Monday, September 28, 2009

ready to run.

thanks for the picture Ron!
some of our team: Paul, Anthony, me, Jamie Helton, Alexis, Carrie and Alison.

On Saturday I ran my first ever real race.

A 5k.

And, I lived.

No hospital stays required, no need for oxygen tank...though I did almost throw up on a police officer standing just past the finish line. That would have been a story...and a HUGE embarrassment.

It was POURING rain when I met my friend Jaime at Starbucks to head downtown together.

We parked and headed down to the Courthouse grounds where we were meeting up with the rest of our team, named by our "coach" Alexis, team "Wii not fit."

We were SOAKED by the time we got there. My yellow rain coat proved useless as well as my camera which had a dead battery. NICE.

Regardless, we were all happy to see one another, ready to start the race. The race we all committed to for our dear friend Alexis. Alexis who showed up in the rain, after enduring chemo just two days before with her umbrella in hand ready to cheer us on.

I love that girl.

I also love Ron & Carole {who are like another set of Grandparents to all the children in our church} who appreared out of nowhere, to also cheer us on!

So, the race began. It was a mess...but Jamie and I were off to a decent start. Soon we heard the police force behind us, chanting motivational cheers, enough to keep us all going. At about the halfway mark we passed by a huge crowd of spectators, Alexis among them cheering us on...we kept going. Just before the two mile mark I got a second{ish} wind and as I turned the corner unto main street, saw the finish line and didn't stop.

My friend Jamie and I had a goal to finish within a half hour and I finished just past the half hour mark and Jamie not far behind.

I loathe running. I don't get it. I don't get the fun, enjoyment that so many people find in it. But on Saturday friends, I felt a small enjoyment in running. As Jamie and I walked back to the car, wrung out our socks and headed home we talked about doing it again, so glad we had committed to and finished the race.

After a cup of coffee, I hopped into one of the best showers of my life, and I began thinking about my friend Alexis, how much pain she has had to endure, how brave she is, how much of an encouragement she is to me.

I thought about my commitment to Christ. thought about how often I lose heart, giving in to the world too often.
I thought about Paul who in 2 Corinthians talks about not losing heart, about the treasure we have in the knowledge of the glory of God.

" So we DO NOT lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light
momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight
of glory BEYOND all comparison.." -2 Corinthians 4:16,17

While the mild pains I endured during the race are nothing compared to what people deal with every day, there were several times during the race where I just wanted to give up, completely. To not care if I finished in an hour, or at all. I pressed on, and when I crossed that finish line the pain was all forgotten. There was joy. Of course this joy was not even comparable to the "glory beyond all comparison" Paul talks about, but it was a WONDERFUL reminder to me of that great ETERNAL reward.

I pray I continue to run toward Christ. That I embrace hardship, press on, and "look no to things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." -2 Corinthians 4:18

Friday, September 25, 2009

on babies. Part {dos} 2.


If you recall, we are contemplating having a forth {and most definitely our last} child.
As we have three boys, we will most likely be going for the forth...hoping for a girl, rejoicing if it is another boy.

As I mentioned in "on babies. part 1.", the arrival of our firstborn was quite complicated and exhausted.
However, as most parents, we seem to forget the sleepless nights and constant attention and care newborns need, and have another.
We had 2 more.
I will say it did get easier with each one, even though the number of children I had to take care of was larger in number, the newborn stage each time was less painful.

The thing about babies is,

I don't mean this in a bad way, but your life forever changes when you have children.

I'm thankful we waited a couple of years to have kids. Time for just me and him. Once the kids roll around, it becomes all of us. NOT that that is a bad thing, it's just a lot different.

I won't lie, I miss being selfish, doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Your freedom DOES become more limited when kids enter the scene...just the way it is. I also miss it being just Justin and I. We don't have as much time alone, and "date nights" are much less frequent.

There are things that having kids has done for me that makes me a better person.

Things like:
1. GROWTH in my relationship with Christ.
2. Realizing HOW selfish I was. Not that I'm not selfish anymore, but parenting does require sacrifice.
3. Growth in my relationship with Justin. Even though our relationship has shifted and changed, I have a GREATER love for him. Recently we have had some amazing conversations and I've never felt more connected to or in love with my husband.
Seeing him as a Father is amazing too.
4. A NEW appreciation for MY parents. My Dad {who was still in medical school when I was born} and my Mom who stayed home with me and my 3 younger brothers, they are two of the hardest workers I know. We did so much fun stuff growing up, much of which I'm sure we complained about most of the time, but now I appreciate all they did for us.
5. The joy of laughing, playing and enjoying our boys.

