Friday, April 29, 2011

Questions About Comments

First of all, thankfully our community was spared any tornado damage. We spent 48 hours in and out of the basement, and my children slept down there for two nights. Jimmy and I would join them in the middle of the night when the tornado warning sirens went off, and I kept the TV on our local news channel (when the satellite was working) to receive weather reports all day long Wednesday. Unfortunately, other areas nearby here in both Mississippi and Alabama were hit hard, and the devastation and loss of lives is just terrible. My real life friend Anita's daughter's home was destroyed. Thankfully, she and her husband and three small children were not home! You can visit Anita's blog, Busy Hands, Busy Minds, to read about it. I hope that you will join me in praying for all of those affected.

About the comments. I love it when readers leave comments on my blog! That means that someone is actually reading what I write! I want to respond to your comments, especially if you ask me a specific question, but I am unsure of the best way to do this.

  • Do I visit your blog (if you have one) and answer your question there under your most recent post? What if you don't have a blog, and you just have a Google ID so that you can comment on blogs?
  • Do I answer your question in my own comment section, just underneath your question? If you comment on a blog and ask the writer a question, do you visit their blog later on to see if your question was answered?
Please leave me a comment and advise me the best way to comment about comments!

Thank you!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More About My Bread Baking

Well, after ten years of homeschooling, I have finally arrived! I am grinding my own wheat!
Just called me Ma Ingalls! Except that Ma did not have electricity, so I am not sure how she ground her wheat.

Since I have become a serious bread baker (meaning that I am trying to bake bread twice a week so that I don't have to buy bread at the grocery store), I consulted with all of my bread-making friends, and it seems that I was the only one who was kneading the dough by hand for 30 minutes. Also, I was almost the only one who was not grinding my own wheat! What do all of these ladies do?

Mix and knead their dough in a Bosch mixer and grind their wheat berries with a Nutrimill.

I mentioned to Jimmy (ok, I sent him an email with links to where you could purchase these products) that for our upcoming twentieth year wedding anniversary (June 22), or for Mother's Day/my birthday/Christmas, I would love to have these two machines to make my bread making so much easier.

My early presents arrived a couple of weeks ago!

mixer and grinder

the mixer

It was like Christmas morning when I opened those boxes! I was so excited! For my first batch of bread using my new Bosch, I tried my friend Heather's bread recipe. It is absolutely delicious! I asked her if I could publish her recipe here on my blog, and she agreed.

Heather's Delicious Bread

4 cups hot water
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup honey
2 eggs
4 cups flour

Combine the above ingredients in the Bosch on speed 1. (Or mix by hand in a large bowl.)

2 Tbs. + 1 tsp. yeast
1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. salt

Set your kitchen timer for 10 minutes and turn the mixer on speed 1. Begin adding flour (about 6-8 more cups, I have ended up adding 9 more cups every time), and keep adding until the dough has pulled away from the edges of the mixing bowl and is forming a lump in the middle. (By hand, just mix in as much of the remaining flour as you can, reserving 1-2 cups to be used to work in while kneading by hand--you have to knead it for 30 minutes if kneading by hand).
Once the flour is all mixed in, and the dough is pulled away from the sides, let the mixer continue until the 10 minutes is up.

Remove dough hook and cover with towel. (If kneading by hand, put dough in a greased bowl). Cover, and set in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes.

This is what my dough looks like after rising for 45 minutes.

This is where I put my dough to rise on cool, cloudy days--in front of my gas fireplace. On cold days, when the heat is on, I close the door to my small schoolroom bathroom and put the dough in there. On hot, sunny days, I put the dough in front of my sunny bedroom window.

This is what Sam did during my first baking session using the Bosch.

After the dough as risen for 45 minutes, punch it down and divide it into 4 pieces. Each piece can be shaped into a loaf, 8 mini loaves, 12 rolls, 8 hamburger buns, 1 pizza crust, or 1 pan of cinnamon rolls.
Put dough into desired greased pans, cover, and let rise again for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake bread for 30 minutes for loaves, I bake my set of 8 mini loaves for 20 minutes. A pizza crust will take less time also.

Let cool on wire racks. Slice and enjoy!

cooling bread

a sliced mini loaf, ready to be eaten with butter!

