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Marathon Monday: Pushing Through

Well, friends, instead of focusing on the average temp of this winter (16.9 degrees) and the fact that that makes this the third coldest winter since 1905 (what the what!!?!!!!), I’m going to focus on the beautiful fact that Spring is only 24 days away.

As you may have seen on Facebook, I faced a massive mental road block this week. I don’t know what it was, but I woke up on Saturday morning for a “shorter” long run of 9 miles after last weekend’s very cold but good 13 miler. I saw that the temp was 28 and to me, that sounded pretty warm compared to what it has been. So, I semi-bundled up and headed out the door.

Bad idea. First, I didn’t mentally prepare. I thought “eh, I’ve done 13. I’ve done 12. I’ve done 10. 9 should be a piece of cake.”

Secondly, I didn’t physically prepare. I didn’t get great sleep on Thursday or Friday night, I didn’t wake up early enough to get a good breakfast and energy drink down, and I didn’t dress warmly enough. After talking to a health coach, I realize that I also didn’t adequately carb load. (Um, heck yes I should and will be taking advantage of that!)

So after 1 mile of almost falling on ice and feeling like my legs were made of lead, I turned around and headed home…head hung in shame. I couldn’t even crank out HALF of my long run! I was depleted. I came through the front door and burst into tears. I couldn’t stop crying! For some reason since I’ve had Annabelle, I have strangely cried only a handful of times. But Saturday I CRIED.


“What does this mean for my marathon?! What is wrong with me?! Why didn’t I wake up earlier?!” I blubbered.

I posted a little ditty on facebook asking for some encouragement/advice/hugs….and my facebook community delivered.

Your words of encouragement made all the difference. 38 comments!?!? That’s insane. You all helped me realize that Marathon training isn’t meant to be easy. (Obviously…but I really hadn’t thought much past the time commitment that I knew training would be.)

Even if you are following a beginner plan, there are going to be hard…even unattainable runs. I am not a machine, I’m a human. I realized that other runners had faced this in their training too….and that I need to start taking better care of what I’m putting into my body.

NOOOOOoooOOO!! I hate the thought of tracking my food/protein/carbs. As a free spirit, it’s just not something I enjoy or am good at. However, if I want to feel good and perform well, I need to. Only 9 weeks until race day, and a strategy around food will do nothing but help me!! I know I can do this. Lucky Charms aren’t going to cut it for my “carb loading” anymore. (Dang it!)


I’m not terrified completely about the implementation of a diet/supplement plan…there’s definitely some excitement mixed in there too. A girl from our small group who specializes in training and nutrition (who, might I add, has experienced running a marathon without proper nuturion) helped me get my head around a good, attainable plan for the next few weeks. Image

Let me also add…I had a ridiculously fun and awesome 10 miler yesterday on the treadmill thanks to this trifecta:

1) Mark Driscoll’s podcast sermon entitled, “Jesus Gives Life.”


2) Mocha flavored energy gel from Cliff Bar. HOLY AMAZING. I will never use any other kind of yummy gel. NEVER!


3) Some sweet jams from my RUN 2 playlist on Spotify.

Yep. It’s time to toughen up mentally. I’m not going to let this winter kill my (probably one and only) bucket list MARATHON!


“Spring is coming…it won’t be long now, it’s just about here.” -Steven Curtis Chapman, Beauty Will Rise


(This album got me through the pain and depression that came after our first miscarriage. I know every word by heart, and I’m so touched by it. Thanks SCC…and Jill for recommending it 🙂 )

Spoiled American

That is what I am. A spoiled American. I love getting pedicures. I love having a washing machine. I love having two cars for the two drivers in our family. I love convenience. I love shopping. but I have felt convicted lately, and I truly hate that I am so materialistic and consumeristic. 


I recently read the book Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker. This book was a huge smack in my pretty little made up face. I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF. I fill my schedule too full. I spend my money too easily. I spend my time unwisely. I don’t give away enough. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want. (well…for the most part…I’m aiming to be gluten-free now so this isn’t entirely true. More on that later.)

But Bottom line: I live a life of EXCESS. 

