Marshmallow Mondays


Camps

It was a fun camp-filled week for Rydan and Lily!

Rydan went to Winshape Camp for the third year in a row. I truly cannot say enough about how much we love this camp. Rydan always has an awesome time at Winshape, which is an adventure-filled Christian camp that provides campers with an unforgettable experience. Rydan’s activities throughout the week included lacrosse, archery and secret ops. This year’s theme was Hope In Troubletown, USA, where campers learned that “Hope sees God’s promises even in our troubles.”

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For Lily, this was her first camp experience ever! She attended half-day Mermaid Dance Camp at The Lexington Dance Factory. On Day 1, she barely said goodbye to me because she was that excited, and when I picked her up she couldn’t wait to show me her jellyfish craft and mermaid picture. IMG_4632 Day 2 was no different. When I woke her at 8am, my sleeping mermaid sat up straight in bed, and said “Mommy, can I go back to Mermaid Camp now?”  Her excitement never went away as the week progressed. She danced, made crafts, got her nails painted, decorated cookies, and had so much fun doing it all.

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On the last day, parents were invited for a special performance by all of the mermaids. ADORABLE.

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And now… we are counting down to our Florida vacation!



Father’s Day Recap
06.22.15, 8:28 AM
Filed under: Holidays | Tags: ,

We hope all of our Daddy readers and their families had a wonderful Father’s Day!

Rydan and Lily each made a special gift for Ryan. While he was in Denver last month, I took the kids to Mad Potter and let them each pick out a Father’s Day gift to paint.

Rydan chose a jar that he wanted to decorate like a baseball and fill with snacks.

Rydan chose a jar that he wanted to decorate like a baseball and fill with snacks.

Lily chose an "I Love Dad" coffee mug.

Lily chose an “I Love Dad” coffee mug.

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As you can see, they were quite proud of their work and very excited to give Ryan their gifts. I was rather impressed at how well they were able to keep our Mad Potter visit a secret.

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Our Father’s Day was spent going for morning donuts before church, lunch at Firehouse Subs, an afternoon enjoyed at home, and ended with steak on the grill.

Ryan is returning to work today with a special jar of baseball-themed snacks and a very colorful coffee mug to always remind him how loved he is.

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This is the first Father’s Day since Ryan’s transplant. Every holiday from this point forward is always an extra special reminder of how grateful we are for the organ donor who gave Ryan a second chance at life. Being able to celebrate fatherhood together without worrying about Ryan’s past health issues is a gift from above that has given our whole family new reasons to smile and appreciate life every single day. As always, we encourage all of our readers to please join the organ donor registry at http://www.donatelife.net.



Run Club
06.15.15, 11:29 AM
Filed under: Events | Tags: ,

Run Club PhotoIf you plan on participating in the second annual Share Your Spare 5K Run/Walk at the Kentucky Horse Park on September 5th, you should know about the Horse Park’s Run Club.

The Run Club meets on Mondays from 5-8pm between now and September 28th. Run or walk their 2-mile route at your own pace or add on an extra 1.5 miles on the extended route. Kids, strollers and leashed dogs are welcome.

You’ll enjoy beautiful scenery in the heart of Kentucky, local food trucks, and of course, horses.

Today’s Run Club features Sweet Lily Frozen Yogurt, Red State BBQ and John’s Run/Walk Shop. For more info and to see a weekly schedule, click here.

And if you haven’t already registered for Share Your Spare 5K, we encourage you to do so today! Run or walk with us in Lexington or virtually from your own community. This is a great opportunity to exercise as a family while showing support for kidney disease patients. Help us pay forward all of the truly inspiring support we received at last year’s inaugural event. We hope to see you there!



Strawberries
06.08.15, 8:42 AM
Filed under: Things To Do/Places To See | Tags: ,

Summertime means strawberries. We visited Evan’s Orchard on Saturday for u-pick strawberries. With Rydan on vacation, Lily, Mommy and Daddy took two buckets into the strawberry patch.

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We were pleasantly surprised to find that we didn’t have to strain our backs while picking. Evan’s has a really cool set up for their strawberries. They grow in tall clusters of cones, and each cluster actually spins so that you can conveniently pick from any cone. Whether you’re Lily-sized or Daddy-sized, picking was super easy and fun.

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Lily celebrated every time she found a red berry to put in her bucket.

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Between our two buckets, we came out with 4 pounds of strawberries.

