Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Mother's Day

Dear kids,

I'm writing this to you now because by the time you're old enough to read it and understand a lot of what it says, you'll have stopped listening to me. It's OK. That's just what happens. You'll start listening to me again someday when you're a little older.

What I want to write about is your Mother. It's Mother's Day right now so I thought it might be good to tell you a few things I think you'll need to know about her. Here goes...

  • She's truly amazing. Let's just start with that. I know it sounds generic but it's true and I honestly can't think of a better way to say it. She's about the only person that can put me at a loss for words. 
  • She's happy. This is more important than you'll know for a long time. But trust me, it's uncommon to find genuinely happy people in life and your mother is one of those rare individuals that is honestly happy. Your goal in life is to become one of these people. Short of that, find people like them and keep them around you. Marry them if you can. It's really wonderful.
  • She never puts the top back on pens or clicks the thing to make the tip of the pen go back in when she's done using them. This isn't crucial information but I thought you should know. Unless one of you inherits this same characteristic, don't worry, we can always blame Mom when our pens run out of ink.
  • She's more thoughtful than I knew a person could be. As an example, one time when your Mom was laid off from a job, she called to tell me the bad news as she was driving away from the office. I asked if she was OK and the first thing out of her mouth, the thing she was most worried about after just losing her job right before having a baby, was whether or not her patients would be transitioned to their new nurse with the care she knew they deserve. Most people have a tendency to look inward, especially in difficult situations, but your Mother has this incredible ability to really think of others before herself in an honest way. 
  • When you need someone to just love you, look to your Mother. There will be no judgment, no pretense, no ulterior motive. She will love you without limits at your highest of highs, lowest of lows and everything in between. 
  • Other than being your Mom, being a nurse is the perfect job for her. Working in cancer research, your Mother is with people in some of their most difficult and emotional times. Believe me, she is exactly who you want by your side when you receive the news her patients do. Her silent strength and compassion will help you get through anything.
  • She remembers every dance, cheer and song she's ever heard or seen. She likes to do them while she's cleaning up after dinner or getting lunch ready or really whenever. But the chances of her dancing and singing increase by 100% when she's around your aunts (200% if they're also at the beach). I tell you this so you can plan accordingly to avoid potentially embarrassing moments in the future. If you don't want your Mom dancing and singing at your sporting events or school plays, don't invite her sisters, and definitely don't hold those events on the beach.
  • Madelyn, as you grow up and are looking for a woman as a role model, look to your Mother. She is the epitome of what a strong, assertive and independent woman is. She's not out picketing somewhere or writing angry feminist manifestos or anything like that because she knows that's not what being a strong woman today actually is. She understands that being a strong woman is really just about being strong. Woman or not, the virtues of honesty, loyalty, compassion, patience and love are what matter and she has them all in abundance. Your Mother cares about these things and is constantly trying to improve herself. She will teach you to be a strong woman as well as an unbelievable Mother. 
  • Patrick, as you're growing up and looking for what qualities make a good wife, look to your Mother. She has an amazing way of making every day special. She is loving, brave, attentive and supportive. She'll call you out when you need to be called out and listen when you need to be listened to. She will support you no matter what. This is exactly the kind of person you should marry. Someone you can love and respect.
Most importantly, your Mother loves you. For as long as I've known her she's dreamed about you and prepared her heart for you, long before you were born. Being a good Mother to you occupies every thought, every action, every decision she makes. She will do anything for you. She'll fight for you, she'll cry with you, she'll buy you a toy literally every time you walk down the toy aisle just to see you smile for a few seconds. Your Mother really just wants to see you be happy and she'll do anything she can to make that a reality. It's a given that you won't always get along. She's going to do things that you don't like to ensure you're safe or happy down the road. Just know that even if she doesn't always agree with you, she is always on your side. Her love will enable you to do amazing things and be the incredible people you are. When you know you have your Mother's love no matter what decision you make, you have a certain freedom that not everyone is lucky enough to experience. You'll take risks, you'll try new things and, most importantly, you'll be yourself. On this Mother's Day and every one going forward, be thankful that your Mom is your Mom. We are blessed to have her in our lives every day.