This all was very clear to me when our dishwasher stopped draining a couple weeks ago. We had a new garbage disposal installed (because ours wasn’t working and Lord knows we can’t empty the yucky scraps into the trash ourselves) and something was off with that that installation that caused our dishwasher to be clogged. We washed a couple loads in there, thinking it might work itself out. This did not happen. It got yucky, and we had to start washing dishes by hand. By we, I mean me, of course…since my job includes caring for the baby and the house while Kev works super hard. 

I was not a happy camper about this hand washing routine. I was a brat, it’s kinda ridiculous how I acted. I know lots of Americans don’t have dishwashers (in fact our apartment didn’t have one, and I SERIOUSLY don’t know how we or our marriage survived.) I was a wreck for this 2 week period of living with a zero-functioning-dishwasher. A complete wreck. I complained that I didn’t have time for anything else besides washing dishes. (seriously, though? How many hours a day do I spend online doing useless activities?) I didn’t want to cook because I didn’t want to wash the dishes by hand. I acted like what I would call a typical, lazy American. I was terrified that our washer or dryer might also malfunction…or what we would do in the future if this happened. I started realizing how much I take these appliances for granted! There are SO SO SO many people around the world who don’t have dishwashers, toasters, Keurig Coffee makers, air-conditioners, heaters, microwaves, refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, STOVES…my gosh. I need to get over missing out on ONE for 14 days of my life. 

I’m so thankful now for that wake-up call! I have such a selfish heart.

I am so embarrassed to admit my freak-out-ness. I know lots of you probably function fine without a dishwasher. (in that way, I believe you deserve the title of exemplary American.) But this is just one way that I am so spoiled with my way and “standard” of living. I don’t want to be this way! I don’t want to be that suburban brat, ever. I don’t want to live an oblivious, painfully spoiled American life when our sisters and brothers around the world are walking miles just to get clean drinking water. When we have sisters and brothers HERE who hardly have enough food to eat or a place to rest their head. 

I don’t want to continue buying clothes just because it’s fun when I have SO many I don’t wear and when people in our own city and country own just the clothes on their backs. I don’t want to shelter myself from reality and throw a hissy fit over something as frivolous as a dishwasher breaking. 

How do I change?? I think it starts with awareness.

Since I read (more like devoured) Jen’s book, I have mostly stayed away from the mall…and clothing sections in other stores. (ehem…target)  I have seriously probably reduced our clothing expenditures by over 75%.I have cooked more, which has helped us stay away from spending lots of cash on restaurants. I have been praying for the orphans and the widows…and I can feel my heart being drawn even more toward international adoption through these times of prayer and journaling. I just feel God shaping me as I let myself lean into these thoughts and convictions. 

I am painfully aware of excess in my life and heart and schedule. I am afraid of who I might become if I continue down the typical American path.

I’m realizing that it’s not okay to be unaware and therefore “irresponsible.” I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t want to live the status quo American way anymore. I don’t think I’ve EVER read a book that pierced me right where I needed it the way this one did. 

We did get our dishwasher fixed. We had bought the warranty from Lowes so it was free. Geez louise. Thank you, Lord, for having mercy on a sinner like me. 

Missing my Ford Focus :)

So the day before our precious baby was born, we gave into something many many American families do before they welcome home a new family member. We bought an SUV.

Okay, so it wasn’t THAT impulsive of a decision. 🙂 If you knew my husband, you would know he would never allow something so spontaneous to happen. Thank God I married someone level-headed! We had been looking and thinking about buying an SUV for a few months, and we decided to make the leap just in time for baby Coleton.

If you know me well, you probably know that the Ford Edge has been my dream car since they came out about five years ago. When I told Kevin’s cousin about my dream car he laughed and said, “I think you can make that dream come true.” 🙂 This made me happy, because I realized that he was probably right!

Kevin and I used to go test drive cars and take pictures of ourselves in them (me in the Ford Edge and Kev in a Mercedes)…a little something Jack Canfield recommends when he talks about vision-casting and dreaming. We would just enjoy the smell and touch and feel of these fun and “fancy” cars. Very fancy for our college budgets.

It was definitely a bucket list moment when I was handed the keys to this beautiful navy blue sparkling beast of a vehicle (compared to my little Ford Focus.) And I loved it. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it! I have a thing with my cars. I seriously think we build relationships with our cars! I mean, you spend lots of time in it, right? Anyone else feel me?

Although I’m working on my relationship with the Edge, I just want to give a shout out to my little Ford Focus.

