I can’t stop thinking about it. At random times, it just crosses my mind, “I ran 13 miles.”

I ran 13 miles. I ran 13 miles. I ran 13 miles. 

I kind of can’t believe it. I was nervous before the race, but carbo-loaded in the days before like my life depended on it. Yes indeed, I would love an extra slice of bread with dinner! Shawn’s a big fan of any carb-based meal, so he was happy to support me in fueling for the race.

The night before I carefully set out everything I would need and made at least three lists. I organized, I rested, I ate a peanut butter sandwich, and I went to bed at ten thirty. I woke up at five-thirty on Saturday morning, had a peanut butter bagel and some coffee, and started the forty-five minute drive to the race.

I got to the race in plenty of time to park, use the restroom, eat some more, and mentally psych myself up for what was ahead. A lot of the other runners had family and friends with them, so I found myself in my own little world – a content observer of my surroundings.

Because I had to leave so early, Shawn stayed home with the boys. When they woke up and had breakfast, Shawn packed ’em in the SUV and headed out to come see me. As I milled around the starting corral at eight, listening to the countdown, I received the most encouraging text from Shawn. He told me that he was proud of me, proud to be my husband, and knew that I’d be able to do it. Then he continued to text me encouragement throughout the entire race.

Husband of the year? Yes, I think so.

So the goal that I told people I had was to complete the entire 13 miles, and to finish in 3 hours or less. My secret goals were to run the entire thing without needing to stop to walk, and to finish in 2.5 hrs or less.

I spent the first two miles with my headphones on, but nothing playing. I was thoroughly enjoying running on pure adrenaline, taking in the race atmosphere, and listening to fellow runners chatting and the sound of so many footfalls. For the next eight miles I listened to a podcast, sipped on Gatorade every mile, and chewed a Gu Chomp every four miles or so. At mile ten I switched to music and since I was feeling good, stepped up my speed a little. It was pretty fun to steadily pass people who had started out too fast and were slowing down at the end! When I got to mile twelve, I turned off the music and enjoyed the sounds of the race again.

Because he arrived later, Shawn had to park a couple of miles from the finish line and had to push the double stroller through the race course to the finish. Once I got to mile twelve, I actually passed them. I slowed for just a second to say “hi” to the boys, and seeing those sweet faces was just the motivator I needed to finish strong!

The last quarter-mile was all uphill, and I cranked it. Running across that finish line was three years in the making, and I feel like every moment of my hard work flashed through my mind as I approached the finish. When I looked up and saw in the time clock that I could actually finish in 2.5 hours, I picked up my pace even more and finished in….


Shawn and the boys were still making their way to the finish, so I weaved my way through the crowd and found a curb to sit on while I caught my breath. I’m sure I looked ridiculous with how big I was smiling, and in that moment I could’ve sworn that I was the most awesome human being on the face of the planet. Blame it on a runner’s high.

So did I mention that it was cold that day? I think the high was around 45, and that morning the temp was about 35 and the wind was pretty fierce. The poor boys apparently got pretty beaten down by the wind on their walk from the car to the finish. Neither boy was very happy about the situation, nor were they impressed that their Mom just realized she was the most awesome human being on the face of the planet.

As it turns out, C. Bear actually had a double ear infection and J. Bug a pretty bad cold, so…

I guess their crankiness makes sense.

Also, the wind did something weird to my bangs up there. I don’t know. Each finisher had their photo taken as they crossed the finish line, so I’m sure my weird floofy hair will be all sorts of pretty. That’s okay though, I’m too hardcore of a runner to care about frivolities like a bangs helmet.

Oh yeah, and I got a medal. Just between you and me, everyone who finished got a medal. But if you ask me about it, I’ll leave that part out.

“Oh, this old thing? Gosh, I completely forgot I was wearing it! I mean, ever since I got it for that half marathon I ran recently, I just keep forgetting to take it off!”

I took a restful bath after we got home, and then Shawn told me he wanted to take me to dinner anywhere I wanted to go. We attend church together on Saturday evenings, so we were already lookin’ spiffy – why not make a family dinner date out of it? After carefully deliberating, I decided that my half marathon running reward would be Chick Fil A and Starbucks.
A number one on wheat with a diet Coke and a grande nonfat toffee nut latte, and you’ve got yourself one happy most awesome human being on the face of the planet runner.
The boys and I ended up not being able to go to church that night after all – their sickness was starting to become pretty evident. So Shawn continued the celebration by bringing me some extra treats. Turns out that running a half works up quiet the appetite!
 Oh, this old thing? It IS a beautiful necklace, but it’s also actually a medal I received recently for the half marathon I ran. No big deal. Just 13.1 miles. That I ran. Without stopping. And got a medal for. Whatevs. 

frivolous friday

Old school…


I’ve been dreading that part of pregnancy I’ve always dreaded where people start poking my belly, inviting their hands to touch my belly, and offering me their thoughts on whether I’m getting a tummy or not. Granted…all these things have been done by Jr. High students, who may not have the filter or social graces of most adults…but I expect it’s only a precursor of things to come!

