Thursday, April 23, 2015

I want to be happy

I want to be happy.  I think that is something most people want. . .  But today (this whole week really) isn't the time.  You see one of my best friends has lost someone so near and dear to her that my heart breaks just thinking about it.  She lost her big brother.  Death is a really sad, hurtful, horrible thing for those of us left here.  Even when someone is old and you can say "She lived a long full life" it still hurts.  I remember being at my grandmother's funeral and thinking "She lived a long time. I shouldn't' be sad.  I'll see her again." But you know what? I was sad.  And I still am some times.  When I see something that reminds me of her.  Or think of how she used to answer the phone or her beautiful wrap around porch at her house. Or when I look at Miss V her namesake.  I can't help but think what would Grandma think? She never met my husband or saw my kids or our house.  What would she think? She was the most loving & kind hearted person.  She was a widow at 30 with 2 kids at home and 1 on the way. They lived on a farm with crops and cattle and other livestock and she never remarried. I often wonder why but do you think I thought to ask her while she was here? Nope! My guess is her kids came first and she was so busy supporting them that there was no time. She was truly an amazing person.

But back to being happy.  I just can't.  Does that mean I'm walking around upset and mad and feeling emotional all day?  Not at all.  But this verse came to mind.

I have lived this verse so many times.  Thankfully most of them were rejoicing with my friends and family.  So many weddings, babies, jobs, houses, cars & answers to prayer.  I rejoice when my friends rejoice.  I'm happy for them when they are happy or something good happens to them.  But the verse doesn't stop there. It goes on to say "Mourn with those who mourn" or I've heard "weep with those who weep".  Mourn seems more appropriate today as I walk through a sad horrible unthinkable time with my friend. So while I want to be happy and show you so many great things that are happening in our house I just can't.  I want to share how my running is going, I want to show you this amazing new bookshelf I found, but I can't. I'm trying to be respectful of my friend and her loss.  I want her to know how much she is loved & how her brother will not be forgotten. That life will get better.  That grief and loss are a roller coaster.  As you know we experienced a loss in our family earlier this year and most my days are fine. But every now and then I'll find a picture or hear a bird or go to text our family and think of our loss.  I don't text or call my brother-in-law & sister-in-law as much as I should.  I don't tell them enough how I'm praying for them. But I do constantly. Death is a strange, sad, empty thing for those of us left behind. So bear with me while I mourn with my friend. I promise to update you this weekend or next week about my training & show you my bookshelf. I love you all.  I pray for peace and comfort for those who have lost someone dear to them. 

Love, Lacey

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cross Training?

When I started running, I did it just for fun.  My goal was just to finish a 5k.  I was 3 months postpartum (and c-section) after Miss V and I remember it was a very slow (somewhere around 48?) and painful race.  I didn't have much faith in myself.  I had run a fair amount but didn't really know about training or pacing.  

Jump ahead ALMOST 6 years and I have grown so much as a person and as a runner.  First of all I call myself a runner.  I have run numerous 5ks, a few 4 mile runs, a hand full of 10ks, & 4 half marathons. Second I KNOW what it's like to train.  I know what it looks and feels like to be out running 3-4 times a week.  I know that running 9 or 10 miles to train for a 5k is something that my former running coach told me is important.  Third I also understand nutrition and how important it is to running.  Also hydration!  I have always struggled with getting enough water and correct nutrition.  But as a runner I understand (even if I don't always follow it) how important those things are.  

One thing that I have been told over and over and see on a lot on the running pages I follow is cross training.  Cross training is basically any exercise that you do besides running.  A lot of runners swim or bike or do weight training.  I haven't ever been too serious about cross training.  I have done some weight training but never gotten too serious about it.  Until this year!  The year of the marathon means there are NO EXCUSES! So this week my running partner Kellie and I decided enough is enough and we went to our local high school to sign up for swimming.  Our high school is lucky enough to have an indoor pool with lanes and a dive well.  We decided that we would swim once a week and keep setting goals for ourselves and really get serious about cross training.  

So you know I got serious and bought a swim cap! I wanted to look official! Do I look like a swimmer?! 

Hey we may not to be the BEST swimmers or go very far but you know what? We gave it our all and were still smiling after!  We did 10 laps (down and back) with varying strokes.  We both felt like we had a great time and got a good workout.  We decided to calculate how far we went . . . are you ready?  We swam . . . a total of .284 miles.  YEP!  Just over a quarter of a mile.  It's not much but that's farther than I've done before.  I've set a new goal for this weeks swim so we will see how this week goes!  I feel like I need some swim goggles because of my contacts but maybe I'll just try to go without my contact. 

Watch out world!  We are not messing around!  We are ready to get in shape and tackle this marathon!

Love, Lacey

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring Break Part 2

If you missed Part 1 you can go read it here.  Otherwise let's get on with what else we did on our Tennessee adventure.

The kids really wanted to visit Ripley Aquarium in Gatlinburg.   If you haven't been there I would highly recommend it.  I would also highly recommend you print or find coupons before you go.  This is NOT a cheap place to visit.  But it is really neat!  They have a glass tunnel that you walk through (or ride the moving sidewalk) and at times its hard to see the glass and it looks like the sharks are just swimming overhead.  VERY cool!!

