Project 365

Click It Up A Notch

I think I might try this! Basically you take a picture every day and edit it to work on your photography skills. I think I might actually start tonight since it is Halloween. Hopefully I can get some good pictures of my boy dressed as Yoshi.

*I’ve decided to make a new “page” connected to the blog for the Project 365. Up on the top of the blog you’ll now see a spot for “Project 365” as well as “Who Are The Marshes”. Feel free to check it out!

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Free to Breathe 5K

So we did it. Courtney & I ran our first 5K together. Sharon, Wilbur, Travis, Nicole, Curtis, Alta, KayLynn, Mackenzie & Cael walked their first 5K together. We got there and got our packets & shirts and waited for a little bit. We got some pictures taken but not too many because the kids were irritated about being up so early. Cael was really not thrilled to be there or having his pictures taken. He especially wasn’t thrilled that his mommy wasn’t going to push him in his stroller. But Uncle Curtis came to the rescue with his Ipad so all was well.

Courtney & I took off to find the start of the race – that wasn’t very well marked I might add. And the chip in our shoe was completely for the time we crossed the finish line. In Puerto Rico when I ran we had chips on our shoes. When we started we crossed a carpet that had a sensor so it started our time when we stepped on the carpet. There was also a carpet at the finish line that had a sensor so it stopped our time. For this race they started the clock when the gun went off. So you could have not started running until a minute into the race timer which would make your ending time a minute slower. Make sense? Courtney taped my ankle up because I hurt it a week or so ago. I didn’t run all week last week so I knew I would be a little slower than usual.

The scenery on the course was beautiful. It was in Leawood, which is a rich part of the KC metro area, so the houses were absolutely beautiful. It was mostly shaded with just a few hills. But I struggled. My first mile time was a full 40 seconds slower than the last time I ran with Cael! My second mile was a minute slower than the first! Courtney stayed with me the entire time and I could tell it was killing him to be getting passed by people and to have to run slower than he wanted to. That made me angry! Not at him but at the fact that he felt he couldn’t leave me. What makes me more angry is the fact that I don’t think I could have finished without him being there beside me. I was in such a mental funk!

I set a few goals for myself. 1) RUN the whole damn thing. 2) Finish faster than my last (and only) 5K time of 32 minutes. 3) Make my husband proud of me. I guess I can say I met 2 of my goals. We ran, well jogged I guess, the whole time. Courtney made me get a water at the halfway point so I walked for just a tiny bit to take a drink. He kept asking if I needed to walk and I kept saying no because I knew my ankle would hurt if I stopped. But hell sometimes I was jogging so slow I could have walked faster! I guess I made the hubs proud. He said he was proud of me but I know he would be even more proud if I had done better. I did not finish better than my PR time. I did not even finish in the same as my PR time. I finished in just under 37 minutes. 5 MINUTES LONGER to run the same distance! Part of me wants to cut myself some slack and be proud of myself. Here’s my justification for that: I am 6 years older, at least 40 pounds heavier & I’ve had a baby since my first 5K and I hadn’t run in a week. But those aren’t good enough excuses for me! I can be proud of myself for finishing and for just doing it but I am not proud of my effort. My body gave up on me running yesterday. I wanted to do it so much better but my brain and my body did not agree.

We ran in memory and in honor of Shirley. There’s the important part. We raised some money to help beat lung cancer & to raise lung cancer awareness. We came together as a family and did something for a great cause. When Courtney & I came around the last turn before the home stretch there were some cheerleaders there. They read our shirts and said, “Finish strong! Do it for Shirley!” And I tried to finish strong. I tried to pick up the pace. I could see the finish line and people were cheering but I couldn’t.

All I can say for myself is I need to start working even harder. Once my ankle feels better I will run with Cael and figure out a way to run harder. I want to do another 5K and cut that damn 5 minutes off!













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We’re Off and Running!

Courtney “moved” back home!! I was worried that it would take some adjusting but everything has fallen back into place. He started back with students last week and I think things are going pretty well for him. He’s got Nic in class and he says he’s picking up on things pretty quick. We can’t wait to go to football games and see him playing!

