Saturday, January 23, 2016

Leta is 6!

I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone reading that time flies!!! But MAN!! How in the world is my little Leta 6 years old?!  How did we go from this:

To this:
 Leta is missing her two front teeth.

We've been trying to celebrate "big" birthdays (5,10, 13 etc) with "bigger" parties and the other years, smaller, at home affairs.  This year Leta was able to invite some friends over for a tea party.  Since she does 1/2 day Kindergarten, I let her invite over all of the other half day girls right after school.  I was extra fancy because I bought paper doilies for their plates.  The girls ate and played and had a great time.  It was a beautiful day so they spent quite a while outside as well.

Leta opened her birthday presents that evening at supper.  She chose shrimp and "My Favorite Soup" to eat.  (My Favorite Soup is Taco Soup)

Name: Leta
Nicknames: Leta Bo, Leta Lou, Leets
How old are you: 6
What is your favorite color? all of them
What is your favorite animal? a cat
What is your favorite book? Rapunzel
What is your favorite movie? Cinderella
What is your favorite cartoon? Phineas and Ferb
What is your favorite song? Let's Get Together ya ya ya (we just watched the old Parent Trap)
What is your favorite food? shrimp
What is your favorite breakfast food? Regular Cheerios with milk
What is your favorite treat? Strawberries and whipped cream
What is your favorite snack? crackers
What do you like to sleep with at night? a lot of stuffed animals
Where would you like to go on vacation? To Emma's house
What is your favorite restaurant? Braum's
Who are your best friends? Emma, Jovie, Julianne and Ashley
What do you want to be when you grow up? An artist
What's your favorite thing about Kindergarten? I get to see all of my friends
What is your favorite thing to do? Play with my friends
What is your favorite outfit? I don't know
What is your favorite thing to do outside? Go into the forest
What is your favorite thing about Max? He's funny
Luke? He's cute
Daddy? He's awesome.
Mommy?  She's fun!

The Duel

January 16th I ran my 18th half marathon in Wichita Falls, TX.  I'd never been there before and it was a pretty 2.5hr drive down Friday evening at sunset.  I got there just in time to pick up my packet and then had a quiet evening at a nearby hotel.  The forecast for the race was not good and the weather didn't disappoint.  It started lighting raining about 10 minutes before the race began and it never quit....although around 10 miles into the race it turned to snow.  It was not my best run and I was hoping for a better time, but oh well!  There's always another race out there waiting for me.  Despite the weather, I had a great time and enjoyed the run (except for being pelted right in the eyeballs with snow then sleet, then snow.  I was dressed appropriately for the run, and I was very thankful that I had bothered to purchase a running rain jacket a few years ago (even though it hasn't gotten much wear), but despite that I was SOAKED by the time the race was over.  I ran a 2:03.

This was a small race with reusable chips that we had to fasten to our shoes.  We got a rubber bracelet at our turnaround point to ensure that we ran the whole course.  (Leta was excited about that).  We also got a long sleeve race T and a short sleeve finishers shirt and silicone cup (my favorite)...and the medal of course.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year's Goals

I am trying this again!  I said it last year, and I'll say it again.  I don't do New Year's Resolutions, however, I DO like concrete goals for a New Year.  (Obviously, punctuality is not one of my goals). And since I'm setting goals, I like to be organized about it and have goals for different areas of my life.  So.  Here they are:

1. Fitness:

Keep a running log that includes the workout, distance, pace etc.

2.  Family:

Blog 52 times this year.  I know this was my goal for last year and I was doing okay at it, but then there was this little thing that a fire.  And I just flat gave up and decided to heck with it!

3.  Spiritual Life

Have someone over from church for supper AT LEAST once a month.

4.  Body & Soul

Format my WOW Boot Camp plans to make them more user friendly AND start taking attendance in my BC class again.

Also!  Let's up the ante this year.  For every goal I achieve this year YOU, yes YOU, will be encouraged to mail me a prize.  I thank you in advance.

