Guest Post at the Marathon Training Academy

Just before Christmas, an article I wrote about new parenthood and marathon training was featured on the "Marathon Training Academy".

Here's a snippet from the post: How to Beat Training Burnout
"As I signed up to run my sixth marathon, the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon, I couldn’t anticipate how very different this race would be. This would be my inaugural marathon as a wife and new parent.
My post-baby body felt near normal, but I found myself physically and mentally exhausted as I adjusted to being a mom. In the peak mileage of training, I found myself completely burnt out and questioning whether I wanted to even run the race anymore! My desire to run had somehow snuck away. What was I thinking when I signed up for another marathon? Basically, I was burnt out – big time.
Click here to read the entire post!
Guest posting is a great experience - I've learned so much by collaborating with other bloggers. Check it out if you have a chance! The Marathon Training Academy has free podcasts for download about marathon training. Angie and Trevor's podcasts encouraged me to run my first marathon in 2010! I am very thankful for them, their running expertise, and encouragement.

Christmas just isn't Christmas without a blizzard.

I hope your Christmas was full of Jesus and quality time with friends and family! We spent an awesome week with my side of the family and just made it home this afternoon. It feels good to be home, but I miss everyone already.

The week involved lots of food (LEFSE!!!), family time, snowmobiling, Kinect dance parties, firewood chopping, piano playing and board games! Leo and I were both baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) and it was awesome. God has done a complete 180 with my family and it is amazing to see how He is working each day! I am so thankful to serve the Lord with my whole family.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” ACTS 1:8
Family "Selfie" :)

E jamming with the Uncles and Grandma!

My Great Grandma's sign, "God Bless Our Home". My mom and I made lefse for Christmas. I'm a mix of all things Scandinavian (a "mutt", as my Great Grandma would say) and I love me some carbs! I will share our lefse recipe in a later post :)

I even spent some time with good ole Lester! I miss playing piano.

December Running

The weather up here has been very... interesting... lately. Winter has been excessively cold this year; icy, windy, cold, snowy. All those good things! My parents gave Leo and I gift cards to Cabela's and I was very excited to invest in a pair of Yaktrax finally! The roads around town are very icy compared to the town we lived in previously, so these will come in great use. My running shoes usually have decent traction, but I get nervous when it sounds like I'm running down a glass hallway!

The answer to running in the north

Gotta love winter running! Leo must think I'm crazy for running outside all winter because he got me one of the coolest Christmas presents EVER. See below ;)
Tada!!! It's not here yet, but I'm SO excited :) Now I can run inside while E is sleeping. It's been wayyy too cold to take him outside in the jogger this winter.

At the very end of our Christmas vacation, we went on a roadtrip to a neighboring town along with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law. It is a requirement for at least one blizzard to happen during the holiday season and this just happened to be the time. God protected us the whole way and we made it safe and sound! Thank God for safe travels - and for the Erbert's & Gerbert's supper we had upon arrival!

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How was your Christmas?
Who loves lefse?!

Homemade Baby Cakes

On Monday, the clinic said E has low iron levels :( They are at 8.4 and should be 11. SO I'm on a mission to fit more cereals or meats into his food. E isn't too keen on baby cereal OR the baby meats, so I'm trying to get creative with my cooking. He loves the Gerber Lil' Crunchies and these pancakes were a hit, too! The best part is I can tear off little bits and he eats them on his own. Now that he's learning finger foods, E loves to feed himself. It's just a whole lot messier!

Baby Cakes

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (I used thawed breastmilk)
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 3/4 cup dry infant cereal
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (I used banana baby food instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Heat the skillet and grease with a small amount of butter or coconut oil. Break egg into bowl and whisk. Add remaining ingredients and mix.

Pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter onto hot skillet. Flip pancakes when little bubbles start appearing. Cook until golden brown on each side. Let pancakes cool before feeding baby.

Tear into tiny bite-sized pieces for baby to eat (unlike the photo below, with an entire cake given to him!). Make sure they are small enough so baby doesn't choke! E thought this was a great finger food for him to throw all over.

Have you had children with low iron?
What creative baby recipes have you tried?


