Thursday, April 30, 2009

All I could have wished for on my birthday...

I really had a great birthday.

My 28th birthday was complete with...

(Top to bottom, left to right) Emberlyn Bell, Keva Cochran (behind the balloons... thanks for coordinating this Keva!), Jaime Bell and girls, Jen Belardo, Erin Peterson. They all brought their kids to the park for lunch after preschool, and we had a great time!


Nothing could have brought me greater joy then seeing these sweet boys SMILING on my birthday!

and, last, but not least...

Between the yummy cupcakes at the park, the volcano cookies from Jaime, dinner at El Tapatilos, and FREE icecream night at Baskin Robbins, the food made my birthday great too!

Friday, April 24, 2009

We made it!!! 13.1 miles!!!!!

So this post is a few weeks late, but Andrew and I accomplished a HUGE goal on April 6th! We finished the Olathe Half Marathon near Kansas City! We don't know of "official" times, as we arrived a few minutes late, and the chips didn't work at the starting line...UGH!... but, we are pretty sure our times were:

Andrew 1:56
Cassie 2:05

We really just had a goal to finish, but we were happy with our times.

Here we are after the run. (thanks for the pictures Jen!)

Here is us with the "happy" family. Cooper has been so cute through our training, and even ran 2 miles with us a few times! He always asks, "How was your run?".  And, "how far'd you run today?" Cutie. Kudos to the boys for spending countless hours in the mother's room at the gym. It is nice cause it is a cardio room divided by a see-through half-wall, so I can watch them. And has a big screen tv and toys. They (and I) have actually made some good friends at the gym! It helps that it is only a mile from our house too.

Here is my running partner, Jen Belardo. She is AMAZING! And I am SO GRATEFUL to have had her to do my "long runs" on Saturdays with. We stuck together the whole race too. She even took a fall at about mile 7, and it didn't even slow her down! We nick-named her "Lacey" cause she tripped on her laces. Really, I would not have been able to do it without a partner, and I couldn't have asked for a better one! Jen is my pace-setter, and has become a really great friend too. 

More details...

I started running in September, when Beckett was about 4 months old. We had just moved here, I had bought new shoes, and was really wanting to get rid of my baby weight! (Which was more than I'd ever gained!) So I started going to the gym. It was hard to be super consistent because I didn't have a plan or goals. Plus, I'd die just going 2.5 miles... and I didn't have motivation to go further or push myself. I decided to look around for a race. I'd never done one before, but knew I could do it if I had enough time to train, a good partner, a training schedule, and especially if I could get Andrew on board too! Reluctantly, Andrew said YES! I don't think either of us had run farther than 5.5 miles (except in a soccer game). But we committed, and we did it! 

Our 12-week training started Jan. 5. A perfect time to start... the new year. I asked some "experts", my sister-in-law, Brooke, and my cousin-in-law, Tiffany, for some tips. They were great to encourage me along the way. Everything was new to us... GU energy shots??? Water belts??? All of it was new to us. But, once we got into the routine, it was invigorating! It was so fun every Saturday to see your body do what you didn't think was possible. It was neat to see the transformation... and especially hear yourself say, "we only have to do 6 miles today". :)

We got a hotel in the city, and it was fun to take the kids to the pool the night before with Olive Garden take-out. Race morning, another dentist in the clinic, Mark, drove up to watch our kids at the hotel and bring them to the finish line. THANKS MARK! We were running a few minutes late, but then GOT LOST trying to find the race because of blocked off roads! Guess we should have done a run through the night before! Anyway, we started about 10 or so minutes late. The one nice thing was we were passing lots of people so we felt fast. :) AND, we even passed the pacer we wanted to stay with originally! The race was way easier than any training run, I'm sure because of the atmosphere and adrenaline. It was amazing to not even feel tired at all until mile 9. Then we tried to run mile 11-13 as fast as we could. It was so fun to see my family at the finish line, and it felt SO good to accomplish our goal!  

