Monthly Archives: October 2011

Kids Reno 5000 Halloween race 2011

Packet pick up is one of my favorite parts of a race.  I like seeing the coupons, little goodies, get my chip and race bib.  It lets me know it’s ON!!!  And it’s the countdown to donning the race outfit, getting a little anxious and feeling the energy of a race.  With the exception of Taylor finding a spider on him in the parking lot on the way out and freaking out so much I almost peed myself, it went off without a hitch but had all the fun elements of every packet pickup.  Kids are jonsing for a run!!  This is the race where I sit and watch them finish, hugging their sweaty bodies instead of them being there for me.

It was an exciting ride to the race and all the kids had a blast.  It’s always difficult for me to sit on the sidelines but I also feel so much pride in being a spectator for my kids.

Gabrielle won first place in her age division, Alana won funniest costume as “Swine Flew” and Olivia won most unique costume as “Hoodie Ninja”…

Here are their times: 1/2 mile

Kezia (placed 5th overall!: 4 min. 23 sec

Samuel:  4 min 43 sec

Nicolas:  5 min 45 sec

5K Times:

Taylor: 27 min 24 sec

Alana:  35 min 41 sec

Ashlea:  35 min 42 sec

Olivia:  36 min 13 sec

Gabrielle:  36 min 14 sec

Everyone did fantastic, but most important is how much fun it was, that they all participated and mostly that they know how much I love and support them.  Here are some shots from the event:


Gabrielle doubled over with side stitches during a race

Most of us runners have a myriad of aches and pains along our running paths. Many of us have looked or felt like this picture of Gabi.   When Gabrielle saw this picture, she said, “Oh my gosh, Mom.  Delete that one.”  None of us wants to picture ourselves looking like this, even though I know I’ve had this expression on my face on more than one occasion.  I like to envision myself more gazelle-esque.   For the most part, I’d tell friends (as I’d expect them to tell me) to push through the pain.  It’s important for us to listen to our bodies, know when to back off, stretch or take a break but, for the most part, us runners are a hearty group who pretty much push right on through.

Push through.  Right up until I entered 8 of my kids in a Halloween race.  3 did the 1/2 mile and 5 of them entered the 5K.  Not their first rodeo, my kids are seasoned hikers, bikers, wake-boarders, skiers as well as runners.  We could increase the running, sure, but they’re in great shape and entering a 5K doesn’t make me bat an eye.  They’ve all done a few.

The race began at 6:20PM and as they rounded a corner part way through we caught a glimpse.  When I took this shot, I had no idea Gabrielle was having trouble.  As she got closer, we stopped Gabi and her big sister Olivia to find out what was up.  Side stitches.  The damn things can be nearly debilitating.  I felt guilty.  I entered her, I felt as if I’d done it to her.  I felt helpless.  I would have done anything to take it away.  I asked her, “Do you want to stop?” but she shook her head and kept going.  Had she stopped she would have cried, felt disappointed, wished she had finished with her siblings.  I knew this.  But I also knew I didn’t want her to cry through half a race.  I didn’t want her to hurt.

Gabi crossed the finish line with Olivia just a couple minutes behind two of her other sisters.  I was amazed!!  She had been crying and in pain and now had almost caught up to siblings that had been quite a ways ahead of her!!  She was elated!  Minutes later, her name was called over the intercom.  We were all confused but she walked up to the announcer.   Gabi had won first place for her age division!!!  No child could possibly been more surprised or ecstatic.   Had I pulled her from the race, she would have never experienced the end result.  I would have robbed her of the experience of pushing through.  Of finishing strong.  Of succeeding.  Not being disappointed in herself but proud.   She later hugged me and told me, “Thank you for entering me in the race.  It was awesome.  We need to run more.”

We should listen to our bodies.  But sometimes, pushing through pays off.

Olivia and Gabrielle finishing the race strong!!

