December 3, 2014

Kaiya Turned 2!!

What a whirlwind the past month or so it has been at the Lym residence! Helping coach the High School cross country and boys soccer teams wrapped up (my runners ending up at state - woot woot!), Halloween preparations and celebrations came and went, Kaiya and I flew all the way across the country to spend a week with family then came home for about 14 hours before driving out to Idaho, Utah and Arizona to visit more people and places for another week and a half, then drove all the way home and had three days to prepare to have a full house of family here for Thanksgiving and Kaiya's birthday. Phew - all done! Pre-Christmas holidays celebrated - check, Kaiya had a fun party for her birthday - check, we got to see a good portion of our far-far-away family - check, I attended PA school interviews and now just accept one of the offers I've been given - check. Now we can relax and enjoy the next few months of Holiday cheer and spending time together as a not-so-busy-or-stressed-out-family!

And all our craziness could not have taken place and been done with in better timing. Kaiya is finally starting to become crazy independent and a bit more difficult to dealt with at certain times throughout the day, baby #2 is finally popping out to an obvious amount and kicking me when I've been sitting too long, and now I have a few weeks to finish planning out Brandan's and my 4th wedding anniversary and our Christmas festivities. I'm excited to not be traveling or doing anything too crazy before this baby comes and our lives become a little more fun.

[Family of scarecrows for Halloween - fake eyelashes were fun but SUPER annoying, straw was cute but SUPER itchy.. notes to self for next time..]

[Grandma Young with same-age cousins Kaiya and Emerie in Philly]

[Awww cousin-ly love! Speaking of which, I LOVE these girlies!! Lyndi, Emerie and Kaiya ran around, danced, sang songs, read books and had a blast for the whole week we were there]

[Yes, we saw the liberty bell and some historical buildings, but my favorite thing to see was Rocky!! (and yes, I definitely ran all the way up the stairs he did in the movie!)]

[Kaiya with her great grandma Gwen in Idaho :)]

[Kaiya's birthday party lay-out, YUM. The theme was "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"]

[Cousins Clayton and Brody had to help blow the candles out, but her cheeks looked so cute all blown up!]

[She's TWO!!!]

Just as a head's up - we will find out the gender of baby Lym #2 on December 17th so I should have another blog update with ultrasound pictures then!!

October 13, 2014

Family Photos Fall 2014

Well, it's finally come that time again when I look at our family photos up on the wall and can't help but feel like those people look nothing like us anymore - my hair is double the length, I have a different style of favorite jeans, Brandan now wears glasses all the time rather than contacts, and Kaiya is many pounds heavier, several inches taller, has longer hair and less baby-ish features. I cannot even begin to express how ecstatic I get to have new, very well done, family photos!!! Thank you Kylie Cooke Photography for your amazing work!!! These pictures meant a lot to us - they prove that we've grown and changed in the last year in numerous ways. A year ago, Brandan was in graduate school and now he has a full time "big boy" job at the hospital as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I was preparing to take another online class to finish my prerequisites for PA school and now I am done with those and am awaiting to hear back from the applications I've sent in. A year ago, we were soon celebrating Kaiya's very first birthday; we thought of her as our little baby, but now she is our little diva of an almost-two year old toddler! We were comfortably living in Iowa last year and were very comfortable in our group of friends and community, but as of the last few months we have moved to the west coast (literally, we are an 8 minute drive from the ocean!!) and have only recently found more of a niche with friends and the community. Oh - and in case you didn't know, we have baby #2 on the way, due April 30th 2015!!!

[Kaiya loves playing with leaves and sticks!]

[LOVE this photo - it captures our sweet pea's blue eyes :)]

[Kaiya was running from the camera most of the photo shoot, but these ones of her off on her own are soooo cute!]

[Kaiya and mommy]

[Our little family of three]

[Play time always gets the giggles out!]

[I love this man with all my heart!]

[I can't believe Kylie caught Kaiya like this - her very typical, Kaiya-like look of whenever we are with new people - adorable!]

[There are some smiles!!!]

[Girly girls]

[Relaxing on the grass]

[I can't get over Kaiya's face here, haha!]

