Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My nine (Wordless Wednesday)

For Mother's Day, I asked my kids to let me get a picture of all of them together.  It was mid-day and a bit too bright, even in the shade, but I love how these turned out.


I'm blessed to share my life with such great people!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Musings

I've really gotten out of the habit of blogging.  For those who are hanging on my every word (someone?  anyone?), I apologize. If it makes you feel any better, I've gotten pretty lazy with taking pictures too, using my blurry phone camera instead of my good one.

But so you know I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, here's a bit of what's going on in my world:

I'm still running and feeling great about it.  I'm up to about 25 miles a week and the best part about it is that I'm getting faster -- a lot faster.  I'm dropping seconds and minutes from my runs all the time and it feels great.  My fastest 3 miler was at a 9:30 pace.  I ran my second half marathon on Saturday and though I knew I could do better than my 2:30 from six weeks ago, I wasn't sure it was possible to get a 2:20 (10:40 pace).  My longer runs have gotten faster, but I'd never done less than 11:05 pace on them so I figured I'd shoot for a 2:25 or so and see how it went.

Ready to go at the start:
 And, ringing the PR bell at the finish, with a time of 2:18!  That's a 10:33 pace!  I'm super proud.  And yes, I know that pace is still slow for many, but for a gal who was used to running at the back of the pack, it feels awesome. 

Next up for me is running the Wasatch Back Ragnar with a friend next week.  I've got two killer legs -- one drops 1200 feet in just 3 miles of its 7 miles, another gains over a thousand in 8 miles -- then one easy final leg.  It should be fun.

Then I plan to finish off the summer with the Hobble Creek Half in August.  It's ten weeks away and I'm excited to see how much I can improve in that time.

My running partner (and Ragnar friend) moved away a month ago and I miss having conversation during my long runs.  The best part of running, though, is the scenery I get to enjoy while I do it:


The frustrating thing is that though I'm gaining fitness, I really haven't lost much of the weight I gained last fall when I had my thyroid problems.  I lost ten pounds the first few months of the year and while I've kept that off, I keep gaining and losing the next five pounds.  I gave up on Weight Watchers a month ago because it wasn't working for me this time, but I've determined that I'm going to tackle this again and see what I can do in the next ten weeks.  On the one hand, it's pretty amazing I can be 30 lbs overweight and able to run strong.  On the other, I'd really, really like all that running to help me get slimmer.  Not to mention, I'm sure I'll get faster when I'm not carrying around extra weight.

Many people have asked if I'm planning on another marathon this year.  I'm not.  I've decided to focus on the half marathon distance and improving my pace for now.  I don't want to get injured like the last time I ran a marathon so I'm waiting until I have a stronger base and I've lost more weight before I build up to that distance again.  II'm sure I'll be doing another marathon in the next few years.

We've had two fun weeks of summer and things are going so smoothly.  We spent last week in Park City and while my husband had to stay home a good part of the week and my oldest was at girls camp, the rest of us had fun doing crafts, swimming, hiking, and going to the zoo.

Our regular summer schedule is going well.  I've divided the six oldest kids (ages 6 to 14) into three teams, with Lillian, Joey and Michael being the team leader and Allison, Sarah and Eliza being a helper. Each team has certain jobs each day. Each month, the team will change and the jobs will rotate. The kids will continue to have some individual jobs, such as five minute madness after scriptures and after meals, as well as their own room cleaning. Here is what each team is doing:

Team 1: Inspect bedrooms in the morning, make lunch, clean up lunch, then for zones in the afternoon, pick up mudroom, entryway, family office, and great room.
Team 2: Breakfast clean-up, then for zones in the afternoon, clean downstairs family room and toy area and clean up outside toys and bikes.
Team 3: Dinner planning and grocery lists every week, make dinner, and dinner clean up

I've been exercising at 6:30 or 6:45 in the morning, and then we have scriptures at 8:00.  After scriptures and five minute madness, we get rooms cleaned and have breakfast in the morning before our morning activities.

MONDAY – Backyard Weeding + Forest Clearing
TUESDAY – Piano Lessons and Library 

 WEDNESDAY – Work Project (I have a different one on the calendar for each week)
THURSDAY – Horseback Riding
FRIDAY – Front & Side Yard Weeding + Lawn Mowed
SATURDAY – Family Work Day

After lunch, we have quiet time and naps for Cami (and usually me -- wish I didn't still need them), then an afternoon adventure. On one day, my husband is going to try to come home a bit early so we can go hiking. Two other days, we go swimming at the rec center and the other two days are open.

We've also set the family rule that no one over 8 can do any media activities until they've read for 15 minutes in the scriptures. We want to try to establish personal scripture study as a habit and goal for our family this summer.  So far, it's working pretty well.  We usually only have media during quiet time in the afternoon and then in the evening.


When we built our house, we did it a bit unconventionally.  I wanted to have a second floor with the bedrooms arranged around a main gathering room, but when we got estimates on what it would cost to have that be an upper floor, it was out of our reach.  We decided to put that idea to work in our basement area instead.  We love our house and love having all the bedrooms in the basement.  Because it's a walk-out basement with big windows and only two window wells, it doesn't feel much like a basement.  It's nice and cool in the summer and we love using our fireplace in the winter.

In the place of a second floor bedroom area, we added on what is usually called "bonus space" in our upstairs.  Because all the space is between the roof trusses that have to go on a house anyway, the builders estimated it would cost us about 40% of the price of regular finished space.  So, we put it in and left it unfinished for the last six years.

But recently, we've been working on refinancing our house to a better rate and realized we needed it finished to get the appraisal we need for the best financing.  So, for the last two weeks our house has been a construction zone.  All the kids helped us move our storage out of there and my husband and Joey have worked a ton helping the electrician with his work and in trying to clean up and move things along.  We've had HVAC guys and plumbers here and it's been a bit crazy.  The drywallers showed up yesterday and will be here all week.  When we're finished, we'll have a couple of bedrooms, two bathrooms and even a laundry area up there.  We'll use one as a playroom (to become a library later on), one as a craft room and photography studio (exciting to contemplate, though I don't know what to buy for indoor lighting and that part might be a ways off).  The other rooms will be for guests and eventually, a place for our college-age kids to live.  We want to keep our kids close in proximity while they're young and since we have six bedrooms downstairs, we have enough space for them to stay put for now.

My thoughts and prayers have been with my friend Jenifer Moss this past week.  You may remember her from the wonderful guest post she wrote for me last fall.  Jen delivered her eighth child, Benjamin, last Thursday via a planned C-section followed by a 10.5 hour operation to save Jen's life.  She had a condition called placenta percreta, where the placenta grew through her uterus and spread through the rest of her organs.  It is very dangerous because the placenta is so full of blood vessels that the risk of bleeding to death is high (a local woman died of this condition a month ago).  Jen had good doctors and a ton of faith and chose to give her baby the gift of life (I love this post she wrote about her choice: Greater love).

I'm so happy and humbled that Jen is all right and on the road to recovery, though she has a lot to recover from.  If you have a chance, please read her story and send up a prayer for her and her family.


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