Gabrielle on the podium for first place in her age division

Andrea (Drea) DOB 9-27-1987 24 years old

“Well, you being yummy would be one thing I remember :-)! (My Mom tried speaking German once.  She accidentally said “I am yummy.” in German.  We laughed so hard and from that moment on, every time we saw a cute boy, we would say the German phrase for “I am yummy”!!)
I loved and still love you being active. You made me feel like being home. You were the one comforting me from the moment I spoke to you on the phone the first time even though I hadn’t met you. Getting to be your daughter was a blessing. You were one of the most important people during a time when I decided to leave my German family behind for a long time. I found something so special in you which is for sure the reason I still call you MOM and think about you a lot. You are my Mom, one of my closest friends, my inspiration for running, the master of organization and amazingly beautiful. I look up to your spirit and how you always find new goals to work for never giving up on the way. I can just simply say I am so thankful for everything you taught me and for the long calls we used to share talking about boys and love and family. I MISS YOU MOM AND I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

My first 5k december 2009my first 10 k december 2010changed my major from architecture to health care management in summer 2009.  Reason: wanted to have a more active and sports related major in combination with a need of organizational talent, which I think I do have.;-)


running between 5 and 10 k twice a week

working out twice a week as well at the gym

got 63 kilos with a high of 1,68 meters”

Andrea might not have been my first born, but she is the oldest of the clan.  Deciding to have a foreign exchange student in the midst of adopting and pregnancies might have seemed absurd at the time, but when we were told to look at a profile of a girl instantly we knew she belonged with us.  We had pre-move phone calls in which Drea got over the shock of having so many siblings.  Then the pick up at the airport and the instant integration.  In minutes Drea was my daughter.  She was shy and I pushed her to do things a little outside her comfort zone because she had only a year with us.  Although I”m her “American Mom” I feel no less love for my daughter.  She took Spanish because she was bored in school.  It was her 6th language.  She was an architect major but changed it.  I remember that phone call full of tears.  She told me I had influenced her so much that she wanted to work more in health care to benefit others.   She laughs at (with) me.  She learned how crazy it is to have a healthy mom that exercises.  Drea makes me feel the desire to  be a better person, better Mom, better example.  I love and miss her too!!!

Olivia (Liv) DOB 4-11-1996 15 1/2 years old


“When I run, I always start with my hair up in a ponytail. As I run, the pony starts to feel like a weight in the back of my head and where it rests it starts to pulse. So, I take my hair out and realize how much I love the sound my hair makes when the wind blows through it and how free I feel when I run with my hair billowing out behind me. I shared that with my mom for the first time today (10-28-11). She laughed and said that the hair gets stuck to your neck and gets itchy, but for me, it’s freedom. I love my mom. I honestly do. She might disagree sometimes, or a lot of times, but sometimes a girl just needs her mom. My mom runs a lot and tries to get me to go with her but almost every time I say that I have other stuff to do (homework, cleaning my room…) but after she leaves, I wish I had just for that mom/daughter time that’s oh so rare in our house.

I love having a big family. When I was younger (which was yesterday haha) I wanted to be the only child or born first, because ‘I’m the better boss’. Now I’m the oldest at home and still wish that there wasn’t as many kids. But the funny thing is, I can’t imagine my life without any of the others. All of us run because of mom and almost all of us enjoy it. Mom’s pretty good about pushing us to do our best when we run and do other things. She’s really big about us getting along, eating healthy, pushing ourselves, and doing what we like to do.

Now, to the important stuff. I am going to say that I didn’t have am Oreo cookie until I was like 14. We always eat veggietables (that’s how I say vegetables) and fruits, which can get annoying but has never really bothered me. I just take it all in stride. My mom always bakes and cooks stuff that tastes yummy and is healthy. When I was younger, she would always be in the kitchen it seemed. She would be making homemade cinnamon rolls and bread and wheat bread. Mom’s really big on eating healthy. Really big. Sometimes it is annoying, but it’s always nice. When we lived in Alaska, there was a store that had these tubes that had almonds, cashews, and peanuts in them. When you pressed a button next to a tube the nuts would go through a blender like thing and turn into almond butter, cashew butter, or peanut butter. I don’t know how I remember that, but it’s a nice memory to have because even at 6 years old, I still have memories of eating healthy foods.

My mom being a runner is totally awesome and I love it. It almost makes me want to be like her. But there’s other things that I like to do. Running is fun, don’t get me wrong, it’s breathing that really gets me down. But as always, mom comes through with some killer advice that I can understand because she compares it to something that I would definitely understand. Breathing for instance she compared to the way you breath when you sing. Listening to a song to take your mind off breathing. Playing mind games like I do when I take a test. Pacing myself like with a school assignment that sucks. She’s pretty cool for someone that’s kinda old. But don’t tell her I said that.