Some memories I never want to forget:
  • Andrew was so funny one night. He said, "So I noticed today that I can't feel my stomach jiggle anymore when I run!". :) He is amazing, and I can't believe he did it all without a partner! 
  • The amazing W.O.W. girls! (Women of Warrensburg Walking and Running Club). We meet every Saturday morning at 7am. They are so encouraging and such great friends. 
  • The furthest training run we did was 12.75 miles. We followed a training schedule for first time half marathon runners, and I only missed 1 run (out of 48) the whole time. Thanks for the tip Tiffany! I just kept hearing her advice when I would not want to go, "NEVER miss a run!". 
  • We kept a little better than a 10-minute pace in our training runs, and approx. a 9:54 pace in the race. 
  • Getting excited about new socks and a water belt! :) Feeling silly wearing it... like I should be an expert runner. :) 
  • Running 11 miles on a treadmill because we woke up to heavy snow that day.
  • Driving to Olathe March 27th to pick our our race packet, and having the race POSTPONED because of severe weather! We had to wait another WEEK! Even worse, we ran 9 miles on a treadmill that day and it was horrible mentally cause we should've been running the race! We took the kids to Monsters vs. Aliens that night instead.
  • Not being able to sleep on Friday nights cause I was nervous for the long runs. That wore off after the first few, but came back the night before the race. 
Overall, it was a really neat experience, and neat to have both accomplished that goal together. Andrew said he'd only do it once when we started, and he's already talking about running more. :) We may even do another race as soon as June! 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Summer Buzz

Every year I like to grow my boys hair out a little in the winter... and get a few good spiky hair days in.

But, when the weather starts to warm up, and the sweat heads emerge, it is time to cut it ALL off! It usually seems to happen in May, but this year it had to happen in April!

They love to rub their hands back and forth on their heads saying, "prickly, smooth, prickly, smooth".

Short hair makes Gunner's eyelashes look even longer!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Our family immediately following Church. No time for pictures before 9am church at our house.

Our boys in their Easter outfits.
Cooper (5 yrs. 5 mos.), Gunner (3 yrs. 3 mos), Beckett (11 mos. tomorrow).

Here they are at the community Easter Egg Hunt at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. Eggs laid all over the grass... mad-dash chaos. Lots probably thought I coordinated their orange shirts just to look cute, but I actually did it so I would be able to quickly pick my boys out of the crowd.
We were there with the Bells and Petersons. Shayden was just a few days old in her sling. The boys had fun hunting with Kambree and Zander.

We also got to visit Cooper's preschool for the Easter Party and egg hunt. Gunner loves that he gets to join right in at these parties. It was cute cause Cooper got the same candy in his eggs, so I told him to trade. All of the sudden the "trading" concept clicked with him and a few friends. It was cute seeing them trading away. I love that his preschool is a Catholic Preschool, so they focus on the true meaning of holidays, and teach so many good values.

Of course we had our traditional Easter Family Night, complete with the flannel board story of Easter, and dying Easter Eggs. The boys loved finding their baskets Easter morning. They especially loved helping Beckett find his (under the piano bench). The Bells came over after church for Easter dinner. We did an indoor egg hunt too, as the weather was chilly and wet. Coni Burke (Jaime's Mom), lives with Clif and Jaime right now to help with the new baby and Emberlyn. She joined us for Easter dinner too. She is so sweet with our boys, and has become their adopted Grandma. She is so crafty too, always making cute socks and bibs and such for her grandkids.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What can I say?

Busy. That pretty much sums it up. Get ready for a load of updates. :)

Our BECKETT is growing up! Months 8-10 have been so fun. You now have explored every inch of our house, and are vocal. Just growing up too fast!

These first few pictures (above) you were the lighting tester at a photoshoot for our friends, the Bells. Totally unplanned, but utterly scrumptious pictures!