At least with Jr. High students, I can poke their bellies back and jokingly tell them my tummy isn’t public property….I’m not sure how that tactic will work with the adults. 🙂 I help teach this group of girls at Pinedale who are amazing and precious to me. I’ve been their co-leader since they were in 6th grade (they’re currently in the 8th grade), and will continue to be with them until they’re in the 12th grade. And then I plan on moving into their dorms with them when they go to college.

Just kidding.

Though I am already dreading that day. They were top on my list of people I was excited to tell about our pregnancy. On Wednesday, we told them we had a surprise for them, but that they just needed to bring their digital cameras to church. We took them to Wal-Mart where we sent them on a scavenger hunt for all things baby (baby carrots, the movie “Gone Baby Gone,” baby food, baby spinach, pickles and ice cream, etc.). When they had all finished, I asked if they noticed a theme (to which they responded, “it was all baby stuff!”), then I asked if they knew why that was a theme (“someone’s pregnant!”), and then I asked if they had any ideas WHO was pregnant (“YOU are!!”).

I wasn’t quite sure how they’d react but the squeals and hugs proved that they were even more excited than I thought. Once we got back to the church, they of course tackled Shawn with enthusiasm. Since then, I’ve found that they’ve become quite protective of me…which I didn’t expect. If they see me drinking coffee, they make sure it’s decaf (which it always is). Despite my protests and assurances that I’m fine, they watch me get in and out of vans, climb stairs, etc., to make sure I don’t fall. They scrutinize any medicine that I take to make sure it’s safe for pregnant women, and anything else their precious 8th grade hearts can think of that they’ve heard pregnant women can/can’t do.

This weekend we took a bunch of our students to a Jr. High conference in Atlanta, GA where they sang, danced, worshipped, and hopefully grew to a better understanding of God and how He pursues them. These kinds of things are usually accompanied by a lack of sleep and a bit of stress, so I wasn’t sure how well I would do. Thankfully, I ended up getting more sleep than I thought I would, and God gave me the energy and strength to not just survive, but to enjoy myself. I was, however, glad to be back home with my naps and snacks!


It’s been awhile…

And I’m so sorry. Things with Worth the Wait have picked back up and I’m still being hit with the nausea stick, so I just haven’t had much time or energy to update. Overall, things are going well. The baby’s still growing, I’m still feeling evidence that my hormones are right where they should be, and we’re thrilled as ever to be having a baby.

That being said, I am still pretty sick. I’ve newly discovered a few things that make me gag…sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms for instance…and am doing my best to avoid those. Unfortunately, it seems to be primarily carbs, meat, and cheese that I crave (I’m thinking my body is wanting protein), while raw fruit, in any form, and many vegetables make me sick. It’s been hard to make sure I’m getting plenty of fruits and veggies in my diet, but I’m working on it. Fruit smoothies and frozen, plain veggies are what’s working for me right now.

I went through about a week long period of not being sure that I still wanted to be pregnant. I’ve heard that’s pretty common at this stage (maybe women tend to get frustrated with feeling so poorly for so long?), and I hope you don’t think I’m an awful woman/mom for vocalizing it. I mean, deep down, I was glad we’re pregnant, and thrilled to be having a baby, but I was having lingering thoughts of, “what the heck did we do? are we sure about this? this is HUGE!”

After a week of having these nagging feelings, I had a very vivid dream. I dreamt that I had just woken up from a dream, in our bed (I know that’s confusing, but it made the dream VERY realistic, because I thought I’d just woken up from a dream), and was bleeding. I had a worth the wait presentation that morning (which, I really did have a presentation the next morning), and was trying to figure out if I should cancel the presentation and go to the doctor or just work through the bleeding. Next thing I knew, there was a doctor in our bedroom, checking my cervix, and telling me that the baby was gone.

There was a woman standing next to me, and I looked at her, horrified, and asked her what that meant. “It means he took the baby out, sweetie, because it died. You don’t have a baby anymore.” In my dream, I actually went through the process of having to call people and tell them.That’s all I remember about the dream, but I woke up off and on for the next several hours, and every time I woke up, I just felt heavy…I thought for sure what had just happened was real and that I had miscarried. I was devastated….I was beyond devastated.I finally woke up about ten minutes before the alarm went off, and was awake enough to look around at my surroundings. I realized quickly that it was still the morning of the presentation. And then I quickly realized that I’d been dreaming. I even felt my stomach to assure myself that it was just a dream. And I was ELATED. I cannot even explain the absolute relief that washed over me. I lay in bed, tears in my eyes, thanking God for the life that He’d given us. I don’t think I’ll ever have thoughts of not wanting to be pregnant again. I honestly find myself amazed and grateful that God is knitting a child together in my womb. What an amazing privilege and responsibility it is.

insert smiley face

I hope you’re not expecting smiley faces from me from here on out. Or the number zero. Or parenthesis.

