Thursday, November 20, 2014

And he's awake

Charlie is one of those kids who is ready to go the second he wakes up. 

I blame this on his father. 

Now, sometimes he might be a little groggy at first, but he is always ready. For something. This is very unlike his sister (and mother), who needs a few minutes of burrowing under the covers and general grumbling before she is able to alight. 

The other day he took a rare, but much-needed nap. I popped open his door at 2:45 p.m. to give him ample time to wake up before going to get Mary Clare at school. When I came back into his room, he was standing in bed, waiting for me. 

"Hi, mama."

"Hi, Charlie."

"Do you want to see me wiggle?"

"Of course."

And he wiggled away.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Eight is great. Yes? Yes. If anything, it feels momentous. I mean, 10 is so close!

While the past year may not have been the life of leisure I had hoped we'd have after the moves, remodeling and changes that year seven brought us, it wasn't too darned bad. It feels good to be where we are. We love our new old home, the kids have adjusted quite nicely and we are all in a groove that feels good. Good enough that we can talk about things that the future holds for us in terms of careers, house improvements, schooling, travel, etc., without feeling completely overwhelmed. That is not to say that we do not have our moments of flat-out frustration when life (or the house, really) unleashes its latest surprise on us, one that usually comes with its fair share of zeroes behind us. But as always, communication is the key, and we get through it. With, as always, a little help from our ever-patient, always resourceful, family and friends. 

Just two weekends ago, as we took turns rearranging the buffet at the Mizzou tailgate, we commented to your sister that here we go, we're working against each other again. There are days where I feel like (usually) unbeknownst to one another, we are locking car doors when someone needs them open, turning off lights that were on for a reason, dealing with a kid-related issue in completely different fashions or putting away backpacks that someone was mere seconds away from searching for a lost bow or paper. I'm not going to lie, I don't like it when we're not in sync. It seems so silly. However, I did take two bits of comfort after airing this particular grievance in public. One, your sister commented that she and her husband go through the same phases as well. (So, hey, we are totally normal. At least for two stubborn Type A people with first-born child tendencies.) Two, when we say we're working against each other, we're typically talking about whether kitchen lights, table lamps and ceiling fans should be left on or off. So, perspective. Because we're not plotting the other's death. Yet. 

I realize the posts from the past two years have not been all butterflies and rainbows. And while that's not necessarily how I feel like the past two years have been, I do feel like it is a realistic reflection of a marriage. And of life, for that matter. Like I said, perspective. Because what it all comes down to is that at the end of the day, I sure am happy you're mine.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Haters gonna hate

So, I like to wear heels. I blame my 5' 10" sister for my desire to be tall, even temporarily. 

I catch a lot of flack for this habit. 

I wore heels when I was pregnant. Coworkers who had never even carried a child were displeased. And really, far more outspoken than one might think.

Then, I hurt my knee this summer, and between that and the subsequent knee surgery and recovery, I was out of heels for a good three months, minimum. 

I missed them. Like, really. Like "shopped for heels online two weeks after my surgery" missed them. I knew one day we would be reunited. It's probably why I was so good about doing my physical therapy. Screw getting in shape, I want to get back in heels.

Now that my knee is healing nicely and I am getting closer to being back to 100 percent, I've started wearing heels again, but for limited engagements. I know my restrictions, promise. I'm vain, but not that vain.

As you can imagine, this is not well received, either.  

So while I'm sure his comment was laden with sarcasm and he was probably less than thrilled, I was both entertained and pleased when at my follow-up appointment (which was on an office day, please note) my orthopedist greeted me by saying, "Well, anytime a patient comes in for a follow-up wearing 3-inch heels, I take it as a sign that things are going well." 

I knew I liked that doctor for a reason.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The leaves are gone, but I have these

We have a tree in our front yard that, when fall hits, is nothing short of spectacular. Last fall when we moved into the house, people walking by would say, "Just wait until you see this tree in a few weeks. It's amazing." At a block party a few weeks ago, after introducing myself to a neighbor and giving our address, he said, "Oh! You're the owners of the prettiest tree in Webster Groves." And they're right—it really is something.

It is apparently so dazzling that I could not bring myself to photograph it during its glory days.