May 21, 2014

Oh, The Places We'll Go...

[Kaiya in all her cuteness at the playground at Brandan's work - a daily occurrence]

Well, we're moving to Tillamook, OR!!! Yes, the place where the Tillamook dairy products come from (best cheese!!!)! It has been a crazy past few weeks getting through Brandan's internship in Spokane, driving to Oregon for job interviews, then making our way slowly back to Iowa for graduation week.

[10 minute drive from Tillamook :) Mountainous coastline :):)]

Beginning a few months ago, Brandan searched for and applied for any job he could find available. We thought it should be simple since physical therapy jobs are needed just about everywhere, but no one told us how difficult it would be to find a position for a NEW graduate with no experience or specialty. Well, after several jobs fell through, we took a little break from searching over the Easter holidays and Brandan's preparation for his licensure exam. During this little break, we had an angel of a recruiter fall into our lap and help us job hunt. He basically searched for and set up job interviews, giving us options and taking our desires for location or job site into account. We ended up deciding to focus our search in Oregon. We had such a great experience living there last summer and knew we couldn't be happier surrounded by green mountains, flowing rivers and the coast close by. So anyway, Brandan took an interview in Tillamook and Newport that both went well and we left Oregon feeling really good about Tillamook!

During the interviews, we were set up in nice hotels, given a welcome basket, and fed fancy lunches (we should have taken on MORE interviews just for the benefits! haha). Tillamook had such a more family-oriented feel to it and is set amid mountains with some of the best fishing, hiking and hunting in the state (and country!) PLUS the coast is 8 minutes out of town! The coworkers Brandan will have are awesome and care so much about not only him, but also Kaiya and I. The ward is helpful and anxious for us to move and the only two PA schools in Oregon are close enough for me to commute to if I get into them! Anyway, Newport was also great - the ocean was gorgeous there and the coworkers seemed nice enough, but even before we got to that interview, we knew that Tillamook was where we should go. Sooooo Tillamook it is!
[Kaiya and I waiting to meet Brandan's future coworkers]
[On the deck of our hotel room in Newport - awesome view, eh?]
[Playing at the beach - Kaiya is going to LOVE being right by the ocean!]
[Daddy and Kaiya played in the ocean after our morning run along the beach]

After traveling from Spokane to the coast of Oregon for a few days of interviewing, we made our long journey back to Iowa for graduation week. With all the hours driving and making pit-stops at the homes of some family and friends, it took use many days. We honestly lived out of our car and on the road for 9 days! But it was good. It was good to see those who we don't have as easy an excuse to visit in the Midwest and it felt great to know that this was the last cross-country road trip we would have to make in a very long time.
[Kaiya had her first Happy Meal on our long drive back east - we were probably more excited than she was (hence the photos) but we rarely go there so I thought I'd better document it!]
[AND SHE LOVED IT!!! this is now her happy/cheese face for photos all the time, haha]
[Kaiya with our friends' son Logan, a potential future boyfriend/husband - he's one of the few kids she really gets along with and likes to chase around, and it helped that he loved pushing her in the swing and going in for a kiss on the cheek when she'd swing back to him!]

I know that I will really miss it here - despite the humidity, it is such a great community to grow up in and through yourself into and I find so much beauty in the rolling corn and soy fields and in the way that storms (tornado-y or not) roll right over you. But I am ready to move on, shut this door and start somewhere new with a new, not-so-poor, student-family lifestyle. We get to grow up even more and own a house and more than one vehicle, to get a continual salary and budget money that we haven't borrowed but that we have earned! All of this can happen as soon as Brandan graduates this weekend and we get all our stuff moved out to Oregon and into a home :). SO EXCITING!!!

