Saturday, May 31, 2014

Violet Stats

Officially weighing in at 17 lbs 6 oz and measuring 25 1/4 inches long.  She's short and chubby.  And perfect in every way.  She's in the 60th percentile for weight, 10th-15th percentile for length. She'll likely be built like me and be the shortest of all three of them.  And I'm OK with that.  She's my little lovebug, making my life brighter every day.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Girls Run

Yesterday I competed in my very first 10k race.  I've been training towards the goal of running a half marathon in August with my dad, something I've wanted to mark off my bucket list for years.  Not just the "running the half marathon" part but running it with my dad.  So since Violet's birth back in October I've slowly been trying to get back into a fitness routine and running whenever I can get the chance.  But in order to gain any sort of appreciation you really need to know my history and background as a runner.

First and foremost I am not a runner.  I don't consider myself a "runner" by most people's standards.  I run but I'm not a runner if that makes any sort of sense.  When I was in high school I could barely run a mile in 12 minutes, always scoring horribly on the presidential fitness test.  It was not one of my strengths.  Nor was any type of physical fitness in general.  Then I decided to join Army ROTC in college with a gigantic fear of what that would mean for me physically.  I still couldn't run.  And I would have to run.  In fact I'd be expected to pass a relatively "easy" physical fitness test that would require running.  Two miles in just under 20 minutes would be the difference between a pass or fail. I was terrified.  And for good reason.  I was put in the slowest running group.  Those of us "unfit" gals ran just around 10 minute miles.  We were being pushed to be better.  Then I met the man of my dreams (all 220 pounds of muscly young man that I ended up marrying almost 4 years later) whom I begged to help me strengthen those weaknesses.  So we trained together and his encouragement fueled my esteem.  By the end of the year I wasn't breaking any records (or attaining the maximum Physical Fitness Test score) but I had improved beyond my own personal goals and was able to not only pass but gain a few added points with my improved running time.

It wasn't a "love" for running, it was a need.  I had to do it so I did.  But I didn't continue until years later when I was curious to see just how much I could improve.  I would run on the treadmills at the gym but rarely ever outside.  I did a 5k Shamrock Run with my dad in Portland in 2004 and his constant motivation was uplifting.  I never really wanted to become much faster and I had no desire to go any long distances.  A marathon is not and probably never will be on my running goals list. Then in the last few years I started enjoying it again and decided 13.1 miles would be attainable.  A goal that would leave me feeling successful and fulfilled.

So I've been running.  Whenever I can which, lately, isn't as often as I'd like.  But it's something. And it got me out and into this fun 10k race.  The adrenaline pumping, feet pounding, and "let's see what I've got to give" attitude kept me at an 8:36 pace for just over 6 miles which got me 4th place in my age group and 15th overall.  So what if there were only 154 runners.  A girl can feel good for how far she's come, right?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

7 months

Seven months and such a joy. I couldn't have asked for an easier child.  She's mellow and easy going and generally just goes with the flow.  I love how she lights up when I enter the room and smiles from ear to ear whenever we make eye contact.  She lights up my life in every way imaginable.

She says "da da" over and over again but refuses to say anything else.  I look at her sweetly and say "mama, mama, mama."  To which she smiles even sweeter and says "dada!" We're working on it...

I imagine she's upwards of 18 pounds but she hasn't been to her 6-month checkup because we got off track when we had to reschedule her 4-month appointment.  I'll post actual stats after her appointment on Tuesday.  She's finally rolling back to tummy in addition to "tummy to back", a skill that I think surprised us both when it happened. Her bottom two front teeth have finally emerged after such long anticipation. With such strong similarities to her brother and sister, I figured she'd be an early teether too (Brendan's first one broke through at 3 months, Aubrey's at 4.)  Just goes to show she's got her own timeline! She's found her feet and loves to play with them any chance she gets. She not a picky eater and generally eats anything she's given which so far has included peas, green beans, squash, parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, pears, mango, cherries, peaches and prunes.

 She giggles, she smiles, she snuggles, she's beautiful, we love her...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Violet: The first 6 months

Our Kittelson Family

It's one of my favorite traditions, this annual group photo.  We pose for it at the Pole Pedal Paddle after party and it's been so fun to see the growth of this group of people we consider family.  So I thought I'd start with the earliest one I could find (I need to dig further through the archives for 2009, we missed out on 2010) and end with the most current.  

