"All Things"

An adoptive mom who loves Christ, family, running, fitness, and all things health related.

Archive for the tag “family”

Catching up & My Marathon

I’m still here and I my marathon is complete!!

How did I get so far away from blogging?!? While I love documenting my life, I was finding that it was better for me to be LIVING than to worry about documenting my runs, eats, etc. I love blogging, but when life gets busy (and these past couple of months have been BUSY), it gets put on the back burner! Here are some highlights:


Beeker and I went on an amazing hike


We celebrated baby Molly at Kate’s shower! (Molly is due TODAY!!)


Holly turned ONE!



Ree came with me to my Senior Trip to Dorney Park, where it POURED all day long!


We surprised Dawn with a 40th Birthday Party!

The past two months were filled with lots of training, hard work, love, motivation, and time with family and friends! I finished up my 7th school year teaching (YAY!), AND I completed my marathon!

I am still basking in post-marathon glory!! The race was amazing!

My goal going into the race was to finish under 4:30, and I ended up finishing in 4:38.  I was absolutely THRILLED with this time.  Although the race was beautiful (through Pennypack Park), it was a difficult course…the weather was hot, there were some pretty substantial hills, and there was a 1.5 mile trail section that was killer! I read about the trail section, but was surprised at how “trail-y” it really was! On the first loop, it was fun to jump over tree stumps and splash through the mud; on the second loop (mile 20), it was so painful on my knees!! The other difficult part about the race was the lack of crowds.  Seriously, there were NO crowds for the entire race! One of the things that is exciting about a race is having a crowd to cheer you on.  So, this marathon required a lot of personal motivation and determination.

I was SO nervous in the days leading up to the race.  I focused on mentally training myself for the marathon and making sure that I had the proper nutrition for the race (hello, carbs!).  


My dinner the night before the marathon!

The thing that I was most nervous about was running the race by myself, without my coach.  I mentally rehearsed the race all week and was ready when I lined up at the start line to rock it!



The first half of the race was great.  I cruised through the loop feeling good. I knew early on, however, that I was going to have to adjust my time goal for the weather.  It got hot really quickly, and I focused on trying to make sure that I stayed hydrated and cool.  I walked through each water stop and took 2 waters- one to drink, and one to pour on my head.

Beeker and I decided that I would signal to him how I felt at the half way mark.  When I went through the turn around, I gave him the thumbs up that I felt great.  I loved going through and seeing my family and friends cheering their hearts out for me!!

The second loop of the race was a lot more difficult than the first.  I hurt my knee during the first trail section and was battling that pain between miles 14-20.  Mostly, it was just hot.  I saw the medical team rush out 2 or 3 times to pick up runners that were getting sick from the heat.  Very scary.  At one point I got a chill and realized that I was not sweating as much- not good.  I stopped at an aide station and poured 3 cups of water on myself to cool off- it did the trick and I was able to keep running.  

I took a gel gummy every 2 miles, so I broke the race up into 2 mile increments.  Once I got to mile 20, I was golden. I knew I would finish and finish strong.

Miles 20-25 seemed so long, but when I was about a mile away from the finish, I started to get really excited.  When I turned the corner and saw the finish line, I turned off my music so that I could hear the crowd.  Well, my family and friends saw me before I could see them and I could hear them screaming and calling my name.  Words cannot express how HAPPY and GRATEFUL I was to see them and to have them all there to cheer me on- I felt so loved! My cheering section included: Beeker, my mom, Dawn, Juliet, Kristianna, Holly, Alyssa, Annmarie, Kate, Mark, Pam, Casey, Kenzie, and Scarlett!!! Thank you to everyone that supported me and for all those that came out to watch me finish- it really meant the world to me! ❤

I love my pictures from the finish line, because I am smiling so BIG. I was so so so happy.  

I went into this race repeating my mantra, “I can do ALL THINGS through CHRIST who strengthens me.”  I am praising Him for strengthening me during my race.  Hallelujah!


My coach, always.


My biggest cheerleader- my mama

I am SO happy that I decided to run this race.  It did exactly what I wanted it to: gave me something to focus on during my wait and helped me to feel strong and confident.  I am excited to run a fall marathon…I really think that I could run FAST on a cool day with lots of crowd support! We will see 😉

For right now, I am continuing to run my mile a day (even the day after the marathon- hello, sore legs), while enjoying summer with family and friends, and looking forward to so many things.


