they don't get the title... could you imagine the heartbreak? And there are many who don't finish, sometimes due to poor training, lack of nutrition or hydration, mental breakdown, or even bad luck. We've seen many of those scenarios in our own family, as well as experiencing the sweet taste of victory, and we couldn't wait to  have one more Ironman in the family. Thankfully, after this trip, that dream came true for my husband. And before you read the race-day recap, you might want to clear some time because it will be lengthy... but I wanted to include every detail because I never want to forget it.

This past weekend our family packed up the car and made the drive to Panama City Beach for the Ironman Florida event. The fact that we were even registered for it was a miracle in itself after our Ironman Louisville debacle, but as with anything else this family does, we were not going to quit until we acheived what we set out to do. Besides, sometimes you have to help make the miracle happen.

The first couple of days of the trip were just spent relaxing beach-side. Jake decided (after much convincing) that he loved the ocean, but Lil was not a fan. Josh's dad and our friend Austin made the trip with us, so we had extra hands to help with the kids, which was awesome. We had a couple of great seafood dinners, but mostly stayed close to our condo as it was right on the beach. I spent most of my time on the balcony as kids napped... it was blissful.

The day leading up to the race involved much preparation, filling transition bags, dropping his bike off, etc. I'm used to half and full marathons where you get to just show up on race day, but this takes pre-race requirements to a whole new level!

On race day, Josh, Austin, and myself were all up bright and early, heading to the start line around 5:30 am. Austin took care of fighting traffic and parking while I stayed with Josh as he got his special needs bags turned in and got his body markings taken care of. Austin found us and we headed over to the beach. It was still dark out, the sand very cold on our feet, but the stars were out and there was a buzz in the air. There is nothing more energizing than a start line of a race. I love that atmosphere with every fiber of my body.

It did not take long for the crowds of people to come filing out... spectator and athletes lined the shore until it was almost time to start. As the sky lightened, we noticed that the water was much choppier than it had been the morning before and that they would be in for quite a swim. I am not sure who was more nervous- Josh or myself- but if he was then he certainly did not show it. We heard them call the professionals to the start, so we told him good luck and parted ways. We found a spot near the water with a good view of the action and watched as the professionals took off.
Next, someone sang the National Anthem, and then off they went! I think the most intimidating thing about Ironman Florida has got to be the mass swim start. 3,000 athletes all take off at the same time into the ocean! They looked like a school of sting rays with just elbows, heads, and legs breaking the surface. Josh later told us that for the first mile he just got beat up, his goggles knocked off, and felt like it took forever to get past the breaking waves. And then to make matters worse, they all had to get out of the water, run over a timing mat, and do it all over again. I think after lap one that would be difficult to do, but again, this race is all about the battle of the mind.

If you look closely in this one you can see them getting out of the water (left side of the screen) and going back in again. It did not look like fun!

Since we couldn't tell the swimmers apart, we headed to the swim-out chute, where the athletes come out of the water and run toward the bike transition. I love seeing people come out of the water... most of them are smiling and some look really worn out. It was fascinating to me to watch the "peelers"- the volunteers who literally pull wet suits off of the swimmers. Each athlete strips it down to his or her waste and then sits on the ground where a volunteer pulls it the rest of the way off. It was crazy and I know those volunteers got a good arm workout that morning! In the video below, they are the volunteers in the yellow shirts, but I'm not sure if you'll be able to see it in action. Thankfully I was able to find Josh, exactly at the time he had estimated to finish the swim, smiling as he made his way out of the Atlantic. Leg one- done. Only 138.2 miles to go.
The only downside of the Florida course is that there are not many great places to see the triathletes on the bike course. At the Louisville event we found a spot where they'd pass twice, but the race guide  for this event advised not to even try. Considering that he was on the bike for seven hours, this was a long gap for us. Plus, I felt a little bit guilty about relaxing in the condo watching movies with the kids while my husband was traveling 112 miles on a bicycle! Josh's dad and Austin did explore a bit and saw him pass by at around mile 70, so that was great!

We wanted to get back down to the transition area to see him come in on the bike and out on the run, but they got stuck in traffic (due to the race) for about 40 minutes on the way back. The craziest part about being in the condo during this time was that I actually watched the winner cross the finish line while Josh was still on the bike! This guy broke a course record for the bike, completing it in 4:04 (roughly averaging 28 mph on a bike!) and completed the entire course in 8:07 and some change. I am in awe of that athleticism and endurance! Just amazing.
Once we knew that Josh was out on the run (thanks to the live tracker on the Ironman website and an app on my phone), we packed up the kiddos and headed to a spot on the course where we'd see him at mile 3, 10, and 16. It took about 3 minutes for Jake to find a big dirt-hole to play in and Lil was content in the stroller as long as she could shake the cow-bell (because you always need more cowbell, right?). We cheered on the participants we didn't know, calling them out by name as we read their bib numbers and trying to give smiles and encouragement where we could. About 15 minutes after getting there, Josh came by and stopped to chat for a minute. He told us his legs were starting to lock up a bit, but he still felt hydrated and in a good place mentally. We gave some more encouragement and off he went again!

