Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Running Tale

Once upon a time there were some wonderful friends. They are amazing women and fabulous runners. One day, one of the friends said "I've been running a lot and I think it would be cool to train for a 1/2 marathon!" Some of them thought it would be great. And others thought, "Ah, that's nice. I'll do a 10k...you silly running people...why would you want to run that far :)!"

So some of them were really cool and started training for the 1/2 marathon. And they were so very cool...keeping to the training schedule and racking up SO many miles! And then there were the others...training for the 10k. And the miles racked up...and it felt good!

Then it came time to register for the race. And surprise...there was NO 10k!!! And they (the 10k chicks) had to decide between a 5k, a 1/2 marathon, or they could have husbands pick them up once they ran the 10k. So, they really tried. They ran and ran and ran and ran. Their miles started racking up, too. They ran 6, then 8, then 8, then 9...and they thought...we might actually be able to do this! So they signed up for the 1/2 marathon too...and it felt scary...and good...and exciting!

Oh, but one of the amazing friends...she just had a baby...a very cute baby! And this very amazing friend said, "I'm trying to run too! I'm tired, and my baby is so wonderful, and I want to be a part of this and to try to do the 5k!" And they all loved her so much more because they knew how big this was!

So they ran, and laughed, and cried, and ran, and ran, and laughed! And they all thought of their families...how all the children will see their mom's running and working and struggling and achieving! And these children are all wonderful! And then there are the husbands...the wonderful husbands that loved, supported, encouraged, and cheered on these wonderful women. These husbands mopped floors, took care of children, and missed basketball because the runners were so very awesome and sore!

And the time came. They packed bags, ipods, and families and headed to a land of dutch shoes and windmills to run the race. They were excited and nervous and anxious! And then the race started and these wonderful women ran. They ran like they have never run before. They had goals...and they reached their goals! And it was hard...so very hard. The miles went on. Some miles felt good, very good. And some felt so very bad. But then they came to the last mile. They knew that it was almost over, that their families and those that had finished before them were there waiting...waiting for each amazing woman to make the final turn to the finish line...to achieve what they never thought was possible! And their wonderful families were waiting with cheers, and smiles, and hugs that could be heard and felt from miles away!

And they finished...they made it...and they will never be the same. They accomplished, they grew, and they felt the impact on themselves and the souls of their families! And the wonderful friends laughed, cried, hugged, and went home.

The End
Links to the other amazing friend's blogs and their running stories:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Birthday & Baptism {part 2}

I really can't believe that we have an 8 year old daughter! It just doesn't seem that long ago that Kassie was born in Japan, and I was holding her cute little pink bundle---scared out of my mind when there was a huge earthquake while we were still in the hospital!
(Don't mind me, my eyes do not open after I have babies...I have no idea why!)

And now, 8 years later, Kass has grown into a beautiful and wonderful daughter! We were able to celebrate her birthday while we were visiting our family in California. But even better, she was baptized there as well. We are so proud of her for choosing to follow our Savior's example to be baptized! For those of you who aren't familiar with baptism in our religion...click HERE.
It worked out perfectly that our niece (Sadee) was getting baptized at the same time...just 2 days earlier and before Kass turned 8! Kevin's parents, grandma, and brother were already planning on being in L.A. for the baptism. So we left my family in San Diego and met up with Kev's fam in L.A. for Sadee's baptism and then headed back down to my parents church in San Clemente for Kassie's baptism on her birthday! It was such a fun few days with Kevin's family. The girls were so excited to see their cousins!!!
I am such a stickler for car seat rules and I make sure that everyone is properly buckled in and everything...so why on earth is it ok to drive like this when you're around family...even if it is just around the block?!?!
We are SO SO grateful and happy that so many members of our family could be there! Kevin's mom made Kassie's dress, my brother conducted the meeting, Grandma Louder (yoo-hoo) and Grandma Bregg gave the talks, the cousins sang a special musical number, and Kevin baptized and confirmed Kassie. Everyone made it such a special day for Kassie!
Kassie and Sadee
After the baptism, we went to a park overlooking the ocean in San Clemente and had a picnic and birthday cake.
And then, Kassie and her cute cousins Abby and Sadee (who all have birthday's within a few weeks of each other) were so very excited when we took to them to the American Girl Doll store to pick out birthday presents!
Kassie and Abby
Kass and her new doll Lanie (she picked her because she is a nature girl! love it!)

