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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Easter Bunny Came Early...

...for Maggie, anyway.
And this Easter Bunny also goes by the name of Annie Murray, my old college roomie :)
We got a box in the mail yesterday by complete surprise and I was SO EXCITED when I saw what was inside. Take a looksie!!

Phil opens the box with care


Annie's nice note - doesn't she have great handwriting?

Annie and I were roommates in Austria, where Phil and I met, so she was around to see the love blossom!!



OK, these dolls are so AWESOME! I saw Darby (Annie's daughter) playing with them on her blog, and asked where they were from. She said you can buy them at Disneyland. Then she asked if Maggie would like some, since they live in CA. How super!!!




It is so hard to find Princess dolls that aren't shaped like Barbies and are tough enough for toddlers play.






Cinderella didn't make the pictures - poor Cinderelly.






And is this not the MOST ADORABLE tutu you've ever seen??? Annie makes them! Visit her blog to find out how to order them.
I will definitely take some pictures once Maggie is wearing this. We are saving all these goodies for her Easter basket :)
Thanks again, Annie, that was so sweet and unexpected!!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

From the Better Late than Never Files:

John-Paul & Katie's Birthday Party on 3/7/10












































Monday, March 29, 2010

I hear ya sister!

Now, let me get this straight......

we're trying to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it,
passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it,
to be signed by a president that also is exempt from it and hasn't read it and who smokes,
with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes,
all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese,
and financed by a country that's broke.

What the heck could possibly go wrong?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hi Lo: March 26th

HI's:
1) Today is my mom's birthday! Happy Birthday Mum/Gammy!!
2) Today is Eamon's Half Birthday ~ which of course is a huge deal when you are 3 and a half. To celebrate he asked for Princess spaghettio's and I just happened to have a Princess bib around too. He's so gonna kill me for this later ;)
3) Phil made this yummy dinner last night: Honey Sesame Chicken with brown rice and roasted broccoli. So yummy and even more delicious after working a 10.5 hour day and not having to cook!
4) My friend Marijanna and I went out and got pedicures this week. I love being girly and getting my feet rubbed at the same time. I chose hot pink polish!! Bring on the flip flop weather!!!

LO's:

1) The tummy bug was passed from Maggie to Eamon and then Andrew. I hope Phil, J-P and I are spared.

2) Don't be fooled by this little girl's charm. Lately she has been so naughty - getting into everything she shouldn't and stealing food from the pantry. I have found the chocolaty sticky evidence in the family room. She's still madly in love with babies, as shown here with her baby cousin, William.




I hope you are all having great weeks!! Lent is almost over :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Am I For Real?

I have issues.
One of them is that I lack confidence. I never feel good enough at what I do, I can always see someone who is better, and I usually feel like an impostor.
Take compliments, for instance. I don't know how to receive them. If someone says I did something well, I can always come back with a line like "That's only because...." or "Thanks, BUT......" instead of just accepting the compliment generously like I should.
When I was dating Phil, and he would refer to me as a woman, I would laugh my pants off and tell him I was still only a girl. A woman is someone who is older, more mature, and has it all together. I was still just a girl in my eyes.
When I started to take running more seriously (about 2 years ago??) I would never refer to myself as a runner. Real runners were athletes who trained all year long for races and ran way faster and longer than I could. I was just someone who liked to exercise and sometimes that exercise would involve running.
After giving birth for the first time, I couldn't believe that I was now a mother. I was too young and naive to be in charge of this little soul, wasn't I? I couldn't get over the fact that they just let us walk out of the hospital with him!!
In my first job right out of grad school, I was hired to be an auditor for a CPA firm. I completely felt lost the whole 8 months I worked there (I left once I had my first baby). Even though the managing partners would tell me I was doing a good job, I never ever felt confident enough. When I began doing bookkeeping for small businesses, I would always say I was a bookkeeper. Even after working at my current job, which is a lot more than just bookkeeping, I still referred to myself as a bookkeeper. It has taken me a lot of years to be able to say that I am an accountant. However, the first question I usually get when people find out what I do is "Do you have your CPA?" and I hate responding no. Because what I really want to say is "Well, I have my accounting degree and my MBA and I do bookkeeping, taxes, auditing, and financial planning, so there." But deep down inside, I always felt like a fraud.
But times, they are a-changin'.
Now that I am officially in my thirties, have been married for almost 8 years and we have our own house and family, I feel like a REAL woman.
Now that I have 4 children who have turned out pretty well (so far) I feel like a REAL mother.
Now that I have run a half marathon in a great time, I feel like a REAL runner.
Now that I am managing the office I work at, taking all the client meetings, handling all the tax prep work, and bringing in new clientele, I feel like a REAL accountant.
And when someone pays me a compliment, I am trying to give them a REAL thank you.
As much as I loved my twenties, it looks like the thirties are going to be a decade full of growth and confidence, and that makes me REALLY excited.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gratituesday: March 23rd