[The drive over to Portland/Tillamook area is BEAUTIFUL for those of you debating coming to visit us!!! ;)]

April 25, 2014

Marathons, Never Ending

[Full Yakima River Canyon Marathon - about 1/4 the way through]

Recently we took a weekend trip to central WA so that I could run the Yakima River Canyon Marathon. It was a pretty quick trip but we were able to spend a day just exploring the area and it was quite different than we were expecting. The western side and the eastern sides of this state are exactly the kinds of places we hope to end up, - B-E-A-utiful with forests, rivers, lakes and mountains everywhere you look. Central WA however, looks a lot like southeastern Idaho where there are rolling hills with no trees in sights... what? Anyway, so we were pretty surprised when instead of a race where I'd be going down a beautifully winding path through a forested canyon, there weren't very many trees to shade me or block my view so I actually could see miles ahead of me - yikes! It was still a beautiful area to be running through, but it wasn't a great start to my not-the-greatest race!

The race began at 8am and it was so cold! I stripped down just a minute before the gun went off and I was feeling pretty good overall. I actually was running 7.5 minute miles for the first 8-9 miles of the course. There is just something about cool air and adrenaline and not knowing where the road will lead you as you're panting between runners that makes you feel fantastic. Well, around the tenth mile I realized I had run almost ten miles that fast and started to worry about how my muscles would hold out for another 16 miles... that pace was a minute or two faster than what I'd been training on... I also began to feel my low back and hamstrings begin to ache. Uh-oh, I had run SO well in the Des Moines Marathon last fall and had little-to-no complications (it literally had been my best physical conditions during and post-race) and since that race I felt fairly confident in just keeping up my fitness level until the next one. Well, I pressed on and still felt fine but a little achier than expected. My bladder told me to hit the port-a-potty at mile 18, which is always a bummer during a race, but it happens every now and then. I ran inside thinking it'd be a super quick bladder release, hike-up of the pants and run out the door sort of deal, as it should be during a race, but when getting up off the potty, I noticed some things and realized that my race was only going to get worse. I had started that-time-of-the-month that ladies get to go through and ever since having had Kaiya, that-time-of-the-month is not simply one that comes with the annoyance of carrying around girly items, but one that comes with incredibly uncomfortable low back and groin aches for the first and second day of the period. Anyway, luckily the aid station had some girls who helped me out and I began on my way again with the worst situation I could have asked for, next to a torn muscle! However, I had a new motivation to get done before my back ache got worse. Sadly, I had to start taking walking breaks about every half mile to give my back, groin and hammies some relief and stretch out a little bit for the rest of the race, making my time about 20mins slower than what I wanted... BUT I made it through and crossed the finish line at almost exactly 4 hours, got a rose, medal, meal and t-shirt for finishing and even a 5th place ribbon for my division (thank goodness for smaller races that like to make everyone feel like a winner ;)).

When I began running marathons 3-4 years ago, I was in my early 20's and felt invincible. I was a college student studying exercise science, was a personal trainer at the campus gym, was playing in intermural sports and in an Olympic lifting class. I even at a sports -focused chiropractic clinic under the best chiropractor and massage therapist who happened to be hardcore runners themselves who taught me all about little tricks to running - everything from shoes and training schedules to nutritional supplementation techniques and avoiding injury. Anyway, for my first race ever I really did my homework and preparation to do well. I ended up qualifying for Boston and placing 1st in my division. My racing capacity was driven by pride in myself for being able to do this kind of physical activity and do it well. I was also driven by the excitement of showing and proving to others that I was a pretty cool kid for being able to finish and in good timing. Of course I just loved to run too. It was a good stress release and something that I cherished as my "me" time as a very busy-scheduled, social person.

Now I am 25 years old, am married and have a little person to care for, and life is just not the same. I don't have unlimited possibilities for running times each day for training. I don't have as much freedom to run where I chose or do the speed workouts to increase my finishing kick when most of my runs are done while pushing Kaiya in the BOB on more level sidewalk surfaces. I am motivated to get out for my jogs but am less motivated to keep a certain pace or only stop for water breaks. However, I still, up until this last race, have kept that mentality I had a few years ago where I felt that I could still run pretty darn fast for an extended amount of time and mileage, and place in my division and get back to Boston. Well after this last race, or during the last leg of it really, I felt awful. I was really bummed out that I wasn't doing as well as I'd hoped, even despite my low back issues and improperly trained-for muscle spasms from all the hills I'd been going up and down for 20+ miles. I just felt like it was pointless  to have spent that much time and money and not do "well."

