Thomas’ 1st Birthday Party

Thomas' party last Saturday was a great success! I had invited members of my unit and we had a good turnout. Here's a recap of the party in pictures. . .

The birthday boy
Birthday Boy small

Monkey cake
Monkey Cake small

Thomas isn't quite sure what's going on
Not Quite Sure small

Big brother helps blow out the candle
Big Brother Helps with the Candle small

First taste of his cake
First bit of cake small

More cake pics
Cake 2 small
Cake 4 small
Cake 5 small
Cake 6 small
He enjoyed opening his presents!
Presents 14 small

All partied out. . .
All Partied Out small

Thanks to everyone who came to his party and/or sent gifts!

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Five Things Friday

Here are 5 things for this Friday. . .

1 – My parents are visiting from Michigan! We've known for a few months they'd be coming down for Thomas' birthday, but we didn't tell Robert. When the doorbell rang last evening, I sent Robert to answer the door. He sure was surprised!!

2 – We went to the school and had lunch with Robert today. All 4 of us adults. That was fun! School lunch is definitely better here than what they served in Arizona. The kids get to serve themselves and take what they want and how much they want – so much better than just getting a tray of whatever.

3 – After school, we picked Robert up and went to the Scout Shop in Dothan to get his Cub Scout uniform. Now to get his patches sewn on. Speaking of Cub Scouts, if you'd like to order some popcorn and help support the Cub Scout pack on Ft. Rucker, you can go to Campmasters Gourmet Popcorn and enter Scout Keycode 5158562852 and Alabama-Florida Council and order online and have it delivered right to your door!

4 – Thomas is getting better and better at walking while holding onto something – someone's hands, his push toy, a chair, and cruising around the house using whatever.

5 – I'm nervous about Thomas' party tomorrow. I'm excited about it, too. I always get nervous when I'm hosting a large group of people – will there be enough food? Will the guests enjoy themselves? Will I be a good enough hostess? I know we'll have a great time and everything will be fine, but I'm still nervous.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Happy 1st Birthday Little Monkey!!

One year. That's a long time, but it's also so short. One year. Thomas, you have been a part of our family for one year now. The time seemed to just fly by. One year ago we heard your first cries when you were born and it was love at first sight when we saw you. Even your big brother got to see you arrive in the world, and you two have a special bond. We couldn't have asked for a better baby brother for our big kid or for a better big brother for you. You've experienced a lot in this first year of life. You've gone from laying on your back or doing tummy-time to rolling over to rolling across the floor to scooting to crawling to pulling up and now you're starting walking. Sure, you still have to hold onto things when you walk, but one day you'll take solo steps. Not too soon, though. Don't grow up too fast. You've gone from having only mama's milk every few hours, day and night, to baby food and finger foods, and now you're doing a great job feeding yourself and starting to use a spoon. Ok, so you put the food on your spoon with your fingers and then you take the food off the spoon with your fingers and put it into your mouth. But you're learning. Soon you'll figure out the whole spoon thing, but not too soon. don't grow up too fast. And mama's milk – you still need and love your mama's milk and that makes mama happy! You're getting to be a big boy now – sitting at the big kids' table at daycare instead of a high chair with the babies. You're wearing big boy shoes. You're even looking like a little boy instead of a baby.

You've seen a lot in this past year. You've been on an airplane twice (well, 8 flights total, but 2 trips). You've been to the Grand Canyon. You've ridden on a train. You've gone into a cave. You've moved across the country. You've been on a boat. You've been on a bike ride around Mackinac Island. You've seen many things in your short life, mostly snuggled safely against mama. You've seen more of this great country in your one year of life than many people see in their entire lives. You've been loved and are still loved by many, many people, all over the world, but mama will always love you best.

I love hearing you laugh, especially when you are playing with your big brother. He can make you laugh like no one else, and I hope that you two always have that special bond. I love hearing you laugh when daddy is tickling you. He can find your tickle spots like no one else. And then there's me. Your mama. I can make you laugh, but not like daddy or big brother. But your smile. Oh, Thomas, how your face lights up when you see your mama. Your smile tells me how much you love me. I love you, too, Thomas.

We're looking forward to year number two and the many adventures it will bring. Keep on smiling and laughing and making us laugh and smile! Daddy, big brother, and I all love you very much, Thomas, and we know you love us, too.

Happy 1st Birthday!!

20 September 2011
First Picture of Thomas Nikolai small

20 September 2012
Birthday Cake at School small

Race Recap – Talladega 21000

Sunday was half marathon #8 for me, and my 3rd state in my quest for half marathons in each of the 50 states. It was at the Talladega Super Speedway and was an awesome experience! We got to the track and got to do through one of the tunnels under the track to the infield parking area. It was nice having all my guys there with me for the start – usually I leave them at the hotel and then they come a little later to catch me finishing, but our hotel was far enough away that there was no shuttle so we all went together. Before the race I got to meet a friend from our local Moms Run This Town group and that was nice to finally meet her after chatting online for several months. Pretty much the only thing that I think could have been better was more port-o-potties before the race. There were 7 and a couple thousand runners, plus family and friends of the runners.