And this is where our spectating got a little rocky. After waiting all day, Jake did not understand why his daddy only stuck around for five minutes. He cried when Josh left and then Lilly cried because Jake was crying. I took her out of the stroller and strapped her onto my back, fished out some bubbles for Jake and everyone calmed down a bit. Well, for about five minutes. Jake then started dumping the bubbles on his already filthy shorts and Lilly started throwing herself backwards in the carrier. It was clear that they weren't up for the long haul. Thankfully my father-in-law took them to the condo while I waited around for lap two. We still had a long day ahead of us.

When Josh passed by again, I almost missed him, but thankfully he saw me. It was starting to get dark and everyone started looking alike. Since I was by myself at this time and his legs would cramp if he stood in one place, I ended up walking next to him for about a mile as he filled me in on how he was doing. What I will say is that he still had his wits about him, which was impressive at that point. I've only run a marathon in comparison, and even in that 5 hour stretch I found myself in some very dark places, but he still seemed confident and upbeat. Even so, we knew that he still had another lap to go and just like the swim, it's very tough mentally to pass by the finish and have to keep going. I left him around mile 12 and told him I'd see him again at mile 15. During this time I had Austin deliver my running shoes to me and pick up the camera bag and chair I had abandoned at my last spectating post. I seriously could not have supported Josh to this capacity if it hadn't been for him and Josh's dad. They were amazing... supporting me as I supported him.
When Josh came back around and saw me again, he was running! At this point, any forward movement was impressive, but I was so proud to see him moving at that pace! I again wanted an update but did not want to make him stop, so I just started running next to him. It was dark out and I figured that nobody would even notice that I wasn't an official competitor, and this allowed me to see how he was feeling without slowing him down. His quads were cramping pretty badly at this point, so he was running as far as he could and then walking when he needed to, still averaging 12 minute miles, even with the walking mixed in. I could tell that he was to the point that he just wanted to get it over with, but he did not complain. He did mention that he could hear people finishing when he made the turn and I know that had to be frustrating... especially with 13 miles still left to do. It was kind of crazy at that point to be amongst the runners that were all fighting their mental battles. Most everyone around us was doing a run/walk mix by this point, and several of them were encouraging each other as they passed. I love the comraderie on a race course, and every one of them needed that from everyone else. It was pretty awesome. When we got to a road that I knew was close to our condo he told me that he had it from there and that he'd see me at the finish. We parted ways again and I headed back to round up the troops and head to the finish line. I certainly did not want to miss that!

If you have ever been at the finish line of a half or full marathon, you know that the energy is amazing. This, I have to say, was just like that but on steroids! I think my favorite part about this race was seeing people who did not have anything left in the tank suddenly find a reserve of energy and sprint to the finish. Many cried, several jumped for joy, a lot of them kissed and hugged their families who were on the sidelines, and one man even did a cart-wheel.  Josh, in true Josh fashion, was no exception of course. After running over and dishing out kisses and hugs, he leapt over that finish line, screaming for joy at the top of his lungs. And hearing that announcer finally say, "Joshua Mauney, YOU are an Ironman!" was a long-awaited, sweet reward.

Um... do you think he was just a tad bit excited based on this finish???

I can honestly say that even though I was not a participant in the race itself, the entire day and that moment in particular was one of the coolest experiences of my life. A lot of people do not realize the time and money that goes into preparing for one of these things... Josh's training was literally like another full-time job and then you have to add in the race fees, gear, equipment, and nutrition that you have to purchase to make this happen. Plus, in this case, there were travel expenses as well. After all was said and done, however, I think we'd all say it was worth it. Josh is the man in my life who always encourages me to go for my dreams and always inspires me to do more. So many people in this world are just one "yes you can" away from pursuing their dreams and I am thankful that I could be that for him, since he is that person for me. I may not have gotten a medal, but I sure feel the same satisfaction that he does for this accomplishment. It was a big day for this family and I could not possibly be more proud.

Now that it's over our crazy family is already looking toward what's next. Although he's trying to convince me that it's my turn, I was somewhat relieved to see that Ironman Florida 2013 sold out in less than a minute and I'll have to miss out next year (oh darn!). But now that he gets to actually just work out for fun again, I think we'll probably find a few events to put on our calendar next year and maybe even do some of them together. I'll never say never, but what I will say is definitely not any time soon. I have a whole new respect for what it takes to accomplish this race and will let this Ironman enjoy his glory for awhile.
I know this post was long enough as it is, but if you want to read his take on the day, you can find it on his blog (here)!  I also hope to post the (much better) photos from my nice camera (these are all iPhone photos) as soon as my card reader decides to work again!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


After what seemed like an endless year of campaign ads, election day is finally here! So please do your part and get out and vote... or else I won't post anything about Halloween or the Ironman as some of you have requested! Deal? 

