Wednesday, June 17, 2009

White Oak Canyon Trail Run in the SNP

I talked my husband into trail running with me on June 15th. He only runs 2 to 3 times a week 3 to 5 miles, so a 10 mile trail run was more challenging for him.

We ran the White Oak Canyon Trail starting at Skyland and turning around at 600. Running down the trail was fun and easy, but heading back up the trail was the challenge. The rocks were wet and muddy, but I only fell once and it was because my legs starting getting heavy the last few miles. The beauty of the Falls was amazing and the time with my husband was wonderful. I usually like to run by myself but sharing this day with my husband is memorable. This is a more strenuous trail than the Dickey Ridge, so it was a true challenge. I'll have to add the White Oak Canyon into my training plans.

I have to decide which trails to run this weekend to celebrate my 38th birthday. I might stick with the Dickey Ridge and run 16 to 20 miles. This last run on the White Oak makes me want to explore more trails. The White Oak was an awesome trail.

Busy Month

Most of May and the first half of June was crazy. My oldest daughter had her First Communion, and my youngest graduated Kindergarten, I'm home schooling both girls this year. We then had 2 weeks of dance recital rehearsals. My oldest daughter is a ballet dancer and my younger daughter an Irish step dancer. They both danced very well.

I drive almost 45 miles twice a week to Inwood, WV for them to take classes and all the gas and money is a good investment. They both have wonderful knowledgeable instructors.

I'm still running the Dickey Ridge Trail. I've currently ran most of the trail and will start running new trails soon.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Visit to North Carolina.

The girls and I went to North Carolina to see my husband this past weekend. The girls loved going on a trip to visit daddy and we all needed to get away from Virginia for the weekend. It was nice just hanging out with Jeff and relaxing a little. We showed the girls around Fayetteville and took them to the 82nd Airborne Museum. They seemed really interested in the Airplanes and they both learned a little more about Mom and Dad and how we met over the weekend. They swam with daddy and Emelie is getting really good at treading water. I just work on my tan, I'm not a big water person.

Going to Fayetteville made me appreciate all I have here in Virginia. It was very loud and crowded in Fayetteville and on the military post. It was nice to see Jeff and get away, but it was also nice co
ming back to our peaceful home. Molly was glad to see us too. This was the first time she was kenneled and she didn't do well. She ate very little, and refused to leave her kennel. She also growled and snapped at the staff, so she gave everyone a tough time. She has spent a good part of the day sleeping so she may of been to upset to sleep. I feel like a bad dog mom. Hopefully we'll visit Jeff on more trips in the future. We all had a really nice time and we are lucky to have such a good man in our lives. Jeff is an awesome husband and dad.

Jeff and I with a C130, We met when I was at Airborne School in Georgia.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Black Bears, Tacos and Guitar Lessons

These are all first time things for my 8 year old Emelie.

We started our morning off on the April 28th with a trail run in the National Park. We took off down a trail and we talked about bears. I let my daughter in on a secret that I really want to see a black bear. Not right in front of me on a trail, but off in a distance. About a mile into our journey we hear a scream. It really threw me off because my car was the only one in the parking area so I didn't expect to encounter anyone. We look toward the scream and a baby black bear came running down the trail toward us. It looked scared and was running very fast, so my reaction was to step off the side of the trail and let it run past us. When it got to us it took a right turn off the trail and down hill into the woods. It was only a few feet from us when it took that turn. We hurried down the trail to see if the person that screamed needed help. She was okay and only screamed because the bear jumped out behind them to mess / play with her two dogs. She was mainly a little shocked and was protecting her dogs. Her reaction to seeing us was "How did it feel to see a bear running toward you?" I told her that just minutes earlier I told my daughter that I wanted to see a bear from a distance and never expected to see one running toward me. We were shocked, but stayed calm, so we reacted in the best way. Most of Emelie's friends would of screamed and ran which might of made the bear chase them. I explained to her that we reacted well to the situation and that we would take the Black Bear class at the National Park in a few weeks, so we know more about these bears. It was awesome seeing a bear up close and yes it looked like a Black Teddy Bear, because it was a baby. It was a little bigger than Molly.

Emelie had her first taco yesterday. She has been asking for weeks to try a taco. I made the deal with her that if she ran well that I would get her a taco for lunch. After the bear incident no matter how well she ran I was getting her the taco. We went to Taco Bell and she had her first soft taco. She loved it.

