Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Ellie turned 7 last week. I honestly don't know how that has happened, it was just yesterday we brought her home from the hospital on Thanksgiving. I was so excited to be her mother, I was nervous and worried that I wouldn't know what to do with a little baby, but somehow it came easily, and now I love thinking about these past 7 years of her growth.

I must say I am beaming with pride with her accomplishments, she is an excellent student, voracious reader,quick at math, beautiful dancer, kind and loving sister, and an attentive friend. She loves reading the scriptures and pours over the friend magazines. She is learning so much about the gospel and soon she will be baptized...again I can't believe how old she is! She is my little Ellie, my light. I am so happy she is mine.

For her birthday this year I wanted to make sure it was special since it fell on Thanksgiving. I knew it was going to be a busy day full of cooking and not much time for celebrating a birthday. Late the night before Chris helped me string a bunch of butterflies to hang from the ceiling in her room while she slept. She was so surprised when she woke up! It was magic. Both the girls were captivated by the butterflies. It made my heart so happy. Gradon loved them too.

Sophia took this :)

In the afternoon we spent our Thanksgiving dinner feast at Andy and Teresa's house and we had a great day together. The Sunday following Thanksgiving we had cake and ice cream and presents. It was fun to stretch out her birthday, and I don't think she minded one bit! Happy Birthday Ellie! We love you so much.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Race Day!

Saturday morning November 19, my eyes fly open at 4:30, 10 minutes prior to both alarms that I had set. I stumble to the bathroom to change clothes, use the potty, brush my teeth and gear up. I double checked my change of clothes bag and hurried downstairs to get some breakfast.
4:45, my alerts went off on my phone reminding me to grab my race bib and pins for the race. I shoved them in my workout bag and remembered my camera was FULL of about 800 of RAW images. I needed to empty the camera, and also plug in the good camera battery for Chris.
5:00 I am pacing restlessly waiting for my ride. Josh Stayley, a man in our ward was also scheduled to run the race is my ride. I am getting nervous and decide to use the bathroom. Again.
5:15 I double check my bag, iphone, earbuds, water bottle for the start of the race, gloves, earwrap, all ready.
I grab a banana for afterwards. I set out coats and hats for the kids, my warm coat and comfy shoes for after on the floor so Chris will grab them.
5:20 I am getting really nervous, Josh was supposed to come and get me at 5am. Did I miss him when I was upstairs downloading pictures? Ugh. Do I call his house?
5:25 I see headlights, Josh has arrived and I bolt out the door.

The drive to the stadium is fun. Josh tells me all about the races he has done in his life, and gives me some great tips and some GU for the run. (these save my life later) He gave me the good advice to just enjoy the race and have fun.

6:00 We arrive at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium parking lot. I am beginning to wonder what the heck I am doing up at this time in the morning on a Saturday and why in the world I want to run in the dark in the cold for 13 miles.

6:15 After checking our stuff one more time and getting our ipods ready, we venture out to use the bathrooms and stash our stuff in the bag check. I take this photo with my iphone:

6:30 Josh and I begin to get the pre race nerves. We chatter and talk and decide we need to use the bathroom again. We run over to the bathrooms and are grateful to have been smart enough to avoid some of the longer lines.

6:45 We get in the big heap of people to race. He heads to the front of the race pack since he is going to run a crazy time and I head to the back since I am a newbie and will probably be pretty slow this race.

I am amazed at how cold I am and all of a sudden I get a huge rush of excitement. I am totally ready! I am totally pumped.

7:00 Supposedly we are waiting for the national anthem. It doesn't play. We wait. My iphone decides to shut off and not play music. Ugh. I was a bit panicked at this point and was worried I wouldn't have time to get it working again. I do and I pray it has no more issues during the race.

7:15 I am hearing chatter all around me from the other racers, we are all anxious and excited. I thought I would be lonely all by myself waiting to start the race, but I was just content to enjoy the moment alone.

Finally, the pack begins to move forward, it's time! I start to walk slowly until about 200 feet before the start and I begin a slow jog. Our herd of runners is shouting and talking, excited about this race. I pop one earbud in and get into a groove.

7:45 Mile 3, race pack is still think I am clocking a 10 minute mile time, which is good. I am enjoying the scenery so much! It is a beautiful morning. I am beginning to wonder again why the heck I am doing this, but am hoping now that I am past the warm up miles that I will really feel my groove and relax.

8:30 I am almost halfway, and have really been enjoying old Annapolis and the bridge that goes over the water. It is a bit of a climb, but I hunker down and reach the top. The pack I am with passes the first wave of machines charging over the bridge as we ascend for the first time, several men and finally a tiny little girl runs down for the final two miles. I am beginning to wonder where we are going for our loop, and at what point we get to endure this bridge again and I am thinking I still have half the race to finish....I gulp down a GU and thank Heavenly Father for Josh who gave me two for the race.

