Welcome to The Jungck Family Page

If you have ever wondered what your friendly Jungck's are up to (Mike, Brittany, Wyatt, Silas, and Moses)...just tune into our page from time to time to get your fix!

We wish you a Merry Merry…

Filed under Uncategorized by brittanyjungck on 15-12-2012

Today is a great day.

I began the day with Moses screaming that he had to go potty around 4:23 AM. He is the first one awake 99% of the time.

Then, I hear Silas groan and I can imagine him rolling over toward his wall and trying to ignore his very loud twin brother…

We ended up getting up for good around 5:35 and I was off on a trail run with friends by 6:45…

After that, there were snuggles and hugs as soon as I walked into the door…Mike always the worrier, wrapped me in towels knowing I was cold and wet…and we got ready for a fun day.

The historic Oster Regent Theatre is a restored community theatre used for plays, and occasionally, community movies. It is beautiful and cozy place and today they were showing a free movie for the holidays: The Santa Clause. We snuggled in those rows with hundreds of other families and we were content and our kids were happy…

Then, a family walk…through beautiful downtown Cedar Falls and ending at Santa’s workshop…The boys got to meet Santa and ask questions. Their excitement, shyness, and wide eyes were etched into my brain.

Their tiny hands warm mine and their wishes warm my heart. Wyatt’s questions and curiosity are so beautiful…and his eduring heart and care for others make him so unique. This week when I told him about a family we had adopted at work and that they had five boys and one girl who didn’t have clothes or toys, so we were buying them their presents…He got all teary and said…”You’re such a great mom.” His favorite color is purple right now.

Moses has gotten so cuddly lately, he loves to snuggle and do puzzles. He is so quiet and introspective…and he really cares. He can be stubborn and pushy, but he watches things and remembers everything. Dates, names…he is another Jungck with the magic memory. He can also recite the months of the year in order!

Silas is as sweet as pie. He can melt any stranger with a glance and isn’t shy like his brother. He was the first to climb on Santa’s lap and he always wants to help people. While Moses is content playing quietly, Silas loves to sing and dance….and be silly. He loves to play pretend and be crazy and have fun.

Tonight our evening will end with the twinkle of Christmas lights in these tiny eyes as we drive around the town we love and hear them sing, “Santa Clause is coming to town…”

Sounds perfect to me…

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Laughter, Fall, Sweet Dreams, Repeat….

Filed under Uncategorized by brittanyjungck on 02-12-2012

There’s a song by the Eurhythmics (an 80′s band) that begins “Sweet dreams are made of this…”. I have to admit, some days around here are completely exhausting. I break down at least once a day with trying to remember who needs what signed for school, who needs uniforms ironed, whether Wyatt’s lunch is packed, trying to remember if Mike works is bike shop job, and then balance work, laundry, running…and not forgetting to pick up the toilet paper on the way home. Life can be a lot sometimes…but it’s easy to remember why we are so tired at times like these, when I attempt to capture what has been going on in the last four months in the Jungck house.

In short. Dreams. When I look back on the fall of 2012, I will remember Wyatt starting school in that bright yellow shirt and yelling, “I love you mom,” as he walked inside (he was the only one who did this.) I will remember soccer games in the sun and soccer games huddled under a blankie. I will remember my beautiful family cheering me on from the sidelines of my marathon. I will remember farmer’s markets, fall festivals, pumpkin patches and an amazing time trick or treating as a family (and then some alone time under the stars with Wyatt and mom). I will remember dancing in the street for Holiday Hoopla, watching Mike’s soccer games, and dozens of trips to the park. I will remember getting coffee at the coffee shop, trips to see Grandma Davis, Grandpa Clark and Lisa, Nana and Mark, and my own grandparents. I will remember Silas and Moses smiling at the moon each morning and their excitement when they saw the first holiday lights appear outside Hy-Vee. I will remember the silly song Silas sings when he’s proud, “Ba Na, Chech.” I will remember how Moses always makes the “I love you sign” when I drop him off at preschool. I will remember them all dancing at Casey’s wedding. I will remember love.

Wyatt just got his first loose tooth last week and it made me remember that life has these finite moments. He will only lose his first tooth once. We will only have one time to do each day, and I hope our kids remember that we have tried to make every day as fun and exciting and full of lessons as we could. I know I obsess about clean clothes, planning, and the dust that collects on the front of the TV. But if I look through the pictures below, I will remember watching Silas eat a honeycrisp apple down to the core at the fall festival and throwing a bunch of leaves in the air at the park. I will remember Moses telling me that he was having “the best day” at the farmers market and while he flew down the slides at the park. I will remember singing their favorite songs in the car: Silas’ is “Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Wyatt’s is “Party Rock Anthem” and Moses’ is “Call me Maybe.” I will remember screaming my head off when Wyatt finally scored his first goal of the season during his last game…and then scoring another thirty seconds later…

I will remember Mike helping me to bed almost every night after I fell asleep on the couch and then putting an extra blanket on my side of the bed because he knows I am always cold…and knowing what TV shows I want to watch after a hard day at work. I will remember happiness and how I always went to bed with a smile, knowing my life is filled with sweet dreams…

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Lucky Seven & Mr. Wy

Filed under Uncategorized by brittanyjungck on 14-07-2012

Seven years ago, I realize I was so young. I had no idea how my life would change and surprises it would bring. I remember Mike being so calm as we waited those hot, July days waiting for Wyatt to arrive. He always knew everything would be okay, he’d be an awesome dad, and our son would be amazing. He tends to be right.