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After all that hard work, we headed to Evan’s play area for some fun. Lily loves to ride on the little pink tractor.

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I lost count of how many times we went down that slide, but Lily’s high-pitched squeal was just as loud and strong the first time down as it was the last time down. After getting off the third or fourth time, Ryan told her she didn’t have to scream so loud and she said “But, Daddy, I’m just so excited!”

Yesterday, I took our four pounds of strawberries and made a strawberry pie. It is as tasty as it looks too! Lily has already requested a slice for breakfast.

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School’s Out For Summer
06.01.15, 8:03 AM
Filed under: The Buffington Southern Experience | Tags:

It’s official. I’ve got a middle schooler and a kindergartner. When we moved to Kentucky, Lily was just 17 months old and Rydan was only 7 years old.

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Now look at them!

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Rydan graduated from elementary school last Thursday, and school ended on Friday with pizza and a movie.

5th Grade Graduation Processional.

5th Grade Graduation Processional.

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Five 5th grade classes eagerly waiting to graduate.

Walking home hand in hand.

Walking home hand in hand.

For Rydan, his summer will be quite busy. He’ll continue with Taekwondo classes, and is also adding a special lacrosse summer clinic to help prepare him for middle school tryouts. There’s also a week-long camp at the end of June that he’ll attend for the third year in a row. In just a few days, he’ll be going on vacation with a friend, and then on our own family vacation in July. And of course, he’s got a birthday to look forward to as well.

As for Lily, she is very much looking forward to Kindergarten. We picked up her “Countdown To Kindergarten” shirt a few weeks ago, so she has an entire summer calendar filled with various Countdown To Kindergarten events. In a few weeks, she is starting a new dance class at a place that holds recitals, so I’m really excited to see how she likes it. Like Rydan, she is also counting down to her summer birthday, and she’s very anxious to go to the beach in July.

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Without a doubt, we’ll have lots of new memories to share over the summer, so be sure to check back every Monday for updates!



Memorial Day 2015
05.25.15, 8:39 AM
Filed under: Holidays | Tags:

Happy Memorial Day to all of our readers!

Our three-day weekend has been filled with all sorts of fun and beautiful weather.  Rydan left right after school on Friday to spend the weekend at his friend’s house boat. I’ve been receiving lots of texts and photos, and Rydan is having a fantastic time.

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Goofy boys.

Rydan caught his first fish.

Rydan caught his first fish.

He reeled in this big guy one morning after leaving his pole out during the night.

He reeled in this big guy one morning after leaving his pole out during the night.

Enjoying a boat ride.

Enjoying a boat ride.

Ryan, Lily and I have had a relaxing weekend at home, but we’ve also gotten out of the house to do some fun “firsts” with Lily.

First time on the pedal boats at Jacobson Park.

First time on the pedal boats at Jacobson Park.

First time flying a kite.

First time flying a kite.

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First time miniature golfing.

First time miniature golfing.

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We hope you all have had lots of fun with your family and friends too! And please don’t forget the reason we celebrate today… to honor all of the brave men and women who have served for our country, and all those who continue to serve. We remember your sacrifices for our freedom today, and every day.

For me, Memorial Day is also a special time to remember and honor my Pap Wiest. When we lived in Pennsylvania, I always enjoyed visiting his resting place at Fort Indiantown Gap every Memorial Day. Beautifully decorated with thousands of flags, it’s such a special, peaceful place to stand in on this holiday and know that you are surrounded by such brave, honorable men and women who fought for our country.

This year makes 15 years since my Pap Wiest passed. Knowing my dad would go visit Fort Indiantown Gap this weekend, I asked him to take some flowers from me. He sent me this picture on Saturday.

I love and miss you every day, "Skinny Pap!"

I love and miss you every day, “Skinny Pap!”



26.2

“Let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.”  -Hebrews 12:1.

IMG_4157If you asked me how many times I said that verse to myself during my first full marathon on Saturday, I would tell you that I lost count. Through rain that fell like buckets of water that soaked my socks and underwear, across hills that spanned 45 horse farms, I am so proud to say that I crossed the Finish Line of a 26.2 mile race.

When I heard about the Horse Capital Marathon last year, I registered for the half marathon with hopes that I would be able to switch to the full at a later date. At the time, Ryan was on the kidney/pancreas waiting list, so not knowing if or when that phone call would come, it didn’t seem realistic to try and commit to training for anything above 13.1.  So when Ryan had his successful transplant in October and returned to work in January, I realized that there was no reason why I couldn’t begin training for the full.

