Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When I grow up I'm gonna be obese

One of Whitney's friends said this last night. We were at the volleyball team end of season party. Pizza. I declined pizza (well, at first I did), and the cute little thing sitting across the table from me that ate 10 pieces of pizza said, "Oh, mama baker, I know I'm gonna be obese when I grow up. I'm gonna tell my husband before we get married."

Nate has told me for years that he can't wait to be an old man. He's going to wear velcro tennis shoes and let the hair in his ears grow till he has to comb it. He's going to pull his athletic shorts up to his nipples and tuck his white tee shirt in.

This is what the youth of today is looking forward to.

I don't want to be young again. I don't want to be obese and I'm definitely keeping my ear hair trimmed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas is coming...

I wanted to make sure you all knew Christmas is coming. I can't believe the emotions Christmas stirs up. I've already witnessed debates about celebrating the birth of Christ when he wasn't even born in December and the comment was made that Christians need to do their research.

I've already heard people complain about crowds, attitudes, and how much money they will spend. (That may have been in my house, lol).

Loving Christmas music, hating Christmas music.

I just want to make fudge. It's not Christmas till I make it (and eat it).

Christmas is going to be different for us this year. It's been different the last few years, but every year another child moves out, it has a different feel. This school year has been really different with just Whitney home.

Steve and I were talking about Christmas shopping this year. I'm known for last minute everything. Steve knows we will do the majority of our shopping the week before Christmas. With older teenagers/early 20 something kids I'm really kind of stretched for gift ideas. But I'll figure it out.

I decided to run a 4 mile run for the Arthritis Foundation this Saturday. It's called the Jingle Bell Run. That should give me some Christmas spirit. And burn a few calories so I can eat fudge.

I have been overwhelmed with the "don't forget what Christmas is all about" message already this year. I think we need to think about it. I think we need to remember. But it's November. I'm still thinking about what I'm thankful for.

My 2012 ONEWORD is going to be Gratitude. A year of giving thanks. Journaling every day something I am sincerely thankful for. I don't want to just list the easy things, I want to make an effort to notice what I'm really grateful to have in my life. Big or little.

I have a month to be a grinch and then the year of giving thanks starts.

Just had a thought. Maybe I should take an advent calendar and give a little gift everyday to someone I love. Bump up my Christmas spirit, because it could use a little life. Maybe putting a little more focus on those I love will help me get more in the Christmas spirit. Hmmmmmmmmm

Monday, November 28, 2011

In my corner

Nate was home for a week. Saturday evening till Friday evening. I miss him already.

Visit with the endodontist. Root canal scheduled for December 8. Happy (late) birthday to me. Thank God insurance covers 80%.

Fixed thanksgiving dinner for my family. Lots of cooking, lots of food. Dominoes, pictionary. Good times.


Heights State Championship football game. Lost 41-37. Bummer.

It was cold. 40 degrees, north winds 20+ mph. Really cold. But it was fun.

Put up my Christmas tree (like most Americans).

It's pretty.

Balck Friday shopping consisted of going to the tire store and getting my tire repaired from the blow out in Missouri during Steve's run and a trip to the dry cleaners.

We did go to the mall in Topeka before the football game on Saturday. It was dead. No Christmas shopping however, Whitney and I both window shopped boots, tennis shoes and dress shoes each. Now to come up with the $500.00 to buy them all...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back at it

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep”. Robert Frost

Robert Frost did not write this about trail running, but it fits.

Steve asked me this week what races I want to run in 2012. This was an easy question, my list was 8 races, all double digit miles. 2011 was about getting Steve through the OT 100, which we did. Along the way, I could’ve run as many of the races as I wanted, but unfortunately the stress fracture and surgery sidelined me. I did, however, get to scout a lot of races I would like to run.

I showed Steve the 8 races I want to run, even asking which of the two trail marathons that are two weeks apart would be more suitable and fun. He said he is running the 50 mile at one and the 100K at the other, why don’t I do both (April)? Then there are two half marathons (May & June), a 22 mile lunar run (July), a 50K (September) and a November marathon. They are all close to home, they are mostly trail runs, and I’m going to run as many of them as I can. If I can stay healthy. I never want another stress fracture.

I signed up Tuesday for the April 7 trail marathon. It has already changed my commitment to working out. I love to run and work out, but when I have no goal it’s easier to slack off. So I’m pretty happy to have something to work towards.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Psalms 136:1

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever". (NLT)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Turtle Vents

We have turtle vents on the north and south walls of our house. Never noticed them. They were just stuck to the side of the house. Then we hit a particularly wet windy spring. In Kansas when it storms it doesn’t rain down from the sky. It rains sideways. About 35 mph. It’s not deadly, it’s not hurricane force winds. It’s just annoying. Umbrellas are useless, they get caught in the wind and flip inside out. About the only good an umbrella does is to put it in front of you like a shield, duck behind it and push your way to where ever you want to go.

