Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Interrupted Goals

One of the most discouraging things about my last pregnancy was putting aside many of my own goals and dreams for a time. Pregnancy is hard on me, particularly the first three awful months when the nausea is overpowering. Getting through it means sacrificing many of the extras and getting down to just the essentials.

We wanted Katie very much (even before we knew how great she was!) and we were blessed to conceive quickly. But still, I had to put a lot of my projects on hold in order to focus on nurturing this new life, and I cried at times about the things I had to put on hold.

One of those things was my own physical fitness goals. I took up running that summer (after Harmony finally started sleeping through the night), and I ran my first 5K at the peak of my morning sickness, at 12 weeks along. I ran a few miles several times a week until I was six months along and it made a huge difference in those final months (I never got that desperate get-this-baby-out-now feeling the last months like I usually do). But the weight loss I was finally enjoying -- 12 lbs down and hoping for more -- had to wait.

When Katie was born, I was anxious to get back in shape and try to start losing the weight. I ended the pregnancy ten pounds heavier, and while I did add exercise back to my routine, her horrible sleep habits (and my constant exhaustion) left me unable to lose any of that weight. In fact, I gained another eight pounds during those eight trying months.

But, like the scripture that says, "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you shall find it after many days," (Ecclesiastes 11:1) I'm feeling so blessed to once again be making progress in my fitness goals, even if there was a challenging 18-month interruption to them.

I've completed 6 weeks of training for my half marathon, using a modified version of this schedule (I started a week early and repeated week 5 because of my Chicago trip). My longest run so far is 7 miles, and I'm gearing up for 8 miles this week. I have seven weeks to go and six more miles to add to my long run to be ready for my race on June 11th.

Here's what I've run:
Week one: 2, 2.5, 3, 2 = 9.5 total miles
Week two: 2.5, 3, 1.5, 4 = 11 total miles
Week three: 3, 2, 1, 3, 5, 2 = 16 total miles (that was a good week)
Week four: 2, 2, 6, 3 = 13 total miles (plus a 3 mile walk on a rest day)
Week five: 2.6 miles along Lake Michigan, 7 = 9.6 total miles (plus tons and tons of walking all over Chicago)
Week six: 4, 3, 7, 2 = 16 total miles

My long runs are killing me, but some of the shorter runs are getting easier and I'm starting to enjoy some of the miles -- I loved almost all of my four mile run in the rain last week, half of the seven mile run, and I especially enjoyed my two mile recovery run last Saturday. Sarah came with me on her bike and we had a great time together.

I still hate running most of the time, however, so I'm signing up for another half marathon in August to help me with that. The first half marathon will be to prove to myself I can do it; the second will prove that I can enjoy it, too -- at least that's what I'm hoping! I think it will be like running over a hill. Sometimes the only thing that gets me up the hill is knowing that I get to run down it on the way back. My first half marathon is going to really test me and will take all the strength I have. The second will be easier. Knowing I've already done one successfully will keep me from the doubts I battle now, and my body will be more used to the long distances by then.

And I will need both runs to keep me motivated long enough to lose the rest of the extra weight I'm carrying around. Because that's the other goal I'm progressing well on. I joined Weight Watchers and it has helped me tremendously because I track everything I eat. I know when I can indulge in a treat and still lose weight and when to refrain. I'm changing my portions, I'm eating more fruits and vegetables, and -- hurray! -- I'm down over 15 lbs so far, and I have just a few to go before I'm where I was before my last pregnancy.

I feel like I'm turning back the clock as I lose. If I can lose another 15 lbs in the seven weeks before my race, then I'll be the same weight I was three kids ago. If I lose another ten after that, I'll be the same weight I was seven kids ago. Another fifteen after that and I'm back to the weight I was at my wedding and I can begin to focus on maintaining it.

Were we really THAT young?

I'm trying to set small goals and remember that slow and steady wins the race, and I'm also keeping in mind that I may have to put these goals on hold for another 18 months if #9 decides to show up sooner than I'm expecting. But in the meantime, I've set aside most of my other projects and goals (including this much-neglected blog) to give this as much as I've got.

In some ways, the interruption to my goal has been good. I'm more determined now because I've had to wait and I'm hitting it harder because I know I have just a small window of time to devote to this. I'm learning my body can do amazing things -- like run for 90 minutes straight! -- and I'm learning a lot of important lessons from pushing myself.

