Monday, March 25, 2013

The Playdate

Cousin Amelia told her mom: "I want Avery and Kate to come play at my house.  And we will ride bikes around our street and we will eat at Mooyah and have Tutti Frutti.  And we will go to my museum."

And so Amelia, Kyle, Avery, Kate and Reese rode bikes in the street.  They ate Mooyah and had Tutti Frutti.  And then they went to Amelia's museum (The Children's Museum of The Woodlands).

Checklist complete.

Time to go!

And that's when Amelia felt very sad.  Even though the checklist was complete, it was very sad to say goodbye.  "But I wanted my cousins to spend lots and lots of nights at my house!"

And that's how you know it was a really great time.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Vacation Adventure (Written By Avery)

(Written by Avery, typed and spellchecked by Mom)

For Spring Break I went to a lot of places.  Here is my story.

Home - We stayed home for 2 days.  We played, we swam in the pool.  I went to a park.

Lockhart - We went to my Nanny's house and picked Lady Bankshires.  We got to see my cousin Lleyton.  We also drew pictures and sticked feathers in our hair.  And we saw her dog Shatzie.  And ate cake and Dippin' Dots.  We went to our Mimi and Gran's house and we painted spoons to look like kitties and baby chickens.  We got Easter things and we ate very good meals and also we made sugar cookies.  We hunted for frogs and cleaned the pool with nets.

Dallas - Next we went to Dallas and we went to the zoo and we went on a monorail.  We rode high and saw an Okapi which has a tongue that's 2 feet long and we saw a lion on the other side of the window of the restaurant.  Then we went to The Magnolia Hotel.  We ate eggs and cereal and some bread and jam.  It's a very pretty hotel.  We went up and down the stairs.

We went to Great Wolf Lodge and we watched the Great Clock Tower Show.  My favorite thing was the wave pool.  We did MagiQuest.  You point your magic wand at something and it moves or does something.  I became a Master Magi.  There were fast slides and it was a fancy hotel.  That's where I got fancy headbands and there was a Kid Scoop Spa.

We went to visit the Gaylord Texan.  It looked like outdoors but we were inside  and I loved the food there.  We saw the hippo from Madagascar and a huge cowboy on stilts.

That was my great vacation adventure!

From, Avery

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things

When the bee stings (or I'm hungry), when the dog bites (or I fall and scrape my nose because I forgot how to catch myself with hands), when I'm feeling sad...

I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad!

My favorite things:

 *The Little Gym -  Do you know that at Little Gym, it's okay to run away from the group and do my own thing?  And that they have BUBBLES and BALLS?  And that Ms. O, my instructor, is totally chill and lets me decide when I want to be her bud and when I want to ignore her?

*Wack Wacks - You may call them ducks, but I know them as "wack wacks".  There are lots of ponds around our neighborhood that have wack wacks, and we even found baby wacks at a lake recently!  We visit the baby wacks a lot.

*Fooooooooooooood - Whatever kind, wherever we are.  Feed me!

*Baths - As soon as dinner is over, I start yanking at my clothes and telling everyone, "bath."  It's the best!

*Balls and bubbles

*Josh - He's been at Camp Justin this week and I walk around the house, asking, "Josh?  Josh?  Josh?"  I love getting into trouble with that big guy.

*Bone - This may be called a phone to most people.  Sometimes I yell at mom: "Mom!  Mom!  Mom!" and when I finally have her attention  I yell, "Bone!!!"  The iPhone is the preferred play-toy of this gal.

*Being Naughty - Sisters say I have to include this one.

*Dihdahs - Sisters.  They're both my favorite.  I think I'm 4 and I think I can do anything Dihdahs can do.

I have so many favorite things.  It makes life so happy!

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What 'The Half' Taught Me

Jordan and I ran a half marathon last weekend.

As we trained for the race, I learned a lot of things that I wouldn't have guessed I needed to know - all about snot rockets, Gu, body glide, and, importantly, how not to gag violently after a run while driving your babysitter home.