TRUTH Day 04: Guard Your Heart

The Bible has a lot to say about the heart! In fact, so much that I started this post before Thanksgiving and keep placing it on the back burner. There is so much information about our hearts in the Bible and keeping your heart in check is such an important aspect of spiritual growth. Like Solomon says below, EVERYTHING you do flows from your heart!
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. PROVERBS 4:23-27

The Heart

God's Word isn't referring to our physical, blood-pumping organ heart, or those cute little red hearts we draw on love notes ;) The "heart" referred to in the Bible represents our intellect, emotion, and will.
"Our heart dictates to a great extent how we live because we always find time to do what we enjoy." Proverbs 4:23 commentary in the Life Applications Study Bible (NLT)

An Unguarded Heart

If we don't guard our hearts, this can result in a loss of God's blessing and direction and may lead to spiritual destruction. An unguarded heart is easily lead astray by Satan's lies. Keep your heart in check by watching what you think and say. If you are saying mean things and thinking nasty thoughts about others, that is a sign there is a heart problem going on!
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. MATTHEW 12:34


In Proverbs 4:23-27, Solomon tells us to guard our hearts above all else and to concentrate on desires that keep us on the right path; the "right path" being God's Way.
  1. Guard what I watch, listen to, read, and think about.
  2. Make sure my affections lead me in the right direction.
  3. Put boundaries on my desires and don't go after everything I see! Pray for discernment.
  4. Keep my eyes focused on Jesus and don't get sidetracked. (Proverbs 4:23-27)

I'm thankful for...

Mr. E looking like a fine gentleman and me in my "homemade" ugly sweater.
Eli was dedicated to the Lord on Sunday!
I'm also thankful for Oreo Delight... in moderation, that is :) I will share the recipe in a future post. It's a recipe I got from Leo's mom and it's heavenly and ridiculously easy to make!
The TRUTH Challenge Series --- Day 01: Wisdom, Day 02: Worry, Day 03: Love

Study Resources:
NLT, NIV, KJV Bible Translations


You Know It's December When...

Only 15 days left until Christmas day and I'm so excited! I love the fact that it is Christmas and the birthday of our Savior is coming soon, but there are a few characteristics of December I could do without... mainly the cold. Long stretches of below zero weather make me question why I still live up north!

Running Requires Extra Motivation

We've been in a cold stretch these last two weeks and I'm fighting for the motivation to continue running outside. Extreme cold is definitely a de-motivator for me. I've been opting for strength training and cardio indoors, but try to get outside to run at least two or three times per week.

I ran outside one morning last week end the temp was -25°F (with windchill)! Despite dressing appropriately, my eyeballs still felt like they were going to freeze in place. Maybe I should start wearing goggles while I run ;) The neighbors would think I'm REALLY cool then!

I don't really like any temperature with a "-" in front of it.

Christmas Parties Have Begun

Eli and I went with Leo to his drill Christmas party! It was a cold weekend and we avoided leaving the hotel at all costs, but enjoyed the party and visiting with one of my best friends from college!
Eli and Dad

Thinking About Christmas Presents...

About now I start panicking about what gift to buy or make for who we have on our list. I know I shouldn't let the consumerism of Christmas stress me out, but it just does. I get a little overwhelmed. This year I'm trying to do more crafts and make more gifts with meaning.

Looking for a baby gift this Christmas? This is the best baby book ever! I have to keep Eli from tearing the pages, but he loves looking at all the pictures while I'm reading to him. It explains the life of Jesus in an easy-to-understand manner with beautiful artwork!

The Jesus Storybook Bible

I'm making some gifts; still work in progress.

This boy got four front teeth for Christmas!

Time to Decorate!

Our gigantor Christmas tree is officially up! It stands at a whopping 18" tall ;)

Do you have any Christmas family traditions?
What is your favorite part of the Christmas season?

TRUTH Day 03: Love

Biblical love is very different from "love" the way the world sees it. Over our Thanksgiving trip last week, I saw a true example of biblical love and it was beautiful. The story is a bit lengthy, but hang in there. I wish I could have had pictures to go along with this story because I still see it clearly in my mind. It is a picture of true sacrificial love and a person laying down their life for another.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. JOHN 15:13
We headed to the Carousel in MT on Wednesday last week so all of the cousins could go for rides. Fortunately it was indoors; it was a bit too chilly for an outdoor Carousel in my opinion! This place was full of kids, parents, and really good ice cream. Lots of laughing, smiles, and all kinds of cute family moments. It was like the county fair, but all year long!