From left to right: Scott and Tracey Beaird with kids Kian and Emelyn, Casey and Kristin Bergh, Matt and Lauren Kittelson, me and Joe with Brendan and Aubrey

From left to right: Scott and Tracey (almost 8 months pregnant) Beaird with kids Kian and Emelyn, Casey and Kristin Bergh, Matt and Lauren Kittelson, me and Joe with Brendan and Aubrey

From left to right: Scott and Tracey Beaird with kids Kian, Emelyn and baby Graeson, Casey and Kristin (just barely pregnant, not announced yet) Bergh, Ashleigh Griffin, Matt and Lauren (nearly 9 months pregnant) Kittelson, me (15 weeks pregnant) Joe, Brendan and Aubrey

From left to right: Scott and Tracey Beaird with kids Kian, Emelyn and Graeson, Casey and Kristin Bergh with baby Macy, Ashleigh Griffin, Matt and Lauren Kittelson with baby Parker, me and Joe with Brendan, Aubrey and baby Violet

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


It's been crazy the number of people who have commented on Violet looking so much like her sister so I decided to do a split screen in order to really see the similarities.  Though Violet is my chubbiest baby of all three, the resemblance is there for sure. The one on the left is Aubrey at 7 months and the one on the right is Violet at 6 months.  My precious girls.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pole Pedal Paddle 2014

The Pole Pedal Paddle relay race that takes place here in Bend every May has become an incredibly enjoyable tradition among the Kittelson employees and families.  For years before we moved to Bend the company would sometimes put together a team and make the trip out here to compete for fun.  But when we decided to make Bend our home and we fell in love with all of the outdoor activities central Oregon has to offer, Joe made it his mission to make the PPP a (mandatory) tradition.  Starting with the year we moved out here (2008, which was also Joe's PPP debut) I believe they've only missed out on one.  And while I loved watching from the sidelines and cheering them on, in 2012 I decided I'd rather create my own team and join in as a competitor.  The racing bug bit me and I knew I'd be repeating the role as team captain for many PPPs to come.

The race is a 6-legged relay that begins with a short downhill ski up on Mt. Bachelor, then an 8k cross country ski, a 22 mile bike down the mountain into Bend, a 5 mile run course handing off to a 1.8 mile kayak course then a 1/2 mile sprint to the finish. Joe and I have both always taken on the kayak leg for our teams as Joe's kayak obsession has left us with an advantage over all of the other "non-kayakers."  Though we've talked about changing it up and giving the kayak leg to someone else (or even doing a tandem pairs team which would require one of us to learn how to downhill ski!) We'll see what the future holds.  It always seems to be such a stressful endeavor for me attempting to establish a team in the first place.  I even gave up at one point, telling Joe this year "I quit... I'm not doing a team this year... I can't find anyone who will commit and participate!" so I give him credit for jumping on board and asking around which is how I ended up with the Lucky Ladies. Jana LaFrenier (one of his coworker's wives) on the downhill, Caroline Marks (Brendan's good friend's mom) on the skate ski, Susie Wright (one of his Portland coworkers) on the bike, Lisa Stoica (his younger sister) on the run, me on the kayak and Lisa on the sprint.  So I was set with a team and running only on adrenaline last week as the date drew near and the preparations began.  Packet was picked up, bibs were being handed out, and I received a text Friday evening before the race that sent me into a slight panic.  Caroline was in urgent care and wouldn't be able to compete.  I spent a good hour or more trying to find a replacement as Caroline offered up her husband, Josh, to race in her place.  While I knew we'd be breaking the rules since we were registered as a women's team, I had no other options besides forfeiting the entire race.  And I wasn't about to do that to my team.  So we welcomed Josh to the team and praised him for jumping in at the last minute.  But while I knew we would do fairly well on our time, I figured we'd never actually win any real awards (the top three times in each category/bracket receive a special mug as an award) and no one would be the wiser. Which is why I was in shock and a little panicked when that's exactly what we did.  We came in third in our women's age division.  It left me both thrilled and dismayed.  Since I could never live with myself for lying, I immediately sent an email to the race director admitting my "indiscretion" so that the "real" third place contender could receive their mug.  I have yet to hear back from her and I dread that response with my entire being.  Most importantly, we all had such a good time and the experience is something I look forward to replicating for years to come.