Mr. D also got to hold a horseshoe crab.  He was very excited to see it up close and personal.  I touched it and the other 2 didn't want anything to do with it.  It was a very odd creature. But kind of neat at the same time. 

This picture and the next one sum up how Miss V felt about the aquarium.  Like I said in the previous blog she wasn't feeling well the whole trip and I have a feeling at this point her fever was coming back and she was pretty much over the crowd of people and being there.  So these are how she felt! 

"I'm going to stand there but I'm NOT happy about it!" - from the mind of Miss V.

We got to see so many cool sea creatures here but one of my favorites was this sea turtle.  I don't think this picture does him justice of how big he is! He was huge and so majestic!  He just glides through the water. Mr. J and I had the pleasure of snorkeling with one in Mexico on our honeymoon so it was neat to see one again in person. 

The next day we decided the weather was going to be perfect for hiking. Before we left home I had looked up a few different hikes and talked to a few different people and the hike to Laurel Falls seemed to be the perfect beginners trail for the kids.  Although this hike was 1.25 miles to the falls and obviously 1.25 miles back out it was paved and fairly flat the whole way up.  This was a great easy trail.  Lots of places to stop and look over the edge.  The signs that say "Caution people have died here" didn't put Mr. J at ease or the sheer drop off on the side but I wasn't too worried.  We warned the kids about getting close to the edge and asked them to stay on the inside.  We did see people with strollers going up this trail.  I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone! Here is a GREAT website for hiking in the smokeys and about the falls.

The falls! It was even more beautiful in person!

My girly and I at the falls! Even though she didn't feel great she was a trooper and hiked all the way up!! 

You crossed this bridge to see the falls.  But this little pool also had a waterfall coming off of it! So beautiful!

This pictures makes me happy in a way I can't explain. When Mr. J & I met I was the ultimate girly girl.  The thought of hiking or not wearing makeup and heels was just outrageous. And now (almost) 12 years later? I run long distance for fun! In these pictures I hadn't done my hair and have my absolute bare minimum make up on (mascara only). I was EXCITED to hike and I wanted to do more! I looked at some trails that were labeled "Technical" and I wanted to do them! I'm so thankful that Mr. J has loved me through the process of becoming the person that I am.  And maybe pushing & challenging me a little along the way. I still absolutely LOVE heels and make up and dressing up.  But there is a completely different love and feeling of freedom for things like this. I can't wait to hike again! 

Thank you to the lady that took this picture for us!  Come to find out she was from our hometown! It is a very small world!  Travel 9 hours from home to find someone doing the same!

After our hike to the falls it was lunch time.  We stopped at the local rangers station (which I would HIGHLY recommend!)  to ask where a great spot to eat was and he pointed us in the direction of Chimney picnic area. The actual picnic area itself was nothing too special.  Nice picnic tables and places to park but what made this THE place to stop was the river that ran beside it.  It was beautiful but what was even better was that you could jump around and play on the giant rocks! The rocks were big enough and close enough together that even the kids could get out there with us and explore!

The loves of my life!

We are on a rock nearly in the middle of the river with a waterfall behind us!  How's THAT for romance?

As you can imagine we took a TON of pictures.  But this one is one of my favorites.  It shows me just how far I have come. I only got nervous and anxious one time when Mr. D was jumping to a rather far away rock (thank goodness he made it!).  But I jumped rocks, I climbed around and looked at the water.  If you would have told me I would do this a few years ago I would have laughed at you!  My anxiety would have never let me get anywhere CLOSE to the edge of the river let alone go jumping around on the rocks. I still deal with anxiety don't get me wrong. But for some reason God has answered my prayers and taken so much of it away. I sat on this rock, scooted as far forward as I could, and took a picture. Those are rapids going down to a waterfall.  And you know what?  I wasn't scared!  I wasn't anxious!  I wanted to stay there all day and play! Another picture that makes me so happy and proud of myself. 

On our way to Clingmans dome we passed in North Carolina.  You sort of snake back and forth across the boarder several times.  But this little look out and pull off had this awesome sign! That means that on our spring break we went through 5 states! I'm pretty excited about that!

And to finish up the day we went to Clingmans Dome. We were told it was a half mile paved trail up to the dome and that the views would be amazing! Well they didn't lie AT ALL!  The views were to die for!  What they didn't say was that the half mile paved trail was basically UP the whole time. And poor Miss V was NOT feeling well so I'll give you 1 guess who got to carry 40 extra pounds up and down? It's ok though!  It was worth the sweat and stopping every .10 of a mile to sit down to rest.  The views were AMAZING!  I could make an entire separate post on the views and pictures we took up there.  The dome was just awesome!  Another place I would highly recommend!  As we went down the trail there was one couple who were walking slowly and looking like it was a trek for them.  They asked me if it was worth it.  I said YES!!!  I said it's a hike but use the benches to rest and get up there!  You will NOT regret it!