E went for two rides on the Carousel and that was enough for us. I tried to get him to nap while we watched the other kids ride. As I was sitting there, I saw an older man and a young boy in a motorized wheelchair. I'm not sure what their relation was, but to keep the story more clear, I will just say they were grandpa and grandson.

The man and his grandson waited for a ride on the Carousel and, when the gate opened, the grandpa bent down and picked his grandson up out of his wheelchair. He then carried him to his own Carousel horse to ride and away they went. That boy looked like he was having the time of his life! They went on a few more rides and I couldn't help but tear up watching them. I'm not sure what caused my emotional response; it could have been the pure joy in that boy's face as he went 'round and 'round, or the true sacrificial love that man had for his grandson, to carry him around and take the time to make this boy's day. All I do know is that it was beautiful.

I prayed that the Lord would show me something I could do for those two. I always get nervous praying prayers like that because I feel like I am socially awkward and nervous when talking to random strangers. So I prayed, watched all the kids go 'round and 'round some more, and then the time came to leave. I figured there wasn't anything I could do to show my appreciation for this grandfather and son... until I ran into the card rack, literally.

The cards featured all of the different animals that were on the Carousel and I found the one the boy was riding. I felt a nudge to buy it and give it to him, but felt nervous that he would think I was weird... or something like that. Anyways, I tried to push past the nerves and just DO IT instead of worry. So, before thinking much more, I bought the card, wrote him a message and walked over to the man and his grandson. I took E with me because he is a great ice breaker!

The grandfather and son were very nice people and the boy seemed happy to receive the card. His grandpa shared the boy's name and said he was 8 years old. I introduced them to E, but awkwardly forgot to introduce myself. Anyways, that's the story. I wished them a happy Thanksgiving and God's blessings and we went on our way.

I hope their day was brightened and that they really did have a great Thanksgiving. This world needs more people around like those two - more sacrificial love and more pure, innocent joy. When God nudges me to do things like that, I am always initially resistant and extremely anxious about leaving my "comfort zone". Though, it is always worth it to follow His lead. The thought of missing out on blessing someone else is enough motivation to act on the nudges from the Holy Spirit.

I hope I can love people and lay down my life the same way that man laid down his for that boy. Loving others the way Jesus did is truly what this life is all about.

I'm thankful for...

And I'm thankful that same monkey just turned 9 months old!
The TRUTH Challenge Series --> Day 01: Wisdom, Day 02: Worry

Study Resources:
NLT, NIV, KJV Bible Translations

Thanksgiving in Pictures

Happy belated Thanksgiving! It's been a while since I've posted because we've been on our first long family vacation out to Montana, covering ~1,946 miles round-trip.

We had a great time with family and friends and stayed with Leo's sister and brother-in-law the whole week. I am so thankful for all that God has blessed us with and for the safe travels on our road-trip! Even in the tough times, we have so much to thank the Lord for. I am most thankful for God's patience and that He sent His Son for us instead of giving us what we really deserve (Hell).
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. Psalm 95:2-3

So much went on I can't even think where to start, so here's a bunch of pictures to tell the story! (WARNING: I had wayyy too much fun with the photo filters on Leo's phone/camera.)

We ate at the delicious Cracker Barrel, one of Leo's favorite restaurants. It's growing on me, too!

My new favorite kind of licorice. These are AWESOME!


It may be hard to believe, but I FORGOT my RUNNING SHOES?!??!?!? I usually take them everywhere. I needed something to run the Turkey Trot 5k in so I found some on clearance at Scheels. These are now my cross-training shoes.

Our little bed hog :)

Family photo at the Carousel

Eli's first Carousel ride! Forget Carousel horses; we chose the fish.

Leo and I crossed the Turkey Trot 5k finish line together at 24:31. My sister-in-law Amanda ran the race, too. It was her first 5k race!

Making Christmas ornaments for the kids. Crafts are so fun!

Eli driving Leo's old toy tractor. He's our little future farmer.

Swimming at the hotel. Eli is much better in the water than I am!

How was your Thanksgiving?
Does your family have any holiday traditions?