But seriously, let me catch up on sleep (we got home at 3:30 this morning) and work and I'll catch you up on the excitement as soon as I can.  I won't leave you in suspense though and will go ahead and let you know that I am the immensely proud wife of an Ironman! Round two was a success... can't wait to share all of the details of our day with you!


"This week our country will elect a President. He may or may not be the man you vote for or whom you support. But he will have been elected by the finest system in the GREATEST NATION in the world...and that deserves saluting! He will be YOUR President and YOUR Commander-In-Chief. Honor our nation by respecting the job. Our President will need AMERICANS to support him. Step up if you can..." - Michael K. Carroll

Thursday, November 1, 2012


So, remember how I was supposed to write a weekly Reflections post about de-stressing today? Yeah, well... um... that didn't happen (again). BUT it's for a very good reason, and one that is making me de-stress BIG TIME. After trick-or-treating last night (pics to come I hope... I didn't get any good ones but I think my mom might have), we piled into the car and headed south- to the beach! Josh goes for redemption at IronMan Florida on Saturday after we were robbed in Louisville last August, so we've landed ourselves in a condo on the 8th floor overlooking sand and surf. Ahhhhhhh. So, needless to say, my posts will be on hold for a few days... I guess next time I should plan ahead and pre-date some posts to get me through time away. Oh well, you live and you learn.

I will say, however, that since I'm here and have nothing to do other than cheer on my favorite triathlete and hang out with the kiddos, I hope to get a little reading done. I'm halfway through Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst and I think that fits in nicely with the de-stress theme I have going on. So in other words, next week I'll wrap up this topic, okay? 

So until then...

I've got my toes in the water, bum in the sand, not a worry in the world and a drink in my hand...

Life is good today.

Yeah life is good.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


We are into the eighth month of our church plant's life, and things continue to stay crazy, chaotic, and busy. But it's a good busy. The danger, however, is that sometimes in all of the busy-ness we forget to stop and see the blessings. Sure, we see them every Sunday morning as we watch our friends (who were strangers six months ago) roll up their sleeves and greet people, teach our children, run the sound and the lights, and serve coffee, but what about what happens outside of those walls? Does the church only exist to "do" church on Sunday mornings? Is it really all about those of us who step inside that building from week-to-week? Are we cultivating a culture that is truly about being the hands and feet of Jesus, the true body of Christ, or are we just going through the motions like I've seen so many other churches do? And then out of nowhere, someone "gets it," so far down to their core that they do something. And I have to say, even though I am not a part of the idea and had nothing to do with the plan, seeing people who have been impacted by what happens inside our building go outside those walls and infiltrate the city with love brings me to my knees.
This past month we've seen several ministries spring from some of our church-goers. Instead of just noticing a problem, they're doing something! The first one I heard of was from my good friend, Sara, who worried about kids who were on school meal programs and might not get anything to eat over the weekend when there is no school. Without knowing if it would go anywhere, she drafted a proposal to have healthy foods sent home with these kids, made a meeting with a local elementary school, and ptiched her idea. They are now in the works to make this happen at this school, and then possibly others.
Next up is a coat and winter-gear drive, all to be donated to the homeless here in Lexington before the cold(er) weather sets in:

A great guy in our church literally passed a homeless man and wondered if he had anything warm to wear in these upcoming months. And then he did something about it.
The next one is similar, although stemmed from a totally separate person who felt a pang of sadness every time she passed a homeless person in her car. As a woman, it can be intimidating sometimes to put yourself out there, but at that moment she just wished that she had a baggie full of toiletry items and maybe something to eat to hand to him. And then she went home and decided that it could be her ministry... which generated the Blessing Bag Project.
I know that there are a whole lot of other great things going on in this city, state, nation, etc., but it's just so amazing for me to witness it with my own eyes. Josh often teaches to "find the thing that ticks you off, and that's probably what will make you tick," and people here are taking it to the streets! Our dream from the start was to be a church that overflowed with love- a love so great that the overflow would spill out into our city, and these individuals are living that out. I am so proud to call them friends, so proud to serve alongside them on Sunday mornings, and so proud to be part of a ripple effect that infiltrating this community.
It just makes me wonder... if everyone did something about the social issue, problem, etc. that bothered him, how quickly could we change this world for the better? With a presidential election coming up, I no longer worry about the outcome or what it's going to mean because what I do know is that there are people out there who want a better world. Plus, I know Who is really in control, no matter what.
So I ask you... what makes you tick?

