Monday, September 30, 2013

Running and partying

I know what you're thinking--isn't that title redundant?  Running IS like a big party and partying is kind of like running a marathon.  But this weekend, against all rational judgment, I actually did both in the same day.  And I am still recovering.

This year, after a three-year hiatus because of my bum knee, I ran the Virginia Ten Miler in Lynchburg.  It felt great to be back on one of the toughest courses in the state, but it felt even better to be running it with these incredible ladies:

Karen, me, Cyndi, and Catherine

Karen, Cyndi and I ran a race together in April and had so much fun we made plans to meet back in our hometown for their big annual run.  Catherine (on the far right) is a Lynchburg native, too, who went on to become a professional triathlete and runner.  Needless to say none of us actually ran with Catherine; but it was fun to pretend.

My time was fine--not my slowest, not my fastest (which I find myself saying a lot these days as I approach the big 4-0).  Cyndi, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and runs many races in high altitude said this 10-miler was her toughest of the year.  I kid you not I could have kissed her when she said that.  The course is notoriously hilly and in years past has deterred many elite runners from participating because of what will surely be a slow (for them) time.  So knowing all of that, I almost always run this race with the goal of having fun, seeing friends and family, and not killing myself.  Check, check, check!  It was a great time.

After the race and some catching up with the other runners, I drove back to Richmond in time to get ready for this big boy's birthday party.

We had it at Romp n' Roll (the same place we had Frances's 4th birthday) and they did a fabulous job.  An hour and a half of jumping, dancing, bouncing, climbing, singing, and running.

Some pizza and cake to finish the evening.

And no party would be complete without cousin love:

Cousin Maggie

Justin and Trey

It felt great to celebrate our baby (sniff!) and to send his friends and family off completely exhausted, fed and ready for bed.  

And so was Momma.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Two and a half years ago when I started this blog, George looked like this:

And I remember thinking how old he looked in this picture, blue jeans and all.  Now, he looks like this:

I can't help but be in disbelief at how much he's changed in the time between I took those two pictures.  George is stubborn at times, quick tempered, opinionated, and knows every single of Frances's buttons to push at just the right time for peak little brother annoyance level.  But he is also a lover of kisses and hugs, smiles and waves at everyone who acknowledges his presence, adores his sister (despite aforementioned button-pushing), is a tried and true momma's boy, and is destined to be something pretty spectacular in this world.

George challenges me as a mother on a daily basis--and I am not just referring to my patience and tolerance (although he certainly tests those!).  I have been blessed to have a huge hand in guiding this boy into manhood and I want to ensure I don't completely screw that up.  He is imaginative, creative, scary smart, curious, and constantly craving new and exciting adventures.  He is also just as happy being a homebody like his mother--reading in the corner while I piddle around the house.  The window of time I have with this incredible being is shrinking daily (this time next year he will be in Kindergarten.  Kill me now.) and I'm worried that my amateur mothering skills may not have been enough for the complexity that is George.

What I know for certain with every cell in my body is that I am a better person for having this boy.  While I am busy teaching him manners, reading, writing, and conflict resolution (ha!), he is teaching me how to live each day to the maximum; how to study bugs in the dirt (because they are "really coooool"); how to change lyrics to his favorite songs just for a good laugh; how to be patient when figuring out a puzzle because at some point you will figure it out.  George keeps me grounded, youthful and most importantly he keeps me humble.  And I will be forever grateful that he takes the time to drag his stuck-in-the-mud mother along on his many adventures.

Happy 4th Birthday, George!  I can't WAIT to see where our next adventure leads us.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Go Braves!

When Will and I first began dating, I found out very early on that he was a baseball fan (or to paraphrase one of Frances's favorite sayings, "he didn't just like baseball, he LOVED baseball.").  Among his wit, charm, dashing good looks, and seemingly bottomless well of Libel Show jokes I was so very happy to be falling for a lover of America's pastime.  I was born and bred with the game of baseball--my father, my brothers, even my mother (who to this day knows how to keep a handwritten score of the game; a lost art in my book)--we all loved the sport.

Growing up, we were Yankees fans (before it was 'cool' to be a Yankees fan; believe me, they were terrible most of those years) and Henry's childhood idol was the great Don Mattingly.  So you can understand my excitement when he picked me up for our second date to tell Will that not only did I also love baseball but that I was a Yankees fan!  Yippee!!  It was at that moment that Will slowed down his car and told me to "get out now."  I thought he was kidding.  But now I know that as a diehard Braves fan he very likely wasn't.  But thankfully my charm, wit, and willingness to root for his favorite team won him over in the end and we've lived happily ever after in baseball bliss.  We even attended a Braves game during our honeymoon:

Sporting my favorite player's jersey, Julio Franco.
He was about 50 years old, but had stood the test of time as a major league player--my kind of guy!

Sadly, since our wedding the Braves have been struggling.  And struggling.  And struggling.  And while Will does his absolute best not to let their losses interfere with his daily moods, I know he dies a little each time they have a bad year.  And when he hurts, I hurt.

But this year the Braves started out strong.  We both were silently keeping track of their progress--sharing the bare minimum, but not wanting to jinx their players or teamwork.  Slowly and patiently, they racked up more and more wins.  The Bikram yoga of baseball I like to think--breathing in and out, taking their time, and enjoying the fruits of their hard work day in and day out.  And you know what?

I realize now that Marshall needs some Braves paraphernalia.

They won their division yesterday!  Something they haven't been able to do in eight years (nearly our entire marriage).

The post-season is coming and their is no guarantee of further success.  But I have to say a quiet "thank you" to the Braves for making the person that I love most in this world a happy, happy fan yesterday.  You could not have won for a more loyal or more wonderful Braves devotee.  You all deserve the best!