Emelie also had her first guitar lesson yesterday. She has an awesome instructor with over 30 years experience in playing the guitar and has played professionally. He was in a Metal Band in the 80's. After only a half hour with her, she understands the parts of the guitar and can play the beginning of Jingle Bells. By the time she takes a year of lessons I'll learn how to play too. I was very impressed on how well he does with kids, he is a very patient man that communicates well.

That is our day with Bears, Tacos and a Guitar.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Molly's Story

We adopted Molly in October 2008, she was 8 weeks old. She has been a perfect fit for our family as a pet and as a running buddy for me. I found her and her siblings while searching on she was available for adoption through Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.

Molly was meant to be our dog, she picked us as soon as we saw her. She had chemical burns on her paws and a small spot on her face. One of her brothers lost his tail because of the chemical burns. They were found in West Virginia with their mother under a shed that must of had some chemicals stored in it. My husband wanted me to pick a dog that didn't have the burns, but Molly wanted to be our dog. The other puppies didn't seem to care for the girls and only Molly and her brother liked us. We took her home and within 48 hours, she knew her new home well.

Molly at 8 weeks old, her first day with us 11 Oct 2008.

She has been an easy dog to train and is a good runner. She is very calm for a puppy, and is good at communicating her needs. She is a GOOD DOG! What type of dog is Molly? We believe that she is Border Collie / Australian Shepherd Mix. Currently at 8 1/2 months old she weighs 40 pounds. She has tried to herd our girls and other neighborhood kids. Chemical burn spots have healed and her fur grew back!

Molly is ready to run or hike!

I would like to encourage anyone who is looking for a pet to consider adopting from a shelter or animal rescue organization. The money that you pay covers medical costs and the care that the animal has received through these non-profit organizations.

Life is Good when you have a dog like Molly!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saturday Morning Trail Run 18 April 09.

I arrived at the Dickey Ridge Trail around 8:35 AM at the Northern Entrance of Skyline Drive. As I stretched I chatted with two bikers as they assembled their bicycles to prepare for a long morning ride. One or the bikers talked about his days of running and how bad knees changed his activity to cycling.

I thought of how careful I have been about my running. In high school and college track and cross country I backed off if I felt odd pain. While in the military if I had an injury I was careful not to over do it. I felt guilt at times thinking back to college, "Only if I pushed myself a little more I could of been a better runner and could of won more races". I ran after having both of my daughters to get back in shape, because while in the military many female soldiers used the excuse of being over weight and not meeting the Army physical standards because of having a child. I could of hurt myself running as early as I did after having my daughters, but having a child doesn't make me disabled. My point is I've had regret about not pushing myself more and realizing that at times I pushed myself when I shouldn't because of the perception of others.

Now that I'm 37 years old, I'm glad that I avoided injury and that I was careful when I was younger. I'm 37 and can now teach my daughters to run. I can do any physical activity with them and feel no pain. I can pick up my 50 pound daughter and carry her up a flight of stairs. I'm determined to run this 50K Trail Run in September, but I'll be smart about it so I can run another day and hopefully another 30 years.

Over the years I've been criticized by other female runners for not having a lot of races under my belt and for not putting in as much training as they do. Many of these runners are now in their late 30s to mid 40s and they are broke. They have had several surgeries and those that are still running have slow times and run in pain. Knowing the condition of these women has made me grateful that I didn't train to an extreme and enter 3 or more races a month. I'm happy with 2 races a year and my healthy pain free body. I'm happy that when I see my past fellow runners current times that I could still beat them in a race even if I walked 1/3 of it. I've only ever competed with myself and my personal goals, not with other runners. Even today if I talk with a fellow female runner they want to compare times and for me to list the races I've ran the past few months. When I tell them my last race was 8 months ago and what my current goal is they seem to react as if I'm not a real runner. They then list their 6 races that they ran in the past 2 months. Are they real runners or are they just collecting T-shirts for bragging? I looked up one marathon runner's times after she bragged about her running but left out her finish times. She ran 2 marathons and 4 half marathons in 2 months, but most healthy people could of walked them in the same time it took her to run them.