Dear baby red,

Oh how I miss you, little zippy car, and your 30 mpg. You are so darn efficient. You are so cheap to fill up with gas. You’re the definition of unpretentious. 


  1. Not attempting to impress others with an appearance of greater importance, talent, or culture than is actually possessed.
  2. (of a place) Pleasantly simple and functional; modest.

I like that about you. I feel so compact and practical driving you. But, you had to go. You weren’t big enough for me to feel safe driving our baby in. You also don’t fit the pack and play and other baby paraphanalia as well as your big brother Edge. SO, thanks for all the good times. But please know how much I still miss you!!  


Olivia (Your most faithful and favorite owner.)

To fill you in, Kevin has been driving the Ford Focus because we sold his Mitsubishi. He does not love it as much as I did. Does someone want to love and care for this sweet little car? It got some minor damage two weeks ago when he was rear ended, so we’re selling it cheap. Here is the Craigslist link. 😦 Bye bye, baby red.

Now that I’m a mommy

Well, folks. Most of my preconcieved positive notions of being a mommy have been spot on. I have never been more in love with a child. I have never felt more fulfilled in my life. However, I had NO IDEA, I repeat NO IDEA how much work it was! (if you are already a mommy, insert laugh.) I have nannied and babysat since I was 11, and I still had no idea what sleep deprivation can add to the mix, and just what it’s like to do the same feeding/changing diapers and clothes/spit-up routine day in and out. I love it, but as I have told many of you already, I still feel a little shell shocked.

Now that I’m a mommy,

-I’m lucky if I shower daily. Yep, gross I know. This leads to the next one.

-I wear my hair in a not-bouncy  ponytail or a wet, un-cute messy bun 6 out of 7 days a week.

-I am in terrible need of hilights or lowlights…but instead I’m probably going to dye it from a box because it’s the fastest option. (Who knows when that will actually happen though 🙂

-I see naps as the best afternoon gift I could ever receive. Over getting a pedicure, over walking around Target, over Whitey’s or any other afternoon treat you can imagine.

-I can fall asleep in 3 seconds flat. Naptime or night time. For that matter, it could be anywhere. In the car, sitting in a chair, etc.

-When baby Coleton isn’t with me, I feel like I’m missing an arm and a leg!

-I am obligated to do laundry every day…my minimum is one rotation. This means one load goes in and I fold and put away one load. This is in effort to work my way up to TRYING cloth diapers.

-I throw a little party in the middle of every night with girlscout cookies of all varieties and milk when Coleton makes it five hours, which is pretty much every night 🙂

-My sentences often do not make sense and I lose my train of thought often. This applies to facebook, thank you notes, and talking. I’ve tried focusing harder. It doesn’t help.

-I enjoy Steve Green as much as I used to when I was a kid. It’s just as cool…and we rock out to it in the car.

-I worry daily that my iphone picture storage will tell me that it’s full. I have to be getting close!

-I text every member of my family about 4x a week, and demand responses about how cute Coleton is. haha. My mom had to up her text message limit.

-I’m more caffeine dependent than ever.

-I drive oh-so-much safer.

-My life has taken on a whole new meaning, a new feeling of being needed. I feel like our family is even more a “unit” now. It is the best.

Last night for date night we sat outside on the back porch and fed each other pizza, depending on who was feeding Coleton. You would think that we could just eat after he ate, but we were starving. Hence the choice of dinner. We watched a netflix movie (the Double..loved it) and just chilled at home. It was one of my favorite date nights ever.


Coleton, baby, you were so worth the wait. I can’t wait until Jesus returns and all of our kids can play together. Oh Glorious Day.

I think it’s time for my second cup of coffee. and then go take a nap. 🙂 And I said I wanted 5 kids…haha. We shall see.

The BRAND NEW man in my life

ImageSO this is the day. Coleton Samuel Ryan is (somewhat) officially a member of our clan. Our tribe. Our little family. We are overjoyed to welcome him into this world!

It all started last tuesday morning, Valentine’s Day bright and early. We met up with Mandee and her sister at the hospital at 6am and got things rolling with her induction. 

