As far as priorities go, being an aunt ranks way-hay-hay high on my list. That's why when I found out Kai had a baseball game the day I was driving to Utah come heck or high water I was going to be there for it. This may have meant that we left before anyone else in the world was awake, we only stopped to potty once and it was on the side of the freeway and I may have been driving with "the flow of traffic" the whole way, but it also meant that I was there when Kai hit a brilliant home run and to see him beam in my direction was to see my heart explode all over the bleachers. Gosh, I love that kid and all my littles and I was so happy for the chance Ash's marathon afforded us to be all together again.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
After nine months of training and a lifetime of dreaming, Ashleigh checked a major box off her bucket list and finished her very first marathon. I couldn't be prouder of her accomplishment if I tried, and after cheering every few miles for her whole race I literally sobbed as I watched her run the last mile down University Avenue to cross the finish line. My sister is a marathoner; and I'm definitely in the running for her biggest fan!
Ashleigh ran the Utah Valley Marathon which boasts an "easy run down Provo canyon," but after watching her conquer hill after hill during the race we realized that "down the canyon" was talking about elevation, definitely not direction. Those darn hills not only tested her physically (particularly the knee that has been causing all sorts of problems for the last eight weeks) but also mentally. When hills kept coming and her knee kept hurting her brain started saying, "Hey, let's quit! This is dumb. Let's just be done already!" and she had to fight, fight, fight to free herself of those thoughts. Sometimes it was easy to do, sometimes it seemed impossible and sometimes she needed a little push from a pal, but fight she did all the way to the victorious finish.
In so many ways, Ashleigh's run was a perfect portrait titled, "The Race of Life." It was so beautiful and wonderful and amazing despite of, and maybe because of the bumps in the road, the unexpected detours, the unpredictable pace and the intense forces working against her. The race didn't go exactly as Ash had planned, and neither does life. The race felt easier at times, and absolutely intolerable at others, so...um...life, right? The race was just one small moment in her full existence, which is just like life--a tiny dot on our eternal road map.
No, life so isn't perfect. But if we cross the finish line at the end surrounded by family that thinks we are pretty close to perfect and loves us fiercely, well I'd consider that a win. And let me tell you, when Ashleigh finished that race I don't think there was a family around that was prouder, or happier, or more concerned about the number of orange slices and jamba juices she consumed! The metal they placed around her neck may as well have been gold because she came in first place in our eyes.
Congratulations Ashleigh for completing a life-long goal and thank you for allowing me a front row seat to watch your dedication in accomplishing it, your positive and fearless attitude and your stick-to-it-iveness in the good times and in the bad. You're an inspiration to me and for this reason and so many others, I love you big!
The kids were soooo good throughout the whole race! Most of the time they cheered their hearts out for Aunt Ash/Mommy, but other times they watched movies in the car or climbed up massive piles of rocks and dirt. We were just super grateful that they were so accommodating of our cheering so really, these dirt piles made us all happy!
I don't want to toot our own horn or anything, but our cheering section ROCKED! We had music playing and we were all screaming/cheering/losing-our-voicing and those neon yellow shirts we made the night before the race were basically the best idea ever. Ash told us that we were what kept her going through the canyon, but I was shocked at how many other people told us through the race and at the finish line that we had helped them continue as well. Turns out I did get some of my mom's cheerleader genes after all, and I love every second of it!
Mom has been here before so she was the perfect person to give Ash some "hit the wall" advice. She ran the last few miles by her side and gave her some love (and from what I hear, sometimes tough love) as she finished off the race.
It was SUCH a beautiful day for a marathon--clear and mild weather. Those mountains are something else!
This was when she was almost to the finish line and this is when I completely lost it. Look at how gorgeous she is after having just run A WHOLE MARATHON!
The gang's all here (except for James--work shmerk).
I wish I was more like both of these athletic and wonderful women. I love them so much and consider them some of the greatest blessings I know.
