Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top Christmas Memories

In no particular order... a phone dump of some of the best memories.

1.  SNOW

We got just enough snow to give the boys a taste of playing in it but enough that it was melted off after a couple of days.  (Mom does NOT like snow)


The big guy swung by Gma & Gpa Sharp's on Christmas Eve.  Ross really liked him.  Ryan played shy and Reid "knew" it wasn't the real Santa so he wasn't interested in sitting on his lap.

Christmas morning - does it get any better than that?

A very happy boy.  Santa gifts - two xbox games and a Hunger Games movie

Santa got Ryan a new desk - he loves it!

And Ross got his new big boy car seat from Santa.  This is the face of a very happy boy!


Peanut Butter balls with dad

Sand Art - Ryan loves a project!


Cousins! Not the best of friends... YET... but both are so stinking cute.

Playing our electronics at grandmas and loving being together

Sister time!  Courtney and I snuck out to see a movie


This was supposed to be Ross' first appointment but he was under the weather and needed a nap so we kept him at home.  Reid and Ryan both got great reports from the dentist though!


We played hard most days, we started the break under the weather, and bedtimes were a little later... all those things combined brought the return of afternoon naps on most days... HALLELUJAH!!!!



(can't figure out how to add two more photos)... update later.


It was cold but I managed to get in a few 4 mile runs and a couple of treadmill runs.

My new Lululemon gear from Russ.  I LOVE it.  Ran 4 miles in it this morning.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Down in the dumps

Because I can't think of a single person that wants to hear me whine... or a single person that I haven't already whined to... I decided my blog was the best place to turn.  It's my blog and I'll whine if I want to :)

So, what do I have to whine about?  I'm sick.... STILL!!!  I've been trying to hide it, deny it, fake it... but I just don't feel good. In bullet point recap form:

* I got sick Tuesday night last week and spent almost all night throwing up
* I spent ALL day Wednesday in my hotel room resting (in my world that's sufficient rest)
* I went to work Thursday and managed to make it through an 11 hour day in the office and little to no food (I tried plain noodles for lunch and some roll and broccoli for dinner).
* Friday I dealt with delayed planes and travel fun to get home at 2:00, pick up Ross, pick up Ryan, go pick up my first meal of the day (soup and bread - actually good) and then go to Ross' daycare Christmas program.
* Saturday morning I got up to run a 6 mile run with friends that I had planned.  I HAD to go - I had made up the course, invited a newbie, and planned a surprise trip to Starbucks at the end for Suzanne's birthday.  It was a major fail.  I had no energy, couldn't maintain conversation or the pace and bailed at mile 3.  I walked to Starbucks and met the girls when they were done.
* Saturday day I did 8 loads of laundry, went through the mail, cleaned the house, ran some errands, took Ryan and Reid to a birthday party at Power Play and then stayed up too late (11pm?) trying to chill
* Sunday we got up early (7a?) for Reid's hockey game followed by three grocery stores, Christmas shopping and errands.  I was gone for three hours BY MYSELF!  It was nice!!
* Monday morning I went to Dina's at 5:15a and still felt a little "off" but had a relatively decent workout... and she kicked our butts!!  I worked in the office that day and then attempted a dinner which failed, followed by a pizza delivery.
* I woke up today feeling many muscles aching (which usually feels great) but also with sinus drainage, a sore throat and overall bleh feelings.  I pulled myself together and met the girls for 4 miles of which I internally beat myself up for feeling like I was dragging a sleigh the entire run.
* Today I have declined as the day has went on - sore chest/lungs, feverish feel, sneezing and runny nose, tired!  Seriously closed my eyes and dozed for like 3 minutes ago at my desk!  I feel like I could sleep for 2 hours.

SOO... there is a point to that LONG recap.  I saw Russ at lunch today and he says I should take the week off from working out.  Last week I did Dina's on Monday and my 3 miles on Saturday... that's it!  So I kind of feel like I've already taken my week off from working out and should be better.  I HATE being sick.  While listed out the list above looks extensive, it's actually a very light week for me. I should have plenty of energy and I don't.

Opinions - week off this week too???  (I know, the only people that read this will agree with Russ... but whatever... we'll see)

And to end the blog with something more entertaining than me whining about not being able to get healthy... Here's a video from our advent activity on Thursday.  The boys did a scavenger hunt for clues with activities to get to the ending prize which was a huge candy cane full of something like 80 gumballs.  Ryan didn't want to participate but Reid and Ross did.  They had the mini saltines and I gave them 10 saltines each.  Reid won but Ross was pretty entertaining just shoving them in his mouth.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Letters to Santa 2012 version

Tonight's advent calendar event was to write our letters to Santa. The boys did pretty well.