What have you learned about interrupted goals? What areas of your life are you trying to improve on? Any advice for me from you seasoned runners?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Q&A Thursday: How do you decide who goes on trips?

This question is related to my Chicago trip last week:
So my question is how do you decide which kiddies to take on trips -- obviously the youngest, but then what?
I really don't leave my kids very often. I've only been away overnight from my kids four times in the last twelve years, and almost always, we've taken a child or two with us:

1. We spent one night in a nearby hotel for our 5th anniversary. I was three weeks away from delivering Michael, Lillian was 3 and Joey was 18 months. My in-laws stayed with them.

2. We had an amazing, wonderful, memory-filled trip to Armenia in 2007, where we visited my husband's parents, serving a three-year mission for our Church. On the way back, we enjoyed four lovely days in Paris, which lives up to its hype as a gorgeous city.

At a 2nd-century Roman site in Armenia:

At a monastary near Mount Ararat (tradition says this mountain is where Noah landed):
In beautiful Paris:

Rulon Gardner, of gold medal (and more recently, Biggest Loser) fame sat behind us on the plane ride home and was gracious enough to take a photo with Joey:

We left Lillian (8), Michael (5), and Allison and Sarah (2.75) behind with my brother and sister-in-law and some helpful neighbors (thanks, Justin, Gina, Val and Kirsten. I still owe you big time!). We brought Joey, age 6, and Eliza, age 6 months with us. Bringing Eliza was an easy choice -- she was free to fly and still nursing.

Lillian was frightened of flying, and honestly, we didn't think the twins could handle being away from both their mother and their favorite sister who knew all their routines (that girl has always been amazing!). We chose to take Joey because of his adventurous nature -- he's a born explorer and a delight to travel with. We also brought him because, well, at that time, if there were problems or fighting at home, he was always in the middle of it. He may not always have been the cause of the problems, but he was certainly involved. We knew it would make for an easier group at home if we brought him along, though with two-year-old twins in the mix, easier is relative.

3. Last summer, my husband and I spent six beautiful days in Boston, with three-month-old Katie along (a much easier age to travel with). My mother-in-law stayed home with the other seven, ages 11 down to 2 -- a brave woman!


4. Last week, Joey, Katie and I tagged along to Chicago with DH. My husband was busy all day for three days straight and it wouldn't have been much fun for me to explore alone. It was great to have Joey along.

While I haven't left my kids much, my husband does take some of them along sometimes on business trips and at other times for Daddy Trips. We choose who to take based on these criteria:

* Age. The kids who go on the long daddy trips have to be over three. Those that go on business trips need to be at least nine or ten. Lillian and Joey are the only ones old enough so far to be left alone while my husband attends conferences. They both like to read and can do that for several hours at a time while DH is in classes and presentations (though he also stays an extra day or so when he brings kids along so they can have more concentrated time to explore). Lillian's been to New York and Chicago, and Joey's been to San Francisco, Denver, and Chicago on these tag-along trips. Michael is old enough to enjoy the sights but hates to be alone so it will probably be several years before he goes.

* Interest level. Lillian's stayed home from several trips (like last October's San Diego trip and January's Arizona one) because she likes the quiet and peace at home.

* (Roughly) Equal turns. Lillian went to Chicago two years ago with my husband, so it was Joey's turn last week. We try to be somewhat fair, although I know it will be a little trickier when we have more older kids.

* Willingness to Work for it. Big trips like last week's aren't free for the taking; we charge our kids work hours for their part. For Lillian's first trip to Chicago, she actually earned half of the cost of it, saving up her money for nine long months, but since then we've switched to work hours. Our older kids earn work hours by doing extra jobs like babysitting, yard work, or whatever else we can devise. Joey earned fifty hours for this last trip to Chicago. A lot of that was spent taking Harmony outside to play, but some of it was moving boxes around our storage area, banging off the remaining rebar and concrete from our cold storage area, and really working hard. Michael even worked a couple hours and donated them to Joey's total -- I love it when my kids help each other!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Three Musketeers (Wordless Wednesday)



Michael and his two best friends. We call them his "pirate crew" or "the Three Musketeers." They're a great group.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In just one day . . .

Thing two spilled water all over the floor twice, got into my purse, pulled out all my photography props, and left a trail of cracker crumbs throughout two rooms (crackers she wasn't supposed to be into).