It has been such a joy to see the progression from 2008 until now in the number of people from Kittelson who come out to support and participate.  Of course it may have something to do with the fact that Joe starts "trash talking" and sending out intimidating emails for the following year as soon as the race is over.  But if the result of his competitive (albeit incredibly annoying to his coworkers) behavior is the outcome of this year's attendance then I say keep it up Joe, whatever you're doing is working.  We filled our clubhouse with at least 50 people (employees, families, friends) who came to celebrate and have fun as we ate, drank, and handed out fun "awards" at our traditional PPP after party. Eight teams included three Portland teams, a Boise team, an Orlando team, a Calizona (California and Arizona employees) team, the Bend team and the women's team.  And as the cowboy trophy (given to the Kittelson team with the best race time) was handed over to the Bend office, each team was already strategically creating training plans for next year with their eye on being #1.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day

I spent a lot of time this year contemplating what my Mother's Day might look like and trying not to be disappointed that it may not live up to my standards.  Alternating between these thoughts and feeling guilty for these thoughts.  Feeling as though, if asked what my perfect Mother's Day would entail, I'd be expected to answer something most definitely involving my beloved children and husband.  Those three wonderful beings that I see and take care of... every... single... day. "Could I even make something up?" I thought.  Because surely no one wants to hear the truth.  It seems too brutally honest.  Who wouldn't judge me for wanting a day that doesn't involve my husband and children.  A fantasy where I escape to a hotel room... alone... where no one is demanding my attention and I have even just a few hours to do whatever I want.  A few hours not to feel guilty if what I'm doing doesn't involve cleaning, cooking, listening, punishing, touching, wanting, needing.  Where feeling stretched to my limits just doesn't exist because for a few moments I hear nothing and get to take care of me.  But even typing this, I cry.  Because while it sounds so heavenly amazing, I know that if it ever came to fruition I would realistically spend that time thinking about, praying, and thanking God for the three beautiful creatures whose existence defines the mother I am.  So instead of wishing for a day that only exists in a daydream, I'll tell you how my perfect Mother's Day actually did play out...

My husband and children crowned me "queen" for the day and donned their very own homemade paper crowns as well, as they congregated in the kitchen to make me breakfast.  After church and a quick Costco run I was treated to a much needed cup of coffee at Starbucks.  Joe cleaned my barbecue despite my telling him that I was only kidding when I threatened to withhold grilling until he helped me clean the darn thing (I'm ashamed to admit that it hadn't been done in over 2 years... the poor grill was a MESS!) I took a nap while Joe went kayaking, we had an easy dinner that didn't involve me cooking, and Joe ended the day presenting me with a "work in progress" gift he was making that still needed some work (a wooden chalkboard sign with a sweet saying about children that brought me to tears.) Then I rocked my sweet baby to sleep.  Just because I can.  And when she sighed that sweet "giving in to sleep" sigh and her body got heavy in my arms, I cried.  I cried for  wishing my Mother's Day could have been anything other than what it was.  I cried overcome with SO MUCH love for my husband who tried so hard to make that day about me.  I cried for the children God gave me who, despite my feelings of failure, think I am the best mom they ever could have asked for.  And I cried for the baby in my arms who I wouldn't be able to rock to sleep forever.  I cried because even the worst of days are worth it for the good ones.  

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Something has pulled me back into the blogging atmosphere lately and I'm sad at what I've found.  I sat down yesterday with a little time to spare, thinking happily that maybe I'd "update" my blogs.  Post a couple recipes, maybe get back into the family blog.  But instead I found myself reading.  Endlessly reading.  An hour had gone by and rather than updating, I couldn't stop reading.  Tears trickled down my face as I realized I hadn't posted on the family blog in the entire year of 2013.  The reality hit me that there was so much that went undocumented.  Not for everyone out there to read, but for my own documentation of our family memories.  It's not that I don't enjoy thinking my dearest friends may be reading these posts.  I do.  And I hope you are. But more than that, when I go back and read the things I've posted, I realize it's the only way I have of remembering some pretty awesome things. And so I sat with regret.  And a little bit of nostalgia.  And a desire to return.  And so this is me, hoping that I'm back.

And while there's no possible way to recount every monumental moment of 2013 I can at least attempt at a recap.  In late February we found out we were expecting and we broadcast it to the world in late April.  We participated in the Pole Pedal Paddle in May and being 15 weeks pregnant didn't seem to handicap me on my kayak leg in any way.  We had a blast like always.  Our summer was filled with camping, soccer, vacation Bible schools and birthday parties and in the middle of August our world was slightly rocked as I went into preterm labor while I was at work, became a high risk pregnancy and got sent home on bedrest.  I spent the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy hanging out on my couch being cared for by friends and family who went above and beyond what I ever could have expected for support.  What felt like months of endless bed resting came to an end on October 22nd, just 2 days before my scheduled cesarean section (scheduled due to the position of my placenta) and 2 1/2 weeks before my due date as my water broke and our baby decided to make her debut. Sweet baby Violet was born that afternoon and we've been falling in love with her ever since.

I want to remember these moments.  They happen so quickly and they're gone in a flash.