One about running

It's time to get all philosophical about life now. Ready? Go!

Did you even know that Nate and I ran a half-marathon on Saturday (that's today, in case you were wondering)? Yup, 13.1 miles---which was our third half to date, but first post-baby. And let me tell you, this race has really brought a lot of deep thoughts along for the ride.

First, some background:
Our very first half marathon back in 2005 was a 2:10 time. Not horrible, but not great either. Then in the Spring of 2009 we boasted a 1:57 and were ecstatic with a sub-two hour time. Now with both of these halves we trained our tails off, strictly following training programs which called for hitting the pavement at least 3 days per week, if not 4. Ah, the luxury of running for hours at a time without a care in the world.

This post-baby race was something I wanted to do as a symbol; one that said 'Hey, look at what my body can still do after growing a baby, gaining 43 pounds, pushing said baby out of my pregnant body, recovering, and regaining some parts of my former self.' I also wanted this race to say, 'I'm still a runner, even if I'm a mom.' And subsequently, the race also asked the question, 'Is it possible to have a good race when you only run once or twice a week?'

I signed up for this race while I was still pregnant as a motivating factor for my large and in charge baby-making self. Nate wanted to run with me and it was going to bring me back to the good old days of training and exhilaration and mindless eating and a sense of pride. But I must admit that I had a mini-breakdown earlier this week when I came to a stark realization: I am not the person I was before Truman. I am not the runner who has time for 4 jogs a week. I don't get the sleep I used to get. My body has more important things to do, like produce enough milk to sustain my son, while juggling other hats to wear like 'breadwinner', 'wife', 'caregiver'. My fun little running hobby just isn't a priority anymore. I have another human being to care for and thus, indulging myself in the---dare I say it?---selfish act of running doesn't always fit into my new life.

Which, as I realized all of these major changes in my life, I began to sort of mourn the loss of my old self. My old identity that included 'runner' at the top of the list. Training for this half marathon did not bring the old me back from the past, it just proved that the new me has a shift in priority.

And yes, my life is incredibly blessed, rich with love and family and friends, and I would not trade a second of it for a life without Truman. But change is still hard and figuring out where new priorities lie is not always easy.

So I had a mini-breakdown when I came to understand that this half marathon would not be like the others. I had to lower my standards and prepare myself for a time that was closer to 2:10 than a sub-two hour time although I wanted so badly to compete with my former self from 2009. And so Nate and I decided to just go out there, have fun, and not worry about time at all. Do you realize the magnitude of this feat for a Type-A pefectionist? I had to let go of my former running self who used to run a 9 minute mile and embrace my slower mommy-self. And I really was at peace with that thought.

When the alarm went off at 4:45 after we'd been up for about an hour with Truman at midnight, I was less than excited. But I sucked it up, knowing what tired feels like all too well, and went through the pre-race paces as before. Truman stayed home with Grandma but we kissed him goodbye and were off to Madison for the event. I had to pump in the car on the way up there, which is another fun part of being a lactating, running, mommy. It turned out to be uber-cold, at least by my standards, but at least it wasn't raining or snowing. And with 2000 other runners, many in costumes, we began our trek to 13.1 for the third time, but in a way for the first time all over again.

We ran at a comfortable, easy pace and chatted like the old days. How simple and fulfilling it is to bob down the roads with my husband as a team, re-connecting without passing our baby to each other. But of course, the topic of conversation DID turn to T-man more often than not because we are those proud parents who can't stop talking about their kid.

It wasn't until mile 9 that I finally glanced at my Garmin to check our pace. At mile 10 I looked again and noticed that we were right at 1:30---which of course meant that my unannounced, back burner goal of running a sub-two was actually achievable. We decided to bust it a little more than what was comfortable and that is when I started to feel tired. I wasn't even paying attention to the mile markers at this point so when I saw one approaching I prayed to God above that it would say '12' and not '11'. Sure enough, we only had 1.1 miles left and although every ounce of my being was telling me to slow down because of the pain we kept plugging along (and semi-snorting and grunting along the way).