‘Cause you’re not gettin’ any of them.

I planned a Skype date with one of my North Carolina small group girls a couple of weeks ago. We planned it for Wednesday after church, so I hurried home and hurried to get the boys to bed. I was running late, so I quickly grabbed myself a glass of water and flipped up the top of my laptop to log into Skype.

I set the water on the counter next to my computer. At least that’s what my brain did. Apparently my hand didn’t get the memo, because it held onto the water and brought the glass – completely filled to the top – right on top of my opened laptop. I gasped and uttered, “oh no!” apparently believing that if I stood there and stared at my water-soaked computer I’d be able to convince my laptop that this didn’t just happen. In slow motion I finally grabbed a nearby towel, but my computer had already shut itself down.

Y’all my computer was soaked. Soaked. I tipped it on its side and the water just poured out from the inside. I’m no computer genius, but I don’t think mechanical parts should be bathed like that.

I did what any logical person would do. I closed the laptop lid and propped my Macbook on its side against the wall with a towel underneath it. I then proceeded to call my small group girl and we chatted for a little over an hour. During the course of that hour I tried occasionally to power my computer back up. Most of the time it just stared at me blankly with its black screen practically shouting, “MORON!”

When Shawn got home, he told me to open the lid and try to let it dry out overnight. I did, but kept checking to see if it would miraculously power up. It did not.

The first thing I did when I woke up the next morning was to press that power button and my hopes rose as I heard the familiar chime and saw that sweet, sweet apple on my screen.

Yes, friends. My computer works. When I realized that I had lost no documents, information, photos, or anything at all, I was entirely too giddy considering I had yet to drink my morning coffee.

However, there was one casualty in the whole affair. My zero button fell victim, apparently drowning in a sea of tap water. Would you like to see what happens when I press the zero button? Here, let me show you:


See that? Nothing. It turns out that finding a workaround to the zero button isn’t that hard. I just do some fancy copying and pasting, and voila – I got myself all the zeros my heart could desire.

No, the real problem lies in the fact that the parenthesis isn’t working. And without a parenthesis button, how do you expect me to sideways smile?! Sure, I can make lots of other emoticon faces:

: /       : (       : }     : P     : – B     : %

I made that last one up.

But a simple smile? Can’t do it.

Let that be a lesson learned, my friends. Let that be a lesson learned.

flashback videos!

You may remember that one of my goals for the Fall and Winter was to take more photos and videos of our sweet Bear. He’s fallen victim to the typical second born syndrome, and I wanted to make sure I document his ever changing life with as much fervor as I did Bug’s. Thanks to that goal, I’ve been more conscious of breaking out the camera to capture his infectious smile and funny personality. As I was recently uploading and categorizing those photos and videos, I ran across a few videos I haven’t yet shared.

…like this one time he smiled for the first time. When we tried to film it, he naturally immediately stopped any such smiling. Didn’t stop us from trying, though!

Untitled from jennyerally speaking on Vimeo.

Then there was that time he turned one year old. After a fun day at the Ft. Worth stockyard, we fed our little cowpokes some Riscky’s Barbeque and gave Bear a 1st Birthday cupcake. In contrast to Bug’s first birthday cake reaction – he looked at the cake like we just put a plate of roasted cow brain on his high chair and refused to touch it – Bear dove in with the same fervor and gusto he dives into each and every meal he eats.

Boy loves him some food.

Untitled from jennyerally speaking on Vimeo.

…And we love us some of that boy!

frivolous friday

More old school blogging from my first pregnancy:



Full House Makes Me Cry…

How pathetic is that?! I was watching an episode yesterday in which Jesse and Becky have their twins. They were lying in the birthing bed together after the birth (while Becky’s makeup and hair were perfectly done, of course), holding their sons….and I just could not stop the tears.I’m such a weirdo lately.

I have a definite little pooch that wasn’t there before! Most of the time I don’t think people can notice just by looking at me, but I have found that most of my pants don’t fit me anymore. I’ve ordered something called the “Bella Band,” which should help me not need maternity pants right away. It’s nice to have some evidence that there’s a baby in there, and I know Shawn’s really excited about it.

Most of you know that I was training for a half marathon before I got pregnant, and many people have asked me lately what my plans are for running. Obviously, any official training is out the window, and I won’t be running the races I had planned, either. Though I desperately want to, I haven’t run since I found out I was pregnant. At first, it was fear. Shortly after (and since then), it’s been because I’m so tired and nauseated all the time. If I have to pick between going for a run or taking a quick nap…the nap seems to win every time!