So, while having babies forever changes your life, it is the best thing that can ever happen to you. At times you ask yourself what you were thinking having kids, and there will be times you want to rip your hair out.
But, when your sitting at Panera, having lunch like you did so many times with co-workers, friends, and your husband. Surrounded by students with laptops, businesspeople with newspapers and friends meeting for lunch, you look at your three {well behaved...this time} sons when your 3 year old son looks at you and says;
"Mom, Panera is my best."
"Mine too, Evan. Mine too."

It's nice to have the young company who can appreciate good food as much as you do. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

on babies. part 1.

I'll never forget how we found out we were pregnant with our firstborn, Maxwell. It was just after Thanksgiving. Being just over a week late for my cycle I thought we might as well take a pregnancy test. We weren't trying to get pregnant, but we weren't trying not to.

I SWEAR I followed the instructions...waited the full five minutes and all, so I tossed the negative test into the trash can. I went into the kitchen to make dinner and I hear Justin call me into the bathroom.

"Uh, you're pregnant."

"No, I'm not."

"Yes you are. LOOK."

Sure enough TWO lines stared back at me.

"WHAT?!!!" We both repeated over and over again...followed by lots of laughter and tears of joy.

Nine months, two weeks overdue, and 60 lbs later I was at the hospital being induced. Long story short, after 38 hours of labor and not much progression, Maxwell was born via c-section weighing in at a whopping 10lbs. 1oz.

I was EXHAUSTED to say the least.

{AND, lets just say I have destroyed about EVERY picture I had of myself at the end of the pregnancy and right after I had him. I saved one...just to have, but seriously people when our friend Chad Kemp burst out in laughter not believing the picture was really me I knew most of them had to BURN. It had to be done...oh, and if any of you have any pictures I expect them to be sent to me PROMPTLY}

I'm not sure if we had it more difficult than the normal first time parents, but our first few weeks, were awful. We shed a lot of tears and we were NOT prepared for all that. Mostly I think we were suffering from exhaustion, but it all was a lot for us to take in at the time.

I cannot EXPRESS enough how THANKFUL I was {am} for my Mother-in-law and Mother who took turns staying with us. They were both SO helpful, wise, and allowed us to rest. I honestly think I would have given up on breastfeeding if my Mother-in-law wasn't there to encourage me. My Mom cooked and kept our house in order so I didn't lose my mind. I don't think we would have coped very well without their help.

If you know me at all, it is no secret that I DO NOT enjoy pregnancy. I know it is kind of selfish, many woman have not or will not experience what it is like to have a baby growing inside them, and for that I AM thankful. It is just hard time for me, growing so large and I have yet to have a child under 8 1/2 lbs.

Pregnancy isn't my thing, and it SURE doesn't look good on me.

All that said however, we ponder the idea of #4.

I am happy with three. 3 boys.

I won't lie, I'd LOVE a daughter. Justin LONGS for a daughter. I keep telling him that we for SURE will have that 4th boy. Not that we'd really care, but I can tell you that I am NOT having 5 kids.

It is not completely out of the question, but the very thought of being pregnant again well, is NOT appealing to me. Losing the post-pregnancy weight the third go round has proven DIFFICULT. I'm not like EVERY OTHER WOMAN I KNOW who looks FABULOUS a week after giving birth.

Babies, even though A LOT of work ARE a blast. Liam is in my favorite age...anywhere from five to eighteen months. GOLDEN. I love that time. I've REALLY been soaking it up with him because I know now, how quickly it really does pass...and soon they are starting their first day of school!


So, who knows what is in store for us?
God does know.
That rocks...and that will do for now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm usually not to big on kids CD's, pretty cheesy and annoying. While at first listen this CD seems pretty irritating with little kids singing along with an adult leader, as I listened closer to the words, I was hooked. There is SO MUCH TRASH music out there, and while we don't exclusively listen to "christian" music we are more carefully guarding what we DO listen to. This CD is a great way to teach kids about Jesus and how we should long to live like him. These lyrics really ring so true, even for me and I've found myself reflecting on them this week, and to wait on God instead of just plowing forward on my own.