I can’t tell you how many times I have tied a trash bag over my head and taken my shoes off to run barefoot to the car.

When it stormed, the turtle vents let the rain in. It then ran down the inside of the walls and damaged the walls and the window sills, etc.

The storm wasn’t the problem. It was unpleasant, but much needed moisture hit the earth. Everything was fresh smelling and turning green. It ushered in spring.

The turtle vents were the problem. How long they had been stuck to the side of the house doing what they were supposed to, half heartedly, we don’t know. It took a storm to show that they weren’t right. Not just rain, a storm. Blowing, howling, hard pounding storm.

Sometimes there are problems below the surface. We aren’t even aware that they are there. Or if we are, they seem minor so we leave them alone. Then the storm comes. And we weather the storm. We start to see the green again. We smell the fresh. We see the sun. But the storm has uncovered weak areas.

There will always be tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis. The question is, are our turtle vents installed correctly? We are always going to have storms. Job loss, health complications, marriage problems. Have we put the proper safe guards in place to live through the storm and emerge on the other side into the promise of a fresh new world? Replacing, even rebuilding if necessary?

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Remember when I posted here about what I'm not thankful for?

I started paying attention to what I am thankful for. Not the standards of Jesus, the Bible, my job, healthy kids, because I am thankful for all of these things. More than you know. But I started really looking at what I'm thankful for.

Dentists. I had a toothache last week.
Antibiotics. Got rid of my toothache.
Fur lined shoes. It's gotten cold.
The ability to run.
My bed. I laid down for a nap one afternoon and literally said to myself "I love my bed".
Home made biscuits and gravy. Quite possibly the best comfort food ever.
Vacation visits with my son.
Opportunities. There is always something new to attempt, try for, attain.
My cowboy boots. I got them resoled for $17.00. They are ten years old. I can't replace them.
My clothes dryer.
Second chances. Getting them, giving them.
Books. Actual books with front and back covers and pages. (I think Nooks, Kindles, IPAD's are all really cool, though.)
Watching Grimm with Denae while Whitney takes a nap on the floor.
The color of the trees in the fall.
Steve finishing two hundred mile races in four weeks time and staying healthy while he did so.
Toilet paper. SERIOUSLY!!!
Kind words from friends. Whether it's blog comments, texts, facebook or email, I'm thankful for all of them.
Time with Steve.
My YMCA membership.
Charitable organizations: World Vision, Big Brothers/Sisters, United Way, the Humane Society, I could go on and on.
The virtual world that lets me stay in touch with my friends and family and see pictures, etc.
Answered prayers for my children.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Turkey Trot 2011

I ran the two mile today. Toughest race I've ever run. All those darn small moving obstacles (children). There were toddlers that ran the two mile. They were adorable crossing the finish line.

A two mile run is not in itself worth talking about, (except it was fun, I ran it pretty well for only 3 weeks of running, 9 weeks after surgery). But I ran, or at least started the race with these three.
Always a good time. They left me at the start line, but apparently I passed them somewhere around .75 miles. Whitney caught up to me and ran a little ways with me, but when I down shifted to pull the hill, she left me at the mile turn around and finished pretty well for a girl who only runs as punishment for volleyball. She said it didn't feel like 20 minutes, it only felt like 10. It was fun.

Steve and I waited to watch the ten milers finish. All of them. I realized that we were at the start/finish line for a total of two and half hours. Which may seem like a long time to some. I waited longer than that at every aid station of both of Steve's 100 mile races. It's perspective, I guess.

While we waited, Whitney, Denae and Madeline went to the art museum. The children's area. One of the ladies who worked there took pictures of them with her camera too. (With permission).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I miss him

Nate will be home for three days for Thanksgiving. I'm hoping that he eats one meal with us, by the time he visits all his friends he won't have much time. But I'm fixing everyone's favorites for Thanksgiving in an effort to entice them to spend time. We get Whitney's favorite mac n cheese, Nate's favorite green bean casserole, Kari's favorite corn bread casserole, Pumpkin and apple pie and Steve requested pudding cake.

I want to share one of my favorite memories of Nate.

Nate’s sophomore year of high school we were running an errand after baseball practice.

15 year old boy + 20 hours of baseball practice per week = 3 dinners per evening.