My friend Kaly even offered to come over and take pictures of our family together by the tree before its leaves dropped. But no, I couldn't manage that, either.

I did, however, grab the big camera one Saturday morning and fired off these photos in the two minutes we had between a soccer game and a trip to the pumpkin patch. You can't see the tree, of course, but if you squint closely at the fallen leaves, you can see some bright orangey-red goodness on the ground. Now, imagine those covering a large tree. Impressive, no? Almost impressive as the poses Mary Clare strikes these days. It's like she did back-to-back internships with Olan Mills and Glamour Shots.

Friday, November 7, 2014

You don't say?

This morning on our walk to school, Mary Clare kept up a constant stream of chatter for one-and-a-half blocks. When she finally paused, she stopped, looked at me and said, "You know, talking does not make me feel tired at all."

I tried not to laugh. Instead, I put my arm around, squeezed her shoulder and said, "Well, that's good, I guess."

She marched on, adding, "I am quite the talker."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I got you, babe

As I mentioned in this post, for the most part Chip ferries Charlie to and from school. As I recently learned when Chip was out of town, these 20-minute trips are not moments of quiet reflection. No, they are opportunities for Charlie to talk. About everything. What he sees on billboards. Large trucks. The length of time until we see the Arch. What happened at school. Racing cars. His favorite superhero. What we are doing that night. What we are doing the next night. What we are doing the night after that. 

Are you picking up what I'm throwing down here? The boy does not quit talking.

He must have taken a cue from his sister's recent interest in our marriage, because one day Charlie started telling Chip about how when he was bigger, he would get married. To me. 


Anyway, I found out all of this because the night of the conversation, Charlie bounced into the kitchen and greeted me with a cheeky, "Hi, babe." 

To his credit, he stopped short of smacking me on the bum. 

Chip provided the back story, which is that after making his marital intentions known, Charlie then went on to say, "And when I am big and marry mommy, I will call her Debbie. And Deb. And babe." 

Because, hey, if you're marrying your mom, why wouldn't you call her babe?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Thank you for asking

With the exception of the days when Chip is traveling or has an early morning meeting, he takes Charlie to Childgarden and I take Mary Clare to her school. I am clearly the winner in this situation, as Holy Redeemer is only two blocks from our house. Depending on my schedule, we either walk to school, or I drive her. The commute time is actually shorter if we walk, but either way, we're not talking a lot of time here. It is, however, a great, albeit short, opportunity to get some one-on-one time.

Some days we talk about what we're passing along the way. Sometimes she tells me little snippets about school. Sometimes she is really quiet, which means that she is working something out in her head. Something that will likely come out on our walk home that afternoon, or before bed that night. And some days she asks me questions. Lately she has been very interested in Chip and me—how we met, how long we dated, when we got married, where we went on our honeymoon, where we went to school, if we knew each other as kids, etc. This week she has shown an interest in our jobs. Thanks to the nifty time change this week, she was the first one up on Monday morning, and as I woke up, I heard her grilling Chip about his job. This morning as we drove to school, Mary Clare asked me exactly what I do at work. I gave her the five-second, five-year-old version. She asked for clarification on a lot of things, but then she said, "What is the favorite thing you do at work?" 

It sounds weird, but I was taken aback. And maybe close to crying. But I choked out, "Write. I like to write."

I don't know why, but that sweet, simple question totally got to me. It was just so thoughtful. And flattering. Yes, flattering! My daughter wanted to know about me. Me! 

Okay, this is all ridiculous, I know, and looking for a point, but of late, when it comes to the kids, it seems like I am at the receiving end of a list of requests or demands. We work to make sure that their requests are phrased as politely as possible, and we don't jump the second they ask for something, but there is still no getting around the fact that more often than not, when the kids talk to me, they are asking for something. 

And so this, this was nice. It was out of left field, she may not remember it, but I will. Not just because she was asking about me, but because I can see that maybe, just maybe, she is picking up on the consideration we show others, she's learning that conversations are two sided, and maybe, just maybe, she is starting to realize that the world does not revolve around her. 

Or she just wanted to know if I use that computer for something other than online shopping. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Orphans always

Remember when I mentioned that when Mary Clare and Charlie really get into imaginative play, they are, more often than not, orphans? Well, the untimely deaths of their parents used to be limited to the times when they played "Michigan" or "camping." 

