On a Learning Curve

Life may not be easy, but it's always an adventure.

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The Numbers Game

I haven’t been posting lately. As soon as Ryan arrived home, he left again. School, lessons, and soccer fill our days, and we were blessed–but exhausted–to take part in our neighborhood’s version of Extreme Home Makeover. Instead of a lengthy post, I thought I’d share a few numbers.

40-44: My new racing age group. I’m at the low end of the spectrum.

5: How many seconds I missed beating my half marathon PR yesterday.

5.5: How many hours I slept the night before my half marathon yesterday.

62: The number of minutes that the start of yesterday’s Iron Girl Half was delayed.

26: S’s new all-time lowest blood glucose reading.

39: The amount of carbohydrates in grams that it took to raise S’s blood glucose to a safe level.

40: The number of $1 bills my mother-in-law sent me as a birthday gift.

35: The number of $1 bills I paid a massage therapist to work out my post-race kinks today.

23: The number of school days we have left in this school year.

19: The number of math lessons left in this school year.

5: The number of times I sent naughty children to their rooms today.

30: The number of days that Ryan just announced he would be gone this summer.

38: The number of days until I leave for Ragnar Chicago.

18.1: The number of miles I will run during Ragnar Chicago.

1000: The number of words this picture is worth. This selfie is of me and my favorite running friend Tracy, who selflessly paced me through yesterday’s run. Even the 2 hills that I could not climb without walking. And over the finish line as I tried to tell her that my legs could not move any faster. Here we are in our post-race, no make-up, sweaty glory.








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Make a Difference to a Child

Have you ever watched someone struggle with difficult circumstances and wanted to make a difference? Have you ever struggled with knowing how to help? Here’s one way. Watch this short video from Compassion and consider sponsoring a child.

It’s that easy. Go to Compassion’s site and search for a child by country, gender, or birthdate. I’ve written before about the three little girls that our family sponsors in Rwanda. One of girls has a birthday today. Joselinne (#1, not to be confused with Joselyne #2) is having a birthday today; she’s turning 12, and we’ve had the privilege of being part of her life for the past 7 years.

I guarantee you will be a blessing to your child and his/her family, and I also guarantee that your child will be a blessing to you. Go ahead.  What are you waiting for?



After 9 hours on the road yesterday, our family is complete again. The girls and I missed the plane’s arrival by almost 20 minutes, but that’s what happens when Mom makes one wrong turn and the girls can’t coordinate their bathroom breaks.

DSCN0800We still managed to sneak onto the flight line and all the way up to the plane with Ryan unaware.

DSCN0801That’s H in the purple shirt, and G behind her. Ryan is the Marine on the right.

DSCN0803Here’s a group shot of the girls with their daddy. It’s a candid, and I have no idea what’s going on here. S looks like she is being (happily) choked, another Marine is in the shot, and there’s a very large bag of something. I just love the look on S’s face. And yes, this is how she gives hugs.

DSCN0804This is the most polished shot from yesterday’s homecoming. We’re not a very polished family, and homecomings are never perfect. Sometimes Mom misses the plane; sometimes Mom says a bad word when she makes a wrong turn; sometimes children fight over Rainbow looms, pinch each other, and kick the backs of the car seats. But we love each other. Nothing fills me with more joy than this final picture. My girls adore their daddy (and so do I), and that’s exactly the way it should be.


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Just 2 More Days

2 days. That’s it. That’s how much longer I have to hold our family together all by myself. (Can you hear my sigh of relief?) It’s officially been 3 months since we said good-bye to Ryan. Here’s a recap of how we spent the time.

G can also use her powers for good. Here she is demonstrating her snow tunnel!

January went by in a blur of temper tantrums. Most of those were H’s; in total disclosure, a few were mine. The weather turned colder than usual, and I shoveled my first driveway. S started 4th grade, and Ryan came home for 2 weekends on breaks from training.

Frozen Heart

February brought an end (mostly) to the tantrums, and the snow piled up. I’ve lost count of how many driveways I shoveled in February. We celebrated my father’s 65th birthday with a not-so-enjoyable-but-totally-memorable 11-mile trail run through snow, hills, and mud. I started training for a half-marathon, and the girls helped me celebrate the 13th birthday of their brothers.


March marked the beginning of soccer season, but it continued to snow on a weekly basis. We visited my sister’s family for my nephew O’s 6th birthday. The girls also spent a long weekend with my parents, while I escaped to South Carolina for a retreat with the amazing staff of Five in a Row.

Everyone loves the adorable meerkats.

More disclosure: I got my very first speeding ticket in 24 years of driving. On a serious note, H’s dear friend was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain cancer. The shock of this situation has caused all of us to re-examine our priorities and spend more time on our knees.


April finally brought some sunshine–and flowers! A few daffodils have poked their faces toward the sun, and warmer days appear to be coming. Just in time for Ryan’s homecoming.