Today I am so thankful for something my husband does every day to show me he loves me - he wears his wedding band. And not only does he wear it everyday, he has NEVER taken it off since May 17, 2002. Never, ever, ever...isn't that so sweet?


Even more impressive? My Dad has never taken his off either, and he and my mom have been married over 40 years! Love is a beautiful thing :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Half is Complete!!

We successfully finished the half marathon, and I am so happy and sore today :)




As you can tell from my pre-race post yesterday, I was nervous and excited and didn't know what to expect. We got to the race about 45 minutes before it was supposed to begin, and walked around downtown. The start line was right near a Catholic chapel that has 24 hour Adoration, so we went in for 5 minutes to say hi to Jesus, and I prayed for peace and strength for the race. Then we waited in line for about 20 minutes to use the porta-potties. They were disgusting! Let's just say it was obvious that everyone had nervous bellies - blech!


We walked over to the start line, and decided to line up with the 9 minute milers. We usually run about 10 minute miles when we run long distances outside, but we thought we would try and stay with the 9 minute milers for a bit to set a nice pace. The race was delayed 15 minutes, and there were 2700 runners. Yes, it was packed! As soon as we started, my left knee was giving me grief. But after about 2 minutes, the pain went away.


We ran the first 2 miles at about an 8:20 pace, which was crazy fast for us, yet it didn't feel that fast because there were so many people cheering, and running, and the adrenaline was so high. The hills started in from miles 2 to 4, but I would just look down at the ground and run at the same pace until I got up each one.
Around mile 5, my friend Laura was there cheering us on, and then we ran by the police station where my friend Ann Marie works, and she was cheering for us too. That was great - the support makes such a huge difference. We got to mile 6 and we were still keeping up our fast pace. In fact, we were running so much faster than usual, that we weren't even talking. Normally we run and talk the whole way, but yesterday we were just running - I was so in the zone and in my own head. I was playing games like "Guy or Girl" where I would try to figure out the gender of a runner in front of me (scary!) or I would pick a runner ahead of me and try to catch up to them.



I kept thanking God during the whole race for giving us the beautiful weather, the wonderful scenery, the supportive crowd, and the ability to run. I was so grateful and felt so amazing! By mile 8, our time was 1 hour, 8 minutes (an 8:30 minute pace) and Phil started saying his legs felt like jelly, and he had a cramp. We slowed down to about a ten minute pace from miles 8-11, which was also when we were running along the ocean. I could've kept up a faster pace, but Phil was fading fast. He is usually the one who slows down his pace to run with me, so something wasn't right. I was trying to talk to him, saying things like "Only 5 more miles to go, that's nothing!" "We have to finish no matter what, so let's go a little faster and get it over with" and on and on. But it wasn't helping and he could tell he was holding me back, and kept telling me to go on ahead. I really wanted to stay with him and finish together, so miles 8-11 were very difficult for us. I kept seeing people pass us that were much older or heavier, and I was feeling so frustrated because I knew I could and should finish before them.


Finally at mile 11, Phil said "Seriously, I am so proud of you for running this race so well - please go ahead of me", and this time I listened. Mile 11-12 was tough because I felt so guilty for leaving Phil behind.
At mile 12, there is a huge hill that is a killer and while I was running up it, I saw a priest that I used to know who had just finished saying Mass and was out on the sidewalk supporting the runners. I yelled out "Hi Fr. Rich" and he started running after me to find out who I was (I had on a hat and he didn't get a good look at me). So he ran on the sidewalk in his full vestments while I was running in the road and we chatted for about 30 seconds. A guy running behind me yelled out "Way to be supportive, Father!" it was nice and funny.