Why do I run? I run for me and my daughters. I run because it is relaxing and I enjoy the scenery of nature. I have my personal goals that I'll reach for my personal pride. I'll brag to my husband, parents and a few friends of my personal accomplishments when it comes to running, but not to outsiders. I've never been the weak minded person to give in to peer pressure, so I'm not going to compare times and races with other runners unless you are a personal friend. Those who brag need to stop because self confident runners like myself get a good giggle out of spending 5 minutes on the computer to Google all your over the top running accomplishments to discover that you claim to be a hare, but you are really a turtle. I'm raising my girls not to brag about their accomplishes except to family and close friends. I also want them to encourage others to run and reach personal goals and not ever belittle others because they feel they are a better runner. Belittling and judging others doesn't make you a better runner. Supporting and encouraging others makes you the better runner. After you finish, staying at the finish line to pat others on the back for their personal accomplishments makes you the better runner. Not bragging about your finishes or notches in your running belt.

I do enjoy trail running because most runners are supportive no matter what races or times you have under your belt. They seem to accept you as you are and welcome you kindly. I'm currently teaching my oldest daughter Emelie to trail run, because it will be a better experience for her. We hope to run a trail run (4 miles Muddy Paws Run) in July with our dog Molly. Life doesn't get any better than Running, Jumping, and Leaping through the woods with Molly.

I went on a rant, but my thoughts during my run was how grateful I am that I didn't give in to the peer pressure of running.

I ran from the beginning of Dickey Ridge on Skyline to the flag pole at the Dickey Ridge center and back to Skyline which I measured as 10.2 in 1 hr 34 minutes. I had a difficult time breathing in the beginning but I slowed down a little and paced myself better after the second mile. I get a little excited when running up hill and I forget to pace myself. That is my big weakness pacing myself on the hills. I have a ton of training in my future, but I'll get there with the help of my husband, daughters, family, and friends. My goal is the 50K in September.

My next long run is Wednesday for 2 hrs on Dickey Ridge again.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Proud Trail Running Mom

I took my 8year old Emelie trail running today and she ran a really good 2 miles in 19 minutes. I feel for an 8 year old that 19 minutes is an awesome time for 2 miles on Trails. It looks like she might be a future Cross Country runner. I plan to home school her for one more year and put her in Catholic School in 4th grade, so she'll be old enough to run Cross Country!

If she can run 4 miles by July I might sign her up for the Muddy Paws Trail Run with me and Molly. Molly ran almost 8 miles with me last week when my parents were visiting. We had to run out about a 1/2 and back to my parents and the girls. My parents, Emelie and Susie were hiking and Molly and I were running. Molly didn't like leaving my mom, for some reason dogs love my mom. I had a decent workout that day, so I was happy and Molly was tired.

My next Trail Run is tomorrow Morning. I plan to run for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Trailrunning in March

This past month has been difficult. I took 6 months off from running and jumped into trail running. I'm fighting the hills and I seem to be winning, but it has been very difficult. I've had a hard time breathing, but I do have allergies and athletic induced asthma, but neither have bothered me much in the past year. I've decided that I might need a physical and some good allegery medications. Finding time to run has also been difficult, with my husband traveling often with his job.

I'm considering entering a 50K trail race in September, so my goal is to train-up for the 50K distance. I've currently ran up to 9 miles, which makes me believe that I could run that 50K by September if I keep training regularly. I need to get a better hydration system, so I've been reseaching them, and I need to start learning to eat a little while running. The eating thing is a new concept for me since my longest distance is 26.2 road run.

My goal for April is to continue small runs and have minimum one long run a week. I plan to extend my distance to 15 miles by the end of the month.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shenandoah National Park, First Visit

Yesterday Emelie and I made our first official visit to the Shenandoah National Park. I purchased an Annual Pass for all National Parks. Emelie and I didn't want to venture to far into the park so we stopped 6 miles down Skyline Drive at the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center. The Visitor's Center was closed, but we took in the beautiful view and went hiking on a 1.3 mile trail.

The view from the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center is of the Massanutten Mountain, we also have a view of this Mountain from our house. It is a large mountain that had a big effect on battles fought during the Civil War. Signal Knob is a high tip of this Mountain. Seeing the Massanutten

Mountain from the higher elevation of the Shenandoah was really beautiful.