About the Nutrimill--I haven't actually used it yet. I still had two bags of whole wheat flour that I needed to use, and I had to purchase some wheat berries to grind. Jimmy bought me a 45 pound pail of hard white wheat at a local agriculture store, and I am waiting for my gamma lid (the lid to put on the bucket of wheat berries after you open it) to arrive--so we can open the bucket of wheat! I have enough ground wheat flour left to make one more recipe of bread, so we will be opening the wheat berries this weekend. I can't wait to grind it!

Using the Bosch is so much easier than doing it all by hand, and it makes so much less of a mess! I love this new mixer!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our Week So Far

First of all, I am always so glad when Megan attends our family events, because she blogs all about the event before I have time to, and then I don't have to! So please click here to read all about the Johnson Easter Egg Hunt.

Insanity Update: I did day 4 yesterday, Cardio Recovery, and that is my favorite workout so far. No jumping! It was just stretching, squats, and lunges. Today I did day 5, and it was called Pure Cardio. Brutal. I felt like I had just run a race a full speed! So after 5 days, I am now convinced that I am going to stick with Insanity for the next couple of months.

Bread Update: I have been wanting to blog about my newest homemade bread recipe and my new bread making equipment for over a week now. I plan to get to that really soon. The recipe is delicious!

Weather Update: We have been plagued with storms off and on for over a week. Last week we had hailstorms twice in one day, tornado warnings, and severe thunderstorms. The children have slept in the basement twice in the last week because of the storms, including last night. Jimmy and I joined them down there last night for about 2o minutes while the worst of the storm passed through. We were awakened by the tornado siren around 12:45 AM. The weather calmed down around 1:45, so it was probably 2 AM before we went back to sleep. We are expecting more bad weather this afternoon, and I think tomorrow too. I am so grateful that we have a basement. No matter how loud the wind is howling, when we are in our schoolroom with the door shut, we cannot hear a thing!

School Update: We are still working very hard! The girls have both finished module 13 in their Apologia science courses, and I think that Clay has only one more chapter in his Apologia Elementary science book. I have been reading extra in our Sonlight read alludes (up to 3 or 4 hours on some days, total), and I have also chosen 3 books to skip completely. This will allow us to finish up our cores before August 31st. I really hope we are done with all school by the middle of July so I will have time to organize the upcoming school year. I want to begin our next school year in August. I ordered our Sonlight books for next year last week. I went ahead and ordered them because I had a 10% discount that expired April 22. I may have to hide the books when they arrive this week, or the girls will have them all read by the end of May!

Bible Study Update: I am still studying the book of James. I am considering memorizing the entire first chapter. I am currently working on verses 1-3.

Spring Cleaning Update: None! I have good intentions of doing some major spring cleaning, but haven't found the time to do it yet. I'll blog about my plan when I actually make it!

Monday, April 25, 2011

More of Olivia's 16th Birthday

Julie wanted to make Olivia something special to give her for her birthday. She had received a sewing book for Christmas that included patterns and instructions for making a dress. She asked me to help her make Olivia a dress for her birthday. We began in January! About once every week or two we would meet in our sewing room, close the door, set the timer for one hour, and get to work. I have found that sewing in one hour increments is a good idea. Any shorter than that does not allow enough time to make much progress, and any longer just leads to tiredness and frustration (since I am not an expert seamstress). So, we made the dress--one hour at a time. I lost count at how many sewing sessions we had, but I am thinking at least six.

Julie was so proud and happy to give Olivia her labor of love!

Olivia modeling the dress

Leah, Me, Sam, and Clay, all watching Olivia open her presents.
Yes, that is a pacifier in Sam's mouth!

Clay worked hard on a handmade gift for Olivia too. He carved a spoon out of cedar wood from our yard. Leah and Sam made Olivia cards, and Leah spent some of her own money to buy Olivia some felt.

Holding the spoon that Clay crafted

Most of Olivia's gifts had a craft theme--that girl loves handwork! She got yarn, felt, crochet and felt instruction books, and a couple of other fiction books. We also gave her 9 yards of fabric so that she could make an Indian sari! She has been asking for this for some time now.

one of the crocheting books

a bag full of yarn and the sari fabric

Olivia with her birthday cake

It was a great day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nehemiah Run For Missions 5K

Last Saturday, Olivia and Julie joined some of their Spartan teammates to run the Nehemiah Run For Missions 5K in Pontotoc. The weather was almost perfect for a race....the temperature was nice and cool, it was just windy. Jimmy was on call last weekend, so he couldn't run, and Clay had gone camping and fishing with Kelly and his three sons. Leah, Sam, and I watched and cheered everyone on.

the Spartan runners before the race

Sam climbing a tree during the race

Leah and Sam trying to stay warm during the awards ceremony

Julie and Sam: Overall Male and Female Winners

Olivia with her 1st Place in Age Group medal

I am always proud of my children when they run a race, just for the fact that they are in shape and are able to compete. They put in many, many hours of running and strength training. They try to eat healthy, and they set goals for themselves. Jimmy and I try not to put any pressure on them--we just want them to enjoy the sport for their lifetime. Sometimes after races there are tears of disappointment, and sometimes they are excited about reaching a personal goal. After this race, Olivia was all smiles! She had met a personal goal, and she was so happy about it!

