Monday, May 26, 2014

Summer Beginnings

We are kicking off the Summer here in Nebraska!  The kids are done with school and will be home with me and on the constant prowl for food and entertainment for the next 12 weeks.

Maintaining order (ie. sanity) is hard.  One thing that I have found is a must, is a tentative schedule.  Not so much for activities but for EATING!  With some kids that can get their own snacks and some who can't it never fails that you end up with a big kid eating the last of the _______ at 1:00 in the afternoon while one of the youngers looks on in over dramatized jealousy.


So I set down rules of what can be eaten and when.  I find that also reduces the constant questioning as to when and what we are eating.  Breakfast and snacks are a little more lenient and include some of the same things -- fruit, yogurt, toast, granola.

Lunch and dinner are on the table about 11:30 and 5:30.  I write on the fridge white board, a list of the meals I will be making that week. I ask that the kids don't snack less than two hours before those times. Sounds reasonable, right?  It takes a little planning on the front end, but drastically reduces pain in the rear end. ;o)

We like to go for a walk every morning and get out of the house, especially when it gets so stifling hot that we can't go outside in the afternoons.  I'm sure we are the scourge of the bicycle commuter.  I try to train the kids to stay on the right, but you know that it can be like herding cats.  We collect rocks, sticks, pine cones, leaves and make lots of stops to look at cool stuff.

This year, I'm going to plan for one craft and one cooking/baking project each week.  I found a couple of neat lists of ideas for the Crafts.  50 Summer Crafts for Kids was my favorite.  I'm not especially crafty, but can follow directions pretty well.  As for baking -- I plan to keep it on the healthy side.  David and I are endeavoring to lose some weight after our upcoming Triathlon on June 7th.  I can't make it and not eat it!

Not much for travel plans.  Not much for money, ha!  We had an awesome time in KC with my Sister and her sweet family this weekend.  Now it's time to enjoy the kids and some relaxing days of summer!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day Thoughts

Nearly sixteen years ago, I sat criss-cross-applesause on a hospital bed around 1:00am with a baby on my lap.  I remember looking at him and thinking "what in the world am I going to do with him??"

I became a mother that day.

Arguably, I became a mother when I first discovered our first son. But I was a different mother the day he was born.  I became a different mother the first time he choked on spit-up, the first time he fell and hurt himself, with the first word he said, the first time he walked alone, the first time he spent the day away from me.  I will soon become a different mother as

I watch him drive away.

I guess I thought that "Motherhood" was a finite state.  You had a baby and became one and that was the end of the transaction.  I have learned a lot since I was 22 and had my first baby.  The transformation is the curious part.  The infinite difference in sixteen years of growth and development on my part is staggering.  More so than our children's, in fact.  I have learned temperance, patience, goodness, love, courage and strength like never before.

As time passes my scope of mothering is ever widening.  While I have always had a heart for children, I also now care more for youth and young adults.  Nothing really prepared me to be going for a run through the college campus and seeing handsome young men that

remind me of my son. 

In some ways, being a mother has expanded my love for humanity overall.  I have learned much about loving people right where they are and not making affection contingent on change.  I have learned that you can love someone and still want to kick them square in the butt.  And that's okay.  And when it's all said and done you love them more.

Humanity looks like sons and daughters, now.

The nameless throngs look less like threats and more like somebodies kids.  I am less irritated by by irritating people and perhaps more intrigued by their behavior.   I do believe our society needs a time out.  Or, dare I say, a spanking.

Mostly, Motherhood has reminded me that I am loved.  When I didn't know God's love, it was my children that showed me I was needed and loved.  When I forget my worth to The King of Kings, my little Princes and Princesses remind me that I am the Queen of the World to them.

Some people say that 4 is a lot of kids.

God knew that Liam, Alahnnah, Susan and Cameron, each in their own unique ways and personalities would be just what I needed.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Are Sensory Deprivation Tanks Expensive?

You know your going to be "busy" with four children.  A logical mind understands the financial and time commitment of having a large family.  But I am finding out that:

I didn't know squat.

