Saturday, October 31, 2009

Whose Big Idea was This Anyway

I am waiting for the "real" pictures (that a professional took, and I hope will have one of me crossing that finish line) to come out before I do another post about the marathon. In the meantime, I thought I'd show you what we did this Halloween morning.

Jeremiah is on call this weekend. I thought that pumpkin carving would be a job left to Daddy. After all it's a bit nasty
AND if you did a comparison of who was better at operating a large knife under pressure (like a 2 yr old trying to grab the knife from you and a 4 yr old trying to stick her hands inside the pumpkin)...he would most definitely win.
But, when he left this morning with three surgeries planned from overnight (Halloween does bring out the freak shows) and who knows what coming in today, I realized it was going to be left up to Mommy this year.

All things considered, I was pretty happy with our little guy in the end.And so were the girls :)When I started making scary noises, the girls felt the need to state their dominance

Once they were sure he knew his place, Mary Aplin decided to welcome him in a way all her own :)Finally, we took Darby's advice and roasted the seeds...Now nobody's pumpkin is safe from my knife :) They are DELICIOUS!!!!!!! Even the girls ate them up.Did any other child of the 80s grow up with a "real" popcorn machine. The kind you plugged in on the counter, filled with oil and kernels, and then WATCHED the magic happen. That is what these seeds tasted like to me. I felt like I was back, sitting on the counter top, with brown linoleum visible between my swinging feet. Ummmm, I can taste that popcorn now. WATCH OUT FOR YOUR PUMPKINS :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


This was one of THE. MOST. INCREDIBLE. EXPERIENCES. of my life.
I had two main goals. 1) That I finish the marathon (and preferably in under five hours-- although I don't know if I ever spoke that out loud for fear it was asking too much) and 2) That I beat at least one person (I kept envisioning the little workers trying to clean everything up before I could get across the finish line :))

Y'all, I finished in 4hrs and 12min...I beat a lot people (if I do say so myself :)) and the run itself was breathtaking

and FUN. I wish I could count the number of times I whispered, "Thank you Jesus!" on the first half (the second half, the prayers were a little less filled with thanksgiving) of the run. I knew it was Him. It was your prayers. I ran faster and felt better than I have on ANY long run. And all those people cheering on the sidelines...made me want to cry. I wanted to hug them all. When I crossed the half marathon point at just under 2 hours, I thought, "I could do this all day!"

Weeellll, reality set in about 2 miles later, but it was still ok. Want to know why? This man:
ran with me the rest of the way. It still makes me cry. He carried sloshing cups of water so that I could drink at places besides the water stations (that began to feel impossibly far apart to my dehydrated self). He encouraged me to take down those (nasty) goo packs for energy and kept up a constant chant of how amazing I was (which, at that point especially, was not true in the least :)). He had work in Birmingham, but still flew in for barely 36 hours, just so he could be there. He brought me a "marathon present" from my favorite store. He even sent us a good luck basket. Jeremiah took "supportive" to a whole new level and it felt...humbling and beautiful and made me want to be better for him
I have REALLY digressed. Back to the "Mainly"s

Mainly...I love this group of people. We had a BLAST together. We ate...and ate...and ate... and ate...

I never want to take another trip without Ashley :).
Dr. Bonantz. Oh, what can I even say? He was our fearless leader. Throughout the training, the traveling, the moral support. He has such a big heart, and such a funny (cute) little German accent, that I cannot imagine this whole experience without him in it. After he finished the marathon, he ran BACK (Can you FATHOM running 26.2 miles and then RUNNING anywhere out of choice?) first for Ashley and then (much later :)) for me. I'll never forget the site of him rounding the corner just before I got back to the finish line and screaming, "Look Jeremiah! It's Ekkehard!" I knew I was almost home, and he was going to be dang sure I got there...
Well, this isn't even my real post. I was just trying to hit the MAIN points. It, as always, got much longer than anticipated. But, I have lots more pictures and story to tell. So I'll be back soon. Right now though, I have to go pick up my little chicken wings in Dothan! If I don't get my lips on them soon, I might explode. See you soon, and thank you, thank you, thank you again for your support and prayers. I CAN'T BELIEVE I FINISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Leaving On a Jet Plane

At this very second, I'm feeling like this:
Sitting in a quiet house...with no babies. My friend Berkley:is driving the girls here:for me!!!!!!!!! They're sure to come back looking like this:but that's how we like it, right? Give'em back to me all ready to nap for three days straight :) Now, I am sure to miss this: But at least I'll be looking at this:instead. I hope to come back with a picture like this!!!!