Our family is participating in a few upcoming local races: The Children's Mansion 5K, The Coca-Cola 10K (a favorite....the race director is my marathon Koach!), and the Gumtree 10K (right here in Tupelo). Of those races, I am only running the Coke 10K, and then I plan to run the 1 mile fun run at the Gumtree with Leah and maybe Sam if he wants to. Leah has set the goal of running her first 5K this summer. I am thinking that she will be ready for a June race. Currently she has built up to running 2 miles. I am looking forward to running races with her....until she gets so fast that I cannot keep up with her.....then I can run with Sam!

Happy Running!

One More Insanity Post

I promise not to blog every time I do an Insanity workout! But if you are wavering about trying a new exercise program, I want to encourage you. Try it! After all of the agony I went through last Monday, I still say, "Try it!".

I did Day 3 of Insanity yesterday morning, and just like the 2nd workout, it really wasn't that bad. Of course I could not keep up with Shaun T. and the other people, but I still got a great workout. Just like on Day 2, by the time he got to the 3rd set of intervals, I could barely even do the exercise. I just modified it the best I could.

My soreness has greatly improved. I am barely even sore now! But, last night my right knee all of a sudden began throbbing. Going down stairs was very painful.....maybe it was the yard work I did late in the afternoon. I did a lot of bending and squatting while pulling weeds and trimming bushes. I also had to take the full wheelbarrow down a very steep hill to dump it.....I am hoping it was the yard work and not the workouts that hurt my knee. It feels better this morning, but the real test will be when I run my last 3 miles for the week in a little while.

Thursday afternoon I ran 3 miles and felt great. Leah and Avery (Lynn's daughter) ran the first 2 with Lynn and me, and then Lynn and I finished up the run alone. I have missed running with her! As we rebuild our total mileage we will eventually get back to meeting for a weekly long run. I am looking forward to that. Running has more benefits than just physical.

How is your exercising going? Are you trying something new? I want to encourage you to do something! If you don't know where to begin, put on some athletic shoes and walk for 3o minutes a day.

Happy Exercising!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Insanity Day 2

Ok, I know I said that I WAS NOT going to try another Insanity workout, but after encouragement from several different people, (and the fact that I was less sore today after completely resting from all exercise yesterday, and also I ran three miles this morning pain free) I decided to try one more workout.

I just completed Day 2. It actually was not as bad as the Fit Test, although it was about 15 minutes longer. It mixed circuit cardio with stretching, so that made it bearable. I did the first two rotations pretty well (a whole lot slower than the people on the video, but I could actually do the exercises). The last rotation was pretty much impossible. I just did the best I could, probably doing 1 rep for their every 5 reps! Yes, it was that hard!

I'll see if I can walk tomorrow! My fitness friends convinced me that strengthening my core muscles and improving my flexibility will benefit my running, so I am going to continue to TRY the Insanity workouts 3 days a week.

I may quit again tomorrow when I see how I feel! I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Olivia!

Today is Olivia's 16th Birthday!!

She has had a fabulous day---opening gifts, sewing, reading new books, eating a yummy lunch, getting her nails done, and climbing a tree!

Olivia in the tree

Can you see how high up she is?

We are having deeply chocolate almond cake with chocolate almond cream cheese frosting in just a few minutes! Yummy!

I can't believe that my oldest child is 16. Where does the time go? Just yesterday she was a newborn, and I was a brand new mother. Olivia has always been such a joy to both Jimmy and me. She is so kind and compassionate, and she is beautiful on the inside! I am blessed to be her mother.

Happy Birthday Olivia!

Insanity Day 1

This picture of our barn has nothing to do with this post, but I wanted to share it anyway!
Our dogwoods have been so pretty this spring.

Insanity + Running = Torture

I barely survived Day 1 of Insanity--the Fitness Test. The workout lasted only 32 minutes, but it was TOUGH! My three oldest children watched me try to keep up with Sean T. I was glad to provide them with such comical entertainment at 6:30 in the morning!