July 4th, 2005 I was cranky that we weren’t in Perry, like usual, but I was too pregnant to travel. Mike made all my favorite foods and then he drove me to a special spot to watch the fireworks together…Wyatt danced inside so much, my shirt was bouncing with each explosion. It’s a memory that we share to this day.

The day Wyatt was born will forever be etched in my memory. I remember the way he smelled. How his foot kept poking through the blankie every time we swaddled him tight. I remember bringing him home and how he fit on top of one of the couch cushions and how I used to nap beside him, with my arm snaked around him like a teddy bear. I remember how I wore out his first stroller with all the walks around the UNI campus and how he could snuggle in my arm for hours while I read and studied for my MA classes. I remember Mike carrying him upside down in the crook of his elbow and playing the guitar to him and singing in the middle of the night.

What you don’t realize then is how fast the time will go. Seven years has evaporated like fog on a mirror. I know we’ve packed these years full of memories, laughter, learning, and love….but with each year, my heart fills with pride and with worry that they will keep passing faster and faster.

We were lucky to have almost twenty family members present to celebrate with Wyatt on Sunday, July 8th…the eve of his 7th birthday. He got to show his love of Harry Potter to everyone and his spirit still shone through like it did from the beginning. His eyes were wide with surprise and love as we all sang to him with candles burning. He giggled with glee as he opened his gifts, and he was bursting with excitement just to hug each visitor, truly grateful to have such an awesome family full of love.

On the morning of his birthday, we all sang to Wyatt in his bed…our tradition…then I hugged my man and teared a bit as his lanky legs wrapped all around my body, remembering the seven pound boy who once was too small for his car seat. We opened gifts and went out to an amazing breakfast. The thing about Wyatt is that he is sincere. He was sincerely thankful for each special thing we did…and it made it so much fun. After a breakfast at Newton’s Diner…pancakes and hashbrowns….we headed to the miniature golf course…another Wyatt birthday tradition…and this time…we ALL played. It was a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. Shopping a bit, Four Queens…and the morning was FULL! We then got to watch a movie together and snuggle and I made an early supper of homemade pizza (of course) while we ate more ice cream and treats. Then, when dad went off to the bike shop, mom took the boys back to the mini golf course to bounce on the bouncy pillow! Giggles and fun were had by all! It was about togetherness and love.

My soft-hearted munchkin had an awesome day…and so did Mom and Dad. He’s still that bright-eyed baby full of wonder ….no matter how old he gets. He’s still that love bug who napped in the crook of my arm…no matter how smart he becomes. And he’s still our dream come true, forever.

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Minnesota, NO, Minneapolis, NO, Minnesota

Filed under Uncategorized by brittanyjungck on 14-07-2012

Silas thinks we went on a trip to Minnesota. Moses thinks we went on a trip to Minneapolis. I think Wyatt had it all figured out and played along well. Regardless of the semantics, we had a fabulous time.

Once we got beyond all the packing and planning that went along with vacation, then we were ready to hit the road. Because we are in the process of potty training, we decided to pick a closeish destination. Plus, it gave us the perfect opportunity to try out our new car, a 2012 Prius V, on the open road for a long trip.

We took a leisurely route through the back roads up to Minneapolis, stopping on Rochester to eat at a Food-Coop famed for vegan and vegetarian meal options. I do have to say their vegan potato salad rocked my world. Silas and Moses filled up on pita chips until they were about to burst and Wyatt enjoyed couscous and an egg sandwich and we were on the road again.

Once we arrived, it was nearly 100 degrees and the kids had been such troopers being crammed in the car for so long. In the new car, they are all in a row which leaves plenty of opportunity for hitting and pinching, when they are in the mood, but they did a pretty good job…and nobody slept! Moses recognizes all of his letters now, so he had a great time looking at signs on the way to “Minney Apolises.” Silas bopped his head to every song on the radio and we went through about 17 library books. Wyatt ready TWO chapter books just on the way there. He is consuming up to eight books a week now. It is mind-boggling…and awesome.

So, we did some research on our phones on the way up (I love technology) and we found a city pool/waterpark that was about ten minutes from our hotel. We checked in, sunscreened up, and hit the road. We had an AWESOME time at the Apple Valley pool. There were fountains, and slides, and we did the lazy river as a family at least ten times. Wyatt and I tried some big slides, one that shot him about ten feet out the end! Wyatt showed off his skills from swimming lessons and we played in some waterfalls. Nobody got a sunburn…and everybody left happy. Silas and Moses have this song they sing when they are being superheroes, and I think the whole place had it memorized before we left. We ended the night with awesome pizza from a local place and a slumber party in our hotel room.

The next day was Mike’s to plan…and he took us to downtown Minneapolis to check out the farmers market. There was live music, HUNDREDS of booths, awesome samples and it was a ton of fun. We roamed around for quite a while and then headed over to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and we walked around for another two hours…climbing, posing, playing tag and being silly. The boys were getting a bit hungry about that time, so we drove over to St. Paul to a great coffee shop that had an entire room of toys for the kids. The boys thought they were in heaven, and Mike and I were when we ate some awesome veggie sandwiches and took a breather. Across the street, is the Riverview Theatre and here, families can enjoy movies for just $2! It is a vintage theatre from the 1950′s in mint condition..that is beautiful. We watched The Lorax and ate treats and, again, had an awesome time. Moses kept saying, “This is the best day.” Wyatt was beyond excited…and curling up with the three boys in the beautiful theatre was a nice memory.

