Monday, August 29, 2011

School Supper and Shuttle

Yes, I am reduced to the cute kitty passed out in his bowl of food for this post. This is how I feel tonight.

Today was a day in which I feel very blessed to be needed - and even more so that I can complete everything that everyone needed me to do.

We started school today. My 8th grader, 4th grader and pre-schooler were at the table ready to learn at 9am. My 22mo old daycare sweety and our 2 year old son came along to color in coloring books and cheer on their older counterparts.

Or to swipe their pencils, try to crumple their pages, and cry when the allotted 5.1 second attention span of a toddler was up.

Either way - choose your scene.

The older kids did great - we completed our morning work early enough to have 20 extra minutes out doors. I made something simple for lunch and we even got to watch 40 minutes of TV during lunch. All praise God our Father, those 3 nappers took champion naps today and the big kids and I got down with some Math, Science, and Electives in the afternoon. All told, it went well. I passed out on the floor while Alahnnah was reading Little House in the Big Woods - but only missed about 5 minutes of that.

I made an extra-super-duper sized supper and boxed some up for a couple that has had a rough time lately. I love taking meals to people - it's something that I can totally do - and am doing anyway. So making extra and delivery is no problem. It helps me to be less selfish, too. I go along thinking that I'm soooo self sacrificing - but stepping outside of the normal scope of my day really makes me see that being "other-ish" (PAH 2009) takes more than doing the usual Momma duties.

With my supper packed and ready for delivery, I picked up a neat lady that I've met recently. She is here from Kenya as a graduate student, and I was called one day to give her a ride to church. Anyway - she needed some things from Wal-Mart so we ran over there for a little shopping. I took our 4 and 9 year old daughters with me and the four of us girls laughed and shopped and had a ball. I was astonished to discover that today is her 27th birthday and was able to tell her how much she has blessed us in the short time we've known her.

So amazing how God puts you together with the right people, even people you would never otherwise meet. SO cool, soooo good, YAY God~!

I think I used all the fuel in the tank, though. I came home, had a plate of Veggie Stir Fry and have not moved much since. Tonight was hubby's turn to herd the young 'uns to bed AND he even washed the supper dishes.

The week just gets busier from here! No more 11:00 bed times for this girl!! I'm on a strict 9pm lights out.

Good night~

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fab Ride & Taper Time

Hubby and I had a fab bike ride last night! We left our 13 year old in charge of a sleeping 2 & 4 year old and a plugged in to the computer 9 year old and set out for about 7 miles down the road to Cold Stone Creamery. I have to say - I wish we had more time to do nachos or cheese sticks...I ate Raisin Bran when we got home!

It was nice to get out and be myself for once. :) Hubby is so cool to hang out with. And, he got to see that my bike light is actually NOT functioning properly and it is NOT due to my crazy head. Not that he truly doubts me - but he gets that cute curl to the corner of his smile that tells me he doubts...

My stooopid leg really hurt this morning. Hamstring crap-ola. I read on Competitor.com that my ice and stretch routine was NOT in any way the better thing for this injury. Heat needs to be applied to get blood flowing to this under fed group of muscles, and I need to "back off and let it heal."

Enter: Aggressive Taper Week

I will not be doing any exercise this week. Prior to our half marathon in May, I was extremely ill with the stomach flu. I didn't exercise a lick - and was okay - got a nice little PR, even. So, here is sit in happy hopefulness. My last 10 miler was 4 weeks ago, but many bike rides and even a brick since then. I think I'll be okay. I plan to run smart, take the first half easier than I want to and walk the aid stations.

Here's to a week of sleeping in until 7am and eating more than 50% of my calories in carbs!

Oh...and to school starting tomorrow...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sweet Saturday


I find myself waking up several times in the night, anymore. Is it age (NO) or a small bladder, not sure on that one, but I rarely sleep straight through. Which is a reason to cry and cry because our 2 year old finally sleeps through the night - 75% of the time. Yes, he's 2...actually 27 months old...the youngest of four...the last...and consequently the most spoiled. *ahem*

Where was I going with this...??...oh yes, SATURDAY!

Each time I get up, I have to remind myself what the next day will be. Is it...a weekday? Is it...Sunday (alarm set for 5:30 for long run). Or is it....SATURDAY!? I only woke up twice last night because I stayed up SOOOO late (11:30!), and each time I reminded myself, I smiled. Even though I may not get to sleep very late, sleeping until 7:00 or so is a treasure. And not having to get showered and dressed and ready to receive my extra Sweetie Pies for the day makes me feel all lazy and luxurious!