I didn't take a photo of Ross' letter since no one cares to see my handwriting. Ross doesn't really have anything that he wants so he's going to be happy with anything.  Here's what he came up with:

Dear Santa,
I have tried to be good.  I would like presents.  Presents that have sparkly things in them.  Could you pick out something cool for me?  Charlie is making sure that I'm being good.  I want a present.

What a difference a year makes!!  Reid sat down very focused and hammered out  his letter in no time.
 In case you can't read it on the picture, here is Reid's:

Dear Santa,
Have I ben good this year? Here are some things I want.
* Xbox kennect & games
* Halo 4
* Call of Duty Black Ops 2
* The hunger games book series
* The Hunger games movie
Thank you for the presents last year.

Ryan loves to write.  He made the "you" on 'I Like you Santa' in his fancy writing.
and Ryan's:

Dear Santa,
Charlie is hiding good.  I like you Santa.  I would like two baskets; one big and one small. One for all my markers.  A case of markers too.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ross' Christmas Program

Ross had his daycare Christmas program tonight.  After a week of sickness running through every family member except for Ross, we were starting to question whether or not he'd still be well by Friday to go to his concert.  Grandma decided not to chance it by making the trip and him either getting sick and not being able to participate... or just getting here and picking up our germs and getting sick herself.

Luckily, Ross stayed healthy and Ryan was healthy enough to be my date for the evening.  Russ was not feeling well and we decided it wouldn't hurt Reid to get some extra rest as well.  

Ross before his program

Ryan before the program

And the two before the program
I thought the program was extremely cute.  Ross came out on the stage as happy as could be and saw me pretty quickly and waved and said "hi mom."  I was afraid that he would want off the stage once he saw me but the music started up and he recognized it immediately and started his motions.  He knew them really well!

I tried to video most of it while also trying to "watch" so dad could see Ross perform:

After the program the kids got to go back on stage and see Santa Claus.  It was a pretty big herd of kids and Ross was SOOO short compared to a lot of them so I stood on the stage and watched him work his way to the front.  It took a while but he eventually made it and then stood there waiting his turn for his candy cane.  He did very well waiting patiently.

Ryan had stood in the same spot almost the entire time.  I told him to get up where Ross was and he looked at me like I was crazy and said "and just cut?"  It was a big swarm of kids and they were all heading up there to get their candy canes and Ryan just stood his place like it was a single file line.  He was literally third from last to get his candy cane but he stood there politely and waited.  Then he told Santa his name and what he wanted for Christmas.  He said markers, a container for his markers and an Xbox.

Finally Ryan's turn and he was SOOO happy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Countdown to Christmas and other fun stuff...

The annual advent calendar at the McDowell house has begun!  This is our FIFTH year doing our countdown activities.

Day 1 -
Our advent activity on day 1 was to get donuts for breakfast.  I didn't take any pictures except for the boys opening the door.  See Charlie on top of our advent calendar?  He also came back to visit and ensure the boys were being good.

24 days until Christmas
Day 2 -
On the 2nd day of our calendar we went to the movies to see Wreck it Ralph.  Reid had an early hockey game (8:20a) and then we went to the 11a matinee when he was done.  $24 for all five of us to see the movie and popcorn for bringing in food for Harvesters.  The movie was pretty good - it kept Ryan and Ross' attention for about 75% of it but they just aren't movie watchers.  They can watch tv or a movie for 30 - 60 minutes and then they are ready to move on.


Popcorn and drinks - check!  We were the first ones in the theater and the boys picked the very back row.

Day 3 -

I didn't get any pictures for day 3.  I adopted a family at work and the boys and I went shopping for Joshua, age 8.  He lives with his grandparents and they needed some help providing Christmas to him and his two siblings.  We talked to the boys a bit about why we were helping him out, etc and then we went shopping.  The boys did a great job picking out gifts for him and remembering that we weren't shopping or looking for themselves.  I was pretty proud of them.

Day 4 -

I had a business trip this week so dad is in charge of the advent calendar.  I left some suggestions for things to do.  Reid had hockey and the little guys had a sitter so Russ didn't have a whole lot of time.  He did baths and showers and made cookies for the boys.  It was a late night but cookies are always good!

Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies

* Momma's Sick - On top of Russ' night already running late, he was managing text messages from me as I whined that I felt like crap.  I hadn't had lunch on Tuesday and my body was really hurting.  I wasn't even thinking that I was sick. I thought the body aches were all from my workout the day before as I knew my legs were sore from that.  Then when my stomach and ribs started hurting I thought it was because I hadn't eaten.  So, I had a dinner for work and managed to eat there.  On the way driving back to the hotel I started getting very nauseous and cold.  By the time I was in my hotel room I knew that I was sick.  I felt miserable and made sure and whined to Russ and anyone else that would listen.

Yep, bundled up in bed feeling HORRIBLE and shaky cold.

This is my BFF... she sent me silly pictures to make me laugh and feel better.  I LOVE HER!!!
I was up throwing up for most of the night.  When I stopped around 3:45 I turned off my phone and went to sleep.  I woke up at 8:30 to this picture:

LOVE them... so sweet of Russ to put together
Update - I'm feeling MUCH better today (noon).  My boss' boss dropped off Sierra Mist and saltines at my hotel and the hotel manager found me some advil.  I showered and ate some saltines and took the advil.  My back and body are starting to hurt again but I think I'm just tired.  Spending the day in my hotel room and hoping I'll be fine for my meetings tomorrow.

And while I'm bragging on how awesome Russ was this morning, check out what he did this weekend.  We had a metal sports cage that was always falling apart and overflowing... basically not functional anymore.  Russ bought the supplies and built a much larger sports cage for us and I LOVE it.  It holds EVERYTHING and it won't fall apart.

I love a good organizational project - and I can't believe he was able to complete it in one weekend with our busy schedules.  AWESOME!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Random Ramblings

I can't seem to stream together one logical blog post today and I have several small updates so we're going bullet point style here.

* Ross found this sticker in my scrapbook stuff and wanted to wear it.  If you can't tell, it says "Big Brother".  Yes, I let him wear it and NO we do not have an announcement or any plans for announcements.  Yes, I let him wear it out in public to the hockey rink and dad's face when he saw it was priceless :)

I'm a Big Brother sticker
* I got to spend some quality time with my adorable niece this weekend.  She says "Carmen", she loves me, I'm her favorite aunt.  Enough said :)

* We came home early from my mom's house on Sunday so I could get a run in with a friend.  I picked the hilliest course we ever run because I felt like I needed the "punishment" after eating non stop for four days.  There is one killer hill that we call "El Diablo" and then many other hills as well.  I pulled up the elevation just to feel all "BA".  The picture made me laugh more than anything.  Somehow, this FEELS a lot worse than it looks.

Yeah, you're not impressed either are you?
* I made an impulse buy at Target while trying to find candy canes.  Ross loves candy canes.  I never found them and he forgot... but this stuff erased any gains I made by running those 8 hilly miles:

What's that babe?  You didn't see any left in the house.  Oh, I'm sure it's there.  I would NEVER eat an ENTIRE bag of popcorn in one night... not me! The "other" Carmen did it.
* The "other" Carmen did it is an inside joke but one that I'll have to remember in the future to taunt Ross with.  On Sunday he pooped on the bathroom floor.  He finished on the toilet but I came in and found some poop on his bathroom floor.  I asked him why he did that and he told me that he didn't the "other" Ross did it.

* While playing around with my Garmin and downloading my relatively "flat" run... I noticed that Garmin now keeps track of your Personal Records.  Funny that my half marathon PR is a faster pace than my 10K PR.  I've only ran three 10Ks ever.  This PR was from the plaza day 10K this September which happened to be the day after I ran a 20 mile training run.  So, I'm pretty confident I could do better.  I don't run many 5Ks at all and I'm also confident I could beat that time.  Which led me to proclaim to Russ that I was going to make FOUR new personal records next year.  That's right - my goal for 2013 is set - all four of these times are going to be crushed!!

* Last, but certainly not least... Reid has had a few health problems lately. I'm not trying to minimize them but I'm also doing my best not to freak out (have we met?).  Last week he started having chest pains at school and went to the school nurse.  His heart rate was in the 140s for almost 40 minutes.  It eventually went down to 120 but stayed around there.  I called our dr and he worked us in that day.  It was still pretty high when we were there so they did an EKG and consulted a cardiologist whom we now have an appointment with this week.  The EKG looked normal and he's not really had any other problems (besides grouchiness and extreme fatigue) so we're hoping it was just a fluke.  Regardless, keeping him in your prayers would be appreciated.