This workout consisted of a series of exercises performed for one minute, counting how many you could do in that one minutes. There was also a warm-up, stretching session, and cool-down. After I was finished, I could hardly walk! I continued to be super sore all day, and I had a difficult time going up and down our stairs.

Then I ran.

My legs felt like 100 pound weights. I ran two miles with Leah, and thankfully she needed frequent walk breaks. I ran one more mile alone to have 3 miles in all, and it was PAINFUL. Those three miles were as bad as the last three of my marathon. Really. When I got home, and I climbed the stairs from the garage to the kitchen, I was ready to cry. My legs hurt that bad! And they hurt in places that never hurt after my long runs.

I consulted my friend who had done both Insanity and continued to run. She reported that she was extremely sore for 2-3 weeks! And that her legs felt like lead while running, and that it was a struggle to run at first. So, my soreness and fatigue were normal.....but I began to question myself. Do I really even want to torture myself this way? Last week when I totally rested from running after the marathon, and the week before when I ran very little before the marathon, I felt so good. I was not tired all of the time. Yesterday that familiar feeling of fatigue accompanied me all day, and every time I moved, something hurt. Why am I doing this?

After discussing all of this with Jimmy last night, he asked me what my fitness goals were. Here they are:

1. Maintain my current size.
2. Keep up my weekly running mileage so that I can run a half-marathon whenever I want.
3. Train for the St. Jude Marathon beginning in late August.
4. Run the St. Jude Marathon in under 5 hours. I would be thrilled with a time of 4:59.
5. Run a 10K in under 55 minutes. (not going to happen this May!)

Does Insanity help me to achieve any of these goals? Probably not. Insanity is an extreme workout. Super-charged aerobics. Lots of jumps and squats. It is a great workout, and if you follow it, you WILL be in great shape. But I think I am just going to stick with running. I really don't want to be sore for three weeks, and I am really afraid that I may end up injuring myself. Like Jimmy said, I AM 41! And I haven't done aerobics in about 18 years! My muscles are specifically trained right now to run, and I am just going to keep in shape by running.

So now I am going to rest from running until my muscles are no longer sore. I am hoping to be able to run by Thursday or Friday. Then I will finish my 12 miles for this week and run 14 the next.

So that's my one and only Insanity report!

Monday, April 18, 2011

This Week's Menu

Here are this week's meals. I am still trying to prepare healthy, low calorie suppers each night.

  • Take out pizza (one slice of thin, pepperoni is 150 calories)
  • linguini with red pepper sauce, salad, homemade bread
  • shrimp and veggie stir fry, brown rice
  • asparagus pasta, salad, homemade bread
  • meatloaf, homemade macaroni and cheese, peas
  • red beans and rice (I bought a small amount of turkey sausage to use in this)
  • grilled chicken, roasted new potatoes, green beans, corn
Shrimp and Veggie Stir Fry

1 bag frozen shrimp (I get the kind that are peeled and deveined. I just have to thaw and pull the tails off--they are also already cooked)
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. chopped garlic (the refrigerated kind)
1 Tbs. sesame seeds
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 pound sugar snap peas
3 Tbs. soy sauce
1/8 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt
cooked brown rice (I just make the whole bag at a time, and we eat it with various meals until it's gone.)

Saute red pepper and onion in olive oil until tender. Add garlic, all spices, soy sauce, and sugar snap peas. While this is cooking, prepare shrimp (thaw under running water and pull off the tails). Add shrimp and cook until heated through. Whisk cornstarch into broth, and then add to the mixture. Bring to a boil, and then turn heat down and simmer for a few minutes. Serve over hot rice.

I didn't compute the exact calories, but a reasonable sized portion served over 1/2 cup of brown rice should be about 200-250 calories.

Please visit for more menu inspiration and recipes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Week of No Running

For the first time in probably almost three years, I have taken 7 days off from running. I have rested from running four to six days after various half marathons or maybe during a vacation, but I can't remember the last time I went seven days without running.

My body enjoyed the rest.

It took until last Thursday for my marathon soreness to be completely gone. I can now get out of bed and go both up and down stairs with ease. Nothing hurts! I am all rested and ready to go!