Mom asked me to add songs onto her running Ipod shuffle. I added all sorts of songs that are fun, upbeat songs that she would want to run to. Some of the songs that I added are stupid like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and of course, Veggitales. When Veggitales comes on when she’s running she laughs and thinks about me programing her playlist and giggling about what I was doing. When she comes home from a run she tells me that Veggitales came on and that made her run that much better. I thought it would be a funny joke because Veggitales isn’t exactly running material, but it makes a run that much better.

I wrestled in 7th and 8th grade and went to do it when I was a freshman but sprained my MCL and had to stop. This year I want to join the dance team and maybe track in the summer. That’s what I do to stay in shape and keep myself in line. In my free time I love to read. I read, sing, play guitar and piano and write. Reading and singing are parts of me that I don’t think are ever gonna leave. The rest, is just there and man, am I glad it is. In school I made it into Cadenza or Advanced Choir. My mom helps me with my voice, and my fitness. She loves that I love to run and eat healthy but isn’t a big fan of my sweet tooth…
No matter what, my mom is pretty cool and honestly isn’t that bad. But don’t tell her I said that either. It’s nice to be able to talk to someone that understands what I like to do and how I like it done.”

Olivia was such a surprise.  After deciding not to partake in further infertility and having signed up for foster care and adoption, I really didn’t expect any more babies.  But then there I was, propped on the floor beside the toilet puking my guts out, thankful for this “blessing”….  One time in the bath, exhausted with my extremely difficult first 20 weeks of pregnancy, I stood up and nailed my butt on the soap dish.  “My butt is killing me.”  I said.  Her dad looked at me laughing and said, “Your butt’s killing me too!”   At which time I burst into tears….  Olivia was my first home birth with midwives and the only one born on a birthing chair.  Her dad had food poisoning throughout my labor and delivery but did his best to be supportive between falling asleep and throwing up.  The day after Olivia was born the midwives came for a standard check and let us know that she had 2 of 3 signs of Down Syndrome.  Tongue thrust and bilateral simian creases in both hands.  They had scheduled a blood test for her that day and we drove to it solemnly.  I believe God never gives you  more than you can handle and I couldn’t possibly have loved her less no matter what, but when she ended up being in the very low percentage of babies with those benchmarks that are not Down’s I was relieved.

By the time Olivia was 2 years old there was no question that she was a strong, independent personality.  She was tough.  I had just given birth (again) and I went from feeling like the ultimate awesome, together mom to wondering what I was doing.  Olivia once asked why she was hard.  I told her she has one of the best personalities as an adult – she’ll never do anything she doesn’t want to do.  Stubborn.  Independent.  But she’s a hard personality to parent.  As she’s gotten older we’ve both realized that she’s also difficult because she and I are so much alike.  Hmmm….  That’s a love/hate thing!!  As time has gone on I think I’m closer to her than some of my other adult children and I think she’s getting okay with everyone telling her she’s a mini-me.

Taylor (Tay-Tay) DOB 5-10-1999 12 years old


“Dude, Mom I’m not into the whole blogging thing and having what I say be there for, like, forever.”

Right….  That’s SO Taylor.  He calls me “Dude, Mom.” because “that’s who you are”

“OK, so I remember riding my bike with you when I was younger and I was behind you.   I said “Dude, Mom your butt jiggles when you run and it makes me want to throw up.” So you told me to ride my bike in front of you and that it was my fault and all my brothers and sisters fault that your butt jiggles.  And that everyone jiggles even if they’re in good shape, but Dude, my butt doesn’t jiggle.  And my calves are awesome.  I signed up for cross country this year because I wasn’t running enough.  I think I sucked even if my Mom says I was awesome.  My first 5K I didn’t think about running.  I just did it.  Now I try harder and my lungs burn but I never feel anything in my legs.  I want to be faster.  I’m taking track this Spring.  I get nervous before a run.”

Taylor.  I am “Dude Mom”.  From him it just feels right.  Taylor is an incredibly funny, sarcastic, prankster who was the first to introduce me into the world of boys.  I was constantly in awe of him from the second I held him in my arms.  He pushes himself, dislikes not doing well (or what he thinks is doing well), he’s sometimes pensive and often outgoing.  He throws himself into everything and unless you know him really well, you’d never guess that he gets nervous.  He wants me to run more so he can run more.  He wants to get to the point where he beats me and that moment will come soon.  He pushes me to be better in every area.  He sometimes exhausts me but man the kid works hard.  He helps me around the house but barters for money.  He always wants to run errands with me and one on one he talks incessantly.  And he makes me laugh.  Hard and often.