(Oh. My. Goodness. Do y'all think it was the "outfit" that did it for her too? Please tell me you're laughing out loud at the thought of me showing up on the starting line in a get-up like that one).

And hopefully not a pic, of me looking like this:

Thanks for all the encouragment!!!!!!!!! I am even a teeny tiny bit excited :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Last Saturday Morning of This

Five a.m. Two pieces of whole wheat toast. One buttered. One crunchy peanut buttered (and covered in banana slices if the girls haven't eaten all of them for the week). A tall glass of water. A Psalm of encouragement. And a prayer of survival. That's how I've started (almost) every Saturday morning for the last three or so months. And I just did it for the last time. My marathon is THIS COMING SUNDAY in Falmouth, MA (part of Cape Cod).

Do I feel prepared? No. Do I feel confident that I will finish? Nuh-uh. Am I ready for the insanity to end? YES!!! "They" say, that you need to work up to running 20 miles in order to finish a marathon (26.2 miles). I have run two 20s and a nineteen, so technically I am supposed to be ready. However, I know how I feel after 20 miles, and the thought of running 6 more...a whole nother hour...seems like a...major stretch. I always imagined that when the training was over, I would, perhaps, realize the difficulty that was ahead of me, but it would be tempered with a confidence that I could overcome it... ... ...I don't feel like that. When I voiced these feelings to some of my running group Saturday morning (who have all run between 13 and 30 marathons, ok?!), I could hear the crickets chirping. What were they supposed to say? "No, Abby, you can do it. We KNOW you can!" (which is what I wanted to hear) Then, if I really don't finish, they feel bad facing me afterwards. Or, "You know, not everybody finishes, and that's ok too!" (which made me want to shoot myself) Then, if I do fail, at least I know they think it's alright the next time we face each other. They managed to eek out some combination of both of these things :) Sorry guys, not a good question.

Part of the reason for all this uncertainty, and part of the reason I haven't been talking about the running (that has been consuming my life), is because I am hurt. Not technically "injured," my orthopaedist husband tells me, but hurting all the same. Monday and Tuesday two weeks ago, I would have gladly severed my hamstrings if I could have gotten some scissors to them. I've had to take off some time running and I can't attest to the physical repercussions of taking time off (yet), but I can tell you the mental repercussions are not fun. I feel behind. And it makes me question if I can really do this thing. Fortunately, I know a very good orthopaedic surgeon:Who came into the study yesterday and announced, "Mommy, I need to do some surgery on your hamstring...And this is preeeetty serious."When I saw her surgical instruments included Cinderella's slipper and some swimming goggles...I got a little worried. When she apparently though my hamstrings were joined to my big toe, I knew I probably should have gotten a second opinion.The surgery went pretty well overall, despite my loud, dramatic screaming effects :) The prognosis is still hazy, but one thing's for sure, if I am screaming in pain, I will always be able to count on Dapples for a heart burdened with sympathy:Would you like to know the three primary (physical) things (Besides God. I do know that is the real answer here) that are sustaining me on this nerve-racking week building up to the run? 1) The fact that my past four runs have involved some pain, but on the whole have been really good. 2) All those amazingly sweet notes you see scattered in the picture below, from dear friends who encourage and support me AND 3) That cute little running ensemble that Mrs. Linda (Jeremiah's Mom) just sent me (via Ashley, who picked it out). This may sound crazy, but now that I know what I'm wearing in the race, it's a lot easier to envision myself crossing the finish line (like everybody keeps telling me to do). You KNOW you're a serious runner when...the outfit is the deal clincher :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I live in a fall/winter house. Spring and summer we make do and try to add a flower here or there to bring in a little of those other seasons, but I feel like my little home rolls her eyes at my attempts. "Just wait," she says. "As soon as the days turn crisp, I'll welcome you inside and you'll never want to leave again." And she's right. Just when it becomes imperative that we stay inside more than out, our home begins to really show her glory. Jeremiah makes fires every night the temperatures drop below 70 :). I (begrudgingly) drape the big elk skin over the back of our couch (You see Jeremiah skinned this thing when he was living in Montana, and we came to a marital truce over the abundance of skins scattered throughout our home by saying they get tucked away for spring/summer and redistributed every fall/winter).And I get to buy a bundle of BITTERSWEET (close-up in first picture)! My friend Lauren (Natalie's mom across the street) is the one who first introduced me to this most glorious fall decoration. Every year I anticipate when Leaf 'n Petal will put our their sign announcing the vine's arrival in their shop. The oranges and yellows and reds make me smile...just like the unsymmetrical little swirls and dips in the vine itself. If I could afford all the knobby, crazy colored pumpkins the shop also has, you can believe I'd show up there with my truck at the start of each fall. Since I can't, these sweet little speckled ones from Wal-mart do just fine...I think. Especially when accompanied by my one seasonal indulgence--a brand new bundle of bittersweet.I also like to mull over the name of this little vine. It's hard sometimes, not to be burdened by all the heartache of this sin filled world. It's bitter--the things people we care about...people we don't know...endure. But it's sweet too. Those moments when you experience deep joy or lasting friendship or beautiful creation...or when Locks looks at you like this:This morning at breakfast, I was explaining to Pace how there were other little children in the world who didn't have a playroom filled with toys, or sparkly flip-flops, or even enough food to eat. I told her we were going to go shop and fill some shoe-boxes with toys and candy for those children so that they would have some presents to open on Christmas morning. I guess her response was good. It at least shows that she recognizes where all of our food come from, but it was bittersweet for me. She said, "Mommy, why didn't God give those other little children, who live far away, any food to eat?" What would you tell her?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Message from the Birthday Girl Herself

