Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pretty Muddy Women's Mud Run (5K)

A little while back, a few ladies in my ward sent me an email that had a Groupon for the Pretty Muddy 5K in Orland park. I couldn't resist the 50% off discount, so I signed up!

On September 15, all the other ladies who took advantage of the Groupon met up at the race start to get MUDDY!

The race atmosphere was pretty fun. A lot of music, some free workout classes put on by Xsport Fitness, and some random DJ's getting us pumped for our race start. If you look closely at this picture, you can see how enthusiastic I was to get started :)

Anyway, while we were running, our husbands and children were at the finish line waiting to cheer us in. Brooklyn made quick friends with both, the other children, and some of the other husbands as well!

Oh! and in case you were wondering what we were doing while our families were hanging out, here is a video that shows all the obstacles we did. (We couldn't carry our own cameras through all the mud, so the official race video will have to do!)

We plowed through the obstacles and soon our support crew saw us creeping through the last mud pit... and then the 5K was over. 

The girls and I got together for an "after" shot before heading to the hoses they had put our for us to clean off with.

Here I am in my full muddiness. I totally looks like I am wearing those zip off pants that could be pants or shorts!

These are the fun ladies that originally convinced me to sign up. We ran the whole way together and it was SO much fun! So glad they let me tag along :)

At the end of all things, our shoes were a little too muddy to take home... so we threw them in the recycle pile with thousands of others and then went on our way...

With nothing but our socks to protect our little feet!

But that is not the end! Before I wrap this up, I would like to say that Kevin was so awesome to stand in the hot sun with Brooklyn for 45 minutes and wait for us all to finish! He was also a great photographer for us and even managed to get a little muddy himself! 

Anyway, the race was a BLAST and I can't wait to do another one soon with all these awesome ladies!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Brooklyn's Last Year of Preschool!

On September 10th, Brooklyn started her last year of preschool! She is splitting class days between our house, Teacher Arielle's house, and themed field trips, and is LOVING it! The best part about doing preschool out of my own home is that I actually get to see first hand what Brooklyn is learning, how fast she picks up on things, and what she needs to work on. We are so proud of our little smarty pants! If you want to see what she looked like last year on the first day of school, click HERE.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Labor of Love 5K

On Labor Day morning, I got together with my friends Amy, Liberty, and Angelika, to run the Labor of Love 5K in Downers Grove, IL.

 It was a small race, only about 200 runners, which was a fun and welcome change for me.

I felt really good that morning and hoped to reach my goal of running a 10 minute pace throughout the race. When I saw Kevin at the half way point (where he took this picture) I realized I was actually pretty close to my goal!

Soon I reached the finish line where our cheering section was waiting, ran through the finish, and looked at my watch. I finished in 31 minutes and 20 seconds. That is a 10:05 minute per mile pace! I was so happy that I earned my first PR by shaving 2 minutes off my time, and later I even found out that I finished 6th place in my age division!

When I ran through the shoot I was met by Angelika who had finished about 3 minutes before me. It was her first race and she was looking and feeling really good!

It wasn't long after that when we saw Liberty coming through. She slaughtered her goal time and was so excited about it that when we took this picture, not a single part of her was touching the ground!

 Next Amy came running in, accomplishing her goal to finish her first 5K ever!!! Go AMY!

It was so much fun running this race with such amazing ladies and I was proud to be a part of so many firsts!

When we cooled off, they offered us chips and salsa from Chili's, Pizza, fruit and bread, and water. Brooklyn was pretty excited about the pizza, but not nearly as excited as she was to see Miss-something-or-other! She told the poor girl her entire life story (thankfully it was pretty short), complemented her crown, and told her about her stuffed sheep before we finally pulled her away :)

It was an amazing race and I hope to do it again next year... but not before thanking my awesome cheer section and my supportive husband for helping me accomplish yet another life goal! Thanks Kev! You are the BEST!

Labor Day camp out... sort of!

On Labor Day weekend, we decided to go on a camp out with our friends, the Booths. But since we both have small children...

We took the safe road and decided to do it in my backyard where there would be access to a functional kitchen, flushing toilets (for the potty training 2 year old), and soft beds in case some of the kiddos couldn't survive the night on the ground!

The Booths showed up in the early evening with all their supplies on hand and we were ready to party!

Then we made quick work of the tents so we could get started on dinner before the kids noticed that they were hungry.

In the meantime, the girls were all VERY distracted by the sandbox. (And by "VERY" distracted, I mean they may or may not have filled all of our sleeping bags with sand while we were not looking!)

Anyway, the camp out offered us another chance to use our fire pit and Kevin and Robert were expert boy scouts when it came to chopping wood and making a fire. In no time at all we were roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and having a jolly good time!

After dinner we put the kids down in the tents and then sat around the fire laughing our heads off about funny British practical joke shows while we waited for the kids to fall asleep.