"Used to" are the two key words here.

Last night they were playing soccer with a balloon in the kitchen while I made dinner. Mary Clare had set it up that the area rug was the field, she indicated the location of the goals and said that she and Charlie were opponents. 

Charlie then added his two cents: "Yeah! And you are the sister, and I am the brother. And our parents are deeead*." 

Really? Really? So now we have to be dead when they play soccer as well?

Thanks, Disney. Thanks a lot. And I'm specifically looking at you, Frozen

*While I don't take too kindly to being killed off—again—I do wish you could hear Charlie's delivery of "dead." It is drawn out and very dramatic. But yet he never weeps for us.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween raccoons

Happy Halloween from our incredibly furry, hard-to-photograph and even-harder-to-keep-track-of-at-night raccoons! We're proud to call them ours.

So, raccoons? That's interesting.

Yes, yes, it is.

It all started last winter. The kids and I were at the zoo one Friday, and while we were looking at the giraffes, Mary Clare asked me, "Mom, did you know that raccoons are 'octurnal? That means they don't sleep at night."

It turned out they were studying nocturnal animals that week at school. Kids these days.

She then went on to tell me that next Halloween, she wanted to be a raccoon, and she would pull Charlie around in a trash can behind her. And by golly, if she didn't once waver about what she wanted to be. When I asked her a few months ago what she wanted to be for Halloween, she looked at me like I was crazy and said, "A raccoon, remember?"

No Frozen fever for this girl.

Charlie was on board, as was Nana* and voila, we have two raccoons on our hands.

*Saint Mary killed it again this year. Luckily she did not kill me because this fur, it sheds. Like non stop. She said it makes the shedding from Hunter, Holly and Buddy combined look harmless.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Savior, baked good ... it's all good

The other morning after dropping off Mary Clare, Charlie and I took Buddy to his biannual exam. As we were cruising down Manchester Road through the heart of Maplewood, Charlie suddenly exclaimed, "There's Jesus Christ!" 

"What? You saw Jesus?" I asked, scanning the street for some church that had magically appeared amid the row of shops and restaurants. "Where?" 

"Never mind," he responded. "It was a cupcake." 

"Oh," I said. "I can see how you might be confused." 

Sadly, the sarcasm was lost on him. 

And really, I don't know what he saw. I don't ask. I just enjoy him. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

These two, part two

Remember when I talked about all of the sweet, hilarious and yes, sometimes tender, moments between these two? That was so last month. Now it's like they spend their time trying to figure out the best way to irritate one another. They taunt, tattle and even make up fibs trying to get each other in trouble. The good news is that like their mother, they are terrible liars. They also tend to tell on themselves more often than not. 

I do know that they are having their moments of getting along and playing well, but really, right now it's the whining and the ridiculous fights that seem to stick out the most. 

So on Sunday when we went to the park for lunch, I considered our outing a success because they made it through the entire (read: 10-minute) lunch without fighting over their shared lemonade. 

The expectations, they are low this week. And the kids, they are ridiculous. But cute. So we'll keep them. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September favorites

Shh ... let's ignore the fact that I am fudging the post date on this by more than a week and focus on these photos of the kids. And I was off to such a strong start two weeks ago, right?

 [keep the streets safe]

[every Saturday she socializes plays soccer]

[one of those sweet moments I mentioned, minus the dead parents and orphaned children]

[that backpack means business]

[typically, this is the only time he isn't talking—except when he is]

[even Charlie is in disbelief of that business to his left]

[we dress are sporty]
 [it took us 20 minutes to make it two blocks]

 [half-day fun at the zoo]

[then there was the time Papa Thole showed up at the house with a piano]

[sheep, sheep, fun, fun at MoBot]
So, September definitely had its highlights. In pulling the pictures, I was struck by how many are school-focused now that Mary Clare is at Holy Redeemer five days a week. It feels like our special excursions have come to a screeching halt. It doesn't help matters that Charlie seemingly loves to run errands, and is the most pleasant (if talkative) copilot. Oh, well. As you can see by the dress-up photo, we still manage to make our own fun.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

No Band-Aid, no problem

Yesterday evening when Chip and Charlie came in from work and school, I was upstairs getting changed. Charlie came trucking up the stairs, and as he launched himself at me, I realized he was wearing the back-up outfit we keep in his school cubby. I was kind of shocked, because while he initially resisted potty training, once it clicked, he was trained and staying dry through the night in what seemed like less than a week's time.