Let me tell ya, I TOTALLY understand now what was wrong with me. Yes, it totally sucked having gone too fast the first leg of the race and getting way pooped by the end. Yes, it totally sucked having terrible menstrual issues the second half of the race that took up a lot of time dealing with. And yes, it totally sucked that in central WA there are hardly any trees in the canyons to distract me and keep me from seeing the miles ahead of me I'd have to still run... BUT, it was totally worth it running all the same. I got to meet new people along the route have fun conversations with them about everything from running experience to kids and blonde jokes. I got to stop along the run and really enjoy the scenery instead of winding past it. I got to finish a marathon not because I wanted to prove that I "still got it" in me to Boston-qualify, but because I got to put to use the training that I enjoy doing to keep me mentally and physically healthy. For a few minutes during the race I wanted to not run anymore just in case I'd have that-time-of-the-month again during it or if I didn't get a good time to feel it was worth it, but now I feel a renewed sense of love for marathon running, a different kind of love. I don't care the circumstances I'll be running them in from here on out. I will enjoy them. I enjoy the travel to them, the new scenery I get 3-4 hours to view, the emotional connection I feel to my fellow runners and the road, the runner's high I get afterward, and the love and support I feel from my family and friends who are there as I cross the finish line. So I think I'll keep my bucket list goal of running a marathon in every U.S. state :). I might even get it done faster now that I'm not as focused on the more drawn-out, precise training to get me qualified for a great time and title as a Boston qualifier (though it's still a hopeful goal, just not on the top of my list anymore)!

[My little support group - Kaiya and Brandan (taking pic)]

[I'm in the pink]

[This guy was a hoot to chit-chat with along the way, another pro to smaller races]

March 20, 2014

From Iowa to Washington

[Kaiya in her maze of boxes during moving week]

Well, with another new year has come our fourth time moving since Brandan and I were married. It took much longer to pack everything up this time than any previous move since our little gal has almost as much stuff as we do! haha. Anyway, but Kaiya was a little trooper and tried to help mommy pack up by following me around and taking everything very carefully out of each box that I would pack up before I got a chance to tape them shut... oh, and having mini dance parties with me during packing breaks! Brandan was very busy with his internship and finishing up any school things before moving for his last internship before graduation, so I took care of all the moving stuff and he made box mazes and forts with Kaiya to distract her from "helping mommy" in the evenings!

Our trip out west began at 3:30am when we left with what we could fit in our car and miss Kaiya in her brand new forward car seat. It was the first time she'd been put in it, since it had just arrived in the mail and she was wide awake and sooooo excited to be facing forward as we drove out of Des Moines. We had to pray she'd go back to sleep (and for a safe drive) and after about an hour, she was back out. But seriously, she was ecstatic to be in her new chair and had THEE biggest smile and giggles for that full hour!

As soon as we hit Wyoming, we were stripped down from our winter bundlings to t-shirts and jeans. I think everyone at the gas stations thought we were crazy, because we got a lot of funny looks from the non-freezing-temp-Iowans for enjoying the non-humid 40-50 degree weather! But holy cow, after three or four weeks of blizzarding conditions in IA and temperatures in the negatives and under 10, we were more than happy to be out of there! Anyway, our trip to Utah, then to Idaho and up to Washington all went very well. It was fun to see a lot of friends and family and realize how big Kaiya has gotten since she was out there last year. I didn't realize that her piggy tails and skinny jeans and ability to clap and wave and blow kisses were such a huge deal until everyone else was oogling about it! And we sure do love when people oogle over our little sweet pea :).

[Kaiya in her new pink carseat!]

[Ryan took Brandan on a back-country skiing adventure up in Ogden - I was SO jealous!]

[Of course we had to get some Jamba Juice!!! We'd been deprived a whole year!]

[Bountiful Rec Center - water slide, lazy river and play area - it was fun until Kaiya's lips went purple!]

