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.