Nap time was needed that night and then we took off for the zoo. Not the Minnesota Zoo, but the Como Zoo in St. Paul. A FREE zoo that is just the right size for our family…and we saw plenty of awesome animals…including an orangutan that came right up to the glass and shared a moment with us….she just stared through the glass and put her hand up and looked right into our eyes! It was awesome. We had a leisurely time and then checked out another AWESOME pizza place…Pizza Luce where Mike and I each ate an entire pizza ourselves! The boys got pizza and ice cream and we left happy :)

The next day brought another awesome coffee shop with more toys then a brief trip to the mall to check out some deals. We made it in and out in under two hours and avoided all the rides and crap for the kids! Score! We then had some awesome vegan Chinese and went to one of those yogurt buffets…we were STUFFED!

We did some research and found another pool in St. Paul that had fountains, four pools, animals to climb on, basketball hoops in the water…etc…and the entire family got in for $15! We had a nice walk and a drive through the city as we relaxed on our way back to the hotel. Dinner that night was in St. Paul and we went to an awesome diner, where we had a fabulous time and amazing meals. Mike had done some research and found a famous ice cream establishment was nearby…so we took the boys and waited only ten minutes in a line of about a hundred people to choose from over 50 flavors. HEAVEN! The boys loved it and I am still having dreams about their key lime pie ice cream. Mike always knows the way to this girl’s heart.

The next day was our last, but we took our time leaving the city. We went to the famous stone arch bridge and walked across the Mississippi River, then admired the waterfalls. We talked to joggers and bikers, took in the views and took a lot of pictures. It was an amazing site we won’t forget. There was a beautiful park nearby and the boys got to run around, and then we took off for yet another restaurant stop on our list…an AMAZING vegan/vegetarian diner. We held hands and walked around the neighborhood, then took our time leaving town….stopping several times along the way to enjoy the moment.

Was there screaming…yes! Did we get stressed at times? Yes! But it was also relaxing, incredibly fun, and so full of memories, that my heart could burst. Silas and Moses were amazed by everything they say…their excitement was electric. Wyatt was appreciative and inquisitive and was such a great helper. We didn’t do anything commercial, we just enjoyed the city in a very Jungck way…and we left full of great images for the love bank for years to come.

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One-Two-Three Times the Amazing…

Filed under Uncategorized by brittanyjungck on 07-04-2012

I can’t believe it happened. They are three. They are boys.

No longer the wrinkly, little worms of three years ago, no longer the chubby, teetering babies of two years ago…no longer the curious toddlers of last year. I have three boys in my house.

We really had an incredible weekend and it was an amazing way to end a fabulous March. We awoke and snuck up the stairs for our traditional “Happy Birthday” song. (We posted the video to Facebook). The boys smiled with wide eyes like saucers because the day was finally here. Birthday outfits were picked out and we gathered in the living room for a quick breakfast with Wyatt and Dad before school (and a few more photos).

I took the day off, as I always do for their bithdays, and I had planned a day jam-packed with fun…we had breakfast at my coffee shop, made a trip to Lowes, went to story hour at the library, explored a very wet park, had a picnic and then went to an indoor park with bouncy houses! They were ready for naps and then Dad and Wyatt came home for our traditional, birthday, homemade pizzas followed by Scratch cupcakes and ice cream (birthday cake flavored is their favorite) and then gift-opening.

The hit gifts were a musical guitar/keyboard…Silas opened it and said, “Yeah. I’m going to rock.” and Moses loves his new “iPad” which is really a Vtech alphabet game that resembles a giant cell phone. Watching them opening gifts, having conversations, and interacting like people really made me emotional and realize the personalities that were growing inside them. We are really a house full of five people…and I’m a bit sad that they are growing up so fast, but I’m also super excited to think about all the great memories ahead.

On Saturday, I ran the Fools 5k. This was my first race that I did when I got back into running two years ago…and I ran it ten minutes faster and placed pretty high in my age group this year. It’s really amazing that a person can do with determination. Running that race was symbolic for me as it always make me remember how limited I felt when I was too big/pregnant to even walk from my car to the back of Hy-Vee to buy milk…and now I am free to move wherever…and however long I like. My next race will by the Drake Relays Half Marathon on April 28th in Des Moines.

Wyatt concluded his indoor soccer season on Saturday by scoring another goal. He sure loves to celebrate, but his coach is very understanding as he is also very observant and loves to coach/encourage his fellow teammates. Sometimes, we have had to remind him to truly be an observer, as when it is his turn to wait on the sidelines, we often see him sneak in a kick when the ball comes a bit too close.

We received Wyatt’s report card on Saturday, too. He is officially reading at the 3rd/4th grade level…and he has a definite interest in Science and Social Studies. His teacher made a point about his ability to memorize facts that they only read once…he shared those with us this week…letting us know that the ocean can be up to seven miles deep.

Dozens of family members came to celebrate on Sunday and they got to experience the chaos that is the Jungck house with three boys, three dogs and a lot of unfamiliar faces getting everyone riled up. We always wish we had more time to talk to everyone, but the boys sure do feel special when people visit. They were especially excited to have the surprise guests of Mike’s sister, Rose and my Uncle Bryan in attendance.

Uncle Nate seemed to make a big impression on Moses, as he asked me later if he was the Incredible Hulk because he is so “big and strong.”

You will notice in some of the photos below that we had an active spring break. It was in the 70′s and 80′s and we were able to bike over 50 miles as a family. I also made a trip to San Diego to spend time with one of my best friends, Kari, we had some amazing adventures and ran a half marathon. We are already planning our next getaway.

Mike has been busy tying up another school year and he had ITBS testing this week. He is still building bikes and biking to his school…and his new part time job at one of the local bike shops. He gets to repair and assemble bikes and chat with good friends. He is enjoying it a lot. But, is already looking forward to summer and the “Adventures with Dad” that our crew will have….

