Thursday, February 7, 2013

Jude's 2nd Birthday

Today our JuJuBe, J. Billy, Baby Man, Brother Bear, Baby Monster turned two years old.

Nicknames are sort of a big deal in our family.

Oh, Jude, you're officially a two year old. Two year olds like to push the limits and you have been known to test boundaries. Boundaries of space (what can I find to jump off of?), patience (sure Jude, let's throw a tantrum right here and right now!), and sound (your high-pitched scream of agony is pretty impressive) mostly come to mind. But again, your Little Monster face does me in and wins me over every time.

Someday Jude, when your reading skills improve, I hope you'll read this post and know how loved you have been from day one. As far as babies go, you were a pretty typical baby. Not as cranky as your sister, not as docile as those "angel babies" that I hear about from time to time, but pretty much a typical baby. However, toddlerhood has been a bit more... exciting. You fit every boy stereotype out there and then some. You have energy, spunk, and curiosity with no real understanding of cause and effect. I suppose that will come with time and through trial and error. I hope that I can be within earshot during those trials and errors, but I can't keep you under my wing forever, right? Your vigor for life has challenged me to soak up this small window of time that we have together and relearn the art of play. You play hard, you move constantly, and you sleep like a champ because of all of that expended energy.

And speaking of sleeping, my favorite time of day with you is right before I put you into your bed at night. I sing a few bars of "Hey Jude," and you lay your little head on my shoulder and I forget about all of the struggles that the day held. Our little moment together doesn't last long, but it's enough for us  to wake up and do it all over again. As of right now, I'm your favorite. I know it won't be like that forever, and I need to remind myself of that truth. Someday I'll have to share you, but for now, I'm your gal.

As a two year old, you love a handful of things passionately. You love your sister, Delaney, and wake up from nap time on a mission to wake her up as well. You love your dog, Brun, and you despair over the fact that your kitty Imogene dives under the bed every time she hears your footsteps. You love Mickey Mouse, Veggie Tales, and Cars. Mater is your favorite character and I bet that makes Uncle Jimmy proud. You love trains, trucks, and tractors. Have I mentioned that you fit the boy stereotype? You love playing ball--basketball, soccer, and baseball. I realize that I'm a bit biased here, but I think that your hand-eye coordination is out of this world. I'd love for you to be our ball player, but please don't be a quarterback or pitcher, ok? My little anxious heart is going to have such a hard time watching you under that kind of pressure.

I promised your dad that I wouldn't go all out for your second birthday party. We decided on a letter "B" theme for your party: bubbles, balloons, balls, and your favorite blue engine. Your party was at Hunter Hobby Park, where the little trains run on the weekend. Because we live in Southern California, I didn't even think to check the weather report, and it was a bit chilly. All of our friends that were healthy came out to play with you and they brought balls to share. You did not like the attention you received when we sang to you, but you were perfectly content roaming the open fields and kicking a ball around with your daddy. The day after your park party we had our Riverside family over for dinner. This time around you handled the attention much better and were pretty excited about your presents.

Jude, we love you. You bring so many wonderful qualities to our family and you're just two! I can't wait to watch you grow. Happy birthday, Jude William. You're my favorite little baby man.

Party decor
More party decor
Friends Alex and Abby
Gavin, Conrad, and Maddy 
Gal pal Sadie Joy

A few of the mamas 
Playing on the structure

Dinner with Uncle Monkey, Papa, Aunt Joni, & Uncle Kevin --not sure where Nana was hiding! 
Sister really liked "helping" with the present opening...
A soccer ball from Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Jessica and Thomas from Gramps and Grams--he's happy as can be! 
Nana and Papa got him a basketball hoop! I asked Steve if he wanted the instructions for assembly and this is the look I got! 
Jude shoots and scores!
Birthday brownie! And yes, he picked out his outfit. Undies and rain boots!
On the morning of his actual birthday, we had special French Toast for breakfast to celebrate. Delaney is insisting on a party on his actual birthday, so I guess we'll have to go out for ice cream tonight! Bummer. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The LA Half Marathon

On January 13th, 2013, I ran in my first half marathon! This has been a personal goal that I've had for a long time, but I've never given much thought to you know, actually signing up for a race and all. However, for the past three years my church has partnered with Team World Vision and has encouraged members to run the race and raise support for clean water in Uganda. Our family has sponsored a little girl from Uganda through World Vision for the past three years, and the money Team World Vision was fundraising would benefit the Ugandan community that our church partners with. I've always liked the idea of doing this race, but I've either been pregnant or just too tired with a newborn to participate. This year I found myself without an excuse. So, I signed up and it really was such a win/win: fulfilling a personal goal while supporting clean water in Uganda!

I can't express how thankful I am to my family and friends that supported me on this little adventure. Many people gave financially, but the support didn't end there! I had so many folks encourage me with words, advice, and cheers from afar. And then there's my husband. He actually trained alongside of me, but didn't participate due to the fact that someone had to watch those kids of ours. Hopefully we can both run next year! Steve, as always, was my biggest supporter, coach, and cheerleader. I couldn't have done this without him.

Now, for the stats--don't laugh if you're a real runner. I met my goal of maintaining a pace of 11:30 a mile. Next year I'm hoping to be in the 10 minute range. Hey, you have to start somewhere, right? People often ask me what I listen to while running. For race day, I listened to the end of The Hobbit and a Simple Mom podcast. Not what you were expecting, right? But I like escaping into books and podcasts--it helps me to forget about my aches and pains.

Finish: 2:27:27 -- Pace: 11:15 per mile

Even though the race is over, it's not too late to support clean water in Uganda! Click here to donate.

My girls Becky and Jess getting excited on race day! 
My view at the start line. We were lined up at Venice Beach. It was cold as far as cold goes for southern California. but it made for perfect running weather.
Terrible pic--but this is mile marker 11. I was getting jazzed being so close to the finish line! 
One of my views during the race. Please forgive how fuzzy these pictures are. I was running a half marathon for goodness sakes!
One of my views towards the end of the race.
And this was me, at the end of it all! Really, I was all smiles most of the day. Seriously, it was so much fun!