"Loving’s harder than it seems
Show me, Lord, what patience means

Wait, wait, gotta wait, wait, gotta wait
When it’s hard to, but You say to
Wait, wait, gotta wait, wait, gotta wait
For the right time, Your time, not mine
Wait, wait, gotta wait, wait, gotta wait
For my brothers, sisters, and others
Wait, wait, gotta wait, wait, gotta wait
‘Cause I want to be more like You
Jesus, You will always be
Patient, gently teaching me
I see in You what I want to be."


Friday, September 11, 2009


Ah, yes. LOVE.
Danielle has a GREAT and very tasty recipe over at her place.
Being that I had an overabundance of zucchini, I made Zucchini cupcakes.
My Mom sent me this recipe from who else? Martha.
SO easy.
SO yummy.

zucchini cupcakes.

Ingredients :
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
1 zucchini (10 ounces), coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cream cheese frosting (recipe below)

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cups of a standard (12-cup) muffin tin with paper or foil liners. Set aside.

2.In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in nuts.

3.In another bowl, combine zucchini, oil, eggs, and vanilla; add to flour mixture, and mix just until combined (do not overmix).

4.Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.

5.Cool in tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes; turn cupcakes out, right side up, and cool completely. Meanwhile, make frosting. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread frosting on cupcakes.

Cream cheese frosting:
4 tablespoons room-temperature unsalted butter
4 ounces room-temperature bar cream cheese
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract; beat until light and fluffy. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 day


I got these adorable cupcake boxes for a steal at Michael's. I love them.

red box

They are great for making your creations look fabulous.

blue box.

Just add your own little touches and wallah! A fun little gift for friends.

gift boxes.2

gift boxes 1.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

letter time.

My dear King of the Toilet Paper,
This is the first time I've ever written, because to be perfectly honest I'd never seen the need.
However, I've seen the need and I have responded!
First I'd like to address the issue of what kind of toilet paper is best overall. One that satisfies all kinds, shapes and sizes of bums. One that is of appropriate price, and of course easily assessed. This is a question I ask you to answer, because I have yet to discover the conclusion.
What fanny wipe is the best?
Granted I have not tried and tested them all, but I've learned some things along the way...or which toliet papers NOT to use.

Sand Paper toliet paper. Otherwse known as Scotts. Oh yeah, that stuff is brutal. Perhaps fine for short, infrequent use, but for anyone spending any length of time on the toliet the stuff is pretty comprarable to sand paper...and NOT cheap I might add. A kabillion dollars for four rolls of sand paper seems a bit ridiculous, and it is.

I refuse, R-E-F-U-S-E to use toliet paper used by Bears! Oh, you know what I'm talking about, CHARMIN!!! What is with those Bears? Bears don't use toliet paper!! Even if they did, why must a bear have the finest toliet paper available? They live in a forest for crying out loud! Furthermore, why are there bits of it sticking to thier bottom ALL OF THE TIME?! Also, would it KILL them to find a local stream to WASH THIER hands in...

I've resorted to buying what is on sale, or just looks like it will get the job done. I need some recommnedations, and would like to settle down and stick with one brand of toliet paper for the fannys that enter our home. It would be greatly appreciated to have your top three list.

Thank you in advance.

A-money Swanson

ps- If you could work on the bear hand washing situation at the very least, it would be much appreciated by many I am sure.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Friends Who Sharpen.

By Anne Swanson

A couple of years ago I missed the wedding of Angie, one of my best friends from high school. Angie was heartbroken. And I felt awful that I wasn't there to celebrate with her.

Sure, there was the excuse that we now lived hundreds of miles away from one another, but I could have found a way to be there, if I'd really wanted to. The truth is, blowing off friends had become somewhat of a pattern for me. I'd been doing for months.
Read on here...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

sky. 9.03.2009

"Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified ."

As Long As You Are Glorified. - Mark Altrogge
Sovereign Grace Music. - Come Weary Saints CD

Tuesday, September 01, 2009



I think....


...some of the best photographs

scholar and evan

...are taken...


(photo credit- Ellen Mischler)
...when the subject...

relaxin. unware....


...of the fact that you....

aunt sue.

...are taking their picture.

Silas. 04.25.2009