Monday, October 29, 2012


It's been awhile since I did an update on the kids, and since we just had our 1-year and 2 1/2 year appointments last week (which was late for those appointments), I thought I'd at least cover the stats.
Jake: 2 1/2
Height: 40 1/2" (>95%)
Weight: 38 lbs (95%)
We have a big boy on our hands!
Loves: Apples (we need a fridge lock!), cereal with milk, "ice dream," the Incredibles (he literally thinks he is Dash and even says "the Dash likes", school, the playground (well, any outdoor activity really), his pacifier, his cousin Adam, going to Grandma/Grandpa's or PawPaw's house, riding in Daddy's car (the jeep), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, the Alphabet and everything having to do with letters, his train tracks, "washing" the sink dishes, the iPhone/iPad, singing/talking into anything that resembles a microphone (hmmm... where did he get that from?)
 Not so fond of: not getting to do/have anything mentioned above, potty-training. He has perfected the art of the (fake) temper tantrum... he is such a ham-bone
Lilly: 1
Height: 30" (90%)
Weight: 24 lbs (95%)
She's trying to keep up with her brother!
 Loves: Ice cream!, dogs, any toy that lights up or makes music, to dance, listening to music or looking at pictures on the iPhone, starting to get excited when Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes on, her brother (big time!), riding on her power-scooter, her "bobby" which is her cup or pacifier (depending on which one she is reaching for), twirling her hair, saying the C-A-T-S Cats Cats Cats! cheer, K-cups (she sucks the coffee out... see the photo on our Instagram stream... and no, I don't feed these to her, she just gets a hold of one sometimes), talking on the phone, yogurt, climbing on things (mainly the coffee table), sticking her tonge out.... and this is techinically a 13-month thing, but our baby girl just started walking! She literally went from zero interest in it to walking across the room in a matter of two days. It's still more of a party-trick thank a mode of transportation, but she's starting to get more and more daring. She is now up to 8 teeth, says "Mama, Daddy, Thank-You (over and over and over again), makes (what she thinks is) a dog sound, Uh-Oh, Hello, Bye Bye, Night Night (Ny-Ny)" and can repeat or imitate just about any sound/word that you make.
Not so fond of: Putting pants on/getting dressed or going to bed.
They are at such fun ages right now. I'm exhausted from keeping a constant eye on them, but there is rarely a dull moment. I don't look forward to being cooped up inside during the winter months, so we might just have to explore the city a little and find some new things to do. Two is twice the work, but twice the fun... but no, we're not planning on having any more for awhile (if not forever... depends on if you talk to me or the husband), so we're just enjoying these two everyday.
And because kid posts are so much better when there are videos involved, here is one of Lilly on her powerwheel and taking a few steps (although she does not perform well when there are cameras involved):

Friday, October 26, 2012

Show Us Your Life: Halloween Costumes

Happy Friday! I think I say that every Friday... I guess that's because they always seem to be happy!

Anyhoo... today I am linking up over at Kelly's Korner as part of her "Show Us Your Life" series. The topics are always fun, but I usually forget to participate. Thankfully I popped in over there yesterday and noticed that the next SUYL date was today! And the topic is fun, too- show us your Halloween costumes!

Considering that this was taken on an ordinary Sunday in June...

Dressing up for this family is not a far stretch! BUT... my favorite Halloween costume of ours of ALL TIME has to be our first Halloween when we were mimes!

Not only is this an easy costume option (which I believe we came up with at the very last minute), but it's so much fun, too! We were two of the worst mimes ever and lasted about 30 minutes seconds without talking. We did enjoy acting things out and making total fools of ourselves though!

The Pros: 
It's cheap (black clothes, white gloves, white face paint, black lipstick for lips and eyebrows, eyeliner); everyone LOVED it (although we got robbed in the costume contest... not that I'm bitter or anything! Ha!); it's warm (if you live in a colder place); and you can have tons of fun "miming" all night.

The Cons: 
I do not want to show you a picture from the end of the night... we looked ROUGH! White facepaint tends to stick to every crease and wrinkle you have, so just beware! Also, I smiled in many photos and not only did it just look... well... strange, but my teeth also did not look all that white next to my white face. But it was worth it.

As for the kiddos, they're the most fun always! Jake has now been both a spider and a dragon:

 And Miss Lilly was Minnie Mouse at just one-month-old (and I was too sleep-deprived to dress up)!

This is the first year that we're going for a full family-affair, but I can't spoil all the fun. All I can say is that we'll be decked out in lots of red spandex... that should be enough to make you wonder! Many folks around here already know what we'll be based on the fact that Jake has lived in his costume for a few weeks now. He loves it!  I'll make sure to post pictures next week!

I can't wait to visit other blogs and see all of their great ideas. I mean, who doesn't love to dress up just for a day?