We are planning a family vacation to Minneapolis this year…and it’s hard to believe it’s almost time to book the hotel. Time is evaporating yet again….but at least it’s evaporating with a smile.
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I hope you’re ready for pictures! I included the birthday ones first–our day of adventures with Mom and our small, family party…then our fun spring shots of the family from spring break….We are also pretty happy about the ones with Great Grandma and Great Grandpa on our special day of fun at the museum in Waterloo. Happy Jungck admiring!

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Coffee Shops, Sneezes, Soccer and Sunny Days

Filed under Uncategorized by brittanyjungck on 26-02-2012

Today is a typical Sunday in the Jungck house these days.

Mike is healing up from a great soccer game last night, a loss, but he scored a goal! We are gathered around the dining room table eating lunch and listening to some music (Beatles, of course), and I am resting my knees after a long, Saturday run. The little boys are currently covered in spaghetti sauce (they like to feed themselves these days—my floor is always dirty) and Wyatt just enjoyed a Liverpool soccer game, snuggled with Mike in the basement.

Our weekends are slightly busy with Mike’s soccer games and my training schedule starting to amp up for the season. My first race is two weeks from today (San Diego Half Marathon in Petco Park—with my best friend, Kari), and I am feeling ready if I can get over this cold that has decided to settle in over the past couple of days.

I’m starting the planning for a BIG birthday party next month…celebrating with Mom, Dad and Wyatt on the big day (I am taking the day off to take them to an indoor, inflatable playground and stuff them with sweets) and then the family and friends will come on April 1st for a Diego-themed fiesta. Three years seems impossible, but they are turning into such awesome people, I am coping with the transition a bit better than I thought.

Wyatt almost finishing 1st grade is a bit harder on the heart-strings. His reading fluency has now moved to the 4th/5th grade level with his comprehension at almost 3rd. He definitely understands everything he reads, but the comprehension tests are in writing in paragraph form as he moves up and his writing skills aren’t 4th/5th grade. Basketball season is over and soccer will begin next week…indoor in March and outdoor beginning Mid-April. He is so ready and excited. He gets out early every Wednesday and we get a little time together when I pick him up. His favorite thing to do is play games (board games or card games). He is into “garbage” a card game and loves any other type of game, too.

Each week, I try to take turns whether the twins or Wyatt get to take a weekend trip with my to my coffee shop. I drink coffee at Cup of Joe in Cedar Falls 4-5 times a week and they also have vegan treats that suit my fancy. The boys love to go and eat cookies and have a drink …and then we try out their selection of board games in this 1950′s style cafe.

Wyatt recently got to go to Mike’s school on a “teacher inservice day” and help him with his presentations. He is such a good helper and is really good in public situations. He can read an entire chapter book in one day in the corner, color for hours on end, or he is happy cleaning or helping out. Recently, Wyatt got to help Mike by writing meeting notes on the board for his principal. She is was so impressed with his work, that he earned a cupcake!

Mike is a year older now, joining me happily in 29dom. We actually got our first date in almost six months as one of his presents, thanks to Nana coming up to spend some time with the boys…he also was able to puchase a new bike to upgrade, too (he now has eight of varying ages, but he favors the late 70′s to early 80′s British models). We went to a move and enjoyed some brick-oven pizza at a local place in Cedar Falls. He is eyeing this year’s RAGBRAI route and he might ride the last few days again this year.

A couple of weeks ago, we got to go on another rare date, when my mom came up and played cars and snuggled. We got to catch another movie, which catches me up on some of my pre-Oscar goals, and we had a YUMMY vegetarian dinner at another local favorite place (Montage). Mike has been vegetarian for five months now and I have made it 13 months.

This sunny weather has allowed me to run a lot, which has been nice for training and stress. Government changes will definitely affect Hawkeye Community College this year, so at a minimum, my job responsibilities are likely to change…or my entire position could change. It is hard to say. I am planning a 5k, two 10ks, six half marathons, a marathon, and two ultra marathons this year. And even though I have been spoiled by this weather, I am looking forward to the sun on my face as I trot down the street.

It will be fun to take our four-legged family members to the park again. Atticus has gained his winter 5lbs, but is still under-weight for his breed. Alice has actually lost ten pounds since we’ve had her, but they likely overfed her and she never left her cage. Albie is up to a healthy weight now, and is starting to act less nervous and more happy. We think a summer of farmer’s markets, sprinklers in the yard, and walks to the park will be fun for all.

Silas and Moses will be starting a 3 year old preschool in August, as we put them on a couple of waiting lists this week. It will be costly and might involve mom teaching some extra classes, but we think they will enjoy meeting new friends, learning new rules and taking part in activities. We are hopeful that they will get in to Wyatt’s old preschool.

The boys are really starting to play well together. Last week, they started playing together in Wyatt’s room (and no fighting!), and they have recently inherited some of Wyatt’s old toys including a train and track that have them enthused. Like their brother, they really enjoy reading and coloring. Moses is step ahead of Silas in both…he remembers what is coming on certain pages and he can lay for hours coloring…staying in the lines pretty well. Silas plays pretend like a champ. He loves to play “cooking” and pretend that he is a tiger by putting various things down his pants like a tail…a play stethescope is his favorite (pictured below).

Moses has started telling jokes. His one this morning was…Knock Knock. Who’s there? Peanut butter. Peanut butter who? Peanut butter and tooties! It is funny for the three year old crowd. He is also OBSESSED with all of our electronic devices, and if he finds my phone can get it turned on, find the one game I have and be on level two, before I even know what happened!