We saw the finish line and broke into what felt like a sprint. As we crossed, our Garmin told us 1:59. Our official race results are 1:58:59 which is pretty much just one minute slower than our 2009 time. And yes, it's sub-two hours. To say that we surprised ourselves is a total understatement.

I'm not going to lie--we are already supremely sore and stiff. It's not exactly easy to bend down and pick up my 20+ pound son 'cause mommy has burning quads. But you know what? My confidence has been restored in a way I never expected. I know it's superficial and a little conceited to be so happy with a good race time but I think I really needed that.

My body may not be the exact weight it was when I got pregnant (but I'll never know since I swore off scales a few months ago. My old clothes fit just fine so I'm vowing to let go of the scale numbers). My boobs might be full of milk. My eyes might have giant bags under them permanently from soothing an 8 month old at all hours of the night. But I can still run like I used to on race day, even when my training is severely lacking.

And coming home to the cutest little pumpkin head in the world after a long race, seeing his face light up with recognition of his mommy and daddy, makes all the change worth it. Life may not be what it was before Truman but it's better than I could have predicted. That Julia who used to run all the time had no idea what was coming, or how amazing life would be as a mom. I find more happiness than words could describe, just by being Truman's mom and no matter how many miles I clock on the pavement it will never trump my job as a mommy.

Yes, evolution is a good thing. Discovering what really matters in life is just one of the perks of entering into this crazy ride called parenthood.

End of philosophical rant.

Begin a little photo dump:

Before--freezing, still dark outside, but ready to rumble.

And we're off:

All smiles while still trying to warm up



Pretty sure this is about mile 12 here---game time!

And ta-da! Mommy and Daddy get medals. The End.

And out of the costumes, there were some favorites:
This might be something related to Jersey Shore?

This guy cracks me up

And the Super Mario Brothers!

Fun times had by all. Off to stretch again...

Happy Halloween from...

...our little garden gnome!!


what's this?

wait for it...

Ta Da!

sweet eyebrows

Sort of like a Santa Clause on crack...or a crazed Dr. Seuss character.

this thing is so itchy, ma

potential fave #1, even sans beard. The Grumpy Gnome.

don't mind me, just petting my friend Henry while looking very chubby.

silly doggy

and then comes the Angry Gnome Series

potential fave #2--the gnomey lion. If I made Halloween cards this might be the photo I'd choose.

All better with a pumpkin. Shy Gnome.

Swoon over his pucker.


Such a Truman face. Travelocity ain't got nothin' on my little man.

potential fave #3--quite certain this is card-worthy, right? Happy Gnome.

He is such a Gnome! Don't you just want to squeeze him?

Happy Halloween from Truman the Gnome and his Sumo dad.



I have been attempting to show off Truman's teeth for some time now but he's just so shy about flashing his chompers at me for photos. So I had to be a little more aggressive with it. I mean, these teeth are like badges of honor for our household. They've been around for over a month now and seriously, it was not easy to deal with life when they entered into existence. Very unpleasant times until they finally cut through the gums....and thus, these little nubbins are both adorable and symbols of added lost sleep for everyone involved. Yes, it's THAT deep and important:)


Not only those two bottom teeth, but now all of a sudden I can see this upper right side tooth on the verge of breaking through. Of course, he didn't want me to show you this one either. But if you look REALLY hard you can see a little white glimmer of a tooth under the gum right by his upper lip on right side. I swear it's there. And actually, the left side isn't far behind, either. Sort of odd because they are coming in before the center upper two teeth...and these side teeth are almost popping through the front of his gums instead of coming through the under side. See how I over analyze every potential tooth?

Still chewing and drooling and at times, cries in a sharp pain just like he did for the bottom teeth. Which makes me think the uppers will be in within a week or so. And then I'm sure more will be on their way so that the first two years of life are sprinkled with teething episodes. Fun times!!! At least he has his spoon to get him through.



Oh and by the way, he's still freaking adorable. And almost pushing up on all fours.

And he's still generally happy and smiley and awesome.


Can't believe my baby boy is almost 8 months old! Doesn't he look so mature and less like a baby, more like a toddler? Sigh.