As we first approached the viewing area, Emelie was running ahead of me, we saw 2 men and a woman. As I approached I noticed that the woman was holding flowers and one man was holding a small book. It was a couple getting married. I apologized for interrupting their ceremony. The couple informed us that they hadn't begun yet and invited us to stay and watch the ceremony. Emelie was invited to hold the brides flowers while they exchanged rings. Emelie was official a flower girl yesterday. It was a beautiful ceremony and a nice spot to get married. Who would of thought that we would see a wedding on our first visit to the park! It was extremely exciting for Emelie.

After the ceremony we met 3 girls that had 2 dogs with them. The dogs were training well and loved kids, so Emelie had a nice time playing with them. One was a Golden Lab and the other a Chocolate Lab. The women where from Arkansas and 2 of them were on Spring Break from the University of Arkansas. The owner of the dogs is from Richmond, Virginia, but grew-up in Arkansas. We also met a group of guys that are celebrating their graduation from College with a 6 month trip traveling around the US and Canada. They recently received their PhD. We met many interesting people yesterday.

Emelie and I went on our 1.3 hike down a trail that was a loop. Emelie ran almost 70% of it. The up hill parts were a little difficult for her. We didn't see any wildlife other than birds. The trees have budded and some of them even had blossoms. The fresh air during the hike was very energizing for both of us. We went home after the hike to eat lunch.

We had such a nice time that we returned after Susie came home from school. We took a brown bag dinner with us. We went back to the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center parking area. Susie at the young age of 6 was impressed by the view. We went hiking on a different trail it is part of the Dickey Ridge Trail and it takes you out near Snead Farm. I don't know anything about Snead Farm, but I'm sure when the visitor center is open it will have a display about the farm. We didn't make it to the Snead Farm, because Susie was getting tired. We hiked around 2 1/2 miles. We ate our dinner after we returned to the Dickey Ridge Center and watched the sun starting to set. The Massanutten Mountain was in a glow of Orange.

As we drove the 6 mile up Skyline Drive we saw a few deer on the side of the road eating the nice green grass. When we got home we were all very tired and ready for a good nights rest. It was a very eventful visit for our first visit, so I can't image what our future visits will have in store for us. I'm looking forward to taking my family and friends for a visit to the Shenandoah National Forest.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Clothes for the Sporty Girl

A catalog came to my house last week that is for women athletes. I have no idea how they received my address, maybe from one of the races that I ran. As I'm looked through the catalog, I realized that there are a lot of women that dress like me and they are athletic.

In the good old USA clothing companies make clothes that fit your average woman and most even if they are skinny aren't athletic. They don't have the sporty butt and small chests. Yes I said small chests, your average athletic girl usually has a chest size of 36 C or smaller. Clothes seem to be made these days to fit either the teenager or the women's sizes. The waists in most clothes never fit me, they are usually a few inches too big. Clothes are also made to look fashionable, which I could care less about. I just want something that fits, but is pretty. I could careless if it is the "In Look".

What catalog did I receive? " Title Nine" They aren't even overpriced. The sizes fit my body type. They have the smaller chest sizes, so I'll finally have tops that fit me. They have a ton of skorts, which is my favorite summer clothes. No more buying tennis skirts at the local sporting goods store. They also have nice bathing suits that don't have high cut legs, so you don't have the bottoms riding up into your buttcrack.

This is truly the best catalog for me, and they will be getting my business this Spring. Finally clothes that will fit me. I'm so excited : )

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Going Green isn't a new concept.

As I drove to the store today, I started thinking about the concept of Going Green. I made sure that I put my fabric shopping bags in the car so that I could avoid receiving more plastic bags. I hate those plastics bags, because the stores put 2 to 4 items in each bag and then after only buying 25 items I end up with 10 plastic bags. Then I have to carry ten bags in the house and store 10 plastic bags that I don't need. I keep the bags because they can be useful, but I must have several hundred bags.

I've had a few talks about this Green concept with my mother and the concept isn't new. I grew up in a Green Home, and my mother grew-up in an Ultra Green Home. My mother grew-up in a home where nothing was wasted and everything was saved, because it could be useful later. This is most likely why my mom and her siblings are pack rats. Looking back at my childhood, some of the best crafts and toys that I created came from what most people would consider trash today.