Silas really likes to cook, for real. He helps me make waffles and pizza crust. He also will help fold laundry and is an awesome washcloth finder! Last week, when the two boys were ill with RSV, Moses was much sicker. Silas was such a helper and was truly concerned about his brother. He would hold his hand during the nebulizer and go and get him kleenex for his nose. He also stayed up last Monday (I work late teaching an extra class) and was trying out the potty when I came home. As soon as he heard me come in, though, he ran out (stark naken) and wrapped his arms around me with a sloppy kiss and an “I love you so much.” He is a lover, for sure.

Silas is still very clausterphobic. So, stud-muffin Dad scored big time at all of the follow-up doctor appointments by taking them up the stairs, all five stories. He definitely won a badge of honor for that one…they currently way 35lbs (Silas) and 37lbs (Moses)…so it is quite the workout.

Wyatt was invited to a birthday party for a friend last week, so it got him out of the house while the boys were sick. He got to run around and play, but it is such an awakening for him as he often realizes his maturity and the difference in house rules. As he gets older, we really notice that some of his friends have done nothing but play “kill games” with fake guns on video games…for nearly their entire childhood. He has met two really good friends..Caleb and Max…and at school they stick together. Their favorite is when they get to play “scooters” in PE and race them across the floors together.

So, things are still a bit messy and a bit crazy in the Jungck house, but we’re content with our wild house of eight-Jungckish, lovable, slightly weird beings…and we just buy a lot of paper towels and laundry detergent to cover the mess.

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New, Old, Same Wonderful….

Filed under Uncategorized by brittanyjungck on 01-01-2012

This New Year’s morning we woke up with house guests, some of our favorite people…Nathan, April and Valerie….

We had such a great time talking with them about our past and the great memories we’ve had and it got me thinking about the past year.

We accomplished great things this year, we saw amazing places, we visited fabulous friends and family, and we developed a greater appreciation for life.

While we traveled the mountains, made fun plans with old friends, biked across town, soccered in fields, adopted new, furry family members, taught needy children, read a million books, made our favorite veggie soups, celebrated birthdays and anniversaries,ran across multiple cities (1,099 miles in 2011, to be exact), tricked and treated, and enjoyed our friends…we did it all with love in our hearts.

We have a kooky, wild, energetic family with all the same worries of any other…we worry about catching colds, paying the bills, fixing the broken whatchamacallit on the vehicle, and whether our sons will be happy in school….

But through it all we love each other like a fierce army. This next year, I am sure we will run even more cookouts, road trips, bike trails, races and miles, school parties, playgrounds, dog parks, messes to clean and laundry to do (500 loads in 2011, to be exact), but through it all….I love him…he loves me…and we love our boys with a fierceness that could only be called….wonderful.

Hello 2012. I’m sure you’ll be wild, beautiful, stressful, and full of the joy of our family…created when one boy and one girl fell in love in an ice cream parlor and had a crazy dream of filling up a house with laughter (and laundry).

Below, please find photos of our favorite holiday moments….and enjoy your wonderfully, wild new year, too.

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Team Spirit, Holiday Spirit, and Boy Spirit…

Filed under Uncategorized by brittanyjungck on 13-12-2011

A new seaon is upon us in the Jungck House. We are wearing thicker coats and mis-matched mittens, mom is having a daily, cocoa nightcap, and letters to Santa have been penned. To say the boys are excited for this holidays is a definite understatement, although we are trying to keep it as laid back as possible.

Wyatt started basketball in November and Mike started his indoor soccer league on the same day. Last year, the boys were at such an awkward age, we were only able to catch one of Mike’s games. Now that they can sit somewhat still on bleachers and can be distracted by peanut butter sandwiches and crayons, we have already seen Daddy play three times. Mike is the coach of sorts, but all the guys take an active role. Two of his teammates are fellow teachers from his school, two are Zack and Steve Thune, longtime friends of ours, and others are friends from around town.

Mike was able to score two goals last week (one in each game of a double header), so he was pretty pumped about that. He enjoys the exercise and time with his team. The kids get such a kick out of seeing him play and you can hear, “Go Daddy! Run Daddy!” clear across the court. All three look forward to kicking the ball around with the “big boys” during halftime.

Wyatt has been playing basketball in a city league for 1st graders. He had had virtually zero exposure to the sport before his first game and he had to learn defense, shooting, dribbling, and everything as he went. As expected, he is a hustler and he has improved ASTONISHINGLY over four games. He is a firecracker on defense, going after the ball and getting rebounds (three in his last game). Sometimes we forget to dribble while we run with the ball…but that seems common, and we’ve even scored a few baskets. He’s the only lefty on the team, but he’s been doing great and seems to pick up on the strategy of passing and where to go rather than just running around.

Silas and Moses have been busy, too. They are learning things so quickly. Christmas songs are high on their list and they still enjoy dancing to music of any kind. They are regularly counting to sixteen and they are working on shapes. Moses seems very interseted in the moon and stars at the moment. When I take Wyatt to school, it is still dark out and we have to find the moon before we can get into the car.

The little boys really look forward to taking Wyatt to school (he goes to before school daycare in his school building each day) each day. They get to go inside and climb the steps. They often fight over who gets to push the button to open the door…then they count the balls in the “recess box” and they admire the art on the walls as we go to the lunchroom. Wyatt has been letting them take turns carrying his backpack each day which has been super-adorable.