When it's all over and done with, Kassie had a wonderful, memorable, and very special 8th birthday!!!

The 8 Best Things About Kassie...because 8 is Great!:
1. Nothing is boring when she's around!
2. She has such a creative mind!
3. She LOVES to perform for a crowd!
4. Her contagious laughter
5. Her love of animals
6. She's green! (Her love of nature...and protecting nature)
7. Her thoughtful love and concern for ALL generations of her family!
8. Her self-proclaimed (and supported) greatness!!!
We Love you Miss Kassandra Ann!!!
Up Next: Life's a Beach!{part 3}

Sunday, August 1, 2010

So. Cal {part 1-Family Reunion}

4 years! It had been that long since my (steph's) family (consisting of my parents, sister (with her husband and son), and my brother (with his wife and 3 boys)) had been together. So this year, my parents were kind enough to treat us all to a wonderful family reunion!!! We started our week of fun with the cousins getting to know each other...it really didn't take too long! The girls LOVED their big cousins!

And then all the real fun began! #1--Sea World! Kassie has declared this is what she would like to do when she grows up! She loves animals and performing...so a Sea World animal trainer and performer would be perfect! We had so much fun feeding the dolphins, watching the shows, and of course, a few of us got drenched by Shamu!!!

The Starfish was the only animal that Laicee wasn't leary of...everything else, she loved from a far...very far!

Kassie, Amberlee, their cousin Eric, and Kevin were brave enough to sit in the soak zone at the Shamu show!!! The rest of us were happy and dry!The 16 of us! (just so you know who we all are. From Left to Right: Dad, Mom, Shae, Eric(top), Amberlee (top), Jerry, Kristin, Jackson (held), Steph, Emma (below), Kevin, Kassie (below), Jody, Jerry, Michael (top), Laicee (held)!)

#2--Disneyland! Usually, going to Disneyland in July is crazy. The lines are long, people are cranky, and the weather is hot! We got completely lucky. We went on a Wednesday, the weather was perfect, and the lines were perfect!!! We had so much fun! We took this picture at the entrance (yay...F for...Family Fun) and then tackled Disneyland in our own ways!

Is it just me...or is Sleeping Beauty's castle not as big as it use to be???

The 3 older boys got to ride all the rides they wanted...many times (it was fun running into them as they dashed from one side of the park to the next). Kristin and her family went where Jackson went. We ran with the girls and my parents to do all the girly things the boys would rather die than go to :)! Pixie Hollow was a huge favorite!!!

Kassie and Fawn had a great conversation about being animal talent fairies...and they even practiced animal sounds together (seriously...adorable)!

and Tinkerbell taught the girls how to pose as fairies!

Laicee, who could care less anyway, couldn't go on the roller-coasters...she and grandma had a great time together waiting for the rest of us! Her favorite thing at Disneyland was Small World...of course! She could have ridden that ALL day!

Emma was even tall enough to go on almost all the rides. Her favorite...Space Mountain!!! I LOVE that my girls are not afraid to go on these things!!!

The *littles* crashed! My mom and dad did, too! So, they took the girls back to the hotel and then Kev and I got to take the *biggles* on the only ride Emma couldn't go on (Indiana Jones) and then we ran around the park trying to get as many rides in as we could before it closed...at midnight!!! It was SO so SO much fun being able to do that with our older girls!

P.S. the tea cups make me sick...and we went really really fast!

#3--San Diego Zoo and Dinner at the Corvette Diner! Our last family adventure was to the San Diego Zoo! The girls were ecstatic and beyond thrilled to go there! They love seeing and learning everything they can about animals and this put them right in their element! The favorites were the panda bears, kookaburra birds, elephants, giraffes and hippos!
We worked really hard for this picture! Sorry to the man that I had to elbow out of my way so that Kass could have a picture with a hippo!

This gorgeous peacock kept trying to follow us...that made you know who very happy!

Can you see the giraffe...that's right...it's Emma!