So, I love Saturday - who doesn't?

Our oldest daughter doesn't have much love for Saturday, today. She's a bit of a diva and the yard work thing is not her forte. Ha, ha... She loves to sleep in more than her
mother! Anyway, we make her mad on a daily basis anyhow. At least we can check off today.

Tonight, hubby and I are going to embark on a new journey. We are going on a bike ride together...just us...alone. I am desperate for some alone time with my BFF. Between work and extracurricular activities for the kids, we have been like two ships passing in the night.

We have a 13 year old, now - time to use him. So (and this will likely make our 9 year old mad) we are going to put our 2 and 4 year olds to bed, and go out for a bike ride. That way, Liam will just have to sit and sorta be there in case. We thought it would be fun to ride to Cold Stone Creamery and have an ice cream together and then ride back. It's just short of 6 miles one way, so with the stop and a little time for chatting, we should be back in 90 minutes at the outside.

I'm REALLY excited. My first priority in my life is to be a good and godly wife. If I don't have that going on, I can't be a good mother. It's becoming increasingly clear that hubs and I will have to make an effort to stoke that fire through the next few years. Football, science fair, volleyball, guitar lessons, art projects, summer camp, AWANA, doctor appointments, road races, training, vacations...we "do" things together, but we don't do things "together" very often.

Here's hoping this experience is a positive one, and can pave the way for similar time to be together.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Things I Don't Get


1. Common popular vernacular, such as "I know, right!?" Grammatically, this sentence is a nightmare. It even feels like a train wreck when I say it. I make fun of my kid when he says it - he thinks I'm a dork.

2. Why my 13 year old doesn't want to be in the same part of the house with me all day until after 8pm. This also happens to be the time when I am trying to catch up with things on the computer, pay bills, give myself a long overdue pedicure, think in a straight line, etc.

3. The fact that the earlier I have to get up and the more I have to do the next day, the less I can sleep that night. I have to pee 12 times, and of course, check the clock each time. That would also be the night one of my children is walking in their sleep (see #9).

4. Most of popular mainstream music. Seriously, I must be 80 years old, I think the lyrics are socially bankrupt and the musicians never put any thought into what they are doing to those poor drum kits. Somebody should take away their toys. And we PAY to hear that!? Wow.

5. Calluses. The ones on my feet, anyway. I'm on my feet quite a lot, and I rarely wear shoes...mostly Birkenstocks, or Vibrams...some running shoes for longer hauls. I'm confused as to why the calluses increase in size and need to be sloughed off...seems they should just hang out and protect my toes. Why do I need to mess with them?

6. Our 2 year old's wardrobe preferences. He is constantly seen in one of three outfits...his swimming suit, his robot footy pj's or just a diaper. It doesn't seem to matter how hot or cold it is outdoors - he likes what he likes. I don't really care - I mean, whatever gets you through the day - but I ponder his tiny reasoning.

7. Why I feel like a "have not" when I own a home, two cars, and have all the food I need to eat. I can't believe sometimes I am SO STUPID and PETTY to actually be envious of other due to their material possessions! Looooooser.

8. Couponing - man, I'm just not as good at that as those other chicks I know. How the heck do they do that!?

9. Why my kids sleepwalk. I'm glad my son doesn't do it much anymore - but my daughter has been scaring the crap out of me about 3 times a week lately. She's stressed out about starting school...it's like having a newborn in the house!

10. Why taking off your pants increases your comfort by 90%. Even if I still have jewelry and makeup on - the freedom on the bottom half makes it feel like Sunday afternoon.

What things don't you get?
Does it make you feel old - like the music one does for me?
Do your kids sleepwalk?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Service Silence and Suppertime

We were immensely blessed to be able to get a 2nd car not long ago. I was a little irritated about the repair that was needed immediately following, but it all worked out. Purchase price + repairs = still an okay price for the car. This second vehicle has made it possible for use to divide and conquer on such things as shuttling kids, getting the shopping done and fulfilling church obligations. And this last 2 weeks, it has allowed me to meet people that I would have never been able to speak with.