Even though Miss V's smile is fake the rest of us are SUPER happy to be up here. I'm so thankful for this vacation and the time together as a family.  God is growing our family together to be closer and stronger. This vacation is one that we will all look back on and treasure.  Something tells me this isn't our last trip to Tennessee!  I have a feeling we will go back many times.  I'd love to go down with just Mr. J and do lots of hiking but we will see!  Right now I'm just savoring the way our family is and how blessed I feel to have spent this time with them. 

Love, Lacey

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Break 2015 part 1

Hello my loves!  I have been under the weather for awhile and then we went on Spring Break! I wanted to show you what we did while we were away.  If you don't already you should follow me on Instagram so you can see my pictures and I always post when I've posted a new blog.  So go find me at LoveLacey365 and follow me! We don't take many family vacation so we decided to get away and enjoy some nice weather and gorgeous scenery.  We decided to rent a cabin in Pigeon Forge Tennessee! It's about an 8 hour drive from our house which isn't bad.  The kids are great travelers! Miss V likes to sleep, Mr. D like to color or play his Dsi, and Mr. S played his Dsi the entire time! I think we could have driven for days and we wouldn't hear from him. We only stopped once which I think is great.  So here is a little bit of our trip!

I always get very excited to see the first mountains! Obviously we don't have mountains where we live in Indiana.  Geez we barely have hills near us! So I'm always like a kid in a candy store when I see the first big mountains.  I LOVE the mountains.  I don't know why but they are so peaceful and calming and majestic to me. They definitely call to me! 

Like I mentioned we stayed in a cabin near Pigeon Forge. Mr. J and I had the BIGGEST bed!  I love the log frame beds but with the canopy and the king size I was in heaven. And the pillows . . . OH MY GOODNESS the pillows!! If I wasn't fighting a cough & illness I think I would have slept like a log!

Our cabin was called the Chocolate Moose for good reason. First of all there was this guy! He looks down on you while you eat breakfast & watch tv.  He really was so cute! We loved him! Also all over this cabin were moose! Moose furniture, stuffed animals, pictures the whole nine yards. It was fun trying to find all the moose and talk about what they were doing. Really cute small cabin just perfect for the 5 of us. 

This was my porch swing.  Every morning after breakfast I would take a blanket and my coffee outside and sit here.  Some times for 10 minutes and some times for an hr. The cabin is situated deep in the woods so there were lots of birds that loved to sing to me. I would just sit and listen to the birds and pray and just generally be thankful that we were able to get away as a family. 

Here was our nightly routine! After supper the kids would get their bathing suits on and go play in the hot tub for awhile. It was a great way for them to get out any extra energy and Mr. J and I would sit at the table on the deck and watch them. It was so fun! Then after the kids would go to bed, Mr. J and I would go and soak in the hot tub. We could see so many stars and hear the waterfall that was behind the cabin.  It was a great way to relax and reconnect. We had some great talks out there about life and goals and just everything under the stars! 

We stopped at the boot outlet and bought the kids each a pair of cowboy boots.  These are Miss V's boots.  They have silver hearts and chains and they are BRIGHT pink.  She was in heaven in these and when she put on a skirt with them . . . watch out world! She is like a glam cowgirl!

We are also lucky enough to have family that live in Knoxville which is about an hours drive from Pigeon Forge. We are also lucky enough that our family has family that has a cave on their property.  This is a fully natural and dark cave. The only light that gets in is the flashlights you bring. It's so neat to see a cave that isn't commercialized with lights or ropes or anything. It's a gorgeous cave that I could spend all day in exploring. Most of the areas are very tall and open which is great for me. But there are areas that you could squeeze through and explore if you want but I'm not into squeezing into anywhere and we definitely weren't dressed for muddy spelunking. So we stuck to the main areas and had a blast!

This is the opening to the cave.  You can see it's basically just like God made it! 

The boys & I having survived the cave!

Also on the same land is a farm with cows & donkeys & this sweet creek that the kids spent at least an hour playing in. It was so fun to see the kids be kids outside. They were throwing rocks and sticks in the creek. They came out muddy and wet but had so much fun. The water was crystal clear because it comes from an underground river in the cave! 

These are the donkey girls. A mother and daughter pair of donkeys that live on the farm. They love to follow you around and beg for dog bones.  They are really funny and soft! We had a great time feeding them and then they would silently follow you. They reminded me of the ghosts in Super Mario Brothers. If you turned your back they would come closer to you but if you turned around to face them they would stop and look around like "What? We weren't doing anything!" Too funny! 

Just another shot of the creek! It is so peaceful out there! I could have spent my entire vacation just sitting by this creek!

I couldn't resist this fence post and the field it was in. It was just perfect!

And a picture down the road. Just the most peaceful place I've been in a long long time.  This was most of Monday for us just spend with family.  We went out to dinner at a place called Calhoun's which is like a BBQ and everything else place.  It was pretty good but the company was better.  It was so great to see family that we don't see nearly enough!  Love them so much!  We are so blessed to have family we can visit and their family who treat us like family!  These people are the definition of Southern Hospitality! At one point they actually said to us "Whatever you want you can have and if we don't have it we will make it or do our best." They are just the sweetest people and was like being at grandma & grandpa's for our kids! What a great day! 

Love, Lacey