We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of BABY MOLLY, who is due today!!! I cannot wait to snuggle our best friends’ baby girl!! I am so proud of Kate and Mark- they are such fabulous parents already. So blessed to be able to walk through all of life’s journeys with such wonderful friends!

This week, Beeker and I are taking part in the “Living Below the Line” challenge.  We are blogging about our experience on our site, www.run2ourbaby.com. Check it out! We are in day 2 of our challenge, and the Lord is already moving our hearts in more ways than we could have imagined.

Next week we are going down the shore with our family for the week, YAY!

The following week, Beeker and I are going to West Virginia on a Mission Trip with our church. We will be leaving on our 7 year anniversary…7 years! 🙂

All along the way, we are PRAYING for our phone to ring- waiting for the call that will change our lives.  Through it all we are TRUSTING in the Lord’s perfect plan while being OVERWHELMED by His strength and power.

I am sure I will have a lot to write about in the coming months….




My mom mom always used to say, “Don’t wish your life away”.  When I heard this I would always wonder what she meant.  Now that I am older, I totally understand what she was telling me.  I am so guilty of “wishing my life away”; I am always thinking about my next step.  When I was in college, it was wishing to be done school to and be a teacher.  When we lived in our apartment, I wished to be a homeowner.  Now that I am a homeowner, I wish for a bigger house.  

Obviously, my biggest wish is to be a mom.  Today marks 30 months on the waiting list for our baby(ies).  30 months of waiting, praying, WISHING.  A lot of these past 30 months have been a fog.  It is so hard for me to live in the moment when I am wishing and praying so hard for our baby(ies).  

What I know, however, is that life does not stop just because I am wishing.  Life goes on. As it goes on, I can either enjoy life or I can be so consumed with praying for tomorrow that I miss out on the many blessings of today.

I don’t want to do this- because today is blessed. It is. So blessed.

God always meets me right where I am. Always.  Even when I fail Him, He is faithful.

I have a husband who loves me.  Hard.  My Bri is what fairytales are made of. Even after 13 years together, he makes me feel like a princess each and every day.  Really. Yesterday he bought me my favorite flowers (our wedding flowers) just because.  



I have a mama who walks every road that I am on right beside me.  My mom is the definition of love.  Her heart and mine are interwoven so intricately- she laughs, cries, and prays with me, always.  

I have the most fantastic family.  We have been through so much together, and we love each other in a way that defies explanation. My siblings are my best friends and I am convinced that my nieces and nephews are tiny glimpses of heaven.


I have the best friends that encourage me, laugh with me, cry with me, and help me to get through the day. I do not have a TON of friends- but I have a couple of really, really, really close friends that are so close to me I consider them a part of my family.  

We belong to a wonderful church with so many opportunities to grow and serve.

We are healthy and have the ability to do crazy things- like run a marathon!

I am blessed beyond measure.

As I wait for the phone to ring, for my arms to be full- I hope I can remember that my arms are, in fact, not empty.  As I wait for tomorrow, I pray that I can be content with today.  

Thank you, mom-mom, for giving me the advice to not wish my life away.  I hope that I can live my life in a way that would make you proud and to enjoy the moment….each and everyday.


Spring Weekends = <3

I love spring weekends in a big way.  It is like everyone emerges from their hibernation all winter and is excited to be out of the house, enjoying the fresh air.

After my run yesterday, we headed up to see our niece, Juliet, in her high school play- The South Pacific.  It was such a great show with SO much talent! I am always amazed by such young kids who are so gifted.  Juliet played the party of Bloody Mary’s Assistant.  Of course, she rocked it.  I love watching her on stage- she is so beautiful!


Gorgeous girl!

Today we went to church and then had 2 meetings.  The first meeting was for the mission trip that Brian and I are going on with the youth group to West Virginia in July.  I am super excited for the trip! The second meeting was to review the plans for our church’s new building- also very exciting!

After church, Kristianna came over with Holly, and Annmarie and I went with them on a nice long walk.  We stopped at the park and played with Holly a bit- she loved being outside and was, of course, super cute!


Seriously in love with this little face.

After our walk Kristianna and I ran my mile around my neighborhood.  It felt so good to be able to run with her, talk, and enjoy the fresh warm spring air! I love time with my sisters- they are the best.

As we begin a new week, I am praying that this is THE week that our phone rings!!

