Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday scenes

I have a lot of fun pictures without many deep thoughts, so I'm going to disclaim that this post is all about these girls and their faces.

This afternoon, I risked Molly's munching on some leaves to capture some Fall beauty.


Sorry, Molly...I did take a leaf out of her mouth and put the camera down. Promise.
The scenery was courtesy of the Haun's front yard, where Anna Cate and Molly spent the afternoon (in the house, not the front yard, that is), as I enjoyed a long overdue hair appointment. Baba had gifts, activities, time and attention,  just what the girls loved as they made themselves right at home.

Molly is getting about four teeth on top and I imagine not by coincidence has found a precious new way to purse her lips, maybe to feel them.  

Earlier in the day, Anna Cate built a lion cage out of boxes and books in Molly's room, so Molly could play...

and Anna Cate could roar, of course! I think she must have been some sort of cat in a past a life, because the girl could try out for CATS with her feline moves.
But after a roar, she can remind me who she really is:

Other images of joy this week in our family include: 

a visit from Patti, who stops by on Thursdays to sweep Anna Cate up for their overnight play date and love on Molly.

A husband who has taken over the kitchen, and serves meals like grilled halibut (caught from Alaska) over cheese grits and fresh-from-a farm veggies. I'm so lucky.

A rainy afternoon trip to dance class providing an impromptu photo shoot in Miss Diana's yard. I loved the thrown together outfit with the rain gear and was afraid the leaves would be gone by this weekend. I'm enjoying how Fall is lingering a bit this year.  Or, maybe I'm stopping to notice?

sisterly play time in the evenings:

 A ministering angel shall my sister be. 
-- William Shakespeare

Happy cooking, preparing or traveling, y'all!!!  

Monday, November 15, 2010

We held hands....

On Saturday, I ran in my ninth half marathon, yet crossing that finish line marked one of unprecedented gratification.  The sense of personal pride in my training (when I could) and completing the race as I'm juggling life while still nursing Molly, who was born via c-section in March, wanes in comparison to the momentous and sheer pride I feel for BJ, who ran his first. For months, I've celebrated with him his finding his "running legs"again, admired his consistency and anticipated his success and delight in completing his first half marathon.  So, I suggested this experience should be told from his perspective.  All the writing, pictures and collages are of his creation....

By BJ King
So about 4 months ago I was sitting on the couch ironically enough watching the biggest loser with Sarah and Anna Cate and my dear sweet daughter looked at me and said "daddy you need to get healthy".  My first thought was wow kids will say anything these days and while going to bed that night I thought "if not to myself I owe it to my girls and most of all my wife to get healthy."   But how do you make yourself get healthy after you have gotten so good at neglecting that part of your life.

Turn back the clock 16 years I was a sophomore in high school and had always been over weight.  I decided I wanted to lose weight and started running and like Forrest Gump I kept running.  I lost over 100 lbs. and was running upwards of 5 miles a day, 4 days a week.  I never ran in races but just loved the way it made me feel and loved the way it changed my life.  Then college came, my priorities changed and I quit running.  The weight started to come back and I got lazy again.

Then in 2003 I met this girl who changed my life.

100_1098.jpg picture by batesking04

 On our first date we went to dinner and then out for a drink afterwards and I tried to hold her hand and she would not hold my hand.

We got married a year later and I will always remember her father giving me her hand after walking her down the isle and we held hands.  

couple-bubbles.jpg picture by batesking04

Then in march of 2006 we had Anna Cate and I will always remember coming into the delivery room and waiting for the birth of our first child and we held hands in anticipation.  This story repeated itself in 2010 with Molly and we held hands as she came into our world.

DSC02218-1.jpg picture by batesking04

In June I took on Anna Cate's challenge and got up at 5 am and started the many miles of getting back in shape.  There was lots of walking with jogging mixed in at first and then about 2 months ago, I was able to go the whole 3.5 miles without walking at all.  I was getting hooked not only to the sense of accomplishment in myself and the new found energy from being in better shape,  but also to hearing Sarah's half asleep comment when I came in the morning from a run saying she was proud. I loved hearing many times Anna Cate say "how was your run daddy" or "I am proud of you getting healthy daddy".

So this weekend after 4 months of training with tons of encouragement from Sarah and Anna Cate and Molly, and along with friends like Patti, Brenda, Mum Mum, Erin, Greg, Sarah Bush, Lexi who watched the girls so Sarah and I could go on long training runs.....

IMG_1139-1.jpg picture by batesking04

We held hands as we completed the McDonalds Half Marathon in Richmond in 2 hours and 31 minutes.

DSC02232-1.jpg picture by batesking04

It was a great day with Patti who kept the girls the night before and brought them down to cheer us on with Erin Silver.  Our dear friend Daniel McGinley rode down with us and ran also (he is like superman he ran the half in 1 hour 23 minutes) .  Greg was there with Sarah Bush's family to watch us and Sarah run the whole marathon, along with the Fick and Pence clan cheering Norah on in the marathon as well.

norah-1.jpg picture by batesking04

Running is not always fun but has changed my life and I look forward to the next mile and the many more times that Sarah and I hold hands.....