By the time we went into the tents (around 12:30am...been a long time since I've done that!) Brooklyn and Lily were passed out cold! The Booth's older daughter was also passed out, but their youngest ended up needing a trip to the indoor beds. Thank goodness we had them!

In the morning Kevin and Robert made us DELICIOUS waffles and bacon!

And then we sat around telling stories, laughing some more, and letting the girls watch funny cat videos on the iPhone.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and soon the Booth's had to pack up their things and head back home. But at least they left us with good memories from our backyard camping days!

August in Pictures...

 Brooklyn got invited to Tucker's birthday party at the fire station!

 She thoroughly enjoyed her firehouse tour given by the firemen themselves.

She also got invited to Lorenzo and Isabella's birthday party at the Children's museum where Lorenzo's grandma made this amazing cake!

We took a beautiful walk through our nearby Lyman woods. The girls had a blast finding nature treasures.

 Kevin finished reading the girls' first chapter book with them. I didn't think they would get into a book without pictures, but they absolutely LOVED it!

We got to play at the FREE splash pad by the church a few times. I think the kids really liked playing in water that had no chance of drowning them.

 Kevin took the Teacher's Quorum on a super long Saturday bike ride...and everyone survived!

We broke in our fire pit by letting the Teacher's Quorum learn some dutch oven skills in our backyard!

And all-in-all, August was a pretty chill month. Especially after a month of vacationing! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our 7th Anniversary!

7 years ago, on August 13th, I married Kevin...
Best dang decision I EVER made!

So to celebrate the occasion, I decided I was going to give our backyard a little makeover. That way, we could sit under the stars around our campfire and watch the meteor shower (which was conveniently scheduled to grace our skies ON our anniversary!) whilst eating s'mores and snuggling by the warmth of our fire.

I quickly got to work on our neglected yard realizing the project would take some time. I weeded, mowed, de-cluttered, trimmed, and chopped away at the yard, but the majority of my time was spent cleaning out our fire pit. This picture was taken when I was almost done, but the previous renters had left it stacked about 3 feet deep with sticks, leaves, and wasps! LOTS OF WASPS! I spent two weeks spraying, shoveling, running, spraying, shoveling, running...by the end, the wasps were on to me and they started dive bombing me EVERY time I walked out the door. It was terrifying! Then I got wise and decided to drown the suckers! After an hour of running the hose on them and then 2 days of rain, we finally killed them all!

Once the fire pit was taken care of, I got to work on our "new" patio furniture! Our friends got some new furniture of their own and offered us their old set for free! So I slapped some paint on it and made some cute cushions and voila! New patio furniture for EVERYONE!

Well, our anniversary finally came and with it, rain! LOTS OF RAIN! Thus, we could NOT see the meteor shower, roast marshmallows, or enjoy the backyard makeover that I worked ever so hard on :( But that's OK...

We were able to enjoy Kevin's gift to me instead! For our anniversary he built me a brand new entertainment center that I LOVE! We grabbed some Redboxes and did a little grocery shopping, then headed home for dinner and a movie!

 For dinner we made our famous "Love Lasagna!" We've made lasagna every year for our anniversary and I must say, after 7 years it has evolved into a masterpiece! We snarfed it down and then had some microwave s'mores for dessert :) All-in-all it turned out to be a fantastic evening and a great way to celebrate 7 years with the most wonderful man on earth!

Here's to another 70 just like it!

Downtown and our last goodbyes!

On July 30th, we braved downtown Chicago for one last play date with Grandma before she had to fly home. Now that the girls are older, it is more expensive to ride the train than to pay $30 for parking, so we hopped in the car and braved the drive through Chicago traffic. To our surprise, we found a really ghetto parking lot that only charged $8 a day!!! Woohoo!We were already off to a great start.

Once we parked, we started our walking tour through the city. We were able to stroll down Michigan Ave, check out the famous Bean, see the Lions at the Art Institute, view some more abstract art at Millennium Park, listen to the WORST concert I've ever heard at the outdoor amphitheater, and stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens.

To wrap up our day of fun, we played in the fountains at the park and then had some Subway sandwiches before heading home to say goodbye to Grandma.

We had so much fun with Grandma Uda and are SOOOO grateful for all she did and all she does for us. Thanks for the good memories mom. You are the BEST!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Out of Hibernation!

After several days of post-vacation-hibernation, Brooklyn and Lily finally coaxed Grandma and I out of bed and out the door!

Once we were up, we had a ton of fun playing at the local parks with the girls. It was so awesome to see my mom get right up on the playground equipment with them to play. The girls especially liked it when she went down the slide with them and pushed them in the swings.

And, as if Grandma weren't already cool enough, she actually took the time to make us our very own batch of her legendary peanut butter fudge...and she let us lick the pot!

She even went the extra mile and made an amazing pot of chicken long rice to share at the High Priest Group multicultural potluck dinner! And you know what?  All that cooking and playing was just enough to get us prepped and ready for a day trip to downtown Chicago! But I will have to post more on that, LATER!