I can't say enough how great the crowds were. Towards the end, they were all yelling "You're almost there, less than a mile left, you look awesome!" etc. It was such a boost to my spirit. I kept thanking people and waving, giving the little kids a high 5. When I saw that finish line, I sprinted through the end and finished in 1 hour 56 minutes (8:54 minute pace)!! I was so happy with my time, and waited for Phil to finish, which he did at 2 hours, 2 minutes. We figured out that he was completely dehydrated, and after downing Gatorade and water, he felt much better. He wishes he could have finished faster, but we're both pretty proud of ourselves for running the whole race and finishing ahead of the 2 hours 10 minutes we thought it would take.
We got a nice medal and t-shirt and headed home to see the kids. Today I am really sore, but it was so worth it. Who knows, we might do it again one day, it was much better than expected, and now I have to go order the stickers for our cars!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pre Race Jitters

Well, my first and probably last half marathon is in an hour and a half. And I am shaking with nerves! I feel like I am waiting for my wedding to start! I wish that the race had started at 8am so that I wouldn't have so much time to kill. Who wants to run 13.1 miles at 11am? I'd rather be done running by 11, relaxing and having a big lunch!

The weather for today is GORGEOUS!! It is currently sunny with a slight breeze and about 60 degrees. Unheard of for this race, it is usually cold, windy and rainy.

I awoke this morning to a lovely surprise from my Aunt Flow, she has great timing that one. She paid me a visit on the morning of my wedding day, so why should today be any different?!?!?!

We woke up around 6 am, as usual, and gave the kids breakfast. I texted my running guru, Bethany, and got some last minute advice including: to stop obsessing about needing to go to the bathroom mid-race, to relax, and to have Phil tape his nipples. Pretty great advice, dontcha think?

We drank some coffee, ate some scones with peanut butter, and began cleaning the house. I keep comparing this race to having a baby, you know...it's exciting, going to be painful, but worth it in the end...so I must be nesting. I vacuumed, mopped, did the dishes and tidied up while Phil took care of the bathroom, laundry, trash, and keeping the kids occupied. We should probably have been resting, but I wanted to leave with a clean house in case I didn't make it home alive ;)

Then I decided to take a shower. Crazy, right, who showers before they exercise? Well, I thought that if I fall (which I have before) and have to get rushed to the ER, they should at least not have to suffer though seeing my hairy legs. See, I'm thoughtful like that!!

Now we are waiting for my parents to come and babysit so we can get settled in at the race, drink some Gatorade, stretch, etc. Wish me luck!! I really really need it :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hi Lo: March 19th

HI's:




1) The kids are home from school today, and it's a beautiful day out - so we will be spending a couple hours at the playground!! These are playground pics from almost 2 years ago (where does the time go??):







~

2) Our cable company called to try and have us upgrade our service. I told them we could only afford the basic cable we had ($12 per month). She said she could offer me a better deal if we bundled our services: cable, Internet, and phone. I told her we pay $19.99/month for the Internet, and we have no home phone. She was flabbergasted that we could get by on only basic cable, no home phone, and "slow" Internet. Being frugal (not cheap...there is a difference!) makes me so happy!! Why would we need more than what we have??

~

3) No more running until the half on Sunday! Training is complete!! And the weather should be sunny and in the sixties for the race - virtually unheard of this time of year!
~
4) My sister and my mom have offered their babysitting services so that Maggie doesn't have to go to daycare. I am so thankful ~ Woot-woot!!
~
5) Two awesome Feast Days in one week - St. Patrick on Wednesday and St. Joseph on Friday. Two of my FAVORITE saints, and we have been/will be feasting because of it :)
~
LO's:

1) Maggie had a stomach bug and a yeast infection. Are they related? I don't know, we're waiting and praying that nobody else gets sick.

~


2) Work stinks - there's too much to do, nobody to help me, and not enough time. I am in a constant state of stress at work - April 16th can't come fast enough!

I hope you are all having great weeks!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dear God,

It's me, Colleen.

You know that stomach bug that Maggie has? The one where she's vomited in her bed three times? Can you PLEASE hold off on passing it around to everyone else in the house, especially Phil and I, until after the half-marathon this Sunday?

I made sure to wash all her soiled sheets right away, I have kept the house clean and washed hands like crazy. Maggie has gotten a ton of baths, and fresh clean clothes and diapers round the clock. So I really am trying my best. But, alas, I am her mommy, and I have given her LOTS of hugs, kisses, back rubs and cuddles to help her feel better.

Can't this mom have a "Get Through it Unscathed" pass? Just this once, please??

I know you have much more pressing prayers you are hearing right now, but thank you for listening and Amen :)