So here is my current fitness plan. Beginning tomorrow, I plan to slowly rebuild my mileage base. I will run a total of 12 miles this week. Three miles a day, four days this week. Next week, I will run a total of 14 miles, and then 15, then 16, and so on, adding one or two miles each week to my total until I reach 30 miles a week by the week of August 1. Then I plan to hold at 30 miles a week for the month of August, and if I am feeling good, and if Lynn agrees to train with me, we are going to begin our 14 week marathon training plan again! Yes! I think we are going to do the St. Jude Marathon on December 3.

In addition to rebuilding my running miles, I am going to try something new beginning tomorrow.


The set of exercise DVDs called Insanity, not actually losing my mind (I have already done that!). I previewed some of them yesterday, and I am not confident that I can even complete the Fitness Test, but I am going to try! The workouts are insane! I am not going to do the program exactly like prescribed--you are supposed to do the workouts 6 days a week for 60 days--I am going to just work through them in order, but three days a week. Now this is still just a plan, because I have not actually done a workout, but I plan to do Insanity and run on two days a week, run only two days, and do Insanity only one day--to give me a total of 5 days of exercise a week. A really fit friend of mine had success combining Insanity and running in a program similar to this, and so I am going to try it. I'll post in a week how it has gone...or if it has gone.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Coupon Update

When I went to Kroger earlier this week to buy groceries, I had an unpleasant surprise. The cash register rejected two of my manufacture coupons! And then Robert the cashier (formally one of my favorite bag boys--he got a promotion) explained Kroger's new policy to me.

Kroger no longer accepts duplicate coupons (one digital and one manufacture) for the same item.

And to make it worse, the register accepts the digital one first, and then rejects your paper coupon. So this is what happened in my case. I bought a bottle of shampoo and a can of hairspray (the same brand). The digital coupon was $.50 off one item (either the shampoo or the hairspray). My paper coupons were $.50 off one item (which is doubled to $1 off) and a Buy One, Get One Free for the shampoo/hairspray. So I had planned on getting the two products for about $.50 each. So since the digital coupon was accepted and not the two paper ones, I only saved $.50 off the two products.

It happened again on another product as well. I asked Robert why. He said that he thinks they are trying to discourage coupon using!

Well, they have discouraged me.

I spend about 2 hours each week going through the newspaper, clipping coupons, and then loading the digital coupons onto my shopping card as well. I do have the Kroger app on my iPhone, so loading the digital coupons is fairly simple, but it does take some time. For my two hours of work, I usually save an average of $20. Since I can no longer "stack" the coupons, my savings will be drastically reduced. Most of my coupons are for health and beauty items, household cleaners and soaps, and Cheerios. I am thinking that with the new way Kroger is doing the coupons, I could actually spend less money (and way less time) by going back to my old way of shopping once a month at Walmart/Sam's for my non-food items.

I plan to buy my weekly groceries at Kroger tomorrow afternoon. I am only buying food items at Kroger tomorrow. I am going to take inventory of all of my non-food supplies here at home, and begin making a monthly Walmart list to begin using in May.

Have their been coupon changes in your area?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Andrew Jackson Marathon

The afternoon before the marathon, we travelled to Jackson, Tennessee. Our first stop was Target (when you live in a town without a Target, you visit Target whenever you have an opportunity) where we met Lynn and Kelly. We did a little bit of shopping while Jimmy and Kelly enjoyed a Starbucks.

Next we visited a childhood friend of Jimmy's, Christian. She invited us to her lovely home for a short visit. Christian is a runner too, and she is currently training for the Nashville Half Marathon. I first met Christian when she ran the Florence Half Marathon with us last fall. Christian graciously drove the course and figured out the best place to meet us with refreshments--mile 22. She planned to bring us ice cold bottled water and orange slices.

After that fun visit we headed over to some more friends of Jimmy's from many years ago--Kelly and Danny. At Kelly's and Danny's we met up with Lynn and Kelly again, as well as Amber and Yonea (our other running buddies) and Yonea's daughter, Mary. Kelly's and Danny's daughter Taylor, her friend Blake, and Kelly's parents all joined us for a delicious pasta, salad, and bread dinner. It was the perfect pre-marathon meal. Kelly also provided a fabulous dessert buffet! I enjoyed chocolate peanut butter cheesecake.

After dinner we all headed to our hotel rooms to try to get some rest. I hardly slept at all! I tossed and turned all night until the alarm finally went off at 5:00 AM. We all got dressed, pinned on our numbers, tried to eat a little bit of breakfast (I was just too nervous to eat!), and then headed over to the race start. We met Kelly and Lynn there around 6:20, and surprise, surprise!