I have signed us up for a 5K on September 22nd for lung cancer awareness. This means Kelly had to step up and start running to get ready! So last week I started running just a mile every day. It was nice because Courtney came home from work right after school and would start dinner while I ran and then when I got home I would finish dinner. Well, cross country practice started yesterday. That means Courtney will start getting home anywhere from 6:00 to 7:00 every night, depending on how late practice runs. On nights when he has a meet it will be later. It also means that I get to run with Cael in a stroller. I suppose that will actually benefit me in the end because I’m running AND pushing at least 50 extra lbs worth of Cael & stroller which makes it more difficult. Can you say toning?? The other challenge this brings is timing. I have kids until 5:00 most nights so I’m getting dressed for our run during nap time so we can leave as soon as we’re kid-less. As soon as I get home I need to start dinner and figure out a time to take a bath or shower (oh yes people, I SWEAT a ton!). I need to try to do all of that before Courtney gets home. It’s not a huge deal right now when I’m running a mile or mile & a half but when I get to a longer distance it could be an issue. I am hoping to take advantage of my crock pot and maybe even make some dinners during nap time if I can. We’ll see what happens!

I am adding a link to our fundraising page for the 5K. Courtney and I are running and Cael will be pushed by Sharon & Wilbur. I’m not sure if Curtis is walking/running with us or if he’s just planning on being here to support us and take pictures. We ordered shirts and everything! It feels good to be running now and working on myself and taking better care of myself but it also feels good to be doing something for lung cancer. We are running in memory of and to honor Shirley. Please feel free to click on the link and donate to our team if you would like to. We’re not asking to raise much money but every little bit helps. Thank you!

Yesterday was also Courtney’s birthday. Mommy & Daddy are the same age again….for a few months! We didn’t do too much. We took Daddy out to eat last night. Over the weekend Cael and I took him shopping for some new shoes and then Cael stayed with Grammy & Papa. Courtney & I had our August date and it was a blast!! I took him to a gun range in Olathe called Cross Fire. If you’re in the area and want to go to a range I would totally recommend them! We shot 3 different guns for only $15.00 and we shot 150 rounds. We had so much fun!!


c shoot

k shoot

I’m pretty proud of myself right now, too. It was still a difficult start to the school year for me but not as difficult as last year. The sting of not setting up a classroom and meeting new kiddos is still there but I’m dealing. Cael has really become a “Mommy’s boy” as of late and I’ve come to the conclusion that he was not ready for me to go back to work. When you become a parent you have to learn to put your needs and wants on the backburner and focus on the needs and wants of your child. It didn’t matter that I wanted to go back to work this school year. It mattered that Cael still needs me this school year. I know he will grow a lot between now and next year at this time when he will be in Kindergarten (did I JUST say that???!!!!) and he will be ready. He just wasn’t ready yet.

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So the summer is almost over. It wasn’t all that different from the school year for me because I had the same kids all summer that I had during the school year. I don’t have any teacher’s kids so I don’t lose any kids for the summer. It has been an interesting “summer” here in the Marsh house.

I started out the summer thinking I would be closing down because I would be back in the classroom this coming school year. I applied for 2 jobs in a district here that shall remain nameless, several jobs back in Salina, 2 jobs in 2 other districts here, and another job just up the road from Leavenworth. So the jobs back in Salina looked so promising. They called me and did a phone interview and we set up a face-to-face interview. Courtney had applied in Bennington and we were very hopeful that would pan out but it didn’t. So he then applied for a job in Salina and had set up an interview for the same day as mine. The problem? Courtney’s job would have been a distance learning job. What does that mean? Picture Courtney sitting in a classroom with no students, just a screen. His students would have been in different towns even! I told him it wasn’t worth it to drop his job & coaching that he loves here to sit in a room by himself. It wasn’t worth the sacrifice. So he canceled his interview and I canceled mine.

The 2 jobs here in 1 district. Um, yeah. I applied. I sent follow up emails to make sure they had all of my materials. I was ignored. I was ignored for a month. I did not even get an interview. That would be strikes 1 & 2….but who is counting?

The other 2 jobs in districts around here – NOTHING. Not surprised about those though. I’m sure there were many many applicants with less years than me. Less years teaching than Kelly = less money you have to fork out. Strikes 3 & 4.

Then I get an email. An email ASKING me to apply for a job. An email telling me how great I look on paper. An email telling me how the “wheels would be in motion” to get me interviewed. An email telling me I would be called in a few days for an interview. I sent follow up emails. I called and left a voicemail. Then came a phone call to talk to me about screening my boy for preschool there! Yay!! Ooops, our mistake, we gave your phone number on accident. THEN I get the email saying, “Sorry but I filled the position.” Yep, very excited to meet and interview you = NO INTERVIEW FOR YOU! Strike 5? Sure, why not!