How did you enjoy the weather this weekend?


April 1st Fitness for the Week

Sunday: 1 mile run

Monday: 1 mile run + yoga

Tuesday: 4 mile run + abs and push ups

Wednesday: 7 mile run @ marathon pace

Thursday: 4 mile run + abs and push ups

Friday: 1 mile run

Saturday: 15 miles!!


Happy 91st Birthday to the dearest woman I know, my mom-mom.  Here is the prayer I posted on FB:

April 1, 2013: Happy 91st Birthday to my beautiful mom-mom. Lord, thank you for the gift of my mom-mom and for our wonderful family. We are blessed with the absolute best, and it all began with the loving work of my sweet mom-mom. Thank you for the traditions that she started, for the love that seeped into everything that she did and said, and for the way that she always loved and trusted in you. Let us all live our lives like my mom-mom- always devoted to the Lord and to our family. Help me to raise my children in a way that would make her proud. Amen.

I love and miss my mom-mom so much!!

Happy Easter!


The Kester Family- Easter 2013- Hoping for a busier photo next year!!

Easter 2013 was blessed! We had a great time celebrating our risen Lord with our family 🙂

We began this morning with Easter baskets, because you are never too old for Easter baskets and candy, duh.


Our Easter Basket


Ree’s Basket

Yes, my mom still does Easter baskets for all of us and for the kids.  She set the kids baskets up on the coffee table


For the kiddies!

My mom is the best.

After opening our baskets, I ran my mile and then we got ready for church. I love church on Easter Sunday- especially the “Hallelujah Chorus”- my absolute favorite. I also love singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” and “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” The joy of Easter morning is so encouraging and so beautiful!

After church, we had everyone (except for Kristianna, Alex, and Holly- who are in NC and were dearly missed) here at our house for Easter dinner. My mom made SO much food: ham AND turkey, green beans, corn, salad, stuffing, coleslaw, potato salad, rolls, salad, applesauce, cornbread, baked beans, and peach cake, carrot cake, and cupcakes for dessert.  Yup- she made all that.  She is the bomb.com.

I loved having everyone here- especially the kids, who loved their baskets and Easter egg hunt!



Love these kiddies.

As I sit here and think about how blessed our day was today, I can’t help but imagine how different next year {hopefully} will be.  I can’t wait to have excited babies to make Easter baskets for, to buy pretty dresses, white socks, and Easter bonnets- and maybe even an Easter suit for my boy.  I pray that the Lord blesses us with two children and that His plan is revealed to us this week.  Praying for our Easter miracle!  Like I say every Sunday- maybe this will be our week!

Trusting and believing in the power of our risen Lord.

Happy Easter!

How did you celebrate Easter?

Fueling for 14 miles and Family Fitness Day


Today was a GREAT day!  A few weeks ago, my cutie cousin, Sarah, and I were talking about how much we wanted to plan a day to run together.  So, we checked our calendars and decided that today would be a good day. After setting our date, we thought that it would be fun to invite our entire family to the park with us.  So, I excitedly made a Facebook event called, “Family Fitness Day” and invited everyone to join the fun!  I know, I am the dork of life.

Well, Family Fitness Day turned out the be a fairytale! A bunch of our family met, along with some friends, at the beautiful Tyler State Park.  Everyone chose their exercise of choice: walking, running, or biking.


This photo was taken by my friend, Tanya. Tyler State park is SO beautiful!

I had 14 miles on tap- I absolutely loved running the first few with Sarah, and then finished up the rest of my run with Beeker riding alongside me on his bike.  Isn’t that true love? A husband that is willing to ride his bike alongside his wife for 14 miles- to coach her, hand her water, and be there to talk to her when she gets bored.  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times- The Beek: I am blessed with the best.

Turns out Tyler State Park is pretty hilly.  Actually, when I say hilly- I mean SUPER hilly.  My quads got quite the workout 😉  I decided to run at an easy pace and just enjoy the day with my family, the scenery, and having my Beeker next to me.  I also wanted really focus on this run to make sure that I fueled properly before, during, and after.

Fueling for a marathon fascinates me; it is such a fine science of knowing exactly how much I need.  I wanted to make sure that I fueled properly, especially after a very humbling 7 miler that I had earlier in the week.  During run, I crashed and burned BIG time.  I got caught about 3 miles from home seriously wanting to quit because I had absolutely no energy. What I learned is that if I am going to run a 7 mile pace run, my breakfasts need to look a little less like this:


3 egg whites, peppers, and tomatoes- nice if I am going to relax; not enough fuel for 7 fast miles.


