Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy 9th Birthday Susanna!

We just wrapped up yet another birthday party weekend! I must say that I totally enjoyed it! From running the race with Susanna Saturday morning to our lunch today with Sandy, JoAnna, and was just perfect! Susanna is such a lucky little girl to have so many wonderful people to share this special moment with.

Despite the fact that Steven said he was finished with sleepovers last year, we had 6 "glamorous" little girls over to celebrate. We started the afternoon getting all glammed up in tutus, tiaras, boas, and matching flip flops. Next we took the party down the street to the nail salon where they each enjoyed a pedicure! The best part was watching them squirm and wiggle as they got the bottoms of their feet exfoliated and massaged! We came home next for "make your own pizzas", and then capped off the evening with frozen yogurt from Lovin' Spoons. Of course the night wasn't really over yet! We still had bags to decorate, a dance party to have, and a movie to watch! The girls called it a day somewhere around 12:30! Much to my surprise, they slept in until around 8:30 am. This gave me some very valuable time to get breakfast started and to set up for our morning craft - bottle cap necklaces!

The girls had all left for home around 11:30 am, which gave us just enough time to clean up and meet Sandy, JoAnna, and Diane for lunch! After all that action, we came home and had a relaxing afternoon together. This was definitely the kind of weekend that I wish never had to end. Everything went just as I had hoped....maybe even better!

Susanna and Laikyn enjoying the massage chairs!

TuTu adorable!

Picking their colors!

Tickle...Tickle Laikyn!
Your turn, Susanna!

Look at those toesies!

Cheers! With Hawaiian Punch...of course!

Thi is the cutest picture ever!

Bag decorating!

Silly faces!

Their finished products!

She looks so grown up in the picture to me.

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Susanna's first 5K and my first 10K!

We had quite a weekend celebrating Susanna's 9th birthday (birthday post to follow). Before all the partying, she and I ran in the 2012 Seacrest Partners Race to Preservation 10K/5K. She has been asking me for weeks to run with me, so I thought this would be a good weekend for her to try! She was so excited when I got home Friday evening with her offical number and bag of race day goodies. She set out all her clothes before she went to sleep, and even woke up at 4 am to ask me if it was time yet!   She was just as excited (or maybe even more) as she is on Christmas Eve anticipating the arrival of the guy in the big red suit.  She heard my alarm go off at 6 am, which makes me wonder if she ever even went back to sleep!

We started the race off well, and she surprised me by running the entire first mile. I thought for sure she was going to need a break.  I knew at some point she was going to split off from me to go the 5K finish, but I didn't realize it would be before the end of the second mile.  When her turn around came, I got a little worried that she was going to freak out about having to finish alone. She didn't freak out at all. She gave me a quick hug and said, "Bye, Mom". I knew Steven was waiting for her at the finish, so I didn't freak out either!  She was such a super partner! I just couldn't be any more proud of her.  Tonight as we were viewing our official times, she realized that she came in fourth for her age group. I told her that she was just a few minutes away from third, and that would have gotten her an award. She said very matter of factly, "I can't wait for the next race. I am going to win it!"....and I am sure she will! That is my girl!

As for me, I was thrilled to have finished the 10K with the time that I did. It is still pretty slow by most standards, but it was a whole minute faster per mile than my average pace. I finished it in 1:13:22, which was 11:26 per mile.  I really want to increase my time for the next race. I am not trying to win one, but I would like to finish in at least the top 50% of my age group! I finished in the top 85% of this race! How about that for looking at the glass half full?! Everytime I start feeling a little aggreavated with my time, I try to remember that I finished a 10K this weekend....that is enough to feel proud of. Considering that I worked close to 50 hours last week (including a grueling mid-week trip to Fort Jackson), planned Susanna's birthday include making 6 tutus, 12 cupcake topppers, a bomb ass Happy Birthday banner, and a corsage for her to wear! Steven would certianly think that I tooting my horn at this point, so I better stop!

I do want to mention how much I appreciated the support from my sweet friends Victoria, Elizabeth, and Nicole during the run! They each sent me little messages along the way! I have to quote Nicole' cracked me up. Just before the race started at 8 am, Nicole sends me this text, "Good 4 u. I'm proud of u merilee. I'm going back to sleep tho." Later she sent a message that said she was up and doing Tae Bo along with me!  I love it!

My little runner!

We are getting lined up to start the race!

Just before we lined up...we took a break from the cold to get our numbers pinned on!

First mile down...and full of energy! She told me at this point that we could pick up the pace a little. She said that we had to go faster than the "grandma" in front of us!

This was on my 10K leg of the race. Such a beautiful run through downtown! I had to resist taking more pictures...I was trying to avoid being the last to finish after all!

I took this of myself at about mile 4. When Steven saw this he said, " look happy". It made me realize that I really was happy. I loved every minute of that race and can't wait until the next one on March 24th!

My little Susanna just after I finished!

I am really loving my new running skirt in this picture!

My and my cutie Connor...face is kind of matching my shirt! Lol!

It really means so much that Steven is willing to come to see me finish. I can't imagine getting to the finish without knowing that they are waiting on me!
Or in the Nicole's case!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Valentine's Day Party!

This Valentine's Day, Steven was gracious enough to share his birthday with a few special guests that were visiting from W.T. Sampson in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  We had them and a few others from my office over for dinner...which I cooked! :) it was just lasagna, but it wasn't Stouffers! The kids had a great time helping me put up the decorations and bake the cupcakes. It was such a fun night. I am so blessed to work with such a great team!
Elizabeth and Steve

My partner in crime!

My silly valentine!

Steven and Sonja with their birthday cake!
Elizabeth with Lois from Cuba!
Dr. Ingram, Elizabeth, Mitch, Sonja, Lois, and I!

My lasagna! Looks great, doesn't it?!?!

Me and the birthday boy!