Things moved slowly throughout the day, with an epidural coming to spare our hero a little pain, and by 6pm we were thinking that it might be a few more hours. *sigh* So her family along with Kevin and I were in the waiting room eating some Pizza Hut that we had delivered…when I got a text from Mandee: “Come on back, we’re ready!” 

Hearts racing…her little sister and I went back to the delivery room where she had progressed to a 10 over a short hour. It was roughly 7:15 or 7:30pm when Mandee started pushing. It was a beautiful and VERY fast final part of labor with Brandee (the sis) and me holding Mandee’s hands and probably shaking more than the birth mom herself! Mandee was such a champ. Seriously, I don’t feel like there is a better use for that word. She literally didn’t even break a sweat OR scream or even grunt!! . She made labor look like a walk in the park. It was crazy. Brandee and I left that experience feeling like “holy crap, I could do that!!”…and the nurses were like “umm…that is not. normal.” haha. 

I was bawling from the moment he came out…well, I tried to keep it under control because I knew there would be lots of pictures happening and I didn’t want Coleton thinking his mommy was a spaz later in life when he looks at the pics!! haha. But it was probably the most emotional experience of my life. I was overwhelmed with thanks toward Mandee and her ridiculous strength and selflessness. I was flooded with love toward this little child…the most beautiful child I have ever seen or held! I felt like God had given us such a gift to experience the love of a parent for this baby child that we had never met…or carried…or created.

We felt the nearness of God as we experienced a glimpse of his agape love, feeling like we would already give our lives for this little six-pound baby boy.

Today is a really special day for us because Coleton Samuel Ryan is (except for some legal proceedings that will last all they way until 6 months) an official part of our family. We feel so much peace about the whole situation, and we feel like the “waiting on the Lord” has been worth it. All the heartbreak over the last 25 months….loss after loss…tears and pain….Sorrow has finally been turned to joy. Weeping and wailing…into dancing and song. There is nothing like it.

Psalm 130:11-12

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;

you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.

 We give all the praise and glory to God the Father of the universe for creating his precious child in his beautiful mommy’s womb. For softening her heart and giving her a strength that only He could give for her to make such a selfless decision. We love her and will hold a special place in our hearts for her forever. Unbridled gratitude is what our hearts feel toward God our perfect Father and toward Mandee…our sweet friend.

And no number of poopy diapers could take away this joy…even when they come 5 minutes after his bath. Even when they come 10 times each day…hehe. 

No number of night feedings could take that joy away. God is our strength and our song, and our portion forever. 

Thank you guys for praying, for supporting, and for covering us with love. Coleton Samuel has been so ridiculously worth the wait. 

(typos? Don’t judge me unless you yourself are only sleeping in 3 hour (max) spurts at a time. 🙂 heheImage

Baby Coleton is almost here!

Baby Coleton is almost here!

This adorable baby in the picture is NOT our baby, but we are getting some portraits taken of him very soon by a couple of photographers that we know and love!! This photo is from a photographer that will do Coleton’s infant photo shoot…(Amanda Williams from In your World Portraits) and a friend from church is coming to the hospital to take some family and group shots of the whole adoption process. (

We want to document the whole celebration of adoption that next week will be!

Okay, so I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about the newest addition to the Ryan family. I’m sure it has to do with lots of things…my crazy schedule, my usual distraction when it comes to the internet, or most likely it’s my fear of the unknown when it comes to adoption.

All I have to say in that regard is we are choosing not to walk in fear. God seems to have covered the whole situation and everyone involved with a BLANKET OF PEACE and Kevin and I are choosing to have faith that it will all go through 😉 Everything is progressing beautifully.

I’ve been attending doctor’s appointments with our wonderful birth momma and we are excited to announce that baby Coleton Samuel will (hopefully) be arriving on Valentine’s Day 2012!

Mandee is getting induced next Tuesday morning, (wow…4 days!) and I’m planning on staying with Mandee during the labor, to witness Coleton’s arrival into the world. Her whole entire family is incredibly supportive and will be at the hospital to celebrate this huge life event. We are going to be bringing a video camera to record Mandee’s family saying things to Coleton, whatever they want to say to him! We will show him the video when he is old enough to “get it.” He is going to be SO loved by SO many!! Open adoption is no longer scary to us. It’s exciting.