We were stopping for first dinner at McDonald’s. A man is going from car to car and we are watching people put their windows up. He gets to my window and says “ma’am, I’m really hungry, could you spare a couple of dollars”. I have eight dollars in the little pull out drawer under my radio. I give him the three dollars and he walks right into McDonalds. This conversation ensued:

Me: I should have given him the $5 not the $3.

Nate: $3 will buy him food. It was more than anyone else gave him.

Me: Yes, but what would Jesus have done (tongue in cheek).

Nate: Jesus would’ve taken him into McDonalds and bought him a Big Mac extra value meal, blessed it and sent him home with 12 leftover Big Mac extra value meals.

And a picture from college this year. He's at the University of Kansas for a girls soccer game against Baylor (Selby plays for Baylor) with some of the "gang" he ran around with from freshman year all through high school.

Monday, November 14, 2011

In My Corner

Recovered from going 41 hours without sleep last weekend in the woods...finally.

I went out with friends and saw bull riding. Steve was in a suit so he didn't ride the mechanical bull, but he said next time...I will get pictures/video.

I went to some friends 25th wedding anniversary and renewal of their vows. It was beautiful, good food. And Steve got a lesson in how to eat chicken wings, as the "groom" said he left too much meat on the bone. Steve has decided he will continue with his way of eating wings, because he will never eat the gristle.

I went to lunch after church with friends (and Steve and Whitney). I find out when we get home that she has posted as her facebook status "Dude...parents can talk FOREVER". This was an hour and fifteen minute lunch. That comment earned her 36 likes and 12 comments. She makes me laugh.

I didn't do anything but play and rest all weekend.

Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Five dollars worth of lottery tickets

She stood impatiently in line at the grocery store customer service counter with a $5bill in her hand. It had been a long day. The first cold and rainy, wintry day of fall. She was only here to buy lottery tickets.

As she glanced around, she noticed the man standing at the counter next to her. He was carrying a plastic grocery bag of belongings. It wasn't from the grocery store they were standing in. He was wearing a full length padded winter coat, Oakland Raiders emblazoned on it. It was worn and ripped. His shoes didn't have shoestrings.

Something inside her said to give him her $5.00. But she resisted, how do I know he needs it? What if I embaress him? He may not be homeless or destitute.

But as she continued to watch him, he started counting out quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies. Digging in each pocket of his pants and coat. She counted with him, $2.00.

Oddly, she noticed he was clean. He didn't smell.

Then again, she felt like something was saying give him your $5.00.

She still resisted, how do I hand him money in front of all these people? They will look at me. They will look at him. It's just too weird.

But the inner tugging said he needs this more than you need lottery tickets. And she said to the inner voice and answered back, God, you want me to give it to him, I will.

So she folded the $5 bill into fourths and reached across the counter and slid it under his hand.

He looked down at his hand, and then looked up at her. A beautiful smile lit up his face. "Thank you miss", and it felt better than winning the lottery. He took the $5 and picked up his change and his grocery bag of belongings and left the store.

And she walked to the car empty handed, with tears running down her face, mixing with the rain.

Does $5 matter? Can it make a difference?

And the same voice told her to remember the loaves and fishes. Remember the woman who gave everything she had. Remember the good Samaritan.

Remember why you are here.

Love me, love others.

Where they are.

With what you have.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Conversations with Whitney

The wisdom of the young, the maturity of youth really inspires me.

Comment from Whitney -

Just because a person does something horrible doesn't make them a horrible person.

Comment from Claire -

If it happened in the past, leave it there.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What am I not thankful for?

I've been watching/reading/listening to people list what they are thankful for this month. Lists. Daily updates of what they are thankful for.

Wonderful that they are taking more than just Thanksgiving Day to think about what they are thankful for.

What am I thankful for?

I thought about what I'm not thankful for. Went to the bottom of the pit to see what is on the bottom of my list of what I wish I didn't have, have to deal with, etc.

Now I'm going to try and find a way to be thankful for these things.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ozark Trail 100 Race Report

2011 Ozark Trail 100 Mile was a success. It was a great weekend. Usually I stick to the crew view of things, but this includes some actual hikes into the trail and pictures.

We drove up Thursday night to have Friday to play before packet pick up and pre-race dinner. We chose to stay in Salem, Missouri, 35 minutes from the starting line instead of Bass River Resort which is the finish line and is two hours from the starting line. This 100 (102) mile point to point race is 55 miles of driving from start to finish and its never straight, never flat.