Our marathon Koach, Mr. Kenneth was there!

Koach decided to drive up to our marathon to run his Boston Marathon 17 mile training run and offer us some encouragement before we began. We were thrilled to see him!
Me, Koach, and Lynn
Do we look nervous?

Lynn and Kelly

Me and Jimmy

Julie (ran the 5K), Me, Jimmy, and Olivia (ran the half marathon with Yonea to keep her company)

Before we knew it, it was almost 7:00 AM, time to begin the race. It was surreal. All of that training, all of those long, long runs, finally put to the test.

The siren sounded (or the gun shot, or the man said "Go", I can't remember which) and we were OFF!

The first 15 miles were pretty uneventful. We were running our normal training pace, around a 10:30 or so, but it did seem to require more effort than usual to keep this pace. It was more difficult than it was back home to talk to Lynn while running. We both agreed that the HEAT definitely made the difference. The starting temperature was 74 degrees, and I am extremely unhappy to report that it steadily climbed to 87 by the finish. Fortunately the wind was blowing frequently, even gusting at times, and that really was a blessing. I think that wind kept us from having a heat stroke! At the halfway point of 13.1 miles, our time was 2 hours, 28 minutes. We were on track to finish in under 5 hours (our original goal).

We each took a packet of gu at miles 4, 8, and 12, along with water and gatorade at miles 2,4,6,8,10, and 12. By mile 14 I was feeling full and yukky....I decided to not take anymore gu for several miles. Lynn and Kelly had set out Powerade and Gatorade Pre-game fuel packs at miles 15, 17, 19, and 21. So we were getting fluids at every mile beginning at mile 14. We knew we needed the fluids, but we were both beginning to feel sickly. It was the heat. That sun was glaring down on us! The clouds were nonexistent, and the occasional trees that offered shade were very few and very far between.

Shortly after mile 16, Lynn wilted. I cannot tell you how brutal that sun was! She was dizzy and feeling very, very bad. We slowed down, we walked, we stopped. She had experienced dizziness one time before, last summer during an 8 mile run in the heat. I asked her how she got over it that time, and she replied that she stopped at a gas station, hung out in the ice cold walk-in drink cooler for a while, ate a candy bar, and drank a cold Gatorade. Well, I assessed the situation, and quickly realized we had nothing like that at all in our resources! Panic! We slowly made our way to our next drink stop at mile 17 with me running on the sunnier side, to try to give her any relief from the sun. She felt a little better, and then the dizziness would return. I didn't think things could get worse....

And then I fell!

This is an open course (which means they don't close the racing roads to traffic), and cars were coming in both directions. I turned to see where Kelly was pointing to where he had hidden the Powerade, and then twisted my ankle while stepping off the side of the road. I fell, catching myself with both hands and one knee. It hurt! My knee was bleeding, I began crying, Lynn was already on the verge of crying, and we just both completely fell apart. A car, whose riders had seen me fall, stopped and offered me an ice cold wet sponge. I cleaned my knee, leg, and hands, and we were on our way.

From mile 17 to 18, things gradually improved. Lynn slowly got to feeling better, and I kept up a continual pep talk. We pulled ourselves together! We had another mini breakdown while talking to the nice Chi Omega girls at the water stop at mile 18. We shared with them how badly Lynn felt, and they noticed that I had fallen. We just rested there a minute or two, pulled ourselves together again, and continued on. 8 more miles.

We now realized that finishing our first marathon in under 5 hours was not going to happen, and we were in survival mode. It was so hot!

Between miles 18 and 22, the running was ok. Not great, not excruciating, but ok. We walked frequently, and ate a lot of oranges. I never was able to take another gu, and by the end of the race I was convinced that I would never eat another gu or orange or drink any kind or sports drink ever again! I knew that Christian would be at mile 22 with that cold water, and Lynn and I both looked forward to seeing her.

Here we are, approaching mile 22 where Christian is. I told Lynn to SMILE, fake a smile, because Christian had a camera!
That car did not run over us!

We stopped briefly to pose for a picture for Christian.
I know we look happy and normal, but let me tell you, it all fell apart again shortly after this picture.