Little Will is just my favorite little person ever!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Den decorating update

Along with my lack of blog updates, my general life updates are pretty slow as well.  If I've learned nothing these past two years at home it is that for the most part, a full-time mother spends a lot of time just maintaining the status quo (cleaning the messes, laundering the dirty clothes, shopping for the food that has just been eaten, returning toys into those organized--or not-so-organized--toy shelves, etc., etc.) and not as much time improving her surroundings as she would like.

Remember that post I did back in early March--yikes!--where I was on fire to improve nearly every single room of our house?  Guess how many rooms are completed.


But, I was finally able to get the den nearly ready for showing you guys.  And who am I kidding, because it will never be 100% ready, I'll break the suspense today and show you the "(Almost) AFTER" pictures.  I am absolutely in love with the pillow fabrics (thank you, thank you Anne!) and couldn't be happier with the curtain choice (what would we ever do without Ikea?).

Here are the "BEFORE" pictures:

Dirty sofa, Target pillows, and Marshall.

Barren windows

And the "(Almost) AFTER" pictures!

Pillows!!  And a Pottery Barn slipcover that was on sale and I couldn't resist.
Oh, and Marshall of course.  He also loves the new pillows.

Curtains.  Ahhh!

More curtains.

Another angle.  How much fun is that leopard print?

Where one of the Target pillows has landed temporarily.

I know it doesn't look like much (and isn't really), but it's amazing the difference a few throw pillows can make to an entire room's feel.  Still to do - find some trim for the white curtains (maybe; the plain white is growing on me), have another pillow made for the red chair above, and hang 6 framed prints behind the sofa in place of the mirror.  Maybe I'll get to those in the next six months.  Maybe.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Our week

Twice per week seems to be the new normal for me to update my blog (but don't hold me to that even!  I can't promise any kind of schedule these days).  George has decided to all but forego his naps, which means in the 30-minutes I force him to stay in his room I can either write, fold laundry, start dinner, clean, make phone calls, email, or check Pinterest (who me?  Never!).  Sadly, my writing has some serious competition for my time and seems to be losing most days.  The good news is, I have lots to update, including ...

Frances's first class at the Richmond Ballet school.

It is an unbelievably tight window from the time school gets out until she has to be dressed and ready to dance, but we did it last week and we'll keep it up as long as she wants to.  I couldn't help myself signing her up for this program.  Her dance school last year was fine, but they spent the better part of classes learning their routine for the recital rather than focusing on technique.  I knew she needed more structure if she really does want to pursue this crazy profession.

George's first tennis lesson.

Completely out of the blue, my neighbor invited us to take a 4 to 5-year-old all boys tennis lesson once a week at our gym.  Fresh air for both of us, 45 minutes of running around for my ball of energy, and I get to meet and have actual conversations with other mothers - sign me up!

Fall is here!

Sunny, 50 degree mornings are just the best.

And the apples this year are delicious, a product of a wet and cool(ish) summer.  Bring on the Honeycrisps.

Last night, we attended a performance of the Richmond Symphony at Pocahontas State Park.

It could not have been a more perfect evening--picnic on the grass and dancing after dessert.

Pretend fighting.

You know, just in case I forget what the real fights look like.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Twelve years ago today, I was a first-year law student at the University of Virginia trying my best to survive those notoriously hard core curriculum classes--Contracts, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure and Torts.  My entire world revolved around me, not necessarily as a selfish fault, but because it had to; and it could.  I hadn't met Will, hadn't bought a house, didn't have a career or even a job to clock in and out from, and most telling I hadn't had Frances and George.  And then September 11th happened.  We all cried.  We all prayed.  We all suddenly, instantly had a renewed appreciation for the intangibles in life--family, friends, laughing, loving.

I can't possibly write here anything that hasn't already been said about the enormity of that day.  But I couldn't let the anniversary go without acknowledging its presence.  As Will knows (probably much to his chagrin), I have to talk the hard stuff out.  I need to share.  I cannot ignore and hide away a topic just because it might be painful to face.  And I cannot think of a more painful and important topic than what happened twelve years ago today.  As any parent will understand, I now know more than ever what was lost that day.  Because twelve years ago, I imagined myself (or even worse, one of my loved ones) in those twin towers, on one of the airplanes, or at the Pentagon.  But today, I can't help but imagine losing one of my children or husband.  The pain that the parents and spouses of the victims must have felt that day is simply unreal.  The souls who perished weren't only just like me--they were just like Frances, George and Will.  To someone else, they were their entire world.

In loving memory of those beautiful souls, I remember and I will never forget.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Impossible Dream

Guess who had his first day of preschool today?

And for a harder question, guess who did not cry at drop-off for his first day of preschool today?

I am still in shock at how smoothly it all went.  With George in the four-year-old class this year, we are allowed to participate in the coveted carpool (instead of having me walk him inside to his classroom the way I did last year).  I'm not sure if it was the shock of the first day or if this is going to be the new normal, but when the teacher came to get him from the van, he took her hand and walked away.  No.  Tears.

I can't believe my seemingly impossible dream came true today.


Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The littlest Heil

Henry and Kerrin's (my brother and his wife) youngest daughter, Claire, was christened Labor Day weekend.

Really, is there anything cuter than this?

Or this?

Maybe this?  Although Frances doesn't appear to be amused.

Claire was a dream--no tears at the baptismal font.  I'm pretty sure I would at least whimper if someone turned me upside down and poured water on my head.

What a trooper!

The entire Heil family, including big sister, Maggie.

Nana and Pop love their Claire.

Thank you Claire for sharing your special day with us!

And thank you Maggie for sharing your princes Playmobiles with George.  He is still talking about them.

Happy Sunday, everyone!