…..And a little more like this:


Pumpkin protein oatmeal with apples and berries



Lesson learned.

I fueled for my run this morning with my pumpkin oatmeal- and topped it with some natural peanut butter for staying power.  During my run, I took Gatorade gels at miles 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13.  I felt great!!

We celebrated my 14 miles and the fun of Family Fitness Day with lunch at a diner, where I refueled with a turkey wrap, salad bar, AND french fries.  

Will run for french fries- duh.

It is nice to feel properly fueled, which is something that I need to remember for the rest of my marathon training.  So, getouttahere egg white and veggies and cometomama protein oatmeal.  No more mid-run bonk, thankyouverymuch.

Family Fitness Day- you are welcome any time 😉

What is your favorite food after a hard workout?

Ever hit the wall during a run?


A Jolly Holly Day

Today was a great day. I woke up around 5:30, had some breakfast, and was out the door to run by 6:15.

It was glorious.

I love running as the sun is coming up, and it is always fun to watch my neighborhood wake up and come to life as I run.  My neighborhood is super hilly, so it adds a little bit of a challenge to my runs.  I finished 9 miles in 1:22:10 and I was in the door before 8 am. Love it.

Afterwards I went to meet my sister to pick up Holly.  We had such a fun day with her!! I took her to a jewelry party at my friends house for about an hour. She was so good and I loved showing her off 🙂  After the party we spent the rest of the day at home- playing and snuggling.


Having fun with Uncle Beek!


I love her perfect posture


Eating lunch


Can I eat lunch with her everyday?


“Aunt Heidi- enough with the pictures.”


My failed attempt at getting us both in a shot!

As I wait for my baby(ies), it blesses my heart so much to be able to spend time with my nieces and nephews.  They are like a little dose of heaven and remind me that my time will come.  I am so lucky to have their little faces to kiss!! 🙂

My mom surprised me this afternoon with a little Easter present for Bella and her brother or sister.



My mom said that the flower represents how our babies are sprouted in our heart. Seriously so sweet.  My mom gets me. I love that she is always thinking of our babies and encourages me each and every day. Clearly, my mom is the best.

We topped off a great day with a great dinner.


Tomato pie!

Day 1 of my 9 day break= a tough one to beat!

What was awesome about your Saturday?

The Sunday Morning Shuffle and Shamrock Shake

I don’t know what it is with Sundays, but I feel like I am always doing the “Sunday morning shuffle” to get ready for church.  I swear- on work days I can run 6 miles, eat breakfast, get showered and dressed- and get out the door by 6:30 am.

However, for some reason, Sunday mornings are so hard for me to get out the door by 10:45.  I think it is because I feel like I have so much time…so I sit on the computer, clean up the house, and am not in a hurry to run.  Before I know it, I look at the clock and I have to run, shower, and get to church in 45 minutes {commence the Sunday Morning Shuffle}.  Always a rush.  I gotta get better at that- so stressful.

After church we went to the Allentown St. Patty’s Day Parade to see Haley’s girl scout troop.  We were late (shocking), and so we had to find where they were in the parade.  We were actually behind them, so we had to run ahead of them in order to see them pass by.  Definitely a workout!! Once we got there, we had fun. Parades are so fun!


I LOVE bagpipes and dream of being the person out front who directs them and twirls the big club.



Beautiful horses!



I spy Haley Bear!



My crazy brother!



Carly and Broc on the back of the float. Broc tried to jump off when he saw my mom!



Carly, Broc, and Haley after the parade!

After the parade we brought Broc home with us for a little bit to hang out. He is at such a fun age and loves to hang out with his Uncle Beeker.


Seriously praying the Lord blesses us with a son. Our kids are so lucky- Brian is going to make such a wonderful daddy.


Around 5, we headed to Kristianna and Alex’s for dinner: pulled pork and macaroni and cheese.  Holy yum!


After, we headed to McDonalds for our family’s annual tradition, Shamrock Shakes.  We’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember and I love it.  It is the only day of the year that I look forward to having fast food.


Such a fun day with our family!! Since it is St. Patrick’s Day, I think it would be appropriate to say that I am lucky; however, I prefer to say that I am blessed.

Blessed beyond measure <3.

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