But on our last long run before the race, I started reflecting on what I'm taking away from this experience.  And I want to document it so I'll be able to go back and revisit the lessons.

First, I learned that I can do hard things.  Half marathons were always the stuff of athletes in my mind.  And I have some awesomely athletic friends who have accomplished this kind of stuff... but me?  Naw, I'm not an athlete.  And then one day, I realized - lots of people start out as non-athletes.  And so I wondered, why not take on a larger-than-life, seemingly unattainable goal?  And you know what?  Every time we ran a mile further than the last time, I realized, I can do hard things.  It's a good feeling to walk away from something that seemed too big for me and to know that I proved myself wrong.

I realized that when I am in hard situations, so much of what is hidden beneath the surface is revealed. Each week we added a mile to our "long run" per our training, and starting the first week we ran 5 miles until the race, each run was a new kind of challenge.  In the beginning, I wondered if my body could even hold out for the 'long' runs, and then later in training, I worked through proper fueling for my body.  When I consistently put myself in scary or challenging situations, I became more and more aware of the fears and lies that I tell myself.  In mostly comfortable day-to-day life, the fears and lies I believe about myself aren't as apparent.  But when I pushed myself further than I wanted to, I began to hear them loudly.  "You're not strong enough," the voices would tell me, "Or maybe you'll get sick, and that's the worst thing that could happen."  The voices told me that I wasn't really an athlete and that what I was accomplishing wasn't really that big of a deal.  They told me that this is something that brave, strong people do and sooner or later I'd be discovered for a fake.

I was shocked that these lies were even a part of my thinking, and much more shocked to realize that I believed them.  I slowly, over the course of literally hundreds of miles, began to realize just how much I agreed with what I knew were lies.  I had the chance to retrain my mind to believe truths: I am strong enough; I can trust my training, getting sick isn't the worst thing that could happen - succumbing to my fears would be worse than getting sick.  I'm accomplishing more than I could've dreamed I would, and I can be proud that I'm trying - not that I'm hitting amazing time goals or that I even made it through the runs, but that I was brave enough to get out there and try something scary in the first place.

I learned to trust my training.  To respect the schedule.  We used Hal Higdon's training schedule and he is a well respected trainer in the running world, so we knew we could trust his word on beginner's marathoning.  The half marathon was such a big, daring goal for me that I deeply depended on my training schedule.  I wasn't brave enough or confident enough in my ability to skip a run - when Hal told me to run 4 miles, I ran 4 miles.  This four mile run was an important part of my prep, and it was making me the athlete I needed to be to finish the race.  When Hal told me to strength train, I knew I better do it if I wanted to accomplish the goal.  And when I was running the long miles, I knew I could trust my training - everything I'd worked for until that point served to prepare me for success during that particular run.

I started reflecting on my emotional response to the training.  I respected my training out of an awe and fear of the race.  I knew better than to show up on race day without respecting the training.  I wasn't a strong enough athlete to pull off that kind of confidence.  And then I thought, you know - I think this is the closest I've come to relating an earthly situation to the fear of the Lord.  If I see God for who He really is, and understand His guidelines for my life as His protection for me; and if I get it, like really get how dangerous life is without His hand of protection and how safe it is when I trust the guidelines - that's a deeper fear and respect than I think I've really grasped until this point.

I learned that you can't fake nutrition.  My entire adult life, I've eaten whatever I want, and usually that included a great deal of sugar.  I balanced it, in my mind, with mild exercise and healthy-ish meals, but when I wanted to gorge on 3 cupcakes or eat five desserts in a day, I did.  As I began to expect more of my body during the runs, I started realizing how important nutrition really is.  It was the first time that I've ever seen a direct correlation between how I fuel my body and how it responds back to the food.  I mean, I still love sugar.  I just understand a little more now what I am doing when I put something into my body.

There's so much to take away from an experience like this, and these four things have rolled around in my mind over the last several months.  I hope they stick with me long after the Finisher's tee stops fitting.

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