Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Feelings of inadequacy, that's what I'm full of.  Inadequate to convey all of the feelings, the emotions, the love I felt this past weekend.  My family drove down to Haleyville, AL to participate in the Mark A Forester, Price of Freedom Race.  I was able to walk the 31 mile ruck in honor of Mark's 31st birthday on May 15th.  I was one of the hardest, yet most rewarding experiences of my life. We met up with Chris and Caroline Sprayberry, some friends from Tuscaloosa, and after a late dinner, and (trying to sleep with Isabel waking up at 4 am telling me she was ready for her pancake breakfast.... ) I met up with Chris and his brother Chad to drive over to the High School.  We registered and met up with Thad, it was so great to see him, and waited the last few minutes for the walk to begin at 6am.  The first stop was at Mark's grave.  His commander Lt Col. Parkes Hughes said a few inspiring words and led us in memorial pushups.  I was right next to Thad for them and I about lost it.  I miss Mark, I cherish the times I spent with the boys in Tuscaloosa my last two years there.  I still feel full of un-shed tears, unshared grief for his loss.  I am so proud of him, so honored to have known him and I am better for it. 
Welcome sign as we drove in on Friday night.

One hero honoring another.

There are 12 of these sign, I wanted to cry every time I saw one.

Mark's best friend, Rob, and his father Tony.  Rob went back after her finished the walk and walked the last 2 miles with his dad.

Oh a happy funny note.. The three of us (Chris, Chad and myself) were in the front of the group for the first 2 sections (Chris stayed up longer) and we were busting out sub 15 min miles... it was CRAZY fast especially when you take in to account the hills.  If you have never been. North Alabama is much hillier then you would initially think.  By the time we hit mile 16 ish.. my feet hurt.  But after awhile I realized they would hurt whether I walked or ran so I (along with most all the 65+ walkers) ran down the hills. 
I would come to realize later that maybe that wasn't' the best idea I have ever had.  The bruising and swelling was fantastic in me feet. 
Chris and Chad, my walking buddies (we were missing Aubrey in this picture)
This sign made me laugh.  I will always remember Mark saying "Giddy Up"

The fourth leg of the ruck, I had a second wind, probably because I knew my kids and husband were going to be there waiting for me.  It was so fun to see family and get re-energized for the last leg.  I ran into a lot of wonderful people I knew from way back when and I finally had a chance to meet Thad and Mark's parents.  Such special people they are.  I was introduced to Pat Forester by her friend who also taught Thad in primary and Mark in seminary.  We walked the last 2 miles or so of the fourth leg.  It was wonderful to visit with her.
We had an extra walker try and come with us.  I love the face of the girl next to me.

Thad getting the baton, with Mark's name and dates of the walks, from his dad.

Walking up to the Forester home at the last stop
My littlest supporter at stop 4.
Isabel (and John Even, one of my walking buddies' child) cheering on everyone who reached stop 4.

To finish this ruck was awesome.  I had some great comic relief with my walking buddies, especially the last mile or so, we were getting slap happy, Aubrey was also with us most of the way but he thought we were crazy to run as often as we did. :)  Once I heard we were ending the ruck with one lap around the track my goal was to run that lap, and I did.  As soon as I entered the track I heard Isabel yelling "Good Job Mom! Run faster! Run as fast as you can!"  I really wanted to yell back, 'what do you think I'm doing'.
When I look at all of the pictures from that day (go here) I am overcome with gratitude not only for Mark, but for his family, the volunteers and for all of the military men there.  I was able to talk with a few, I did have a hard time striking up some conversations ( I know hard to believe) but talking with Rob Bonnello was awesome.  Rob was Mark's best friend who was charged, by Mark to take care of his body and return it home, among other great experiences they shared.  Rob is a wonderful man.

I sit here reading over this still unsure how to adequately express all I want to.  My heart still aches for the loss the Forester's must endure, for the friend that I lost touch with, for the sacrifice he so willingly gave.

Friday, May 11, 2012

"Baby" girl is 6!