"Oh, buddy," I said. "Did you have an accident?"

He gave me an incredulous look.

"I no have an accident!"

"But you're wearing different clothes than you had on this morning. What happened?"

"I went pee pee all over my clothes and socks!" he proudly declared.

And then, in case there was any confusion, he added, "But I no have an accident."

File that one away for future reference, friends. Accidents in Charlie's world involve Band-Aids and bumps, not peeing all over yourself.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

One of the guys

Now that the weather is cooler, I can walk reasonably well again and the first freeze is looming, we are back to Mission: Reclaim Yard. And by we, I mean Chip. After killing off the ivy (a mere four rounds of Round-Up required), Chip started the painstaking process of pulling out the ivy, which is done by hand, on his hands and knees. In addition to the ivy, he has also discovered countless treasures, tree stumps, massive rocks and the like. It is not easy work, especially when it is done after a full day of doing the work that provides, you know, money.

Chip is, however, fortunate to have the assistance of his doting son. If Chip is working in the yard, you can rest assured that Charlie is there by his side, sporting his work gloves and hauling various tools about the yard. And when Chip can get a word in edgewise, he has found Charlie to even be somewhat helpful. Not too shabby for a three-year-old with selective listening skills and a lack of focus. 

Yesterday I coerced my dad into joining in the fun. (Only because I love him and worry about him getting bored in retirement, of course.) Anyway, after Charlie and I returned from my physical therapy appointment, Charlie donned his gloves, put on his work shoes (mud-caked tennis shoes) and joined them in the yard. They were pulling out tree stumps and fence posts, so whenever my dad would get into the truck, Charlie would join him to help drive. (This was genius thinking on my dad's part—not only did Charlie love it, it ensured my dad knew exactly where he was when the truck was running.) Sure, my dad ended up with muddy shoe prints all over his truck interior and he is probably deaf in one ear from the screams of delight and squeals of laughter, but that is the price you pay for free help.

All of this guy bonding must have really gone to Charlie's head, however, because on two different occasions that afternoon, we overheard him saying that he was "... helping Papa and Chip work." Apparently they're peers now. A few days of yard work made a man out of him. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

These two

Lately, these two play so well together it kills me. We definitely have flare ups over sharing, people get hit and feelings get hurt, but for the most part, they play really well together. Trains, cars, Playmobil toys and the dollhouse can all hold their attention for quite some time, but it's when they go off on imaginary adventures that the magic happens. And by magic, I mean they collect random things in bags, drag said bags all over the house, huddle up under the pillows on our couch and cram countless treasures into these yellow lacquer boxes that normally hold coasters but are clearly meant to hold so. much. more.

More often than not their imaginary adventures take them to Michigan. Sometimes they go camping. Sometimes Chip and I are dead and they are all on their own. Sometimes daddy is dead and mommy is on a date. Sometimes they are baby bears. You never really know what you are going to get, but dang, is it ever good stuff.

This past Friday afternoon they decided to dress for their imaginary travels and raided the bin of Halloween costumes. While Charlie was content to stick to pirate garb, Mary Clare went whole hog and whipped off her school jumper, replaced it with bunny ears, wire rim glasses and a tiger costume I estimate to be size 2T at best. I didn't ask questions. Because, really, would you want to know the method to that madness? Instead, I just took pictures because hey, mommy's blogging again, kids.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

HIPPA violator

Now that Mary Clare is in school five days a week and I only have Charlie with me on Mondays and Fridays, I am able to volunteer at her school on a more regular basis. It works well—I love being able to sneak peeks of Mary Clare during the school day (and being of service, natch) and the grandparents are only too happy to take Charlie on the days where the volunteer commitments are a bit or longer, or Charlie's assistance is not required. 

Yesterday was my first shift in the first-aid room. When I told Chip that I was volunteering for a monthly shift as the school nurse, he looked alarmed. "Don't you have to be certified? Don't you need training?" 

"Um, pretty sure I will be applying ice and band-aids," I said. "The mom in charge told me you don't get to set bones and do stitches until your second year."