Friday morning we went to the starting line so I could see it in the light, and to hike for a little ways. Here is the starting line Friday morning in the light

Start line Saturday morning not in the light

Roots growing across the trail.

Rootballs – there was a storm here a while back that took out a lot of trees. There are places where this is in the middle of the trail and there is about a foot wide spot to get around it. I wish I’d had Steve stand in the picture to give perspective of how big this hole is. The root was about shoulder high on me.

Hills. This one was about a mile in from the starting line.

More hills. Steve coming into the aid station at 43.5. He came in from the right as you are looking at this picture. He had actually run down the ridge line behind him.

Even more hills. I hiked up the trail out of the 43.5 aid station and after ten minutes of just climbing, I turned around and came down. I did discover that the steep incline on one side of the trail and the decline on the other all covered with leaves brought on vertigo, not new to me. Steve said there were portions of the trail where you had to lean into the incline.

I saw Steve at miles 17.6, 43.5, 68.5, 81.5, 95 and 102. There was never a time where I thought he wasn’t doing well. He had an idea of how he wanted to run the OT 100, but he came in at the 17.6 mile aid station 45 minutes behind where he wanted to be. He was feeling strong, but completely threw his plan out and his new plan was to stay way ahead of the cutoffs and finish the race. When he left an aid station he would tell me when to expect him and he came into every aid station within 15 minutes of the time he told me he would be there. Always smiling.

Mile 95 aid station

He was happy and ready to finish the race. He had 7 miles left with four and half hours to finish. He told me it would take about two and half hours because he was going to savor the last 7 miles.

There was another runner leaving about the same time Steve did, and Eric and Steve did the last 7 miles together. My understanding from Steve (and other runners) is that the last 7 miles is the toughest of the course.

There are such wonderful people on the trails. The aid station volunteers, the ham radio operators, the race directors, the pacers, and the families and friends. And they all have a story. Some of my favorites…

The sixteen year old boy who asked if he could run last year and he was told no because of his age. They let him run this year. He finished. Sophomore in high school.

The crew of an Oklahoma runner who adopted a runner who was running slightly behind their runner. He was young and running solo, so they looked after him.

The crew of a runner who showed up at every station and volunteered until their runner headed out. Their runner won “the last mule in the barn award” so they were at the aid stations for awhile.

The runner from Michigan who said everyone in the midwest was so nice. Could she just take them all home with her?

The runner with pink hair who dyed her hair pink in support of her friend who has breast cancer. And her pacer who ran 59.5 miles with her. And the friend with breast cancer who was her crew. I loved these women, and if they didn’t live 3 hours away, they would have to see me more.

Steve coming into the finish line at Bass River Resort 30:02:34 28th place out of 43 fnishers

Steve at awards getting his buckle

Other notable events in my experience of this race.

Flat tire at mile 95 aid station. But I can change a tire.
The runner who decided to change his clothes at mile 43.5 aid station. I couldn’t look away fast enough. I think the fresh boxers helped, he finished well.
The eight year old boy who paced his dad for the last 7 miles.
Runners from Alaska, Singapore and Dubai.
The baked potato at the finish line.
Hearing about Steve singing with his ipod in the forest and getting requests.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Conversations with Whitney

This is not Whitney. I told a friend of mine when I saw this that I'm living her future.

***MOM of adorable witch...I should've asked permission, but since no one knows who it is or where you live her anonymity is protected, lol. Like your child wants to live in anonymity.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

She's just like me...sometimes

Whitney started some drama the other day. Unintentional. Funny comment on a friend's facebook page. I didn't even know it was an inside joke, and it made me laugh. A girl got highly upset because she thought it was about her. Turns out it was. I also started some drama. Called someone out on something they said. Not an inside joke, same principle. Whitney gets her mouth from me.

This girl went after Whitney. On facebook, towards Whitney's friends, foul language, some threats. Whitney deleted the words. I got emails sent to me, blog posts made about me, and I used the delete button without reading these words. Whitney takes after her momma there.

Whitney laughed. Says she doesn't scare me. She knows my friends. She knows who has my back. She isn't going to do anything. I was called ignorant and people wanted to kick my ass and I laughed. Whitney has my attitude. The laughing in the face of danger (or maybe she gets that from Simba. She says Lion King is the BEST MOVIE EVER!)

Whitney stands up for herself. Fights for what she believes is right. I'm a fighter. Stand on my own two feet. Happy to pass this on to her.

We both have strengths and weaknesses, good and bad. And she has a lot of the same one's I have that she will have to deal with and overcome.

She's just like me...sometimes.

Then she smiles. And she is her daddy's girl.