Blog post: 1/52

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Daniel Boone

Luke had his first report of his school career.  First graders are assigned a Great American to research, create a poster for, give a report and dress up as.  Luke was assigned Daniel Boone and was THRILLED to find out  that the story on Kyle's side of the family is that they are related to Daniel Boone.  It was almost more excitement than Luke could handle. ; )

So we researched, found out the information required and Luke picked out 10 interesting facts about his person.  It was fun to work on this with him (for the most part) and I found it interesting to see which facts stood out to him as interesting.  They weren't necessarily the facts I would have thought he would have found interesting.  There were several tidbits of information about Daniel and different wars or skirmishes with Native Americans that I would have thought he would have found exciting and picked FOR SURE.  And he did pick several of those.  The two facts that he chose that surprised me were: 1) Daniel Boone and his wife, Rebecca, were married for over 50 years and 2) He wanted to be buried next to Rebecca.  

Here are pictures of Luke's poster:

 Here is Luke dressed as Daniel Boone ready to give his presentation:

And I have video of his presentation, but I keep getting an error while trying to upload it.  Just know he did a great job.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tybee Island/Savannah Trip

The Critz Tybee Run Fest hosted my half #2 for the year (#14 total).  I was just two weeks after my Austin race, which is definitely closer together than I normally would like BUUUUT....

When I first started running I thought it would be fun to run one "destination" race a year, and this is the first year that I acted on that and finally sat down and found a race to fill that "spot" in my calendar.  With my birthday in February and Kyle's in March, we asked Vicki (Kyle's mom) if she would be willing to come for the weekend and watch the kids for a joint birthday present for the two of us.  And she agreed.  That's a 7 1/2 hr drive to and from.  For a weekend.  In which she would be watching my three (not the easiest children in the world) kids.  She arrived Thursday evening just after supper.
         Kyle and I left Friday morning dark and early to catch a 7am flight to Savannah.  Tybee Island (which is technically an island because of a river that completely cuts it off from the mainland) is only about 20 miles from Savannah.  We arrived around lunchtime and headed to the City Market area of downtown for a quick lunch.  We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around and exploring the area around City Market and checking out the local shops.  We stopped into a local popcorn shop that had more flavors of popcorn than I had ever seen.  We were allow to sample 3 varieties MAX each.  We selected carefully and shared our samples so we really go to try 6 (smart, huh?)  Kyle settled on salted caramel and I got a back of loaded baked potato and salt and vinegar mixed.  The loaded baked potato was REALLY good...for about 5 pieces.  We didn't even end up finishing that kind.  But my FAVORITE!! was the salt and vinegar.  So good!!!  I was afraid that a whole bag of that flavor might be too much, which is why I got a mixed bag.  If we ever go back, I'll know exactly what to get....1/2 salt and vinegar and 1/2 caramel, shaken together.  The combination of those two mixed together was a WINNER!  Anyway, after we were done looking around we drove out to Tybee Island where we went straight to packet pickup and then checked into our hotel room.  After relaxing for a bit, we headed out to the beach to watch the sunset.  Leaving our hotel, we realized we hadn't really thought it though....the sun sets in the west (duh) and the beach faces the east.  Turns doesn't matter.  The sunset was gorgeous.  We met a guy who used to be a pastor at a church in Norman and ended up talking with him for quite a while so it was really dark and we were pretty cold before we headed to go grab a bite to eat.  I got recommendations of great places to eat from a girl who was in Michael's class in high school that lived in that area for about 5 years (Tracy Blair (Ankeny)), so we followed her advice and headed to North Beach Grill.  The Tybee Run fest is a series of runs over two days where if you do all 5 events you run 26.2 miles.  The 5k was Friday night...and the race ended in the North Beach Grill parking lot.  So we scrapped that idea and went with the other recommendation, Nic's Dockside Grill where we both had their super yummy crab burgers.