So, my first shift rolled around yesterday, and oh my word, was Mary Clare ever excited to see me walking into her school. She greeted me with a "Mommy!" and a huge hug. After lunch, she spotted me talking to the secretary in the front of the office, so I went onto the playground to say hello.

"Mom!" she said. "Have you nursed a lot of people today? How many people did you nurse?" 

The inquisition continued on our way home from school. "How many kids did you nurse? What was wrong with them? What were their names? Did they know you are my mom?"

She then recounted her schoolmates' headaches, bloody noses and scraped limbs (it was a light day) to Chip and Charlie at dinner that night. After she finished, Chip told me that I better hope the Holy Redeemer volunteer nurse doesn't have to be HIPPA compliant.

It was worth the privacy violation, however, when I put Mary Clare to bed that night. As I went to stand up, she rocketed off of her pillow, latched her arms around me and said, "Mom. I am so glad you were the nurse at my school today."

I'm not going to lie. It's nice to be appreciated for your Band-Aid application skills. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sartorially challenged

I cannot make this stuff up. 

This morning as I was doing Mary Clare's hair, she looked down at my dress and asked, "Are you going to work today?" 

"I am," I said. "I'm going into the office again today."

"Well, why are you dressed like an Indian?"


"An Indian. Why are you dressed like an Indian?" 

I looked down at my dress. It's red, with a kind of swirly paisley, medallion-ish kind of pattern in navy, white, aqua and the like. 

"So, I guess you don't like this dress? Is that what you're saying?"

She thought for a minute. 

"No, I like it," she said, and then paused. "But you do look like an Indian."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My office is super casual

Usually when I come home from work, the first thing I do is wash my face and change into a T-shirt and shorts. Because I am fancy. Tonight, however, Mary Clare had to be at a soccer camp by 5:30 p.m. and I wanted to feed her a little something first, so  it was go, go, go, the second we walked in the door. Chip took Mary Clare to her camp, so that left me and Charlie. Charlie who had to use the potty three times in 10 minutes, because heaven forbid you sit still long enough to take care of your business all at once. 

Anyway, as I helped him down from the sink for the third (and thankfully final) time, he suddenly leaned over and hugged my leg. 

"I love you, mama," he said. 

"Aw, buddy, I love you, too. You're such a big boy."

And then he looked me up and down and said, "But I don't like your pajamas. Don't wear those anymore." 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Busted at bedtime

Chip had to travel one day last week, and when this happens, I usually do our evenings backwards. Chip usually does the baths, so I get the kids' baths out of the way right away, and then do dinner and a movie so we can chill out and ease into bedtime. The kids have frozen pizza, and I have wine. It is lazy parenting, and I love it.

After bath time, I sent the kiddos into the family room to play while I made dinner. As I gathered the necessary gear for eating in front of the TV (towels, napkins, bibs, hoses, etc.), I spied them having the most animated exchange with their toys. It was ridiculously cute. So cute that I had to have a picture. And that is when Charlie busted me. I held my breath, expecting him to squawk at me and demand dinner, but the pleasant play continued, thankfully, and the rest of our evening went just as well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Early morning antics

This morning I had the pleasure of attending a pirate tea party picnic. At 6:45 a.m. I was required to don a child's belt around my head and sip imaginary tea from the bottom portion of a nesting doll. It was delightful. Simply delightful.

Okay, it was totally not what I wanted to be doing before I showered, much less put in my contacts. But Mary Clare had been planning this pirate tea party picnic  for days, and trust me when I saw that it was supposed to be a much grander affair complete with music, real tea and real chili. Yes, chili. Suffice it to say there was a lot of managing expectations on my part.

But the kids had a ball doing "cheers!" with their nesting dolls and making sure all of the toys had their fair share of tea. And for a five-minute tea party, it was just perfect.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


A few weeks ago, we were at my cousin's graduation party. Between my aunt, her sisters and all of my cousins, Charlie got more than his fair share of attention. The fawning! Seriously. And he ate it up. The asked him to sing for him. They fed him cake. They fetched him water. They laughed when he kept stealing cookies. They cheered when he climbed on the lawnmower. It was completely ridiculous, and he loved it.