I think the most surprising thing to me is the constant existence of Survival Mode.  Anyone who's had a new baby understands what I'm talking about.  That sleep deprived, can't get much more tired than I am right now, oh lookey yes I can, gee that's new, sort of mode.  Where the things still need to be done and the house cleaned and shopping done and you're just a shell of a human zombie walking around

Doing it anyway.

I don't mean to seem so dark here, of course I "consider it all joy."  But really, I had no idea how insanely busy we would be.  With kids in drama, band, chorus, football, church activities and more, we run every night of the week.  And not just the actual doing of the stuff but keeping track of

books and uniforms
musical instruments
required clothing and equipment
practice logs and times
and washing the 47 metric tonnes of laundry.

I'm just glad that winter is over so that we don't have the whereDIDyour_____runofftowhileweslept conversation every time we leave the house.  I'm telling you - I'm a reasonably organized person and it seems like once a month I get surprised by an appointment, practice, recital or

Kindergarten entrance physical that I forgot.

I guess I just need verification that this is normal.  That I'm not going crazy.  That the fact that we no longer match socks or have a starchy and non-starchy vegetable with each and every dinner doesn't make me in suspect of child neglect.  That I'd rather be left completely alone in a sensory deprivation tank that anything else in the wide world.

Ok maybe I'm not so normal.

But after cleaning up a pukie bed, trying to corral 5 kids all day with a sore throat and no voice, and having the 5 year old fall on his head off the porch I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.  I even transcended the wish to become chemically altered.  Yes, I think I've finally lost it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Anything But a Birthday Party!

It's not fair!

I hear that a lot at my house.  The kids say it quite a bit too.  ;o)

fair (adjective) --  free from bias, dishonesty or injustice.  Legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.

The older I get, the more I am completely certain that fairness only exists in Heaven.  Down here on the Earth, it's 100% true what they say:

Life's not fair!

Some folks get the "thin genes" some of us don't.  Some work hard all their lives and still can't make enough money to cover the month.  Some people seem to have all the illness that would be too much for four people.  Others enjoy good health.  It's NOT fair.

And it's probably a good think that life isn't fair.  If I got paid back in justice, honesty and non-bias for all the things I ever did -- I would be on the streets with people walking by to kick me for fun.  Seriously.  It's a GOOD THING we don't get what we deserve.

Just something I was thinking about.

Another thing that I'm noodling is that today is our Cameron's 5th Birthday AND marks exactly one month til our 70.3 Triathlon debut.  I'll tell you one thing:

I'd rather do a Half Ironman that host a Child's Birthday Party!

I am completely serious.  I've done some major birthday partying in my 15 years of motherhood -- and they can be brutal.  Going out for a 7 hour workout has GOT to be easier.

We shall see.

Not feeling too badly after the Biggest Brick I've Ever Done on Sunday.  I was pretty sore on Monday -- but realized why.  I did everything right, fueled right, paced right, dressed right, but:

My recovery was CRAP.

Not only did I proceed to clean the house and pot the flowers out front rather than sit on my rear all day -- I completely forgot my PROVEN recovery drink.  After every workout and especially hard workouts, I have 8oz of milk, with 1/2 scoop of protein powder, 1 scoop of powdered greens and 10g of BCAA powder (branched chain amino acids).  I learned about BCAA's when I went through my body building phase last year and they really DO make a difference in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and over all recovery.

Lesson learned.

We rode bikes yesterday, through the bike paths of the city.  Slowly and only for an hour or so.  Both of us agreed that our legs felt better for doing so.  Workouts will be hard to get in this week due to kid obligations -- we have so much going on that we have to split up and be two places at once.  Anyway...we only need to ride the whole bike course and run the run course and then it's:

Taper time!

People who complain about tapering, need to do some harder training.  I love taper time.  Such a great time to pull back a little and somewhat recover before the big day.