Samuel (Little Guy) DOB 12-28-2000 (almost) 9 years old


“I don’t like running a lot. I do the half mile. I like that. I get a race number put on. I like hamburgers and eating hotdogs. I really like to help my Mom cook. I like to help her make hamburgers. I like to ride my bike when my Mom runs.”

Samuel.  He’s a boy of few words.  He’s sometimes too much of a prankster and laughs when I discipline him.  You can imagine how happy that makes me.  He’s the most shy of all the kids, the baby despite my efforts to NOT have the last child be the “baby”.  He was 6 weeks premature 3 days after Christmas.  When Brianna came into the NICU to see him I put him in her arms and she said “Mom, he’s such a little guy” and so it’s been ever since.  Sam would run if it included playing in the sandbox with cars and trucks.  He’s often caught riding a bike, scooter or skateboard with no shoes or shirt but  a helmet.  He’s quiet and likes to be the helper in the kitchen probably more than any of the kids and that says a lot in my house.  He wants to be involved in everything but in his own quiet way.  When he laughs that big belly laugh his eyes tear up but so do everyone elses because hearing it is contagious and hilarious.

Kezia (Kezi-bug) DOB 4-4-2002 9 years old

Kezia with attitude!!

“I like spending time with my Mom because she’s active and she helps us learn stuff that’s active and she runs a lot with me. And I like to run with my Mom because she does a lot of fun things when she runs and she lets us ride our bikes when she’s running. She makes jokes, waits for us, laughs at silly things we do. I also like spending time with my Mom because she is really nice and we do a lot of activities together like sewing, wakeboarding, running and ride bikes. And cooking. We eat a lot of vegetables and we eat really healthy stuff like salmon and spaghetti with red sauce and I like her because she buys tomatoes, cuts them and puts salt on them for me to eat. I also like my Mom ’cause she brings us to the store and buys us a lot of school supplies and for clothes shopping for running clothes and we bring the stuff we don’t want to Savers for the poor.”

Kezia.  Her name came from the book of Job.  Last paragraph.  After Job lost everything including his family he had a new wife and children.  One of his daughters names was Kezia “joy after hardship”.  Kezia was adopted at birth and drug positive.  I was at the hospital during her delivery.  She went through 8 weeks of withdrawals which was an awful thing to hold a baby through, but the second she could smile she did and has been ever since.  She’s way ahead in school, a fiery little pixie who speaks her mind (which sometimes isn’t a good thing).  Recently on a run she was riding her bike and said “Mom are you running to get your abs back?”  I told her I have abs.  She replied, “Not like you used to”.  Here’s to honesty.  She still does the half mile and is irritated that races don’t have a mile  because she’d rather do that.

Ashlea (Ash) DOB 4-30-2000 11 1/2 years old


“I like that we don’t have fast food all the time. Mommy cooks homemade a lot. My favorite thing to cook with her are her sugar cookies. I like when Mommy does long runs and we meet her about 3 miles before the end and ride our bikes. And when we help crew her when she does really long runs. I like when we meet at the end of a race. My favorite run was the 5K Run For Education that we did every year. Me and Gabi ran together and met Mom and the older kids at the end.”

Ashlea is the one that won’t speak around other people.  In school she’s off the charts smart but her teachers write me  notes that say things like, “Ashleas grades would be better if she would participate in class”.  This year her speaking, listening and participating grade is 100% and I like to think it’s because her Mom (that’s me) is obnoxious and just a little is wearing off.  She’s NOT the most quiet at home.  She’s the running commentary at the dinner table and pretty much any time there’s a conversation making (really hilarious) totally smart alack remarks.  She’s great at running and wants to play volleyball.  She’s always making cookies with Gabi and trying to help in the kitchen.  She’s got blue eyes like me (one of them had to….  geez!) will probably be one of the tallest girls and is my Special Girl.

Gabrielle (Gabi Gabbers) DOB 11-7-2000 (almost) 11 years old


“My mom runs with me and my family. Once when we were running I got a side cramp. She told me to raise my arm and press my stomach and breathe really deeply. She told me it was carbon dioxide trapped in my diaphragm. We walked together while I had the cramp and when it didn’t get better she told me to turn around to start back home. She turned back around and walked with me. We walked to my brothers to help them with the bike. She told me that we would at least run 2.3 miles instead of the 3 that we planned and I was happy with that. No need to be stressed she told me. I liked riding my bike when I was little, but after I had a bike accident, I don’t ride much anymore. I like running with her. I think it’s fun. Or riding my bike while she runs. I wish I could run more because someday I want to be like her and run a marathon. If I want to run I have to keep eating healthy and not eat a bunch of junk. If I practice more on my running I’ll get better and better and maybe I’ll be as good as her and I’m even younger. When she’s waiting for us at our 5k – even our first one – she waits at the end with her camera. Even though there are a lot of people there, she’s focused on me. At her races when we’re waiting for her we cheer her on and after races we still hug her and congratulate her even though she’s all sweaty.”