A little rest in the grass was what the doctor ordered and then it was time for pizza, an ice bath and a few good massages. The next time you decide to run a marathon Ash you know I'll be there again. So proud of you, girl!
Monday, June 26, 2017
Sunday, June 25, 2017
One year ago on June 8th I held a brand new baby in my arms and wondered how I had ever lived without her in this world. Cora Nicole Wigginton, she was as sweet, soft and perfect as I knew she would be and cuddled right into my chest like a puzzle piece long missing. How could our family ever have been complete without this precious angel? It couldn't have been. I've said it before and I will say it again, I would struggle through a million horrible deliveries if it meant that Coco could join our family. She is worth it, oh so worth it.
Last week on June 8th I held a one-year-old toddler in my arms and wondered how I had witnessed a year pass by in a manner of blinks. How in the world did yesterday's newborn transform into today's wide-smiled, walking and babbling babe? Ever her lot in life, Coco's birthday fell on the boys last day of school so there were parties and events galore to attend and her birthday celebrations were sandwiched with theirs. But piggy-backed as they were, celebrating her was what this day was all about and it's so easy to do because she is so easy to love. She smiled through her waffle breakfast, beamed on our morning stroll, and didn't shy away from her cake as T's whole scout troop stood around admiring her sweetness. She opened presents, played with toys, kept her cool when Quinny commandeered the lot and reminded me that life is beautiful and precious and perfect. Cora, sweet Cora, we absolutely could not love you more. Happy birthday, my love.
Fun birthday surprises for our fun birthday girl in a fun and festive birthday dining room! (With a few last day of school presents for the kids for good measure!)
Happy birthday beautiful Cora. You are such a bright light in my life and I couldn't feel more honored to be your Mom (especially when I saw you devour that cake, wink wink! #thatsmygirl).
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
'Twas the year of the dab, brought the birth of the fidget spinner, began their love of Pokemon and on a more serious note was the year our Ever Knight learned how to read and my Mr. T found his passion in publishing. Both of these darling boys worked so hard this year and learned so much. I am so proud of them and love them so much and I'm SOOOO excited for a summer full of adventures with them by my side. Hooray for the best eight weeks of the year!
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Memorial Day weekend absolutely ROCKED this year. It was so fun and so restful and so full of family time and both James and I have commented multiple times during the crazy week since that we would not have made it through without such a great break. The real reason it was so wonderful was that the documents James was waiting for on Friday (which would have taken him the whole weekend to turn) didn't show up until Tuesday morning so even though it made for a crazy all-nighter and some late nights this week it also meant that we were free from work all weekend long. It was amazing!
Inspiration Loop at Will Rogers Park. Pacific Palisades. Perfect!
He has rocks in his pockets and she was sticks in her hands. She's the pokiest of the bunch so she gets the best service!
Our pretty city, LaLaLand.
Photocred: Mr. T.
Front and center and a few steps ahead, like it or not!
Not a rock left untouched on that whole mountainside.
Oh the places they'll go!
Such a great after-church activity--starting fire with magnifying glasses. Little (and big) pyros!
Our first cemetery was tucked away inside a city block in our neighborhood and we didn't even know it was there until our visit. I was shocked to learn that so many celebrities were buried there, including Marilyn Monroe, Rodney Dangerfield, Farrah Fawcett, Merv Griffin and Walter Mathau. It was a gorgeous cemetery and I'd love to be buried in a place equally lovely (and not spooky) someday!
From the celebrity cemetery we headed to the Veterans cemetery and were touched to see tens of thousands of flags honoring the great women and men who fought for our country. We talked to our kids about what this weekend was really about and felt honored to tell them about our own brave family members who have served in the military.
Summer! Summer! I love Summer! It was so fun to play with the Hayes family at Will Rogers beach on Monday. I can't wait for a hundred more beach days this summer!
Happiest baby on the block! Happy Memorial Day!