Some highlights:
  • LOVE water! When you hear the bath turn on, you speed crawl to the bathroom. You love the feel the water come out of the spout. Also love swimming!
  • Are 100% mobile and in to everything! You are now a speed crawler, and pull up to everything. Crawled into the dishwasher. Love the toilets. Infatuated with the power button on the TV. 
  • FIRST WORD: Da-da. (at 9 months) Go figure. Love when dad comes and gets you out of bed in the morning (usually 6:45). And then when you're done nursing in mom's bed, you yell, "DA-DA"! To get him to come and get you. Also say mama... sounds a little more like bma-ma. 
  • Other sounds: clicking tongue, indian sound, "shhh", lip stumming.
  • And yes... you've even started yelling and throwing some fits. You are still a great baby, but I think you just finally figured out you need to speak up a little bit to get what you want. 
  • Your "fits" started about 10 months old after you got sick for the first time. You got the flu in Denver and things just aren't quite as magical. You are still an amazing baby though! We just only go days without hearing you cry instead of weeks! :)
  • No more binkys. Use left thumb to get to sleep. When we walk in your room to put you down, you immediately lay your head on our shoulder and start sucking your thumb. Lucky for us you only do it when you're tired.
  • You are the smallest of our boys at this age, but we did finally move you to a rear-facing toddler car-seat. You may not get to the mandatory 20lbs. by your first birthday, so we'll see how long you have to sit backwards. 
  • Church is a constant battle now that we don't have your infant carrier. You just want to get down and explore, or yell. 
  • Started pointing. And love to use your pointer finger to go up our noses and in our eyes and ears! And pull mom's earrings.
  • Waving. First would open and close your fingers, now you do the full arm wave.
  • Also scrunch your face in a cute smile when you want to flirt.
  • Dancing... favorite song, "If you're happy and you know it". 
  • You no longer like baby food very much, or applesauce (after going through a CASE of jars). Now you prefer to feed yourself, but still only have 2 teeth on the bottom.
  • Yes, you finally got your FIRST TOOTH at 8 months. And still only have the 2 on bottom.
  • You spend your days on-the-go with your older brothers. Wishing you could everything they can do. When you hear them go outside, you crawl to the back door and try and get out. When you hear them turn on the Wii, you crawl over and start playing with the remotes. When you hear them go downstairs to the basement, you crawl to the door and yell to go down.
Although you don't know how to go down stairs yet, you WENT down the stairs once (at 8 months). Yes, the door to the basement was left open, and mom and dad heard what sounded like a bowling ball tumble down the stairs (hard wooden stairs covered in hard plastic). Mom started screaming, before you did. We rushed to the top of the stairs and didn't see you, as you had fallen off the landing too... probably after slamming into the cement wall at the bottom of the stairs, as we found you laying on the cement floor. We took your clothes off, checked your bones, watched for signs of a concussion, iced your poor bruised cheek.... and remarkably your came out of it with just a few small bumps. We felt awful. Sick. But you amazed us once again.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Shayden Jancee Bell

Jaime did such a good job battling different issues with her pregnancy (along with taking care of Emberlyn). I think one of the neatest things, is that it took fertility treatments for them to be able to get Zander, and Emberlyn, but Shayden came on her own timing... and was due so close to Emberlyn's 2nd birthday. She was definitely meant to come when she did, and she is SUCH a cutie! I love that they named her after her older sister. Emberlyn's middle name is Shayde, and then made it into Shayden for her little sister.
I had the AMAZING opportunity to be in the room for Shayden's delivery, and to help take pictures. I just love to see little babies come into this world!
I had so much fun collecting stitched quilt blocks from Jaime's family and friends, and compiling them into this quilt for Jaime and Shayden. We gave it to her at a mini, surprise, baby shower at Cafe Coyote. It is always fun for me to do things for girls, since I don't have any! :) Keva and I, her two sisters, and her mom, were all able to be there to present it. Her mom, Conni, even ironed-on a picture of Emberlyn in the center of a daisy for one of the blocks. Too cute!