Ah, thank you, honey...for how much you love me, our girls, and your body.  Being healthy is a treasured gift you are giving our family. I realize that soon you will be smoking me in these races, so it was so wonderful to cross this finish line and be in this journey with you, hand-in-hand. 
IMG_1072.jpg picture by batesking04


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


A couple weekends ago, I met a beautiful woman who said to me, "Do you like to get dressed up and shop?" (duh...yes). "You should come to a cocktail shopping party this Friday night," she added.  And what I should have said, "oh well let me explain about my likes. They are not always my priority when I'm deciding how to spend my time."  And, alas, I had not the energy to make that effort for that little party.   Because "liking" some thing doesn't necessarily mean I  like them enough to sacrifice my family time (or money) to do them. And, I'm ok with that. 
And, speaking of like, I really like my kids, both the ones I have at home and the ones I teach at school.  I know it is all about perspective, and I would rather be spending all my time with my own daughters, but I'm quite thankful to be liking the 8th graders I teach this year.  But I had to take some time away from them because Anna Cate was home last week for a few days with the croup.  I stayed home with her a couple days, BJ stayed home a couple more. We played candy land and relaxed a bit among other stay-at-home things, like not getting out of our pajamas until after the nap.
IMG_0932-1.jpg picture by batesking04IMG_0927.jpg

While I don't like thinking about my girl being under the weather, I do steal a lot of cuddle time and savor the time at home with my girls.  Molly loves to stand, and my new love for her legs are these leg warmers. The dreaded style from the 80's look fabulous on these chunky legs:
IMG_0937.jpg picture by batesking04

When BJ stayed home with the girls, I came home to crock pot dinners; a warm bowl of chili  with fresh grated cheese provided a worthy excuse to skip the gym Thursday night for a glass of wine and some Hokie Football.IMG_0942.jpg
I got this email Diana mid morning on Friday upon Anna Cate's return to day care...
"Anna Cate just got here and I said, "are you feeling better?"  Response, "yes".  Ethan then says, "Leana and Luke are sick."  AC says, "What's wrong with them?"  I say, 'They have a bad cough."   AC says, "Ahhhhhh, I hope they don't have the crap."  Then she thinks for a minute and says "What's it called?"  I say, "Croup".
As my dad says, "she's a character."  I like that Diana seems to appreciate that, too.
The weekend was filled with family and friends, sprinkled with exercise and great food...just how I like it.
On Saturday morning, it was the gym for Mommy and a play date. 
Molly enjoyed herself...sans hot coco.

Then the four of us met out at the Silvers' farm so Erin could watch the girls, and BJ and I could run downtown. It is so beautiful out there... the scenery and the friends.  

BJ grew up knowing the Silvers, loving their family and their farm so it is always special to be out there.  BJ and Michael have been friends for decades, and I am thankful for my newfound friendship in Erin, his bride as of August 2009.  She is beautiful, kind, wise, fun, generous and honest.....and seems to love my kiddos. I'm so grateful that although treasured friendships abound, the universe doesn't  seem to stop introducing me to new is silver and the other gold.

Saturday we ran 6, and it was our last training run together, and I have teased that BJ is a little bit of pre madonna when it comes to running. I like to run in the battlefields out in nature; he doesn't like the way the roads slant and he gets bored.  I like to run hills; he has to know where the hills are so he can mentally prepare for them.  I like to run on pavement; he likes to run downtown on sidewalks.  I love to be downtown so it is a good compromise.   I am just thankful he is running!  We have arranged for friends and family members to care for the girls and even paid babysitters for these training runs together, and the time together running has been special, adding a new layer to our connection, a fresh dynamic to our partnership.   I like it.
On Sunday, we enjoyed the extra hour of sleep and the dedication service for sweet baby Quinlan Haun, followed by lunch at Eileen's.
The Hauns are essentially BJ's family here, and Brad and BJ have been close friends since they were babies. Even though I don't think BJ does the best job at keeping in touch, I know his friendship is dear to BJ.  Anna Cate thinks Maeve is pretty special (so do we). 

The climax of the weekend was hosting my neice Kitty for a play date!  Becki, my sister-in-law, was visiting her brother in Charlottesville and made the trip up to see us Sunday. So for a beautiful Fall afternoon, my girls got to kick it with their cousin:
IMG_1057.jpg picture by batesking04
Becki and I got to love on each other's girls...
We tried to stage a photo-shoot out back, but with a wiggly baby like Molly, it was hard to get the three of them to "pose." Such is life, right?!

Oh well, you get the picture...we had fun!
Becki and BJ are kindred spirits and I'm venturing that here are the four most laid-back members of our family:

Thank you so much, Becki and Kitty, Beth and Stephen for coming to play!
IMG_1064.jpg picture by batesking04

Last night as I was going to bed with Anna Cate, her prayer was, "thank you, God. It was a wonderful day here in Virginia."  I love hearing her joyful gratitude in and for life.  I would like to believe that God wants all of us to be enjoying life here, too.  Exhausting though it may be, THIS is grand, and THIS is it, and it's a package deal. The stress that accompanies planning my day around my milk supply commingles itself with the open mouth grins from my baby who hops her body and flails her arms when I walk in the room saying MAMAMA. My drawing  bathwater by candlelight for a quiet retreat becoming a pretend beauty salon for Anna Cate as she wiggles her body over my head to tangle, I mean wash my hair is what I get with the sweet prayers of the character who only knows the joy in the life that is hers.    I want Anna Cate's brand of gratitude and perspective.    So, yep.....I like dressing up and shopping and having the zest on a Friday night to do it with girlfriends; but, also I love the exercising, the good food, the dear friends, and the blessed time with family.  So, in the big picture, I'm getting what I love, really. And sometimes I just have to do without what I like. Because with a family like this, it is beautiful here, God. Thank you.
IMG_1057.jpg picture by batesking04
"The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth. Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that football player or that singer is living a life made up of more than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearl. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies.
But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience........I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift."
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)