Half Ironman -- BRING IT.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Lincoln Marathon 2014 Race Report

What a beautiful day for a race!  David and I upped the ante this year and went out for a little bike ride before the start of the race.  I was a little nervous about how that would go off (having to make it to the start line at a certain time) but it was just fine.
The Night Before

We are fairly accustomed to preparing for brick workouts the night before, so this was old hat.  We got out bikes ready, the bottles of Perpetuem and Cytomax made, the clothes all laid out and the alarm set.

The Bike

The alarm went off at 4:00am, as our goal was to leave at 4:45 and ride for two hours.  The mileage wasn't as important as the time spent riding -- but I figured we would make about 30 miles in two hours.  I ate my usual half a peanut butter sandwich and cup of coffee and we were on the bikes right on time.

With a two hour bike ride and a two and a half hour run to do, it was important to "front load" our nutrition on the bike.  I had approximately 700 calories to consume while riding.  I didn't finish the bottle of Cytomax and ended up with about 600 that actually went in.  The ride was uneventful until we stopped about an hour and twenty minutes in for a bathroom break.  David's back tire was loosing air and fast.  We were 5 miles from home.  He filled it with a CO2 cartridge and we decided to just make it home.

Mission accomplished - 24 miles on the bike.

The Transition

Arriving home, we took advantage of the opportunity to entirely change clothes.  In a triathlon, we would have not had such luxury -- but hey, we do what we want.  I used the bathroom, changed clothes and stuffed a few gels in my top and we were off.  David re-aired his back tire and we rode a mile to the start line.

The Run

The race officially started at 7:00am.  But with 12,500 participants and a wave start, we were in good shape arriving a little after 7:00.  We had time to use the bathroom (yes, again) and jumped in with the 10:30 pace group that started about 7:25.

This race is a lot of fun and there is a crazy amount of spectators.  There are bands playing and people cheering the whole way.  I didn't bring any water with me because the water stations are about 3 miles apart.  I had done a good job of eating on the bike and consumed one gel and a glass of water at miles 3, 7 and 10.  This system worked well and I felt a steady amount of energy through the whole run.  Six hundred calories on the bike plus 300 on the run = 900 was a good number for 4+ hours of work.

My feet started to hurt those last couple of miles.  Incidentally, those last ones are mostly up hill -- and my Newtons are getting a little worn.  I had a lovely blister to show for it all on one of my right toes.  A little chafing where my heart rate monitor was, but nothing earth shattering.

Post Race

David had to air up his back tire before we rode the mile home.  We felt tired but not annihilated.  I had a wonderful cold water bath for my legs and feet followed by one of the best feeling showers of all time!  Nutrition wasn't really paid much mind yesterday.  I traditionally have a "burrito as big as my head" on Marathon Sunday.  No deviation from that plan this year!

Being parents, we still have to come home and parents.  After lunch we cleaned the house, took Liam to a function, potted some flowers and cooked dinner.  It was a very long day.  By 7:00pm I was so tired that I just hurt all over.  We were able to get the kids all in bed by 8:30 and crashed hard.

Interesting Tidbits

The race was on May the Fourth -- which is Star Wars day.  We ran with Chewbacca and Darth was on the side lines.  Boba Fett was also running and there were lots of signs wish "May the Fourth be with you!"

Some of my favorite signs were the "Go Random Stranger", "Smile if You Peed a Little", and all the cute signs that the kids make.  I love the kid high fives, sooo cute!

This year's Lincoln Marathon was FUN.  David and I ran the half together and had a blast.  In that last mile I couldn't help but think that last year I cried the entire last mile.  Having waited with my full marathon pace group to start and being set behind by a lengthy porta potty delay, I missed the cuttoff time by a few minutes last year.  If you didn't read that report you can HERE.

All said, we are ready for our 70.3 Triathlon on June 7th.  This was the last of the brick workouts.  We plan to ride the full bike course next weekend and take a two week taper.  Mostly, I'm glad we are doing it together!  I thanked the kids for being a part of our team.  Without them being so good, we wouldn't be able to do what we do.