Love you forever,

Friday, May 11, 2012

Super Fun Run

Patrick and Madelyn participated in their first road race last Saturday called the SuperHero Run (proceeds went to CASA for children). As you can see they were pretty darn excited to wear their super hero gear...

They both got their faces painted, jumped on a bouncy house, munched on complimentary yummy fruit and played with cool light-up bouncy balls that one of the sponsors was giving away.

Come race time, they were ready for some serious running...or at least Patrick was (he's been talking about racing ever since he figured out he has racecars in his bones). Madelyn, however, ran about 4 minutes and then decided Daddy's arms were way more comfortable than pounding the pavement.
Super Hero Streches. Note: Toby cannot touch his toes.
On your mark. Get Set. GO!

I don't think the above pictures do justice to just how happy they were to cross the finish line. All the kids got medals as they finished the race and both Patrick and Madelyn were so proud to wear theirs ALL day long. They pretty much raced everywhere we went that day. Here they are racing to the car when we were leaving (notice Madelyn and her collection of water bottles from the race vendors).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Responsible Homeownership

This counts as watering my lawn, right?

*Thanks to Uncle Jonathan for the slip-n-slide!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Active Adults

Angie and I have always been pretty active together. Angie's actually been that way her whole life. If you can name a sport, chances are she's at least tried it or was on a team and competed in it at some point. She's naturally athletic and pretty quickly grasps any physical activity she's confronted with. I was never that big into team sports when I was younger, unless you count band (don't), but started running somewhere around my senior year of high school and kept up with that or some other type of physical activity since then.

When Angie and I first started dating we would run or hike together a lot. It was great to spend time doing something active in each others' company. When we got married, we started rock climbing all the time. We joined a local indoor gym and would go bouldering at least once a week, if not more. We got pretty good at it and even competed together a few times and took some day trips to go outdoor climbing.

Before Angie turned 30, we decided we wanted to run a half marathon so we started training together every day. I've actually always hated running but it was a great excuse to spend more one-on-one time with Angie and have time to talk with no other real distractions. The same month Ang hit the big 3-0, we ran our first half marathon together.

What we didn't know when we were running that half marathon was that Angie was actually about two weeks pregnant with Patrick. We went to Vegas the next weekend for Angie's work and when we got back, we found out we'd be having a baby the following July.

Since then, our level of exercise hasn't been quite as consistent. We did pretty well after Patrick was born but since having Maddy we haven't been nearly as on the ball. With each child we took the prescribed time off from any physical activity (OK, I know it's only prescribed to Angie but what kind of husband would I be if I didn't suffer along with her? Healthy, you say? Whatever.) and then gave ourselves some time to recover from lack of sleep. Then we were just out of the habit and hadn't quite worked it back into our schedule on a regular basis.

This is not a Where's Waldo. We're not in this picture. Don't bother looking for us.
But this year we decided to be better about it. Both kids sleep and nap great so we really have no excuses any more. One of the things we did to motivate ourselves was sign up for a couple 5Ks. The first one we did was called The Color Run a couple weeks ago. It was for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (which seemed appropriate since we've had to use them a few times this last year :) ) and was unlike any 5K I've seen. At each kilometer there's a "color station" where a group of volunteers throw colored powder on the runners as they run through. By the end of the race everybody's covered in different colored powder. At the finish line, they basically have a big party and everyone gets a plastic bag filled with a different color powder. Every 15 minutes, everybody pops their color bag and the runners all get doused with powder again.

We met up with our friend Natalie, her two sisters and Katie and Brandon. It was really fun and a great first "race" to do to get back into the swing of things. (I only put it in quotes because nobody was actually racing. You'll even notice in the video that we had to walk leading up to the first two color stations because too many people arrived at once.)  It was super laid back and all billion people that showed up were just there to have fun. It was also nice to do something like this with Angie again. We decided not to take the kids and I'm actually glad we made that decision. This was no half marathon but it reminded me of when we were first dating and first married and would do this kind of thing a lot. I'm looking forward to doing more.

Here's a quick video of some of the race. Fun fact: all the video and pictures were taken with our phones and then I actually made the entire video (title, transitions, music and all) directly from my phone. It was the first time I've tried that but it was perfect for a quick video compilation like this.