On the ride home that evening, I popped in a movie for the kids. Mary Clare fell asleep about halfway in, and the movie was over by the time we neared our exit. Charlie asked for another movie, but I told him he would just have to tough it out. He harrumphed, of course, but a short while later I heard him talking quietly to himself.

"I cute," he said. He paused and then said, "I cute. I cute."

While I knew I would regret further feeding his ego, I just had to engage him.

"Charlie, what are you saying?" I asked.

"I'm saying that I cute," he responded.

"Who told you that?"

"The ladies. The ladies at the party," he said. "They told me that."

He was quiet again for awhile, and then just before we made our last turn, I heard a very soft, "I a scootie."

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

She's on fire

Mary Clare was very Mary Clare today.

It started, as most home days do, with her at the desk creating some masterpiece. After drawing a monkey, she came in with the above photo and said, "Mom and dad, look at this."

We quickly deciphered that it said, "I love my family." She had done it all on her own, and told us that she just sounded it out and wrote down the letters. I think at the end she was just adding some letters for flair, but nevertheless, I was very impressed.

And then she told us, "And those lines behind the heart are from when Connor shoots it at you!"

Come again? Connor?

Luckily, I am fluent in toddler and five-year-old, and I realized she was talking about Cupid. "I forget his name sometimes," she said.

It got funnier as the day progressed.

At lunch time, she looked at me and said, "Are we taking naps today?" When I answered in the affirmative, she let out a heavy sigh and said, "Good, because I am so exhausting."

Sister, you don't know the half of it. 

And then, just a few minutes ago, she hit me with another one that made me decide I had to jot this all down before I forgot. The kids asked to play on the third floor, so I went up with them to turn on the lights and make sure the iron was off from last week. (Kidding, Chip!) I had barely made it up the stairs when Mary Clare said, "Mom! Sometime you really need to vacuum this rug up here. I mean, look at this mess. Just look at it! All these little things on it! It's very messy."

This was of course accompanied by hands on hips and a lot of wild gestures. All on her part, I swear.Luckily Charlie saved her me by grabbing the toy vacuum and proclaiming that he would take care of it.

That girl. She is something alright.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

May favorites

I just did this, didn't I? May was big for us. Mary Clare wrapped up Pre-Kindergarten, we (and my parents) worked like crazy people in the yard, we hit a few graduation parties, we took the train to Kansas City. Nothing but fun for these kids.

[we landscaped]

[we were "highly illegal" at the park]

[Mary Clare created pirate couture during naptime]

[we landscaped the kids' house]

[we went to a church picnic and managed to come home without a fish]

 [Mary Clare nailed it]

[Charlie's teachers nailed it with this photo]

[Charlie nailed me with a potty training fail during Mother's Day mass]

[last day of school]

[all business at our celebratory lunch]

[one and done on their first fishing adventure of the season]

[I took the kids in for a makeover]

[admiring the peonies that the previous owners planted]
 [celebrating Annie's birthday and the start of summer with unlimited snow cones]

[we kicked off clothing optional lunches]

[adult pub crawl fun]

[water wars with dad]

[cava sangria with the canine]

[all aboard for Kansas City]

 [a three cousin salute, with one objector]

[she will haunt your dreams]

Judging by the multitude of photos on my phone and a decided uptick in cocktail shots, I think it's safe to say that summer is here!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Please forgive me, you tough mudder

A few weeks ago, my brother-in-law Brian participated in the Tough Mudder competition with his brother Chris. It is exactly what you think it is. A really tough run and obstacle course with mud. Basically, nothing I would ever want to do. Even the website scares me. Nevertheless, I can appreciate the skill and strength that went into preparing for and participating in such a thing. Mostly because it is so beyond anything I could do.

Unfortunately, I did not publicly appreciate this feat in a timely manner. 

And then I had the audacity to acknowledge my parents' anniversary rather than a recap of Brian's race. Basically, I am the worst sister-in-law ever, and I have some serious work to do if I hope to have a place for my children and I to lay our heads next weekend while we are in Kansas City.

Without further ado, I present to you the rest of the photos and the official stats: 10.9 miles and 26 obstacles in two hours and 43 minutes. Again, completely amazing. 

So here's to Brian (and his brother), two tough mudders, who also have to be some of the funniest mudders I know. Love you both, and congrats again!