He was NOT very happy with me for taking this picture and he told me not to put it on the internet... so NO ONE is to mention to him that they saw it here! 

Luckily I had picked up Mr Goodcents and had it in the car.  Reid ate as we waited for the cardiologist to call back.  Dr Moore was SOOO nice and kept checking in with us like every 3 minutes apologizing for the wait.  He even brought us in some bottled water since I had only gotten Reid chips and a sandwich.

This was during one of Reid's MANY naps over break.  I can't remember him ever sleeping as much as he has been lately.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Our Day of Thanks

I hosted my first Thanksgiving dinner this year.  Grandpa Steve & Grandma Linda drove up from Hannibal, MO and joined us for Thanksgiving.  They got to our house around 9am and we ate our big lunch just before noon.  I know, I know... I'm not exactly known for my cooking skills :)  I ordered a pre-cooked turkey, a couple of sides, and a couple of pies.  Russ' mom made homemade noodles, sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes.  We also had two kinds of rolls, a vegetable tray, strawberries, and some cookies for the kids.

Ryan had made all of us some placemats and name cards on Wednesday.  We had the placemats all laminated and picked out a centerpiece on Wednesday as well.  I thought the table looked pretty:

Here's a peek at our spread:

After we all ate too much of our food, I definitely needed some exercise.  I hate eating too much and going to sleep - just makes me feel like the food is going right to my hips.  I took the boys to the park to play for a little while.

 The boys decided to play some hide and seek.  Reid did a great job of hiding.  Can you see him in the picture below:

Did you spot him?
Here's a better picture:

He climbed the tree and laid down against it to hide.  I had to steer the boys in the right direction to find him.
Grandpa Steve & Grandma Linda left around 3:30 so I decided to go hit Michael's since they opened at 4pm and see if they had any great deals.  I'm glad I did because I got a great deal!!

The Michael's line right before the doors opened - it really wasn't that bad.
In the evening we had another round of the meal and then cleaned up the kitchen.  Russ and the boys watched some football, played toys, and wrestled.  Ross fell asleep on Russ around 6:30p.  Ryan did some of his Thanksgiving homework packet.  We let the big boys stay up until 10p and then we all went to bed.

He did 4 of his 5 worksheets - he's doing so well in school!
(Update - Ross slept until 8:15a.  Reid got up around 8 and Ryan got up around 8:30a.  Not a bad night of sleep!  It's 9a now and we're still chilling in our pajamas - playing puzzles, computer games, and watching tv).  Not much planned for today... a little stick & puck fun at 11:15 and that's about all)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Family Hike at Lake Lenexa

A few months ago I was out on a long run and did some miles around Lake Lenexa.  I'd never been there before and after 6-7 miles of pavement, I really enjoyed the dirt trails around the lake.  I'd been saying that I wanted to get out there with the family to show them the area.

Last week I received a free pair of new trail shoes and I was really wanting to try them out.  We took the family out for a hike at Lake Lenexa.

Pretty new shoes... thanks Mizuno!
The boys were less than thrilled to go out hiking.  When we got out there and they saw the area it didn't take long until they got into the excursion.

View of the lake
The day was a lot of fun.  We did some hiking on the paved trails and then we cut across a road to some dirt trails.  Ross was obviously pretty slow.  We let him walk quite a bit of it at least for the first couple of miles  We think we went about three miles total and we probably carried him for about a mile.

Mom was being silly and "hiding" behind a tree to scare Russ and Ross

My big boy - his short little legs kept up for quite a while.
Once we got to the damn, we hung out for a few minutes to read the signs, look around, and take a picture or two.  Then it was time to finish up the trail around the lake to get back to our car.

When we finished we gave the boys some time to play on the playground.

This is the boy that didn't want to go... guess he had fun after all :)
This rock structure was one "end" of the play set.  Reid and Ross were playing on it so we had Ryan jump up there for a picture too:

We were discussing the Hostess bankruptcy and the end of twinkies on our hike and the boys didn't know what twinkies were.  We decided to stop on the way home and get a box for a snack.  I mean, seriously, what goes better with a 3 mile hike than a box of twinkies, right?   We stopped at a grocery store to grab some and were shocked that the aisle was EMPTY.

WOW... it's the apocalypse!
By the time we were pulling into the neighborhood, Ross was DONE!  I took him out of the van and put him on the couch at home and he slept for almost two hours.

It was such a fun day and some great exercise!  We were all wiped out on Sunday evening and ready for an early bedtime.