Mile 23, mile 24. Awful. We had only run up to 22 miles in our training, and so we were in unchartered territory. Some of this part of the run was mental, but most of it was THE HEAT! It was hot. I no longer had the energy to hold my water bottle, so I tossed it. We began to get delirious! When we are running here at home, we frequently comment on the different pretty (and sometimes not so pretty) yards and home decor that we see. It's a fun distraction for us. So I tried to distract us by talking about the yards and the colors of shutters that we were passing. It didn't work. We were beyond miserable. We couldn't decide which hurt worse--to run or to walk. So we just alternated, either walking or running to a certain landmark. ("Let's run to that blue house. Let's walk until that curve in the road." Etc.)

It was hot!
We were losing our minds!
We discussed which was harder--childbirth? or these last few miles?

And then a zippy little convertible sports car whizzed past and the driver yelled at us! It was Kelly (our hostess) and Jimmy! With drinks! (Which I was too icky to even drink). Jimmy got out to run the last 2 miles with us. Poor thing, he had had a miserable race himself, and really wasn't in any shape to run (or really hobble and walk) the last two miles with us, but he did. I was so glad to see him!

Those last two miles were really a blur, but I think Lynn must have gotten her second wind or either she was just desperate to finish, but I could not keep up with her! I stayed a few feet behind her and could not catch up. Finally, we were on the campus of Union University, where the race began and mercifully ended. It was about 3 tenths of a mile before we would see the spectators (or really just people that we knew), so we told Jimmy that we wanted to walk until we could see everyone (or they could see us!), and then we would run the rest of the way in.

Here we are running now that we are approaching the finish line!

Getting closer!
Faking smiles for the cameras!

Almost there!
Our dear friends and family were cheering us on!
Taking our pictures!
My girls (with Koach's help) had made us a fantastic banner that everyone had signed!
Can you see it to the right--it's a coke (how fitting) banner.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
The Finish Line!

Official Time:
5 hours, 15 minutes

We were done! We survived! We both broke down and sobbed! We made it!
I just sat down on the pavement and took off my shoes. I have never been so hot in my entire life. 5 hours, 15 minutes in the baking sun.

I have a sunburn, a skinned knee, and muscles that are sore beyond belief!!

But, I am very, very proud!

Here we are with our precious shirts that Olivia and Julie made us.

Lynn, Kelly, Jimmy, and I all had a post-race massage (wonderful), and then we devoured our post-race meal. I had a bacon cheeseburger, fries, coke, and a chocolate milkshake. Yummy!

I still can't believe that I ran a marathon. And it is kind of like childbirth---when it's all over, you forget (most) of the pain. Well, I can still remember it, but it wasn't so bad that I am saying that I will NEVER do another marathon.

We'll see.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My First Marathon

Yes, I survived the marathon.

No, a 4 was not in my finishing time.

All in all it was a fabulous weekend, and I intend to blog all about it either later tonight or sometime tomorrow.

I am still exhausted, and I am having a hard time getting around!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pre-marathon Jitters!

Yes I have them, so I am going to blog about it.

I am very nervous!

I couldn't sleep very well last night, and two nights before the race is the night you are supposed to get good sleep! I hope that I sleep better tonight....we'll see since I'll be in a hotel.

I have been carb loading for three days now--eating small amounts of mostly good carbs throughout the day. I have also been drinking tons of water. Tons! I am counting on this reserve of carbs and hydration to carry me through the marathon tomorrow because....

It is supposed to get up to 88 degrees!!

That is my biggest concern. My marathon running buddy, Lynn, just texted me while I am typing this to inform me that tomorrow's temperature is predicted to be a record high. Well, that's just great! Our marathon Koach told us to adjust our time goal expectation. That means that the race is going to take us much longer to complete than we expected. Lynn and I had set a goal of under 5 hours. We just wanted a 4 in front of our time. Now, we have adjusted our time goal expectation to just finishing! I feel especially bad for Jimmy. This is his 5th marathon, and he has been training super hard in order to set a personal record. I am afraid that he may have to adjust his time goal expectation too.

Aunt Megan and Uncle Russ are coming to babysit the children that are not going. Olivia and Julie are going with Jimmy and me. Olivia is running the half-marathon with my friend Yonea to keep her company, and Julie is running the 5K. Clay, Leah, and Sam are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Aunt Megan today.

We plan to leave early enough to drive the race course and set out some gatorade. Then we are eating a pasta dinner with some old friends. It should be a fun day! I hope my nerves survive!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kool Aid Playdough

I have been trying to do at least one "art or craftsy" thing with Leah and Sam each week. Of course all five of the children want to participate, and that is fine! This week, we made homemade Kool Aid Playdough.

Here is the recipe:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
2 Tbs. oil
1 package unsweetened Kool Aid
1 cup boiling water.