Hey. As mentioned above, this is Mary Aplin. I turn two today, so why don't you all squeal and grin and clap your hands like grown-ups do. I mean really, what's the deal with that? You don't raise your voices to high-pitched screams of excitement at each other (well, except maybe Mommy's sisters, but nothing about them is normal anyway), so why do you do it to us kids. It's humiliating. I'm just here to tell you. I'm not saying it doesn't make me grin, but I'm smiling AT you not WITH you. Get the hint.

You know, if you'd stop all that squealing, I might actually be willing to learn to talk. But right now talking is a lose lose situation for me. If any of you grown-ups has a speech impediment, you'll know what I'm talking about. There is nothing more degrading than fumbling over your words in front of a bunch of gawky-eyed people. And I don't know how to make all those sounds yet, ok. And the last thing I want to do is try to repeat what you're saying and mess up. Forget it. But you people keep on and on and on, and sometimes I give in, and then what do you do? Back to all that SQUEALING. Like I said. Learning to talk, lose lose for me at this point. I've got the major words/gestures down that I need to get what I want, and I am satisfied to leave it at that.

Let me take a minute or two to talk about sister. Is it possible for there to be another person out there who I can love and want to take a hard bite out of, at the same time. She never leaves me alone. Ever. She's always wanting to read to me, or hold me, or tell me "no" about every little thing I'm trying to do... On the days she goes to school, I feel like a load has been taken off. As soon as she gets out of the car in the carpool line, even I can't help flashing a quick grin at Mommy. FREEDOM! But then, if I'm honest (which seems to be required on this blog), the only thing more exciting than seeing sister get out of the car, is seeing her get back in it. It's one of the two times during the day, I have to resist the urge to squeal like you grown-ups.

Which leads me to the second time during the day I want to squeal--so completely out of character--when Daddy comes home. This is a touchy situation for me. I love that guy. He gets me, way more than Mommy does. He understands that sometimes, a good grunt is a much better greeting than a shy smile. A grunt throws people off guard, usually makes them laugh--a real laugh. Especially when you grunt AND simultaneously squat down in a football tackle position...that's how I always greet people when Mommy let's me down from her arms,for goodness sake. But anyway, Daddy. He gets that stuff, and he takes me to do things that Mommy might LET me do, but she doesn't like to let me do it. Like riding horses, or running head-long into muddy ponds, or letting Locks lick all over my face while we roll on the ground...Mommy allows it; Daddy likes it. So those are his good points, but he has one major bad point too--and for it, he must be punished. Work. One word. ALL THE TIME. Listen Daddy, if you're gonna be at that work place all the time, then you better believe that I'm gonna try my dearndest not to squeal, not to even smile (although sometimes that means I just have to run away from you to hide it), when you walk in that door.

Look, I'm going to wrap this up, cause it's almost time for my cheese omelet. I hope Mom's on top of that in there. Thanks for wishing me a happy birthday and all that.

Grunt at ya later,