I was contacted, last week, to give a ride to an International Student of the University to our Sunday service last week. I live 2 blocks away from where she is staying, so it works great. Diana is a woman from Kenya, here on a scholarship to complete her Masters degree in Education. SUCH a neat lady! Today, when I went to get her, she asked if we had room for a woman named Sylvia. She is another bright woman, here on a scholarship to obtain her PhD. Wow. I am so blown away by these women. They are strong, determined and intelligent...and so far from home. Sylvia even has 2 small children at home in Zambia - I can't imagine.

I've noticed that I learn more by not talking. Revolutionary, not really - but a hard thing to practice. I have also found that I am probably better liked. Sad. I am a very open person - I share anything to anyone - but that's not always wanted. So, I've decided to talk less - even on the computer. I have quit one of my social networking sites, and have started keeping track of my nutrition and training in one place and one place only. Less time on the computer will be good for me too.

Switching gears again...

We had the quintessential summertime supper this evening. I was gifted with some beautiful garden tomatoes and thought they would be lovely with some bacon and lettuce. Lo and behold, watermelon is being sold at rock bottom price as we near the end of the season. I was happy to serve BLT's and watermelon for dinner. My husband cut up the melon and tomatoes to save my poor wretched hands from the acid in both. We ate like royalty! I would have loved to eat another sandwich - but mine weighed in around 450 calories...so maybe not.

Though, I did ride my bike this morning. Fourteen miles in a little under an hour. My hamstring is really bothering me. I don't know what to do. The last time it flared, the cycling was the answer to keep my cardio endurance up and my leg healing. This time, it almost feels like a nerve issue coming down from my lower back. I'm trying not to think to far ahead. I mean, with less than 2 weeks until the Bill Seymour Half Marathon, I'm as trained as I'm going to get, right? At this point, I'm in to preservation. Preserve my leg to get me through the race. Then I can slowly ramp up some speedy 5k type mileage to participate in the Market To Market Relay on 10/1.

So tomorrow - we Yoga. I need to silence my inner self as well these days. My spirit wants to go all out all of the time...it's how I divert and deflect and stuff my emotions. I'm long over due for twice or three times a week Yoga practice.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Injuries, Football and Wings


Ice on one end and heat on the other.

My beloved ice pack has helped me through knee and hammy issues. It's also been good to my son's Turf Toe and my daughters sprained ankle. But it died. One of the children killed it and it's jelly-like guts got all over the floor - not the couch, hallelujah!

I went to Walgreen's for a replacement and was able to offer my expertise in the area of hot/cold therapy to a young woman there. I could tell that she was scoping out the area I was in and grabbed a few things and moved to the side. She proceeded to ask me a few questions about the ones in my hand and I just kept answering her questions like some sort of pain relieving saleswoman.

In that conversation, I realized that I am either getting old...or...

Moving on...

We embarked on the adventure that is Midget Football today. We've now had practice every day for two weeks - but today was Picture Day! I had no idea how long that would take. I have a lot of respect for people that volunteer for these thing. That's a lot of time sitting and dealing with parents and players. It really only took an hour to get A and B team through, but while chasing our other 3 kids around, it seemed like more!

Hubby just left for another run today. His first 2-a-day run! I'm so proud of him. He and I train very differently - and I try not to push my agenda to hard...but I do feel that I do things the "right way." Ha, ha! He's very logical and his training is fine - but we can't talk to much about how to do things. You know how it is...we are both right. :)

Me...I'm riding tonight and in the morning to simulate a 2-a-day. I just barely made it through a 3 mile run yesterday, and I walked the last half mile. I probably went a little farther than I should have - and that wasn't even very far. The upside is, that I recently read where someone was injured in the later part of his Marathon training and did nothing by cycling for weeks prior to the race. He spun his way to cardio endurance while his injury healed. He arrived at the start line on race day and finished with an acceptable time.

Either way - our race on the 3rd is for fun! It's not often that hubby and I get to spend a couple of hours together doing something we like...away from the children. I know that he could run faster than I can, but we have more fun when we run together.

And this time, I have wings!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Comfort

This weekend was full of things that were just outside of my "acceptable" range. You know - the comfort zone.

I'm not sure why there is this space where God lives and I cannot. I can trust him and chalk things up to "there's always a reason" most of the time. But sometimes, things are so far out of my scope of understanding, I can't even see God standing there.

A baby was Heaven Born this weekend. I've known the parents from church, sat by them, chatted with them. I know their relatives, and friends. This baby was to be trusted to my care after Momma returned to her duties as a school teacher. She's been to my house, my kids were so excited.