I’m already starting to feel some improvements in both the fatigue and morning sickness department, so I’m hoping that as I progress towards the second trimester I’ll be able to be more active (running, walking, prenatal yoga). I find myself jealous of other runners when I see them, and looking longingly at my running shoes. I desperately want to get back out there, but want to take care of myself first. As if you had any doubt, I know, but I’m so amazed at how wonderful Shawn is being through all of this. I know he doesn’t necessarily understand what’s going on with my hormones, but he weathers the storms with strength. He’s been so patient and tender with me, which is usually what I need the most.

From experience, he’s learned that if I’m feeling sick, I probably need to eat. If you’ve been pregnant before, you probably understand that when you feel sick, the very last thing you want to do is eat. He’s very, very good at gently “making” me eat. I always complain about it, but I’m always grateful. I’ve also been overwhelmed with the list of “do’s” and “dont’s” of pregnancy, and Shawn’s been awesome about helping me remember those things (like soft cheese….I still don’t really understand what constitutes soft cheese, much less be aware of if the salad I’m ordering contains it). I’m so grateful for him, and I’m so grateful that we’re a team in this. On par with my last journal entry, I’ve been trying to figure out how to handle the “tummy touchers” in my life. I’ll elaborate more later on why it bugs me so much, but do any of you have advice on how to let people know gracefully that I’d really rather they not touch me?


I’m so weird. I mentioned in the last journal/blog/…whatever…that I would try and explain a little bit better about why I’d prefer people to not touch my stomach. I’ve seriously thought about this for days, and you know…I really can’t come up with a good reason. The best I can do is this- I just don’t like it. It takes a lot for me to be super affectionate with someone, so maybe I have a weird thing about physical boundaries? I understand that it’s just an extension of some people’s excitement, but it just seems rude to me. Most especially if you’re not family or a close friend. I’m not a fan of random people assuming it’s okay. At this point, I’m almost 10 weeks and am a little insecure by how much I’m showing already, which I’m sure only adds to my discontent with people poking at me. And then there’s the fact that I already have this feeling that my body has become public property at every doctor’s visit we have. Our OB office is great, but I can’t help feeling that they poke and prod pretty much everything they can find when we go. I’ve been told that it only gets worse as time goes on. Perhaps my aversion to the tummy touching is an effort to maintain some sort of privacy?…or it just boils down to me being a weirdo.My friend Krista sent me a link to a t-shirt website with some really cute (and some really crass…so be warned if you go there) maternity shirts. http://www.cafepress.com. Shawn and I saw one that said, “You can touch my belly if I can punch you in the face,” and we both just lost it. One of the funniest things I’ve ever read.


I blame you.

Why didn’t you tell me it was crazy? All you had to say was, “Jen. 13 miles is a lot. You’re off your rocker if you think you can run that far.” And I would have no doubt come to my senses and replied, “You’re absolutely right. How about instead of going for another training run, I go get some coffee?”

I mean, who in their right mind volunteers to run 13.1 miles? Moreover, who pays to enter a race with other psychos to run 13.1 miles?

Crazies, that’s who.

I very logically signed up for this half marathon. I’d always wanted to run one and finally stopped being pregnant long enough to train. I mapped out a training plan that increased my long run by one mile each week until I got to 14 miles. Training for a half would be easy, I just needed to stick to my plan, fuel my body well, stay committed, and voila – I’d run a half marathon at the end of January.


Except I forgot about a hidden part to that equation. It turns out that a+b=YOU’RE CRAZY!

At least that’s what I’m thinking to myself as I look through the photos from last year’s Texas Half:

These people are real runners. They have fancy running clothes, flat stomachs, bib numbers, medals, and appear to be very well prepared for the daunting task before them.

Me? I’m just a Mom. A Mom who squeezes in a long run every week in between diaper changes, fevers, wrestling matches, and dinner prep. A Mom who more often than not skips her mid-week runs because she could really use that extra 45 minutes of sleep. I don’t do ice baths. I’ve never done a tempo run. The word “fartlek” makes me giggle.

Clearly, I was more than a little ambitious when I registered for the Texas Half.

What am I thinking? 13.1 miles is no joke. What if I can’t do it? What if I get lost on the way there? What if my knee start hurting again? What if my stomach cramps up? What if I start too fast and run out of steam? What if I have to stop?

But what if I try?  Maybe I’ll line up with the other very prepared looking runners, and run right alongside them. Maybe I’ll remember that time I gave birth. Twice. And didn’t think I could make it, but kept going and working and pushing through, and it turned out to be one of the most amazing things I’ve ever accomplished. Maybe I’ll remember when I ran 12 miles with the flu and tell myself that this little ‘ole race has nothing on me.

Maybe I’ll do something really crazy and succeed. Maybe, just maybe…I will.