I got to the start line after being stopped by a cross stitching friend I haven't seen in YEARS. Her sister was running and she was there supporting. It was nice to see her, although we really didn't get to chat much cuz I was on my way to the start. Soon the gun went off and we headed out – on the track, going down pit lane! Ryan, Robert, and Thomas were near the exit of pit lane and that was nice seeing them! We ran about 3/4 of the way around the track (on the apron – Talladega has 28 degree banking on the turns and that track is STEEP) and then headed out around the parking areas for a few miles. Eventually we made our way back to the track and ran around it, going under the grandstands. My Garmin didn't work super well under the main grandstand – I looked once and I was running at a 4:30/mile pace. Yeah right. I will NEVER be that fast. And then a few minutes later it showed I was at a 12:30 or so pace. I didn't change up my pace at all. But it all averaged out in the end. Once we had made a complete lap around the track under the stands, we entered the infield through the tunnel and made our way across the infield to the far side of the track. We came out near the finish line and then took one complete lap around the track to the finish. And there were my guys again cheering me on! When I was about at mile 12, Robert's 3rd grade teacher finished (they were announcing all the names as people finished) – Robert had been talking about mommy running at Talladega at school and it turned out that his teacher is also a runner and was running the same race!

The course was amazing. It was so much fun running on a NASCAR track, especially since we're such big NASCAR fans. There were water stops every mile and little signs with quotes from the movie "Talladega Nights" all along the course. Although there wasn't much crowd support along the course, it didn't really bother me since I'm pretty much a lone runner anyway. After I had finished and got my medal, we made our way to Victory Lane for our finisher photos, and then over to the post race party. We found Ms. M (Robert's teacher) and I talked to her for a bit and we took our picture together. Of course, all my pictures are still on my camera (it'll be interesting to see what all Ryan took pics of while I was running) so this one is the one that Ms. M took and emailed to me.
Ms. M and me after the Talladega Half

Oh, I suppose you want to know my finishing time, huh? Well, I am happy to say that I finished in 2:15:35, a new PR (personal record) by 9 minutes!! Now, for those of you that aren't runners, 9 minutes is a huge PR!! All my hard training paid off and I'm really happy with how I ran. And one more cool thing that you non-runners won't get. . . I got to meet and have a book (The Complete Idiots Guide to Running) signed by Bill Rodgers!! That was really cool meeting someone who has won the Boston Marathon 4 times!

And now on to the rest of my training for the Army Ten Miler. . .

My Sunday “Steal”

We go to church in Dothan, about 40 minutes away. All the stores we like to shop at are also in Dothan – Target, Kohls, Michaels, Hobby Lobby (although they're closed on Sundays, so the following doesn't apply to HL). So what do we do after church on Sundays? We do our shopping! Today we went to Target for a pair of jeans for Ryan. They were on sale, so he got 2 pair! But that was not the best part of our shopping. The best part was at Kohl's. I had $10 of Kohl's Cash from last week's shopping there and I wanted to use it before it expired. I decided that I would actually buy something for myself (I don't usually shop for myself, just for my guys). I hate shopping for clothes for myself. I found myself amongst a bunch of clearance racks – stuff 75%-85% off! I found a really cute purple dress, it fit, and looks good on me. Are you ready for the best part? I paid $0 for it!! It was a $44 dress and I got it for free!! Between the 75% off and my 20% off email coupon, it brought the price down to $9.90 and when I used my $10 Kohl's Cash, I didn't have to pay a thing for my dress! How's that for smart shopping.

Once we got home, I got some laundry done and folded last week's laundry, emptied the litter box, took the trash out, and finished addressing invites for Thomas' first birthday party. I watched football and was saddened by the Packers' loss. We had a great steak dinner – Ryan grilled! It was a good day.

August Recap

I've been horrible at keeping my blog up to date and I need to change that. Here's a recap of August. . .

Robert started 3rd grade at Ft. Rucker Elementary School. He has an awesome teacher and has made lots of friends. He has also started playing soccer and is a Bear Cub Scout! He had one soccer practice and hasn't played since, but is still supporting his team, the Knockouts. Why is he not currently playing? He fell off the monkey bars at school and has a green stick fracture of his left wrist. The doctor said no soccer until the cast comes off; three weeks of cast/no soccer. His cast comes off on Monday, 17 Sep. Cub Scouts is off to a good start – he has his Cub Scout Promise memorized, knows the Cub Scout sign, and we're working with him on the rest of his Bobcat requirements so he can start working on his Bear requirements. Ryan took him to his first meeting and he had a great time.

My running is going great most of the time. I've been getting some long run of 8-11 miles in and I'm really looking forward to taking about 10 minutes off my best time at my half marathon next Sunday. The Army Ten Miler should be a good race, as well, with all the good training I've been doing. I didn't make the Ft. Rucker team, but I'm ok with that. I have a place to stay in DC (thanks to a wonderful running friend and her fiance!!) and I just need to get a plane ticket. Hopefully this weekend I'll get that taken care of.

Work is going good and I've gotten kudos several times from our new First Sergeant for my work in Admin. I'm also the trombone section leader, and I've been playing about an average of 1 gig a week. We play at a lot of graduation ceremonies – Initial Entry Rotary Wing course, Warrant Officer Course, Advanced Individual Training, etc. We've also done a few concerts and those are always fun.

Thomas is growing like a weed and is starting to cruise. He can crawl fast and is having a lot of fun exploring all over the house. He loves playing in my cupboard with my plastic bowls and stuff and he also like drumming on the Little Tykes drum that was Robert's. It's hard to believe that he's almost a year old. I'm planning a 1st birthday party for him, so that should be fun!

We celebrated Robert's 8th birthday ON his birthday this year! Yay for 1 September falling on a Saturday. He picked his friend D (lives about 100 yards from us, same soccer team, same Cub Scout den, but different class at school) and we went mini-golfing and go-karting in Dothan. The boys had fun and D even got a hole-in-one on one of the holes despite never mini-golfing before. I got 2 holes-in-one, and Ryan got 3. Robert did well despite the cast. Both boys got to drive their own go-karts, and Ryan went with them. I didn't go go-karting because I was wearing Thomas in the Ergo. I don't mind. After we were done with our fun, we went to Applebees for dinner.

And that pretty much gets you caught up on my life. I'm really going to try and do better about blogging.