Preparing for a full marathon is no easy task, and mine involved an 18 week training plan that began on January 10th. There were certainly ups and downs to my training, including a two week break smack in the middle of the 18 weeks due to a slight stress fracture. However, after 446 training miles in the snow, ice, rain, sleet, humidity, wind, frigid temperatures, blazing sun, and any other weather that you can think of, 26.2 finally seemed possible.

Having a supportive husband and kids was a big part of my success as well. Most Saturdays I woke up extra early while everyone was sleeping in order to get my long runs out of the way. Weekday runs were usually done in the evenings, which was sometimes a little more difficult. There were times that Ryan would come home from work and I would go out the door to beat the darkness or get home in time for Lily’s dance class. One time, he even came home on his lunch break so that I could get my six mile run in for the day. Though they might not completely understand why I run, my family always supports me, and I love them for that. Knowing that they are always waiting at the Finish Line is such a huge motivation for me.

IMG_4192This race was nothing short of challenging. With frequent downpours and numerous hills, this wasn’t about finishing in a certain amount of time. It was simply about finishing. A friend of mine pinned a “First Marathon” sign on my back, and that little sign attracted so many words of encouragement from my fellow runners on the course. There were runners who patted me on the back and clapped for me, runners who said “hey it’s my first one too, good luck!”, runners who chose to run alongside of me and offer support, and even runners who said “wow, you picked one heck of a course for your first marathon.” It was clear we were all on that course together, and knowing that we were all fighting for the same thing made each of us push ourselves and each other so that we could achieve our goals.

IMG_4194Outside of becoming a mother, this has been my biggest accomplishment to date. Nothing compares to crossing the Finish Line of a full marathon. For me, that Finish Line was symbolic of so many different things, especially when I think about everything my family has been through over the past year. Throughout those 26.2 miles, I couldn’t help but think about how emotionally similar those miles were to Ryan’s transplant journey. There were uphill battles. There was an element of the unknown. There were feelings of frustration, impatience, determination, fear, and of course, victory.

Turning a corner on Saturday and seeing the Horse Capital Marathon Finish Line come into my view, I couldn’t help but get emotional. There was a time that I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to do this, and even if I did, I wondered, would Ryan be there to witness it? Knowing that he was there, healthy, and I was just steps away from reaching the Finish Line, was one of the best, most grateful moments of my life.

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Enter Sunday.  I woke up very sore, and saw this post on the Horse Capital Marathon’s Facebook Page, from Bob Baney, friend and Horse Capital Marathon Race Director:

Bob & Megan“MEGAN WILLIAMS IS A SURVIVOR OF OF THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBINGS…
Some of you may have met her at our Friday expo. In 2013 after finishing her 7th Boston Marathon she was standing near the finish line when those horrific bombs went off. She was hit by the shrapnel and since that time has had 7 surgeries and still has one to go. She hadn’t run a marathon since and her doctor gave her clearance to run one in the spring. She selected the Horse Capital because of her love of horses. Yesterday she had difficulty getting to Fasig Tipton for our inaugural race so she never started. She hung around and I visited her after the race. I told her I wasn’t sending her home until she completed what she came to do. So on this beautiful Sunday morning she set off from our starting line at 7:37am with her own personal hydration volunteer (me). She’s at mile 3 and we’ve already seen 34 horses. She is an inspiration. More photos and updates to come.”

Runners immediately began commenting words of encouragement for Megan on that post. In no time at all, plans were made to go cheer Megan on at the Finish Line. About 50 supporters showed up with signs, water, bananas, and flowers to give to Megan when she finished running. We wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to be there for her.

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My eyes were filled with tears watching Megan approach the Finish Line. Cheers erupted from the crowd as she came down that final stretch with a big smile on her face. What an inspiring moment, and what a truly amazing running community we have here in Lexington.

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It was a true honor to hug this beautiful, strong, determined woman. I’m so proud to say that we earned the same medal. It will forever hold extra special meaning because of Megan.

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Thank you, Horse Capital Marathon, for giving me the opportunity to be part of such an inspirational race. This experience was more than I ever could have imagined, and went way beyond simply accomplishing a personal goal. As a first-time Marathoner and member of our Lexington running community, I truly have never been more proud to call myself a runner.




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