We have been praying and waiting on the Lord (Psalm 33:21-22), depending on Him as our source of strength and hope in this whole process. He is the only source that will NEVER FAIL US. We know his plans for us are good…and right now we are just praying for a safe and healthy labor and delivery for Mandee and Coleton. We are covering it all in prayer. We would love it if you would join us in prayer.

We are putting the finishing touches on the nursery. We are getting the carseats all ready to go.
We are assembling swings and strollers and jumpees 🙂
We are enjoying our last few days as just “married folk” but are eagerly looking forward to Tuesday when we will officially become “mommy” & “daddy.” Love it all.

We are SO INCREDIBLY BLESSED by the way you have all supported in prayer and friendship and baby clothes and gifts!! I feel like Coleton is one of the luckiest babies in the world because he has so many people loving on and praying for him even before he takes his first breath.

The next post will probably be pictures, and I promise I will be better at documenting!! Today is my last day officially “working” and starting next week I’ll be a full time momma (and part time Holy Yoga instructor 😉

(Apparently I won’t have all kinds of free time on my hands, as you all say, and I will want to sleep when he sleeps. But I am planning on letting the world meet our sweet baby via my blog…so…stay tuned!)

Until next time 😉

The worst storm of my life…

The worst storm of my life...

So the title of this blog is a lot deeper and more dramatic than the contents of this blog. However, In an effort to validate my extreme horror and despair yesterday on my commute from Wheaton to downtown Chicago, I write.

I drove from the city out to Elmhurst yesterday to have a lovely lunch with my sister on her break from teaching. The High School she teaches at is beautiful, and I had a great time. She gave me a beautiful purse and a hand-sewn eyemask filled with buckwheat to help me relax at the end of my yoga practices 🙂

I then ventured through the lightly falling snow a couple suburbs west to Wheaton, beloved Wheaton. Wheaton is beautiful and is filled with nostalgia from my college days. I got to see my dear friend, Aubrey, and visit with her for a couple hours before I decided it would be a good idea to beat the inbound Friday night traffic and head back to our downtown hotel. It was snowing all day, but I didn’t realize how much the snow had picked up.

I proceeded to move at an average pace of 6 miles per hour, making a 24 mile commute 4 HOURS. It was literally the most hellish experience I have ever had. I was alone, angry, and claustrophobic…stuck on an expressway with no way out. Bumper to bumper, the whole entire way back to my hotel.

My adrenaline and stress mechanisms were in full force, and I arrived at the hotel frazzled and frustrated. To add to the horror of this trip, I lost a new earring and a glove.

I think God gave me this experience to teach me that I would never survive in Chicago, or any city for that matter. I simply don’t have the patience on the road. So I will gladly go back to my “small town” tomorrow, and smile when my snowy commute only takes a couple extra minutes.

I called my mom, whining and freaking out about how I shouldn’t have tried to drive or visit friends on such a snowy day …and she said something that really made sense. “Hindsight vision is always 20/20.” That helped me breathe and just let go. This is so true, isn’t it?

God, I know I asked for you to teach me patience…but really?!?

Here’s to praying for a better drive on our way home tomorrow…praying and begging. Don’t use driving to teach me patience tomorrow!

Imax: over the flipping top.

Imax: over the flipping top.


Well, I would like to calmly tell you what is overwhelming-over-the-top-made-me-want-to-scream-thought-my-head-was-going-to-explode!

The imax.

Holy moley. We tried to go see Mission Impossible on our date night last night. 🙂 I am not an experienced movie-time-checker and failed to notice that the movie time I had picked was only available in the Imax theatre.

Since we were already at the movies (on time, which is rare for us) we decided that the $1.50 extra for the Imax might be a fun new experience!

How. Wrong. We. Were.

It was cool that it was big and still clear. I don’t know how they do that. However, our eardrums are probably ruined forever. We sat in the theatre through 25 minutes of previews and 5 minutes of the movie trying to decide if we could stand it.

We couldn’t. It was unnaturally loud. I think it must have been a mistake by RAVE theatres. SO, we ended up leaving the theatre and grabbing a shake (not a bad trade off) and coming back half an hour later for the regular theatre showing.

Wow. So much better!! Loved the movie. Loved that the starring actress was curvy-sexy instead of stick-thin 🙂 I will be back for MI-5 for sure. In the regular theatre, because I’m not going deaf yet, and I don’t want to be soon.