*Quick explanation of GU-It's a soft, jelly like mixture of carbs and energy to get you through your race. They don't taste very good and the flavor is highly concentrated, kind of like eating a very gooey Jolly Rancher candy, and you get it down as quick as you can. You take one every 45 minutes to give your muscles and body what it needs function. I had meant to get a couple for myself during my week of race prep but simply forgot, thankfully Josh offered a few to me and honestly they helped me so much! *

The worst part of the race for me was miles 7-10. First we were running on the highway which was a little unnerving and later they funneled us onto a trail. I did NOT like the trail we were running on, it was a narrow paved path and you had to share the space with both runners going forward on the trail and heading back in, so we were basically shoulder to shoulder for that three mile loop. NOT fun. The whole race I was pretty packed with runners, we were on each others heels the whole way, but this part was nuts. Also, the water and Gatorade stations were terribly placed, the frequency was bad and I was so grateful I had my own water bottle for the first part of the race. I worried I would need more, but I gulped down two cups each station so I was okay.

Mile 11- (Notice I don't know what time it is anymore, I am getting close to the finish and I am just watching my race time on my watch) My hip is bothering me, I have really tight hip flexors and I am wondering at this point if I have enough juice to make it back in two miles.Then I think, 'that is silly of course I do, I have already run 11 miles, 2 is nothing'!! But then I think about walking for a few feet, but my body is not interested in that, so I keep going.

Mile 12- I am getting really excited and I can feel my last burst of energy kicking in, I am trying to pass a bunch of walkers on the course, and I want to achieve my 2:30 race goal. The course is lined with spectators cheering us on and my body can feel the finish, I am so happy! I can't believe I have made it and I ran the whole more mile to go.

Mile 13.1- I cross the finish line at 2:32, just two minutes over my goal time. I feel amazing! I feel like I could still run actually, my body is in a rhythm and wants to keep going, but I am grateful for the end. My girls, Gradon and Chris are there to cheer for me, and hug me. I get my medal and a few other goodies. I think, I loved this, I want to do it again. Such a great feeling. We take pictures and head back to the car. I am so humbled and grateful. After this experience I truly believe that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to, if we work, commit and persevere. A huge mental block has been removed from my mind, I know I can do anything I put my mind to, I just have to believe in myself enough to try.

Friday, November 18, 2011


is race day! 

I am headed out the door early tomorrow to Annapolis.
I am really excited this morning....and nervous! This is my first half marathon. I have been dutifully training for 12 weeks now and I honestly say I am proud of myself for sticking to the training. I know I am not going to be the fastest girl out there, but I sure am not going to come in last. Yesterday I was feeling so anxious about it, and today I feel totally pumped and ready. 

It has been a busy few weeks. I have lots to share with you, but I will have to get back to blogging after tomorrow.  Last week while my mother was still here we took her to Williamsburg Virginia. It was fantastic! I want to go back! That trip deserves it's own post, but here are just a couple of recent photos I took of the kids, I love fall here in Maryland!

Also, lots of fun photography things to share keep in touch! =)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Afteroon Walks

It's been fun to have my parents here. Most afternoons my mom takes the girls to the park near our house. Early in their visit mom and I took Sophia on a walk while the baby slept. Fall is so beautiful where we live. It is really magical. The light in the afternoon is so bright, and the air is crisp and lovely. We loved walking through the crunchy brown leaves that had fallen to the ground. Sophia loved collecting leaves to show to Grandpa when we got home.

I am so grateful for my parents. They do so much for me and have so much fun with the kids. It is really wonderful to be able to spend some time with them during this beautiful time of the year.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Autumnal Update

We are in the Seattle Washington area this weekend for Chris' brother's wedding. It is the last Cochran brother to be wed, there are SEVEN boys in the family. I have been thinking a lot this weekend about my life since I met my husband, ten years of marriage, ten years of family get togethers...and it has lead me to some interesting conclusions about myself and about families in general. I am very thankful for my husband and his family. I am grateful that we were able to fly out for this last brother's wedding, I missed the last one because I was 41 weeks pregnant with Sophia in 2007. I am grateful that each time I get together with this huge amazing family I get closer to one more person and I don't feel so overwhelmed by all their personalities.

I am grateful my parents flew out to Maryland to watch the girls, we just couldn't afford to take them with us, which made me sad as I watched the Cochran cousins play together. They are having a great time with Grandma and Grandpa, however. =)

I am grateful for November, a fantastic month in my opinion, where I try each day to think of something new to be thankful for. November is a special month, it is the month my mother was born, and on the same day 61 years later my little Ellie was born, the week of Thanksgiving.

November is when I start gearing up for a new year to come, and evaluating the year past. So far, it's been highly productive I am feeling really good. Yesterday I ran 9 miles with my super-amazing-athletic-queen sister in law Heather. I ran my fastest time yet. My half marathon is in two weeks....yikes. I am thankful for being able to overcome fears. I am seriously amazed at my progress in dealing with some big issues in my life. 2011, you have been outstanding! November and December, you still have so many good things on the horizon. I am looking forward to the weeks ahead.