[The trampoline was a very fun, new experience for little miss]

[Just up the street from our place in Spokane - awesome view, eh? Right behind John Stockton's house too]

[Family Bonding moment while rolling down hills at the park]

We love Spokane so far! Our landlords are way nice and have taken good care of us so far. We live right at the top of the hill that overlooks most of Spokane and are surrounded by BEAUTIFUL old bungalow and victorian style homes that have been kept up really nice. There are parks every few blocks, Lake Cour d' Alene only about 30 mins away, and lots of recreation opportunities. Awesome - I think we'll be sad to leave this area 7 weeks from now, though that sadness will be easily replaced by excitement for Brandan's graduation!!

January 23, 2014

Brandan is 28, Wha??

[Brandan and Ethan in their birthday bow-ties with their mixed drinks]

[28 candles + 2 on the side for Ethan's extra years]

[get that whipped cream all over your face!!!! the gum game]

Brandan and Ethan celebrated their birthdays with friends, food and ridiculous games. We decorated the Baham's living room and dining room with funny age quotes, streamers and a little banquet of goodies and various colored drinks to make mixed, layered drinks. We had fun just hanging out and playing games (including the game from the picture above where you can't use your hands and have to blow a bubble with the piece of bubble gum at the bottom of a pile of whipped cream, haha) as friends and 'basically family.' It was nice and much needed after a long winter break where we stayed here and just hung out for two weeks while all our friends went out of town for the majority of the break. I can't believe Brandan is 28 now - it's crazy that I'm now the age that he was when we were married three years ago!

Well, there aren't a lot of updates as of the last few months. We are in a very humble place right now as a little family. Brandan has a great internship here in Des Moines at one of the hospitals, so he has a set schedule and is completely done with classwork and exams, so we get to actually hang out each night after work. I've gotten so use to him studying 24/7 that it's almost weird to have that much time to snuggle on the couch and watch a show or talk in full length about our days - it's awesome! He'll finish up this internship in 6 weeks and then at the beginning of March we'll leave for his final internship in Washington. We have been so lucky to find a fully furnished condo that is right off of an older couples' home for the same price as we're paying for an unfurnished apartment here in Iowa! Thank goodness for people who enjoy using their home to help others out with housing for temporary stays in town! Anyway, we have been so stressed out trying to figure out how to budget out the rest of our student loan dispersement so that we can stay afloat until Brandan can get a job and everything seems to be lining up. Brandan will take his licensure exam in April, graduate in May, and then we're on to our next adventure called "Brandan is a legit Doctor of Physical Therapy and finally making money!!" haha. I also have taken the GRE and am taking a biochemistry class online so I can apply to PA schools this summer, so that's something else to look forward to. When does life start to slow down??!?

Kaiya is continuing to get bigger and smarter and corkier. She cracks me up a good portion of the time - anything she does isn't quite the same as  the typical 13 month old. She still has her deep little hearty laugh to giggle with and runs around the apartment all day every day, only stopping for food or sleep. Her top two little teeth have finally come through and she's constantly grinding them (it sounds like she's crunching on plastic!), but when we give her the sign and say, "stop," she stops for a moment, looks up at us, gets a huge squinty-eyed grin on her face and grinds her teeth as fast as she can before we shove our fingers in her mouth to stop her. If we accidentally leave the bathroom door open, she'll stand in front of the doorway and waits until we catch her with the door open, only running in and wreaking havoc on the toiled paper roll or garbage can after she knows we're chasing after her. She is quite the little firecracker and I'm only now beginning to worry about how her teenage years will be.... haha. But she's adorable to us all the time; she loves walking around during church and just looking down all the pews at people, keeping very quiet and running back to us excitedly when someone gives her a good smile. As soon as she hears the mail key jingling near the entry way, she runs to the door and gets ready to book it out of the apartment and down the hallway to hike the stairs. Anyway, she's our little cutie pie and it amazes me that she only gets cuter!

[Kaiya and Daddy putting together one of her Christmas presents]

[which has become one of her favorites!!]

[Kaiya's first ring pop - she had a blast eating it, but I did not have a blast wiping the stickiness off of everything she touched as she roam-and-licked, haha] 

[like mother... (showin' off my new bangs but felt like a normal pose looked even dumber..)...]

[... like daughter... haha]