Gabrielle.  She was my longest, most difficult labor but as is always the case, she was worth it by far.  She’s quiet and shy.  It seems weird to talk about Ashlea and Gabi separately since they (and everyone else) refer to them as “the twins”.  They do everything together including their commentary of sassyness.  Gabi is the one that will ask me to lay down in my room and cuddle, she promises to watch the clock for only 5 minutes and that she won’t fall asleep because she knows it’s hard for me to carry her to her bed.  She’s always snagging my clothes to wear to bed and she and Ashlea try to steal my throw blankets to wrap up in and drag around the house.  She reminds me of my sister in so many ways it’s scary and if it were possible to love her more, that would certainly do it.  She asks a lot of questions and wants to understand how things work.

Making Fun Running Outfits

This blog began when I signed 8 of my kids up for a Halloween 5K this year. Taking running clothes, adding costumes so it’s fun and comfortable can be challenging. I came up with some pretty good ideas, however upon doing more research I realized I’m not even close to being the most creative. released one of their free podcasts for AMR radio specifically for fun, creative, easy to make Halloween costumes.  Featured on the show was one of the women from an incredibly fun group of gals with lots of experience as well as a store to make your shopping easier.  None the less, I’m posting how I created the magic at our house since I started out before I had all their great ideas.

I have a pair of beloved Moeben arm warmers that have seen better days. I’ll wear them until they’re in shreds, after all they’re camo and match a running bra, but having them allowed my creative juices to flow. I used them to make a paper bag pattern for future arm sleeves. Sometimes a shirt will tear, have worn spots, etc… but there’s still so much material left to use for these.

Another option for those worn shirts is using the actual shirtsleeves to make arm sleeves. I head to second had stores and pick up shirts that can be used just for this purpose. Cut them off, hem the top edge and insert elastic to desired tightness. Remember, it’s the decorating that can really make this fun!

Target has knee socks 2 pack for $8 or singles for $5.  There are a variety of colors and patterns and they’re made of wicking material.   I cut off the “foot” of the sock and finished the edge to make leg warmers.  I’ve also ended up going on Ebay and purchasing arm and leg warmers under the “cycling” category and “women” category.  They had SO much to choose from. I got my skirt taken care of first, then did plain arm warmers and leg warmers with a little more personality.

I love, love sparkles, glitter, etc… and the idea of a princess or fairy can get an easy start with a sparkle skirt. YAY glam!! We may snot rocket, sweat and spit but we can have bling! At Walmart I found a few options:  Children’s departments  have a plethora of skirts and go up to a child size 18 so don’t be afraid to try them on!
Monster High skirts: $12.97 each. Child size fit me no problem

Sparkle skirt: $4.97 each. I bought two from the children department, cut them both and sewed together to make one long piece and then sized it to me. Added 2″ black elastic to the top. It was easy, but in the end cost as much as the Monster High but I had to do the work….. It’s a good option if you need a little more material to make the skirt.  Plain colors make it great for bling options you put together yourself as well.

Target has awesome inexpensive options for the base layers.
Compression shorts $14.99

T-shirts $12.99

Capri’s 19.99

I like the black bottoms because they match everything. Tops I purchase after I have the skirt – also in a solid color.  Adding the bling is the fun part. Walmart and JoAnn Fabrics all have iron-ons for $3-4.  Adding to my shirts gives attitude, matches all my bottoms and doesn’t affect how well they perform.  FUN!!

Target, Walmart and JoAnn’s have stretchy gloves for $1-1.50 each for easy matching of your outfits.  JoAnn’s had finger lights at the checkout for $1 each and I got a couple to try for night races.  Walmart has packets of 12 glow bracelets for $.97 for night races as well.  Check baby aisles, childrens sections, button aisle, scrapbooking, jewelry making, craft and hair aisles for bows and bling.  Not always for hair – think out of the box as other places you can hot glue items to your outfits.  Get into the seasonal aisles to see what’s there – Halloween is one of my favorites!!