Thing one snuck into her brother's room and dumped out several bins of Legos, then got into our family's rock collection, and got into the family's art supplies.

Thing two took off her diaper and sat on the floor with a poopy bum, ripped up two books, squeezed her baby sister too tight, screamed at all of us, and dumped out several drawers of her sister's clothes.

Thing one was found to be hiding six of thing two's pacifiers in her room, refused to let thing two play with her, and then cut her own hair twice.

These two . . .
. . . are keeping me humble.

Why can't they just play nicely with their toys?

And why does it have to rain all day in the spring?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Guest Posting today!

I'm the guest poster today over at Women in the Scriptures, talking about what Family Home Evening looks like at our house.

Check it out! If you leave a comment or participate in a blog hop, you'll be entered to win some way cool prizes -- see the details here.

By the way, I spent Sunday to Wednesday enjoying Chicago with Joey and Katie while DH was at a conference. My advice for those thinking of traveling with an 11-month-old? Don't. We had a great time, but Katie was really cranky after missing some naps, being stuck in a stroller and being away from the familiar. The plane ride home was particularly frustrating.
It was good to be reminded of how much Katie's pleasant personality is due to a consistent and regular sleep habits.
But overall, it was worth it. We had a great time, thanks to the kindness of my mother-in-law, who watched the other six, and some helpful neighbors, who welcomed them for playdates to give her a break.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Why life is hard (Favorites Friday)

If your life is always easy, with a doting husband, perfectly behaved children, financial security, prosperous health, and no worries, feel free to skip this post.

Still reading? You mean your life isn't perfect?

Neither is mine.

Which is why I found this message so moving. Click on "watch" or "listen" to hear the words, or simply read.

I guarantee you'll feel a little better about your tough times.

Some of my favorite quotes:
"At times it may seem that our trials are focused on areas of our lives and parts of our souls with which we seem least able to cope. Since personal growth is an intended outcome of these challenges, it should come as no surprise that the trials can be very personal—almost laser guided to our particular needs or weaknesses."

"A pattern in the scriptures and in life shows that many times the darkest, most dangerous tests immediately precede remarkable events and tremendous growth. “After much tribulation come the blessings.”

"In the midst of problems, it is nearly impossible to see that the coming blessings far outweigh the pain, humiliation, or heartbreak we may be experiencing at the time. “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” The Apostle Paul taught, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” It is interesting that Paul uses the term “light affliction.” This comes from a person who was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned, and who experienced many other trials. I doubt many of us would label our afflictions light. Yet in comparison to the blessings and growth we ultimately receive, both in this life and in eternity, our afflictions truly are light."

"Sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without any struggle. But growth cannot come by taking the easy way. We clearly understand that an athlete who resists rigorous training will never become a world-class athlete. We must be careful that we don’t resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature.

"Not one of the trials and tribulations we face is beyond our limits, because we have access to help from the Lord. We can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us."

"Someday when we get to the other side of the veil, we want more than for someone just to tell us, “Well, you’re done.” Instead, we want the Lord to say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” "

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Pushing for something (Wordless Wednesday)

Last fall, Allison decided to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels. Last week, Sarah decided it was her turn to learn. After a few bumps and nearly knocking down an elderly neighbor (oops), she figured it out!







Sunday, April 03, 2011

Spring in Utah

First, three glorious days of playing outside and loving these beauties right by my front door:


and then, waking up this morning to this:
Just a typical spring here!

At least I had something wonderful to listen to this weekend.

And some exciting news to celebrate:
a new temple is going to be built in my hometown of Meridian, Idaho!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Thinking of Having Kids? An 11-step Program (Friday Favorites)

This is one of those email shares that is authorless -- if anyone has a source, please let me know.

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.

2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.

3. Go home.

4. Pick up the paper.

5. Read it for the last time.



Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...

1. Methods of discipline.

2. Lack of patience.

3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.

4. Allowing their children to run wild.

5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.



Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...

1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)

2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.

3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.

4. Set the alarm for 3AM.

5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.

6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.

7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.

8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.

9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.



Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? To find out...

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.

2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.

3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.

4. Then rub them on the clean walls.

5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.

6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?



Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.

2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.



Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.

1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.

Leave it there.

2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.

3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.

4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.



Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.



Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.

2. Make a small hole in the side.

3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.

4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.

5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.

6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.



Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.



Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.



Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent!

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