And then my brother found a great restaurant for our final dinner together, the Corvette Diner! It came with dancing waitresses with huge wigs and a fabulous balloon artist! Emma loved her mermaid hat...and I couldn't resist it either!We truly had a wonderful 5 days together (we also had down time between all these things filled with other activities), and great family pictures, too (thank you Amber Katrina!)! It was so fun seeing everyone again and I especially loved watching the girls hang on their cousins!!! We already miss you all!!!

Up next: Part 2 {L.A. with Kev's family, Kassie's birthday and baptism}!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


The past 6 weeks have been crazy with the girls finishing their many sports and activities...and here is a glimpse into that!
Emma's dance recital
Emma LOVED her dance class and was SO cute in her little dance recital! She loved wearing make-up and getting all dressed up in her ballerina costumes! She's also very excited that Laicee will be in the class with her next year.
Miss Kassandra Ann had her dance recital a couple weeks later! I love watching her perform. She just loves being on stage---I can't wait to see where that love takes her :)!
Kass also started piano lessons. She had only a month of lessons when her teacher asked if she'd like to be in the recital. And sweet Kassie was more than excited to perform once again! She did great---totally rocked out Old McDonald's Farm!!!
And yesterday was the end of spring soccer! I've never seen Kass play so hard and determined...it was awesome!!!
Emma and her BFF were so cute to watch. They'd kick the ball every so often, but it seemed like they were more concerned about giggling and running around together than actually playing...it's all about the snacks anyway!!!
And now summer has started! It's great not having a huge schedule. The girls have each signed up for a week long camp---and there will be fun pictures to post soon. We'll also be heading to Southern California for a family reunion...and we are all SO excited!!!
I ♥ summer!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I knew there was a reason I married Kevin 10 years ago. Among a huge list of greatness...I knew he would forever surprise me with incredible things!!!
We celebrated our 10th anniversary this past weekend and Kev took me to a bed and breakfast that overlooked Lake Huron! Here is a shot of our room...it was gorgeous...and the view was incredible! That's not all...we also got our own private hot tub, on our own private deck, overlooking the lake. It was so relaxing to listen to the waves and watch the stars. Here is our view from the hot tub. And this is what we woke-up to...a spectacular sunrise that we could just lay in bed and watch. This picture is taken from our bedroom window.
So Thank you, THANK YOU sweet husband of mine. You knew that a couple nights away is just what I needed and wanted...you are amazing and I'm so grateful for all that we have shared and experienced for the past 10 years...and I look excitedly forward to decades and decades and eternity more!
And thank you, THANK YOU sweet friends of mine who took in my little girls so I could enjoy all of this for a little while! The girls all loved their slumber parties and thoroughly enjoyed your homes! I owe you all :)

So, here are My top 10 Favorite memories of the past 10 years:

1. Walking into our first Japanese home for the 1st time...all 400 sq. feet of it!

2. Hiking Mt. Fuji and Mt. Timp

3. Living in for 5 years, experiencing, and leaving Japan

4. The birth of our 4 daughters...with failed epidural each time!

5. Sitting on the floor in our empty Japanese townhouse, checking the email one last time, getting accepted to Tepper for MBA school... and off to Pittsburgh!

6. One week camping and hiking trip to the Grand Tetons--while I was 6 months pregnant!

7. Job searching--Job searching--and more Job searching!

8. Buying, building, and moving into our first home for our family!

9. All of our family vacationing experiences!

10. Every little small moment that adds up to so much happiness!

Monday, March 8, 2010

4 and 6

Birthday's in our house are grand and festivus! The birthday girl gets to wake-up to lots of balloons and decorations and then they have the whole day to choose what they want for every meal. They also get to choose a special family activity for us all to do together (but only on the years they don't have a party...and this is a no party year). We celebrated Emma's 4th birthday in January and Amberlee's 6th birthday this past week. I can't believe how fast these little cuties are growing up. Remind me to cherish every second with them!

Emma: wanted lucky charms for breakfast, cupcakes with friends, and wanted to have cotton candy at the circus. It was a fun weekend!!!
Amberlee: wanted a movie night where she got to pick everything from the movie to all the treats/snacks, wanted a violin (which meant a road trip to Ann Arbor to pick it out), and swimming to top it all off!
Happy Birthday Sweet Girls!!!