Saturday morning was race morning and it turned out to be colder than I had planned for.  I was nervous about my clothing choices and thought I would have to run in my jacket and would be able to take it off and throw it to Kyle later in the race if I needed to.  Well, never under estimate the sun!  It was in the 30's at the start, but the sun felt great and my original attire choices were perfect.  I took my coat off before the start and wasn't even cold.  In fact, I could have run in a tank and shorts and been just fine.  I wasn't expecting much of myself since I had just raced and PR'ed in Austin, but I ended up running GREAT and getting another sub 2 hour half.  No PR, but a great time for me! 1:59:33  The course was pancake flat, which I am sure helped.  After the race I showered and we headed into Savannah.  We had a 1:00 reservation for a walking tour, and I knew we would be cutting it close and boy were we!  We grabbed Jimmy John's subs for lunch and ate them during the start of the tour.  It was a really great tour and our guide knew everything there was to know about Savannah.  The theme of the tour was Historical Savannah so he talked a lot about how Savannah was founded.  For instance, we learned that Gen. Oglethorpe (one of the trustees and first colonizers of Georgia forbade 4 things when he first came. 1) No slavery 2) No hard liquor 3) No lawyers and 4) No Catholics (because it was feared they might sympathize with the Spaniards holding Florida at the time and be a threat).  It was a great tour and we finished and had plenty of time to walk around and check out River Street before heading to our "nice" meal of the weekend, and early Valentine's Day date at Elizabeth's on 37th Street.  It was very good and we left VERY full and headed out to a second walking tour of the day, a walking haunted Savannah tour that was also very good and interesting.  Kyle had a pedometer on him on Saturday and we walked 9.98 miles on Saturday alone!  And that is in addition to the 13.19 miles I ran that morning!!  We were beat and ready for bed.

Sunday morning we ate breakfast and went to catch our On/Off Trolley tour.  I thought about canceling (I mean, we'd already been on two tours....surely it would be a repeat of everything we'd already heard, right?!?  WRONG!!!) but we didn't since it would've been too late to get our money back.  And I am sure glad we didn't.  It was a great 90 minute tour on the trolley and then after that you could pick which stop to get let off at.  The historic district is a 2.5 mile square, so most things are very walkable, but some things were a bit further out, and so we were able to see those things.  After the tour we got let off at Forsythe Park.  After exploring that area we went to eat and walk a bit more on River Street and then, was time to catch our flight home.

It was a great weekend away and Kyle and I had a lot of fun without the kids!!!

 The above building is the old cotton exchange building.

 Statue of General Oglethorpe 

I am at mile 7 in all of the below pictures.  I don't look this happy when finishing.  haha! 

 Taken in front of a "haunted" house in Savannah...the most "haunted" city in America.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Austin Trip

This weekend my friend, Shanna, and I took a quick trip to Austin.  I had registered to run the 3M Half Marathon "Downhill to Downtown" and Shanna said she'd come along for the ride.  I'm always willing to run a half marathon to get a girls weekend!!

We left Saturday morning just after 8am and stopped in Ft. Worth for an early lunch and made it to Austin by 3:00.  We checked in and headed to packet pickup.  Shanna had looked and found that out that there is an Athleta store (our favorite store) so we decided to head there.  Getting to go to Athleta was a HUGE deal for me.  There aren't any stores in OKC.  The closest ones are in the DFW area, but we don't go to Dallas hardly ever so I was PUMPED!!!  Plus! Rumor had it that if you're a group fitness instructor you get 30% off your purchase (which is TRUE!  The first thing I did when I walked in was to ask about that.  I had to show my certification and they got me signed up for their program and I get 30% off full priced items for myself.  No gifts.  And they mean that...they wrote down my sizes to verify that!!)  Anyway, when we were driving to Athleta, we passed a Lululemon (I had gotten a GC to there for Christmas and GFI get 15% off there) so we hit up that store as well.  I LOVE all of my purchases (as always), but as neither of them are inexpensive stores (Athleta is SLIGHTLY less expensive than Lulu) we had spent all our spending money....and then some =)

The next morning was race morning.  I managed to get with a head cold a couple of days before the race.  I get to feeling worse and worse throughout the day, so around bedtime every night I was severely questioning being able to run, let alone race.  I seriously considered skipping the race altogether. However, in the mornings when I wake up, I haven't been feeling to bad, just really congested and running usually helps with that, so I decided I would run, but that I would run really conservatively in case it became clear that it was just too much for me.  Race morning was the same, I was headache free, felt pretty good and was just congested.  The course was net downhill and the uphill portions weren't long or very steep grades.  I started out slowly and had to keep reigning myself back...I was wanting to run faster.  I kept reminding myself that I was only feeling this good because of all the downhills.  I was still fully expecting to hit the wall.  Mile 6 came and I was still feeling pretty good, and my average pace was conservative, but not too slow.  I decided to try to drop my average pace by a few seconds to 9:15 by the time I got to the 10 mile mark.  If I couldn't...fine, if I could and I was still feeling good, I was within range to push the last 5K and go for a sub 2 finish.  Well, my average pace was 9:13 at the 10 mile marker and I was still feeling strong and I knew that if I could run three 9 minute miles I could squeek in under 2 hours and that felt doable for me.  I went for it....and ended up with a bright, shiny new PR of 1:58:31.  More than a minute faster than my previous PR (set in March of last year).  The 3M course was the fastest I've ever run on and I know that helped me yesterday!  The only down side was it was not the most attractive course.  It wasn't chosen to show of the neat areas and pretty sights in was picked to be a fast course.  There was nothing interesting to look at for pretty much the entire race...but that's okay by me!!