Wyatt is still a little reading stud. He is devouring chapter books, often in a single day. The teachers think his reading fluency is probably around fourth grade, but he has to accompany each level with writing activities, which is slowing him down. He is in the 2nd grade room for reading right now, but has moved on to third grade work. He is on “level 29″ and his classmates are on 11-14. He is still obsessed with board games and when I was cleaning closets for the holidays I got out some of my games. He has been very into Yahtzee and I will often hear him up in his room rolling the dice. This is so me, as I was obsessed with that game for nearly a decade, playing the real, travel, and handheld version.

Silas and Moses are very into Christmas lights right now. We have been driving around a lot to look at them, and our neighbor has a giant Shrek Santa that is VERY popular. We get our dog food from Menards and we spent about 20 minutes in the store on Friday, admiring the trees and wreaths and lights. This year will really be exciting. The kids are all so excited about Santa, and I hope it continues for at least a few more years. Wyatt is getting to the age where he can still seem like my baby one second and so grown up the next. I wish I still had time to hold him all day.

As many of you know, we were all sick over Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving weekend. It was an exhausting weekend complete with 21 loads of laundry, a lot of disinfectant, and several trips for more pedialyte and tylenol. One of the pictures below shows a scene that I came home to after a quick run to Walgreens that weekend…a pile of sick, sleeping boys.

Mike and I have both read the Hunger Games books and we are looking forward to seeing the movie. We haven’t been on a date since our time in Chicago in August, so we are getting the itch. I am hoping there will be some good movies out around his birthday, but we usually get stuck with a bunch of holiday leftovers.

I’ve switched to cold weather gear, but I am still running away, trying to build my speed muscles back up after all the long-distance marathon training. My next big race is March 11th in San Diego, a half marathon finishing in Petco Park. I’m pretty excited, as I’m planning to stay with one of my best friends, whom I rarely get to see. Other than that, we are just keeping up with the rat race of taking care of doggies, driving kids around in our taxis, and watching television by the light of the Christmas tree.

It’s a crazy life, but we love the crazy.

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26.2 + Some Trees + 4.8 More = Ultramarathon Girl

Filed under Uncategorized by brittanyjungck on 22-11-2011

I have some friends who have completed ultramarathons before, and it always seemed so brutal even though they all seemed to complete them with grace and smiles. Albeit, most ultramarathoners are a bit more “zen” than this high-strung chick, but as I found out last Sunday, there’s nothing like the trails, beautiful scenes from nature, multiple hours of pain, and great people to help you find your true center.

The farthest I had ever run “off road” before November 13th, was seven miles. So, needless to say, I was more than a bit anxious. I was pretty worried about my ability to finish, to be honest, but what eased my mind was the certainty of my family and friends. So, going in, I was apprehensive, but much more relaxed than either of my marathons or any of my shorter races. When I went to sleep the night before, after having a great night out with my Uncle Bryan and Mike, I didn’t have split times streaming through my head. I didn’t have PR goals. I just slept, knowing I would need my sleep.

Mike and I checked out the park the night before. It was beautiful, with a streaming river going through an old mill at the shelter park. We walked calmly down the trails and took in the sights…so I was pretty centered when we pulled up to the parking lot at 6:45 AM…there were other runners, bundled up, walking everywhere with bags of junk food and pot luck dishes…and we made camp. The check-in procedure was pretty laid back, we all signed in a notebook and dropped cash in a “free will” bucket. Done. Now we just had to run.

Mike rubbed my shoulders and tried to calm me down. I just kept walking in place as I looked around for flags or paint to determine which way we would be running. I tried to listen to others to hear how hard the course would be, and then I decided I didn’t want to know. After a group picture and a pep talk…it was 7:30. A quick kiss from Mr. Jungck, and I was off, following the heard of around 150 runners across the parking lot, street, down the ditch and into the trees.

The rumors were that the course was hilly. It was not a lie. At first, it didn’t seem bad, as we were immediately greeted with a slight, gradual grade up hill…then it got steeper and steeper until we were at a slight plateau….only to go down a major downhill that slammed my teeth together like hammers and my eyes bobbed around in my head like goldfish in a bowl. If I only knew this was just the beginning. We pounded over bridges, up and down more small hills, around a corner and started running on the rocks along the crick and bluffs…it was beautiful and feeling the huge rock at your side made you feel powerful and peaceful at the same time. There were rock stairs, wood beams, and mainly single-double track paths covered in leaves…which made the paths beautiful…and dangerous.

We then met an incline that lasted .68 miles. I measured. It started at a bearable grade, then got to what I call–the teeth-gritting grade, still able to plug along, then to the calf-biting grade..up to a road…then across a road to a set of very steep stairs, that were mainly walkable…only to be met with another gradual incline…that seemed to never end.

We rounded another corner and did several more ups and downs of six to ten feet and then were met with a serious, .15 mile downhill…dirt…and tree roots everywhere. Pretty serious…it rocked my body and I was still numb when I went across a swaying bridge and crossed to see a mountain. Okay…not a mountain, but by loop three, it had become a mountain…and by loop five, Everest.

This was an agonizing hill that climbed at an intense grade that made you grunt, cry, and yelp as you climbed, only to be greeted with yet another gradual uphill…of course. Then, some nice grassy portions for over a mile through some trees, skipping around walnuts and hedge apples up and down very steep, grassy and dirt hills, weaving around a couple of sharp corners …to my favorite part. The pine trees. On this part of the course, after another hill, you ran underneath a forest of pine trees, where the lowest branches were still higher than your head…it was darkish, with soft needles beneath your feet, and a light at the end of each break. This went on, off and on, for another half mile. I was already tired, and by this point we had spread out a bit. I was running alone for now…I looked down at my watch for the first time, seeing that I was going at a slower-start pace for me, but still too fast…9:09/mile and we were only 2.7 in….I backed off and took a long swig of water….after a bit more, the trees finally broke and the campground was in sight. Cones led to a picnic table with food and Gatorade.