When it comes time for me to narrow down pictures from an amazing weekend to show you on this blog, I usually put it off for quite some time and then end up putting a boat load of photos up anyway. Out of the 400 pictures I took over Truman's baptism weekend I think I selected my favorites here but it really was painful to choose.

Last weekend our baby boy was (finally) baptized. Did I mention that we completed new member classes at this church and are officially a part of an awesome congregation now? What better way to celebrate than to get Truman sprinkled in front of them all?

We really only put off the baptism because 1) Life was passing by at lightning speed and before I knew it, Truman was 2 months old and we hadn't found a church to join yet---let alone decided on the baptism question, and 2) Once we did decide on our new church for membership, I really wanted to plan a date that worked for our families. Planning it months in advance really did help gather the troops from Missouri and even Oregon. Yes, it was a big to-do around here last weekend.

My mom and Memaw flew in on Friday night and my dad drove all by himself up here (crazy man, I know). Pepaw didn't make the trip but was here in spirit of course. Then there was Hannah (Truman's official Godmother/Sponsor) with her adorable family and Ryan (Truman's Godfather/Sponsor) and his adorable family who all arrived Friday night as well. Nate's brother Jon came in from Oregon a few days prior and is still here visiting with his only nephew. Unfortch, my brother (Uncle Mike) couldn't make the trip but just like Pepaw, was holding it down in Missouri in our honor.

The man of the hour in some of his new threads from Old Navy. I'm so glad I bought all 12-18 month sizes because they are definitely not too big at this point, the little stinker.

So Tilly is the big almost-one-year-old who had to show off her mad bumbo sitting skills to the babies. How funny is it to see her long 'toddler' legs sticking out?

And Nora is the adorable 5 month old who has the most amazing cheeks you'll ever see. I couldn't stop taking pictures of her, of course.

We didn't forget about you, mister man.

Truman and Nora obviously love each other. In fact, Truman's fingers made for quite the snack.

The ladies and their babies. Apparently Truman missed the memo about downing a Dr. Brown's bottle for this shot but at least he had Mizzou's Truman the Tiger instead.

Then there's Nora and her cheeks again. Sigh...

And Tilly's big girl teeth are just too much to handle. Although I love being a mommy to a baby boy, these little girls exude cuteness and I want one! :)

"What, mother? Am I not enough for you?" Of course you are, baby T. No worries. We'll just celebrate you and your sickeningly cute baptismal outfit for now, okay?

Baby boy and his smile. And yes, my mom did sew this outfit especially for her first grandson of course.

Isn't it adorable?

The boys and their kiddos, plus Truman's hat. Also note the radical high-top shoes. And that Truman is a total ladies man these days.

So then it was time to get Truman dunked. I anticipated that he might be taking his morning nap during the festivities because he literally always falls asleep during church for at least 30 minutes. Of course when it was our time to come up front, he was passed out asleep like a limp noodle. Nate and I sort of tried to wake him up while we were standing up there but he wouldn't budge. So of course as soon as the Pastor doused him with water on his round little head, he startled awake and looked SO confused.

But then the Pastor took Truman, read a sweet little Bible verse, and walked him up and down the aisles of the church to show him off. And our social butterfly ate it right up and LOVED seeing everyone in church.

After that, during the blessing, Truman was all smiles and couldn't stop staring at his Sponsors and his family in the front rows.

I mean, look at our crew in full force here. Aren't we a handsome looking bunch?

I took a ton of post-baptism pictures in church after that and although I HATE the white balance of these indoor photos I suppose I'll live. Just too many fun family/friend moments to ignore.

And the church details were so pretty...




Hello, Nora. We still love your cheeks.

And big girl Tilly who slept through the service...

Had to get a few more posed pics outside our house in the good light. This is when Nora pulled Truman's tie right off his body. Easy there, sister!

My parents plus Memaw...

And hot stuff after an outfit change, collar popped for the special 'giant ear' effect:)

See? I told you there were a lot of pictures. But how else could I have shared this incredible weekend? We are so blessed with our friends and family that I often question how we got so lucky; we definitely don't take them for granted and appreciate every second we spend with this group. And of course, we were all dog tired after they left and could have slept for days. Always a sign of a good weekend, right? :)
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