Monday, October 29, 2012


Ben also played soccer this fall with his favorite coach...his Daddy!  This year was fun because Ben got to play goalie, which he really liked and was pretty good at! 


There is that awesome coach giving the team a good pep talk before the game!

Ben really improved this season and had a lot of fun too!

The girls did not enjoy the soccer games quite as much as football as there were less friends to play with during the games, but we still had fun.

And they usually got to partake in the team snacks after the games too (lucky for them to be the coach's daughters)!

Some games were very cold...poor Juju is all wrapped up, but she was a trooper!

It was a great season!  I am not sure we can do both football and soccer next fall though - it was a lot to handle given the amount of homework Ben has every night (that's right - 1st grade is pretty tough with the homework).  He really enjoyed his fall sports, but I am glad we have a break now for a bit!
Posted by Picasa


This year we signed Ben up to play flag football with some friends of his. We heard great things about the program and decided to give it a shot. It was great. The coaches were amazing - so encouraging and positive and really taught the kids a lot. Ben had so much fun, learned so much, improved so much, and just really enjoyed it. His whole team was kids from his school so we also got to know a lot of other families too.

One of the great things about this team was the number of coaches.  This is all parent coached, but so many were involved that they were able to get a lot of one on one attention to work on skills.

Ben's big kick off!

Good 3 point stance Ben!

Good flag grabbing!

At the year end party, one of the coaches said that Ben always had a great smile on his face in whatever position he played - this picture shows that perfectly!

The best game of the season was the Homecoming Bowl Game!!!  They went all out - check out Ben's Mohawk that was spray painted blue and grey!

Here is the team and all the coaches (minus one)

He is ready to go!

These are the 1st graders.  There were also kindergarteners and 2nd graders on the team.

Juju also got into the Bulldog spirit!

Yay - go Bulldogs!

So the league is called the Cowboys, but since our school mascot is the Bulldogs, we called them that too.  Anyway, here is the banner they ran through! 

Ben played awesomely in the game!

Abbey put on her cheerleading outfit to cheer on the team!

Final score - we won 13-0!  What a great end to a great season!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chicago Marathon

Back in February, a good friend of mine that ran the marathon last year convinced me to sign up with her to do it this year. Unfortunately, she got a stress fracture in early July, so I ended up doing it on my own. It actually worked out well though. My training went great and although I was very nervous leading up to the race, I also felt confident in my ability to do it based on my training. On Saturday, I went down to the race expo with my friend and the kids and Paul spent their time making me amazing signs!

I cannot tell you how much it meant to me to have the kids come down to the race.  They have watched me prepare for this all summer and I wanted them to see what it was all about.  I was so thrilled that Domi came downtown too as her support meant so much.  Also, she was able to take the kids after I saw them at mile 13 and Paul was able to run around the second half of the race to cheer me on, give me supplies, and much needed encouragement in those last few miles.  Domi, thank you so much!

What a great cheering squad!

I think Juliette stayed warm and ate her breakfast most of the time.

As I mentioned, Paul was able to run around in the second half of the race and cheer me on.  Seeing him during the last half was so helpful to me.  He gave me water, encouragement, and basically was just there when I needed him.

I actually felt great for most of the race.  I slowed down in the last few miles, but I kept going and never felt the urge to walk, which was what I was most afraid of.  Also, I had mentioned the water stations in a previous post...I ran through all water stations.  I did not walk once, even for water, which made me so proud.  Thank you Domi for showing me that in your half!

Feeling good and finished strong!

I was overcome with emotion when I finished.  I cried, got ahold of myself, and then would start crying again.  It was amazing. 

My official time was 4:06.  I was hoping to get 4:15, so I was thrilled with my time.  I thought if I got that close to 4 hours that I would be mad that I didn't break it, but I wasn't at all.  Everything went as well as I possibly could have hoped and I left it all out there and had a great experience.  I can't even express how happy with everything I am.  I am proud of my training, proud of my race and proud of my time.  All I wanted was a positive experience and I don't think it could have gone any better in any way.  And since I feel completely satisfied, I don't think I need to do that again.  Never say never, but I'm happy to go back to doing Half Marathons now!!

I felt fantastic after the race, but was very sore the next day.  It took a few days before I could walk down stairs without wincing!  I did stretch after the race, but I don't think it helped too much!  I took a week off, but am back to running again now. 

And before I move on to the rest of our day (that's right, the marathon was only part of our day), I want to make sure to thank a few people.  First off, I am so thankful to God that I stayed injury free and had a safe race.  Every year, at least one person dies during a marathon due to some unknown heart condition and I am not going to lie, I was a little worried about it.  I prayed for a safe race and was so thankful it all went well.  And, I could not have done any of it without the full support of my amazing husband, who watched the kids every Saturday morning so I could go out for a long run and makes breakfast and gets the kids ready for school most mornings so I can run before school.  But besides watching the kids, he was genuinely excited for me and encouraging in every aspect.  I literally could not have done it without his support and I would not have done as well in the race if he had not been there cheering me on.  I love you! 

After the race, there was not time to stick around.  Ben had a Tiger Scout rocket launch that he was so excited about.  So, we went straight from the race to the rocket launch!  Ben must have been proud of me as he wanted me to help him launch his first rocket.

He built and decorated the rocket himself.  I must say, it was very cool to watch.  They went straight up in the air pretty far and then would parachute down.  Ben launched his several times - he couldn't get enough of it!

It was a very fun event.  Then, it was home for a quick shower and then to a friend's house to celebrate a birthday.  It was a very fun party and I felt great, but it was a long day and I was tired by the end of the night.  We spent much of the next day relaxing on the couch!!!

Overall, it was a fantastic day!  And thank you to everyone who supported me and wished me luck.  It was a huge thing for me and as I said, I just could not be happier with the way it went. 
Posted by Picasa

St. Francis Celebration

At school the PK3 class celebrated St. Francis and the blessing of animals. They each got to bring in a stuffed animal to be blessed and we could bring our family pet. The school's faith minister dressed up like St. Francis and administered the blessings. It was very cute.  I love Juliette's face in this picture - she clearly thinks this is very cool!

Belle got a blessing :)
Posted by Picasa

Baby Utz Update!

Baby Utz was born on Sunday night, but Uncle Chris and Aunt Ginny have finally settled on a name today...introducing Brendan David Utz!!!

The beautiful family went home from the hospital today to start their new life as a family of 3!

Congratulations and welcome home Baby Brendan!!!
Posted by Picasa