When I arrived, I had pulled up behind a guy I had recognized as a pacer from the Des Moines Marathon. His name was Paul. He looked at me and said, “I’m feeling good. Ready to turn around and head back?” I nodded and there we set off…trotting away.

My mind raced at the thought of doing all this again…backward. The hills were scars in my memory and I, of course, was realizing that I would be seeing them all nine more times. Not a good thing to think about when you have 90% of your race to go. Paul kept my mind busy, though. I still had my headphones off and we talked the rest of the way back. He told me to walk the big hills to conserve my energy and he talked about his races. I learned about his marathons. That his PR was in Des Moines several years ago, and that he had done all ten Des Moines Marathons. He had started doing ultras after coaching his wife through her first marathon in Chicago in 1998. He had done Muddy Monsters, races across Canada, and marathons in many of the states…his stories filled my mind and kept me distracted.

Before I knew it, we had finished loop one in about 1:09, a decent clip considering the terrain. Everyone was warm…we had discovered that the 35 mile per hour wind gusts could only be felt in a few places, and otherwise, it was quite warm in the trees, so several people switched into short sleeves, including myself. I looked at Mike, so grateful to see his face. I don’t usually get to see him during a race, let alone hug him. I hugged him, he helped me find my supplies, he refilled my water, I grabbed some trail mix and a banana, and I said, “This is way, way harder than I thought.” Mike just said, “You can do it.”

Paul was ready to go, and we took off again, across the street. We were feeling good for loop two and we kept with our strategy, plugging away around 9:45/mile pace but walking the steep hills. We both grabbed Oreos at the turnaround and filled our liquids…and we had a great run back. Paul told me about his family, and I told him about my races…he was surprised to learn I had three kids, and we actually found we had a lot in common with work…Paul being an engineer and working with manufacturers. He loved to talk about his races, so I mainly listened. When I fell back, I told him to leave me behind, and he did the same…”Run your own race,” he kept saying. But neither of us wanted to really let the other get to far.

We whipped down the last mile of the second loop with smiles, but realizing our exhaustion. We both decided to hit the restroom and grab some food. I gave Mike a hug and kiss, threw him my bottle and grabbed a brownie. Then he made me a pb sandwich and I waved at my Uncle Bryan who had come out. “This is really hard. Like really hard,” was pretty much all I could say. Mike just nodded. He had seen everyone else coming back saying the same thing. Many, many people stopped after just two loops. Paul and I were ready to go again.

This one hurt a lot more. A lot. We hit that incline at the beginning and realized our legs were tired. “Yeah. This doesn’t feel too great,” I said aloud. Paul said, “We were kinda reckless on the last one, we’ll feel it on this one.” We did. We trotted forward but it felt like I had rubber in my bones. I was feeling a bit lightheaded at the turnaround…and those “danger burps” were starting to come. Shit. I’m going to barf. Just as I was thinking this, I got too distracted and I fell pretty hard right on my face. Several people came to my aid, and Paul stopped, but he smiled. “You’re okay. Let’s go.” There was dirt covering my right side, including my water bottle. But we kept going. I was dying to see Mike. I needed a distraction from my rumbling tummy…another mile passed…then, first I choked, then I barfed. It was glorious. We had been running for over 3.5 hours and I was pretty impressed with that…I shared my amazement with Paul after I caught my breath. “There’s still a long day ahead of us,” he said.

He was right. The barfing continued down the rest of loop three and I greeted Mike again, looking much less confident. I was green, whiney, and icky. I found some food and some drink and stretched a bit. Mike hugged me again, this was truly the best part. In what other races do you get to see your family every few miles and feel like you have time for hugs?!

Paul was ready to go, so he took off. I left 30 seconds later. “I’m not promising two more loops. This feels awful.” I told Mike as I left. He nodded with a smile…and we started again. Some people seemed surprised to see me trying the fourth loop. The leader had just finished all five and we, the middle of the pack, were heading out again. By this time, we had dropped more than half of our field and I would guess only about 60 were hanging in with less than 15 being women…

Paul got ahead of my on this lap because he does not like vomit. And I barfed the whole way back up. It was miserable. Darn Orange GU. Never again. I was thankful for my water in my bottle and I just hydrated while I climbed. My hip was starting to hurt, my hands and legs were shaking with fatigue and hunger…and I was lightheaded as I went down the hills and across the bridges. Paul was having serious calf issues and he had waited for me at the turnaround, trying to stretch them out….we stumbled back.

You know the course is hard when someone like Paul considers stopping. I was already looking at my watch…telling myself that I had gone over 22 miles and ran for nearly 5 hours, I could be happy with that…Paul agreed. Then, a mile later he said that his dad was about to die of Parkinson’s…and hadn’t been able to do anything for quite some time. He decided he was going to finish no matter what…it was just the reminder I needed that my hip wasn’t that sore…my feet weren’t throbbing that bad, the feeling in my hands and lips would come back…and there would always be tomorrow to try this again. We might slow down, but we would keep going.

I beat Paul down the fourth loop, with his calves, he was in a lot of pain…but I was wiped…emotionally and physically after this loop. Mike tried to feed me, but I was afraid to vomit. I tried to eat a pretzel, but it just sat in my mouth, coating it with salt. I wanted to sit down, but I knew I wouldn’t get up…a volunteer saw my symptoms and ran to her car and returned with some electrolyte pills. I took two and asked my amazing hubby to walk with me back out.