Then I find out about a preschool needing a teacher. Could it be? I got a call about an interview!! But, financially it would not be the right move for our family so I turned it down. Strike 6. SIX?!?!! Yes, strike 6.

Now, did I cry about each of these? Yep. (Okay, maybe not, maybe just 4 of the strikes made me cry! That’s progress!) Am I letting that keep me down? Hell. No. I was (AM) a damn good teacher. No, I AM a GREAT teacher. So for these 5 places (not counting Salina or the preschool job – not their faults, my decision.) that I am not good enough for – YOUR LOSS! There will be a job for me back in the classroom. I don’t know where it will be. I don’t know what grade it will be. I don’t know when it will happen but it WILL happen! Ok, I feel better now that I have that out of my system.

Courtney has been working out of town for the summer. He has left every Monday (and some Sundays) and come home on Friday. It has been a challenge. It has caused some small behavior issues in Cael. It has probably caused some small behavior issues in all 3 of us! But I have learned a valuable lesson this summer. I can do anything! I can take care of our house on my own. I can take care of Cael on my own. I am a strong and responsible woman! Do I still feel sorry for myself because so far there is no job for me? Sure. But I am also taking advantage of this year with my son. He will be ready for Kindergarten next year….thanks to ME. (He does not qualify for preschool at any of the public schools in town and the other preschools are expensive!) I get to spend one more year with him raising him how I want him raised. He gets one more year with his Mommy to know how much I love him and how much I enjoy being with him. And we will continue to go support Daddy and his teams as much as we can. Sometimes that doesn’t happen because of the time his stuff starts and I still have kiddos at daycare but we go as much as we can. And, for the record, I appreciate everything my husband has done for us this summer and how much he has sacrificed. I know that his life has been twisted and turned upside down because he was away from us. I can’t say that about our lives though because they stayed the same. The only difference was that Daddy wasn’t here every night.

So what does the coming school year hold for the Marsh family? I. Have. NO. Idea. I know that this little daycare will turn into more of a preschool because I’ve got kiddos to teach! I know we will attend MANY football games because Nic will be playing. I know that we will attend MANY cross country meets because Daddy is coaching. I know we will attend ALL wrestling meets because, well, that’s what we do! (And Daddy coaches and Nic will wrestle) I know we will attend MANY baseball games because, again, that’s what we do. Might Mommy find a job in the classroom next school year? Maybe. Might we make a move elsewhere? Only if there’s a job for both of us! We will worry about that when the time is right.

To all of our teacher friends that read this little thing – I hope you had a fabulous summer and spent time doing what you wanted! I hope you got lots of family time and had fun! To all our friends and family that aren’t teachers – I hope you had a good “summer” also! Maybe not getting to hang out and do whatever you want but I hope you did get to do some fun things. And now I must go wake some kiddos up from nap time.

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Gone Fishing!

When Courtney comes home on the weekends we’ve been trying to spend lots of family time together. We’ve gone bowling twice this summer (that’s huge for us!), we’ve blown up the pool and swam in our backyard as many weekends as we have been able to and this past weekend we went fishing. Courtney got in touch with a former student of his who has a pond at his house. Courtney & Cael went shopping for supplies while I got a pedicure. It was so nice to get pampered a little and I am looking forward to going back! We bought Cael a fishing pole when he was a baby and it was a cheap plastic Lightning McQueen pole. We were practicing with it and it wasn’t doing very good so Courtney bought him a new one. Cael & I bought Courtney a pole for his very first Father’s Day when Cael was 10 days old. Pretty exciting to get to take it out finally after 4 years! Courtney bought me a bright pink fishing pole so I was excited to take it out.

We were letting Cael practice casting off of our deck. That boy got the line twisted and wrapped around the deck so many times. We told him about his Great Grandpa Johnson fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and catching a swordfish. (True story, we had it stuffed and it hung on the wall at the office FOREVER!) So Cael was “fishing” off the deck and he kept saying, “I got a swordfish!!” Then he told us he hoped he would catch a swordfish that didn’t have a sword. So funny!

We got out there and got Cael’s pole all ready to go. I was busy taking pictures….of course. Courtney helped him cast the first time and then ended up doing it by himself every time, it was just much easier. The second cast daddy did himself and then handed the pole to Cael. Next thing we know his bobber is going crazy and Cael is reeling in a fish! Within about 5 minutes Cael caught his very first fish! Every time Courtney would cast his line and hand it off Cael would right away catch a fish!