After the race Shanna and I ate at Torchy's Tacos (sooooo good.  The best meal of the weekend) and then went to Amy's Ice Creams (my new favorite Ice Cream place...they have de-throned my beloved Freddies Frozen Custard.  It's now #2).  Since we had spent all our money the day before we decided to just head home.  The drive home was long and I was definitely not feeling well again, but it was a great quick trip with even better company.

I got home, saw the kids, put them to bed and was asleep myself before 8:30.  I was TIRED!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Leta's Birthday Party

Leta turns 5 on Tuesday.  At the Soper house, when you turn 5, you can have a "Big Friend Birthday Party".  So this was Leta's year and she was BEYOND excited.  She was more excited for this than she was for Christmas.  She talked about it many, MANY times a day and had her own countdown going and everything.

It turned out that we had it on the perfect weekend.  Grandpa Wilbur was having knee replacement surgery (THAT'S not wonderful, but the surgery went perfectly and he's recovering really well) so Kyle's mom (Grandma Binky) was in town for that and so she was able to come to her party.

Vicki was a life saver.  Leta wanted her party to be FANCY.  Every day she would tell me how FANCY her party needed to be.  "Are we going to decorate?  Because the house needs to be FANCY."  Well, I don't really do fancy.  I had purchased streamers (they're fancy, right?) but I didn't really know what to do with them.  Anyway, with Grandpa Wilbur's surgery/recovery going so well, she decided to spend Friday night with us, so we were able to do some decorating Friday evening.  Kyle did all the hanging (he's the tallest).  I handed him tape.  We all have our strengths.  We finished up Friday night and I thought it looked great.  We still had some streamers left over and Vicki went to bed plotting and planning.  Saturday morning she was over bright and early and used up the rest of the streamers.  It. Was. Fancy.  Leta was happy.

Rapunzel came to Leta's party.  Leta was soooo excited about this and the moment Rapunzel showed up, Leta got VERY shy and intimidated.  In fact, all the little girls did.  I think they were just in awe.  Let's just say it was the QUIETEST birthday party I've ever been to.  After eating and cake and ice cream, they all kind of loosened up and relaxed....when the party was over.  But Leta enjoyed it and she has 5 years to live off this party "high"....because her next one is when she turns 10!!

I sliced the cheese and Leta cut it into fun shapes using cookie cutters.  (I am very proud of myself for this.  I think this is the most crafty I've ever been)

Kyle and Vicki working hard. (PS, I can hand out tape LIKE A BOSS)

Leta and Rapunzel

She got her face painted like a kitty cat.

The aftermath of the "Tangled Game"

Leta blowing out her candles.  I made cupcakes and frosted them.  They are arranged to look like a "fancy dress".  Vicki put on the purple accents using Sixlets candies.

Max refused to have his picture taken with Rapunzel at the beginning of the party, but he'd warmed up to her by then end and wanted his picture taken then.

Running talk!  You're finished with the good part of this post.  Feel free to quit reading if you want.  I'll never know.  Promise.

I am registered for 1 half marathon per month through April.  
January 25th: 3M Half Marathon in Austin, TX
February 7th: Tybee Island, GA half
March: Strides of March Half (here in the City)
April: OKC Memorial Half

With the upcoming half I really needed to get in a 12 mile run.  I haven't run that far since November during my last half.  I couldn't skip.  But I know myself.  If I tried to run after the party I would be too worn out and tired and would likely skip.  12 miles is more than I want to run on the treadmill.  My normal running crew was starting too late Saturday morning, not leaving me with enough prep time before the party....SO...I did what any sane (???) person would do....I called another running friend to see if I could run with her and her crew Saturday morning.  So I set my alarm and got up at 4:20 AM to meet them at 5 for 12 miles.  Kyle took the big kids out to eat with his mom and sister and her family, but Max needed a nap (thankfully) so I stayed home with him and took a nap, too.  

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