We crossed the street and into the trees. “I hurt so bad. I don’t know if I can do this whole loop,” I told him. Paul was long gone, trying to get it done and I was weakening in my spirit. We walked a bit further and I turned to Mike and said, “Please don’t be disappointed if I can’t do it all.” He looked at me and said, “I’m so proud of you, but I KNOW you can do it.” He hugged me and turned back…I was out again.

The other runners really kept me going the last two loops. They had been so, so friendly all day…yelling “Good job, Hang in There, Looking Good, or Keep it Up”…People took care of each other. They stopped to check on me when I fell…again. They gave me water when I barfed…again. I yelled for the girl in the orange bandana that was an hour and a half behind me because I knew just how badly she wanted it, too….

It took me over 44 minutes to get to the turnaround on the last loop, then I met up with Bonnie, a veteran runner who has done 100 mile races, 24 hour races, and more…she said, “Honey. You’re going to finish with us.” We chatted. I learned about her races…I ate another Oreo (what did I have to lose? Chocolate barf is better than Gatorade barf.) As we turned around again, I realized we had been running for more than SEVEN hours. Mind boggling. I had been watching each hour throughout the day…and it made my long, Saturday runs of the past seem cake. 28 miles so far…my furthest ever. We limped back…running…walking up the hills…then hitting the last mile and suddenly our feet woke up.

We hit 10:00/mile pace, which I hadn’t seen in almost two hours, and we stretched our calves out. Our feet kissed the ground, instead of punching it, and we hit the ditch and floated to the top…to the street…where Mike was waiting in the sun. I made sure to go around every cone and then my body rocked to a stop. The end.

I smiled. I had done it. 50k. I had survived. One of few. An amazing day on a tough course and my boundaries of my body and my mind were pushed even further. Paul found me and gave me a high five and a hand shake. I thanked Bonnie for bringing me home…and I smiled…a lot. I hugged Mike and smelled his warm arms and I thought about all the time spent thinking on the trails.

In seven hours and thirty-seven minutes of running, you have time to evaluate who you are…who you want to be…and what is important. What 50k shows you, is that your legs can do anything…but your heart is in charge. You have to lead with your heart and sometimes shut out your mind. Your heart will bring you to exactly where you were supposed to be. On this day, that was the finish line. I was proud. I was happy. The perfect day…great people…great running…and a quiet drive home into the sunset with him. I couldn’t have dreamed it better.

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Sporty, Silly, Sicky, Singing Boys

Filed under Uncategorized by brittanyjungck on 19-11-2011

We have had some germs lately, by golly. That is my least favorite part of this year. In the past two weeks, we have had colds, allergies, five bouts of flu (Silas twice, Wyatt once, and Mike and Britt each), and Wyatt has had pink eye. This past week at work, I had to leave three times for sick kids, or to be sick myself. It makes it hard to get a lot done.

I work on a Congressional appropriation (grant issued by US Congress) and our project is due to conclude December 31st. This has things unbelievably busy at work, as this project is ON TOP of our finals, construction of a new building, and other demands.

The first week of November brought some fun, new activities to the Jungck House, though. Wyatt began 1st grade soccer. This takes place at Mike’s school, and he is learning quite a few fundamentals in just a couple of weeks. He has never played at all before, so it is all new to him. We like him to try things that don’t come easily, as it is better for him to learn to deal with adversity. School comes so easily, this is where he can be challenged. His volunteer coaches are really good and sweet, students from the high school and UNI.

Mike has started his soccer season, too. He so looks forward to this part of the year. His friends have so much fun, he gets to be a leader, and he enjoys taking part in the sport he loves so much. They don’t exactly win a lot of games, but they always finish with a smile. Now that Wyatt can keep track of the scores, he always worries that Mike will be upset if he loses. He’s just happy to end without pain. They have been practicing quite a bit and they seem much improved over last year so far. The season has two parts and will keep going, on and off, until March.

Silas is such a goober. He loves to come down first thing in the morning and race over to the baby gate by our room and ask for a hug and a kiss. Moses gives me a kiss, but he loves to ask for food first :) Silas has been having a fit-phase lately, and if he doesn’t get his way, he’s on the floor, kicking and repeating his wish over an over…”Fruit Snacks NOW, Fruit Snacks, NOW.” This hasn’t been much fun. But then, he can be so cute at the same time. He loves to sing in the car…and will often just break out in the ABC’s and impress us. He still really isn’t in to “learning things by suggestion.” We know he knows more than he will share but he is NOT a performer.

Moses is shy, but he loves to sing. If you peak behind you in the car, he often sings along to the radio, and if they are singing about “putting your hands up,” his will be in the air. But, if you look at him, he’ll stop. Then smile. He has added pink, gray, and white to his colors he knows, and he recognizes 16 letters by sight. We discovered this when they broke into Wyatt’s Scrabble game. Moses picked up a tile, and said, “Hey…what’s this, Mom?” I’d say, “I don’t know.” Moses would say, “It’s a Q, silly!”

The future plans include going to Nana Martha’s and Mark’s for Thanksgiving. Now that Mike and I are BOTH vegetarians, we won’t be eating turkey, but we have many yummy things planned including sweets, macaroni and cheese (a new recipe we found), apple-walnut stuffing, and black bean soup. Wyatt is looking forward to spending time with cousin Tristan.

Then the holiday craziness begins. It always brings stress, but the twins are SO excited every time they see a tree or a Santa…they squeal with glee and SCREAM…”Chismassss!” I suspect there will be a lot of smiles in our future. There always are.

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