Courtney was finally able to help get my pole ready because I didn’t know how to do it. He put a sinker on it and something else that I can’t remember so I could hopefully catch a bigger fish. That didn’t seem to work. So he put a bobber on mine just like Cael’s (is it sad that an adult needed a bobber?) and within a few minutes I had my very first fish! I’d been fishing once when I was younger and had no success. Once with Courtney & his family and never even touched a pole. Once in Puerto Rico with no success. So I was excited to catch my first fish! I was finally, after 3 tries, able to bait my own hook and was really enjoying fishing. I caught the biggest fish of the day (and it wasn’t that big but to me it was a big deal!). On the last cast my pole was bending and I was pulling hard. I had to put the pole against my stomach & use two hands to try to reel it in. I was THRILLED! A HUGE FISH!! All of a sudden Daniel yelled that he was going to get a gun and Courtney took my pole. What the heck had I caught?!?! A big ole snapping turtle. Courtney was trying to get it up on the shore very carefully and then the line broke.

Curtis had offered to stuff Cael’s first fish he caught. When he pulled it in we asked him if he wanted to keep it or wait for a bigger fish. He said he wanted a bigger fish so we kept going. When I caught my big(ish) fish I said we could have it stuffed and he said no. He saw the scales and they were red so he thought the fish was hurt. He said, “The fish looks hurt! Throw it back!” He has such a big heart! After my line broke we decided that was a good time to go home. We got on the road home and Cael was already asking to go back! I think we have quite the little fisherman on our hands!



















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Ten Years

Dear Shirley,

Ten years ago tomorrow, July 16, I had to make the most difficult phone call of my life to Courtney in Iowa. We had rehearsed what I would say to him if I had to call him but we never thought I would actually have to make the call. I couldn’t get ahold of him on his cell phone so I called the college. I got in touch with some random man that worked there and explained the situation. That poor man had to go to the gym and find Courtney’s wrestling team and they had to tell him where Courtney was. He then had to call him and tell him to call me at the hospital. I said just what we had rehearsed, “Can you come home right now?” Then I made the smartest decision of my life and I put him on the phone with you. He got to talk to you and I was scared that would be the last time he would ever get to speak to you. I wish I had written down the name of the man at Luther College. I wish I could thank him. Thank him for taking my call seriously because he didn’t have to. If he hadn’t taken my call seriously I would have sat waiting for Courtney to call. So I’m sending it out to the universe – THANK YOU random man at Luther College. Thank you! Courtney drove home and so many people were already at the hospital. I met him in the parking lot and took him straight to your room and shut the door behind us. We spent the next 24 hours by your side. Twenty four hours later, on July 17 at around 4:00 in the afternoon, you left this Earth. Being in the room holding your hand as you took your last breath was the one of the hardest yet one of the most beautiful experiences.

In two days we will mark the 10th anniversary of your passing. So many things have happened in 10 years. We have moved several times. We have changed jobs. There have been births, deaths, weddings, etc. Of course the most important to you would have been the birth of your grandson, Cael. You would be so so proud of him! He is so stinking smart. He has the nicest manners. He is caring & sweet & loving. He loves squirrels because of you! He loves blueberries just like you! I tell him about you and he knows who you were. I have a picture of you & Courtney from our wedding day beside his bed. Some nights we tell you good night before we turn off the lights. He is convinced that you are in Heaven taking care of our dog, Winston, that we had to put down and that one day Winnie will bring you home. Courtney will be gone on July 17 because he will be working but Cael and I will celebrate your life. We are going to plant flowers in your memory, we’re going to release 10 balloons in your memory, we’re going to read the book I wrote about you for him and we’re going to watch the only video I have that he can hear your voice in. I can’t wait for him to hear your voice.

Right now Cael is with Sharon. He loves his Auntie Sharon! She has filled in doing things with him and for him that you would have if you were here. She even got Grandma Hoard to leave Miltonvale….on a Sunday….to come meet Cael for the first time when he was born!! Cael spends a few days to a week with her every summer. I know that if you were here he would be at your house right now. He loves his Grammy & Papa Johnson and I know he loves his Grammy Shirley too. I’m not sure how much he really understands yet but I am proud that he does at least know who you were.

Courtney & I have had lots of ups and downs in our marriage. We survived losing you right after we celebrated our 1st anniversary so I know we can survive anything. We have survived lots of other problems. I told you that day in the hospital that I would take care of Courtney and that I would never leave him. I intend to keep that promise.

We miss you. We love you.

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Future Dilemma??