Mix all ingredients except the water in a bowl. I made three batches: one red, one blue, and one yellow. I bought lemonade Kool Aid for the yellow, but it turned out to be a yukky color. So we added a package of orange. Microwave the 1 cup water until it is boiling, and then add it to the mixture. Stir until combined, and then knead it as soon as it is cool enough to do so. This dough is not sticky, and is really easy to knead.

The Red

The Yellow

The Blue

Julie divided each color of dough into five balls, one ball for each child.

Each child got a ball of red, yellow, and blue.

Then they divided their balls into three smaller balls, and mixed red and yellow to make orange, red and blue to make purple, and yellow and blue to make green.
Leah with her dough

The finished product!

Colorful balls

A rainbow of colored playdough.

When the children were through playing, we put all of the balls of each color into separate zip-lock bags. I am not sure how long this playdough will last--but I plan to get it out a couple of times a week. The next time they play with it, I plan to give them cookie cutters.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Recent Happenings at Our House

  1. Olivia got her driver's license permit! She has been studying the rule book for some time now, and last Wednesday night she decided that she would like to go take her test the next day! Of course it was an ordeal--gathering all of the necessary paperwork and having everything notarized, but finally we arrived at the license place. We waited about and hour and a half. She passed her eye exam, and then we waited some more. Next, she took the actual written test on the computer, and........she passed! We waited some more. The man took her picture. We waited some more. Then the permit was ready! Hooray. Next task: learn to actually drive.
  2. Jimmy took Olivia for her very first driving lesson Sunday afternoon. He began by pointing out which pedal was the gas and which one was the break.
  3. I planned the next 6 weeks of school for the children (which is just making their daily checklists), and I realized that yes, we are doing school all summer! Mostly we will be finishing our Sonlight readings all summer. But that is ok, because I read aloud to the children year round anyway.
  4. I am caught up on laundry. For now.
  5. I sewed for one hour with Julie Sunday afternoon. Julie is making a present for Olivia's upcoming birthday. We have spent three separate one hour sewing sessions working on her gift so far. I think one more session, or maybe two will finish it up.
  6. Leah had a fever and sore throat for 24 hours, but now she seems better, and no one else is sick. Yet.
  7. This morning is my last run before the marathon Saturday! I check the weather forecast at least 12 times a day. It is now showing a high of 82 and 30% chance rain/thunderstorms. Panic! We have not run in the heat at all! The rain could actually be a blessing. Not lightning, just a slow, steady, cooling rain.
  8. Olivia cooked supper last night all by herself. That may have been a first. Olivia has many, many talents, but Julie is usually my kitchen helper. Olivia offered to cook while I was running, and when I was through, supper was ready!
  9. We started reading two new books this week: Around the World in 80 Days, and Daughter of the Mountains. We began a biography of William Carey last week too.
  10. I have read about one-third of Large Family Logistics, and two pages of Little Women.
To read other Top Ten lists, please visit OhAmanda.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Homeschooling Hints

Today I have a post over at The Homeschool Classroom. It lists 10 ways to make your homeschool day run more smoothly. Click here to read the post.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

I Survived the Marathon Training!

Lynn, my faithful running partner!

This morning Lynn and I finished our last long run (15 miles) before the marathon, which is one week from tomorrow!

We have had a few people join us for our long and medium runs throughout our training--Lynn's husband Kelly, friends Yonea and Amber, and today Olivia (who ran 10 of the 15 with us), but Lynn and I have done every step of every long run together. We have followed the same exact marathon training plan that totaled 480 miles in 13 weeks. Well, we ran almost the exact amount of miles..... In week five of our training I battled severe knee pain, and I skipped one of our four mile runs. I have run a total of 1.5 miles extra over the 13 weeks, so my actual total is 477.5 miles in 13 weeks. Lynn ran all 480 of those miles!

Now we rest. And eat lots of good carbs beginning Wednesday. We do have a four mile run Monday and a three mile run on Tuesday, but after that, REST. And snack.

I cannot believe we survived the training. To look at the 13 week plan back in January was overwhelming. In fact, we would not even look at the weeks ahead, just the week we were on. We have run every single long run except for one in gloves and multiple layers of clothes. It has been COLD here in Mississippi at 6 AM. I have checked and rechecked the 10 day forecast for Jackson, TN, and the high on race day is predicted to be 74. We have not run in that hot of weather. We are nervous about that, but are hoping for the best.

I am so excited!!!!