The only thing I could think of at first was WHY. Why did THAT happen?? Those thoughts were followed by guilt. I have 4 healthy children that I certainly don't deserve. My heart breaks for the family, my soul aches for the Mother.

Somehow, I can "understand" most things we chalk up as tragedy here on earth. Illness, natural disaster, death and financial ruin can all be seen from a long term perspective...eventually. But the death of a child seems to serve no greater good. It only serves to remind me that God is God and I am not. I don't understand Him fully, and I never will.

But when we agree to follow Christ, we sign that contract of stepping out of our comfort zone. Some call it stepping out on faith. As I grow in my walk with God, I see more and more that this thing was not meant to be easy. If life was easy, we wouldn't have any reason to turn to Him and lean on Him for help.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fantasy Friday


I had THE perfect bike ride this morning. I got up before dawn and headed out into perfect weather. There were no cars on the streets and I just rode and rode and rode until it was time to turn around. I had plenty of fuel and water, and the weather was neither to hot nor to cold.

When I got home, coffee was already made and I had plenty of time to take a shower. I was alone in the bathroom the whole time. I was able to get dressed, and fix my hair and makeup before any children stirred.

After my first cup of coffee, our 2 year old gently called "Momma, I am up now. Please come and get me." I went in to the little kids room, and our 4 year old had already started cleaning her room - how nice! Going out to the kitchen, I saw that our 9 year old was making breakfast for us and our 13 year old was already out mowing the yard.

While David and I leisurely ate breakfast together, we talked about the day and the upcoming weekend. We got plenty of time to chat about our week and speculate on our fabulous future. After we ran out of things to say, we just held hands and gazed into each others eyes until he decided he ought to leave for work.

Oh, what a perfect Fantasy Friday morning it was...


Friday, August 5, 2011

Dear David

My husband is the best person I know. I love my Momma, my sister, brothers and family, don't mistake that. But my husband has no genetic reason to put up with me - hence he is just a little nicer than they are. *wink* Here's a letter to him...if you know David, wish him happy birthday on the 17th.

Dear David,

Thank you so much for last night. It was wonderful! You are truly the only one that can do what you do! I'm sure that Cameron was very grateful as well. Being 2 and having a fever in the middle of the night is hard. You totally speak my language when you step up with the kids. You knew that I wanted to workout in the morning and let me get some sleep so I could do so. I don't know if I could sleep on the couch all night holding a baby - but you make it look good!

Thanks for putting the light on my bike and working hard to make enough money so that I can buy new running shoes when I decide I want to retrain my stride. You always go along with my crazy plans and never say anything to discourage me. I especially like the way you are cautiously optimistic when I dive in, head first, to the "swirling vortex of terror". Somehow, I can get messed up for days when an old song gets in my brain, but starting a home daycare and a home school in the same month feels sane to me.

I'm not a gushy romantic, though I do speak the occasional language of "Flower-ese." I don't really know how to show you how thankful I am for you, except to work really hard to keep you happy. Trouble is, you are one content guy. Low maintenance is your middle name. Which is good, because I am running around trying to save the children/whales/trees/planet all the time and that can be pretty exhausting.

I've never met a more positive person. The Lord gave you to me to counter balance all the negativity that I acquired in my 20's. When someone cuts you off in traffic, you smile and wave all goofy like. That cracks me UP!! It also gives me hope. We CAN be different. It just takes a smile.

Thank you for doing laundry, for washing dishes, for changing diapers, roofing the garage, mowing the lawn, and for that one time we were all loaded up in the car to go to Albion and you got the van started by whacking something with a wrench - it was brilliant! Thank you for helping me figure out how to air up those weird bike tires, for running to get a bottle of propane mid-grill, and for always eating what I cook.

Thank you for being honest with me. Thank you for seeing me in a light that bathes me in potential. Thank you for never trying to stifle my intense personality with the limits of mere mortals. Thank you for laughing at my jokes.

I can't sum it all up here - but you totally rock my planet. I am SO glad that God saved you for me. My only regret will ever be that we didn't meet sooner. I know that the Lord intended it that way - but all of my best days have been with you - I wish there were more! I look forward to my 40's and doing tri's with you, my 50's and running Chicago together, my 60's when we Bike Ride Across Nebraska and my 70's when we grow a huge garden.

I way-more-than-love-you,

Andrea