We’ve been discussing the possibility of moving back home lately. We thought it might happen this coming school year but it’s not going to. But who knows, maybe it will happen the following year. I was getting excited about the possibility. To be closer to Courtney’s side of the family, which we haven’t lived near since we graduated from High School. To have friends & family to hang out with because we don’t have many friends, especially couples or families, around here that we ever do anything with. To be near cousins around Cael’s age for him to play with. He has his daycare friends but that’s about it here. After they leave for the day it’s just Cael. On the weekends it’s just Cael. And let’s face it, Minneapolis and the surrounding area(s) has cheaper cost of living! Could we finally have the chance to get our finances under control?!?!

Then this week Cael & I went and had dinner with Grammy at the Legends. He hadn’t seen her in a week & a half. He kept hugging her, telling her she is the best Grammy, telling her he missed her and how much he loves her. So there’s the dilemma. We would have to give up seeing Grammy & Papa as much as we do. We could probably still see them just as much as we do but it would sure be a lot more money to spend for gas and it would take an entire weekend instead of an afternoon or evening. And we like where we live. We can be to Topeka, Lawrence, anywhere in KC in less than an hour! We would have to adjust how we do everything.

We have at least another year before we’ll have to make any kind of decision about this but I am already worried about how we are going to do such a thing! Not to mention the fact that I’ll also have to deal with Cael entering KINDERGARTEN in another year!! This Mama may have a lot of big & possibly painful decisions to make.

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Father’s Day

















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Celebrating 4 years of Cael!

Cael had a pretty great birthday yesterday. When we woke up I got him a birthday donut. I even put his candle in the donut & he got to blow it out again! Then we got ready & headed to pick up Tio Shoes for the day. We had his annual birthday meal at Hooters. We were actually disappointed with this trip. The waitress was okay but Tio Shoes found a hair in his sandwich, when they “sang” happy birthday to Cael they also sang to a 16 year old boy and they didn’t know the words. And they had the 16 year old spell out “Hooters”….with his butt. In one of the pictures you can see Cael giving them a strange look because he could tell they didn’t know what they were doing!

After that we went to Crown Center to the Sea Life Aquarium. Cael had a lot of fun! But he went through like a tornado! We went through so fast. I took lots of pictures & we had a scratch off ticket that we had to answer questions about their “fin facts”. We went to the touching pool & Cael touched a fish, a hermit crab & a starfish. I was proud of him for sticking his hands in the water! He told the hermit crab, “Flip over your house!” This morning we made hermit crabs at daycare & when I showed it to him he said, “Flip over your house!” He got a medal for completing the fin facts questions. We went to the store because that’s where the medal was and he started to have a melt down. His melt downs are not pleasant. I am not enjoying that part of his personality!

Then we went to Wal Mart so he could spend some money & gift cards he got. He bought a huge dragon & a wolf for his castle. After we got home Daddy had to leave to go to Emporia for work. It’s not easy watching him leave but we’re ok. It will all work out. Cael & I got “Old McDonald’s” for dinner & then played outside for a few minutes. Tonight we are going to go get a kitchen play set I found on craigslist. 🙂 It was a crazy busy but fun day!


































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Cael’s Angry Birds Party!

Cael had a great birthday party over the weekend! He wanted an Angry Birds party so that’s what he got! I made Angry Birds cupcakes, blew up balloons and put Angry Birds faces on them and made an Angry Birds game from cans & balls. I also had an Angry Birds book out for everyone that came to the party to sign. I decided to take a picture of Cael with each person that came to his party & those are being turned into his thank you cards!! Our friend Angelia from Sabetha sent Cael a thank you card for a Christmas present we gave Jethro his first Christmas. It was a personalized thank you with a picture of the boys on it. Since then I have made personalized thank you cards for every birthday. It’s so easy on This year I decided to really make it even more personalized. I’m excited with how they turned out! (I have to pick them up tonight)

We were going to make Angry Birds pizzas but we decided not to. This was the most relaxed I have ever been before & during one of his parties. For whatever reason I didn’t feel stressed or rushed or crazy. It was a very strange feeling for me to be calm! We got decorating done the night before when we were hanging out with Grandma & Granddad Marsh and Uncle Curtis, cupcakes were made Friday night so I just had to decorate on Saturday and we just had pizza so there was no cooking before. It was an awesome party!

Cael was in warp speed opening his presents. He would open one, look at it for half a second, toss it and move on to the next. Poor Grammy was trying to write down who it was from and what it was while he was going crazy. I took pictures and Daddy hung out while Papa recorded it on the video camera. Lots of people came and everyone seemed to have fun!

















































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The Marsh Family