Man, I can't believe that not only is Isabel 6, but that we are finishing up her 1st year of school!!  We tried to make her birthday extra special for her this year.  She woke up to a breakfast she has been wanting forever, sausage and biscuits, yes they were awesome.  She got to pick out her favorite food for lunch (although I suddenly have no idea what she picked).  Daddy went and delivered flowers to her after he dropped her off at school and then Mike and I went back up there for afternoon snack time to take ice cream to her class.   Then we brought her home early and she was able to take pictures with Daddy and her flowers.  
I love these two!

my big girl
For dinner that night we headed over to our friends house.  The husband is a chef.  Yep, we are that lucky.  :)  Isabel wanted pizza for dinner, so the kids had that and the adults enjoyed yummy chicken, pork and salmon along with rice and asparagus.  Then my awesome big girl.. she wanted crepes for dessert, no birthday cake, but Nick's awesome crepes...with nutella...and ice cream... and whipped cream.  The her and her friend played for a while AND.....  we got Stella in pig tails!  I'd say a successful birthday.  
seriously.. how good do these look?

opps, not the best picture but she just wanted to eat and was tired of me taking pictures.

yes.. super cute. (and looks a tad like Shrek we decided)


Monday, May 7, 2012

Kansas City Temple

These posts are a tad out of order.  We actually went to the open house the week before March of Dimes.. but at least it's getting posted!  

So I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take Isabel to the Temple.  During the open house is the only time the Temple is open to anyone, regardless of The Church membership or age.  Isabel was pretty excited.  Some friends of ours met us up there as well so we had a group of 10.  Let me tell you, I have been in a handful of Temples... this one is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL!  Now to be fair, they are all beautiful and most of them are at least 15 years old.  But, oh goodness, the details (here is where all of my friends who love remodeling old historic homes *Sara Archibald*, would have loved it.) The doors, and handles, amazing.. I want them in my house.  The continuity of finishes, textures.  The foot high maybe 16 in high marble baseboards... the gradient almost ombre color of the blue tiles in the baptismal font.  I was in love.  I would move to K.C just to have that Temple. 

The kids had a great time and loved walking around.  The fountain provided a few moments of fun play for them, before they started to get a bit irreverent with the water.  :)  It was a fast trip for us, we left at 5:30 in the morning and had to be back by 5pm.  I wouldn't have traded that experience with Isabel for anything.  And just because I don't want to wait for blogger on these photos... they are all at the end.  Oh! and how I wish I had a picture of Kyle and Stella, after we had said goodbye in the parking lot, Stella was running after Kyle with her hands outstretched, Kourtney put him down and they hugged and Kyle licked Stella's cheek.  It was one of the cutest things!
Stella not cooperating, but Izzy's cute.
all of us.
helpful big sister trying to get Stella.

Running around, but it's too bright to keep our eyes open.

notice Stella, not wanting Izzy's help.

Someone was done.

but if you give her a cookie....

Me and my babe.

March of Dimes

(I am struggling to learn this whole picture placement with blogger... so sorry if it's hard to read)
 First of all, I want to say thank you to all who donated to our March of Dimes team this year.  We not only reached but surpassed our goal!  We were one excited family this year.  We had some of the same people with our team as we did last year.  Although we did miss the Lenahan's.  This year we had amazing weather.  I think it was around 80-85.   Unlike last year, we arrived early enough to partake in the festivities like the moon bounce, and tunnels (Isabel and I also hit up the tunnels afterwards, who would have thought the hot humid outside air would have felt so good.  It was HOT in those tunnels! Face painting was up on our list of things to do, Isabel decided she wanted to be a cat.. it's the only time in his life Mike has love and accepted a cat into our family.  But then again who can blame him, it was a cute lil' kitty.  She even showed us how kitties run.

My sweet kitty

This is how cats run.
Cat in motion

Jamo, Sheri and James
Dan, Britty and Phoebe

Walking with us this year we had Mike's bro Jameson and his wife Sheri (and lil' James)And we had Dan, Britty and lil' Phoebe from our ward.  It was great to be able to visit with everyone and see the huge sea of people walking thru Forest Park.   They had the Baby BLVD again, it has to be my favorite part of the walk, yet amazingly this year I didn't cry!  Well not until later, but it was fantastic ( they day, not the crying).
The reason we walk.
2012 Team Brooklyn

After the walk we decided to go to try a restaurant I've been wanting to go to for a while... it's call cheese-ology.  Yes... CHEESE-ology.  It's a mac-n-cheese restaurant.  I was in heaven, especially after I saw they had lactate at the registers.  Darn this lactose intolerance thing.  Can I just say... delicious.  We had a strawberry and blue cheese salad followed by black and bleu mac in cheese.  Steak and bleu cheese.  YUM  

I think next year I'm going to run in the 5k before the walk.  I wanted to this year but not getting home from work until 11:30 and Isabel not getting home from her friends until 10p.... it was  a good decision to skip it this time. Can't wait for next year.