When I was a child, a paper bag (they didn't have the plastic bags at the grocery stores way back then), a butter bowl, newspapers, catalogs/magazines, and any box from a kleenex box to a large cardboard box was a treasure. I remember being excited about an empty kleenex box, because it had a lot of uses, my favorite was a Barbie Car, but it could be a guitar with a few rubberbands, and was great for storing Crayons, and turning it over and drawing stove coils. See many of my toys were GREEN. The butterbowls were great for storing small things in (barbie shoes and Fisher Price Little People) and using them as bug houses. I loved catching bugs, mainly ladybugs, or fireflies and all I had to do was poke holes in the lid and put some grass in the bowl. A paper bag was a main need for most paper crafts, and Magazines and Catalogs had terrific pictures for collages. I even learned how to make a small Christmas Tree from a Readers Digest.

My mom used many of the same items for household uses. Butterbowls and jars were used for storage of food and small house hold items. She still has a few small Parkey butterbowls around the house from 1970 something and if you open them they will have things like rubberbands, paperclips, buttons, and small toys.

How green was my mother. She used Cloth Diapers, reused all the items listed in the prior paragraphs, had her own vegetable garden when she could, sewed and repaired clothes. We walked to the store when we could, and recycled bottles,cans and newspapers. She even reused baby food jars, if I dug around in her basement I'm sure I could find one from the 1960s. Can you believe that my parents weren't hippies? They are conservatives and lived Green. Green isn't a hippy concept, it's a conservative one that was used by conservatives and our fore fathers for hundreds of years. If you go into any middleclass conservatives home, who is over the age of 50 you'll find that they have been Green since birth.

I've been lazy like many Americans, and I've been throwing away perfectly good things. That behavior is going to change. I'm going to teach my girls how to make what looks like trash into toys and craft projects. I'm going to wash and keep many of my plastic containers, and I'll reuse bags and avoid getting the plastic bags by using fabric bags. Jeff may not be happy with my storage of clutter, but I'll hide it in the basement. Plus he'll need a plastic container or paperbag and then he'll appreciate my clutter for a moment. I've lived Green compared to most people and I've saved some of these items, just not to the extreme that my mother had.

I can proudly say that I was raised Green and have lived a fairly Green life! That statement will confuse most people born after 1980, they think Green is this terrific new trend, concept, lifesyle that has only been around for a few years. All you 20 something kiddos that want to be Green have a talk with your Grandparents and they can give you a ton of ideas on reusing items that are normally just concidered trash. I can't forget about my dad, he had about 20 uses for a coffee can! I'm sure that I can find a coffee can from 1970 something in his basement or garage. The Green concept is an American Tradition, that was lost for 20 years, but is back so "GO GREEN"!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Molly the Good Dog

She is a good dog, she listens well, plays with the girls well, she rarely barks, and she is very loving. She has done something twice now, that was out of Character for her. She has chewed a hole in her Nylon Kennel. Both times we were at dance class, so we were gone for 2 1/2 hours. The first time she greeted Jeff at the door then a week later I came home and she was at the door again. Both times she chew through the Kennel. Her punishment was to sleep in the garage for 2 nights, which she hated, but stayed quiet. She hates the garbage can, so she had to spend time with it in the Garage too.

Last night I decided to let her sleep in my room, without the kennel. I was nervous because she is only a 6 month old high energy puppy. Puppies are distructive and chew on everything! Correct? What antics would she get into while I was sleeping? I placed a blanket on the floor near my bed with a chew bone and toy. I shut the bedroom door and told her to go night night. She looked at the blanket and her toys and gave me a stare and ran to the door. She thought that she had to go to the kennel down stairs. I decided that it doesn't matter if she sleeps on the blanket or the floor, so I went to sleep. She woke me up around 1 1/2 hours later with a sniff on my arm. I thought to myself should I let her out side to go potty, then I decided no she is use to not going all night. So did I wake up to a wet area on the carpet? NO! She is a good dog. I told her to go back to sleep and that is what she did. She woke me up with a sniff around 6:20, I had my alarm clock set for 6:30, so I looked around the room and everything was good.

She may of chewed through the kennel, but that is it, other than that she has been a good dog. Molly is a good girl ; )

Trail Running with Emelie

We went Trail Running on Friday on the Appalachian Trail. It was a nice afternoon around 48 degrees and sunny. The 1st mile is down hill, so it was easy and fun for both of us. Emelie tripped on a rock, but she got back up and continued to run. We stopped at a small camping/shelter area just to check it out. Hopefully when the girls get a little older we can go hiking and spend the night at one of the shelters along the trail. We continued to run for another 1/2 mile before we turned around to head back. Emelie charged the rocky hills on that 1/2 mile with a lot of energy, but was looking very tired by the time we turned around. She did well until we were about 3/4 of a mile out from the car. It was uphill the last mile of the run, so we did some speed walking. She ran over 2 miles with the stop at the camping area. She was very proud of herself which she should be since she is only 8 years old.

The Trail Run inspired me a little and I'm looking at maybe doing a few Trail Runs this summer and maybe even a Ultra Trail Run. I'm trying to convince Jeff into doing the Umstead 100 in North Carolina in 2010 with me. We would only do the 50 mile run.

I plan to take Emelie weekly on a trail run if the weather is good. I'm not going to take her any farther than 4 miles until next summer. Hopefully she wants to continue to run with me because I love spending the time with her.

I'll keep blogging about all our running adventures, and maybe I'll get Susie running a mile or two soon.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Socializing kids

Socializing! Why is this important to so many parents. This is the main reason organizations like the NEA and NPTA use to convince Americans that homeschooling is bad.

As a good parent you should have control over who your children are socializing with when it comes to any environment. Look at all the pressures kids have to deal with in the public schools due to the social atmosphere. They must look and dress the way their peers feel is correct, or they are made to feel they aren't worthy of friendship. They are labeled by their school peers on their academic success, they become an airhead, nerd or tard. This is what socialization in our government ran schools force on our kids. The saddest thing is most parents that place their kids in public schools don't see the negative effect of socialization.

It surprised me a couple of years ago when we lived in Kansas, how snotty women treated me when I told them that Emelie wasn't in Pre-kindergarten. Serveral women at Emelie's Gymnastics class inquired about where Emelie was taking Pre-K. I told them that with a BS degree in Business I'm more than qualified to teach my own kids, so I'm preparing my daughter for Kindergarten. What is their biggest concern about me teaching my own kid? "Socialization" How will she interact with kids in Kindergarten since she isn't in preschool? Of course I'm rolling my eyes at this point and thinking these are women like many Americans brainwashed by our government and the NEA. This is how our society thinks, socializing and being loved by all is very important. Having a ton of friends makes you important.

How do I want my kids to Socialize? I want them to pick their friends wisely. I want them to understand that it isn't the number of friends that makes you important. It is how you live a good responsible, loving life that makes you important. Having friends that are good souls that love you and aren't concerned about what you look like is important. I want them to meet their friends at activities they attend, such as dance class, church, and homeschool activities.

Emelie was lucky and spent 2 years in Catholic School and most of the kids were very well behaved and respectful of each other. Public School here in Virginia was shocking, and very lacking in discipline. She is only 8 years old, still needs guidance in what is right or wrong. If she socializes with kids that knowingly misbehave, then she will do the same because she wants those kids to accept her. This is why socialization is bad in the public schools. Good kids are influenced by the kids lacking discipline in school and at home. At this point in my kids lives I will chose who they will socialize with and not the government. It isn't important that they socialize with 25 kids at a time, but one or two kids that I chose will due.

I wasn't very social as a kid and I'm not very social as an adult, but I'm very happy. I'm miserable in large groups of people, so being social doesn't equal happiness. Matter of fact many people dealing with depression feel depressed because of relationships with others. Could this be because they mentally believe that they need lots of friends to be happy? They can't truly be themselves, because they have to live up their friends expectations? Socialization can be harmful and maybe it will be the downfall of our society. Think about it!

I'll add a couple of links in the future about socialization and homeschooling. I'm sure this won't be my only blog about this subject.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Life in Virginia

This is the beginning of a new life for all of us. Our new life started in August 2008, when my husband retired from the Army. We have dealt with many changes over the past 6 months. Moved to Virginia, bought a house, started home schooling our oldest daughter, and welcomed a new family member Molly (Border Collie and Australian Shepherd mix puppy).

Run, Jump, Leap is how we want to live our lives. We want to truly appreciate everything good that life offers. We want to live life with our family values and morals as a focus for our girls. Having God in their lives is a main focus and part of the homeschooling. I will homeschool both girls in July, because the public schools don't offer the excellence in education that my children deserve. With us on our new journey in life is Molly. She was special from the day we received her and the girls have a dog to love. Molly has just as much energy as my family, so it will be a joy to have her with us as we run, jump, and leap through life together.