Friday, November 17, 2017

Is this a Treat?

Reposted from Matthew's blog -

My daughter is extremely cautious regarding what she will do with her one allotted treat per finished meal. When we do pizza, we usually get a free two-liter soda with it. Each time we do, she asks before she imbibes: "Is this a treat?" If you say yes, she won't drink it--her notion of value places it lower than a piece of candy. If you say no, she happily guzzles the soda.

Last night, my wife made orange rolls. They are delicious. However, in my eager desire to dispense with dishwashing for the night, I washed the mixing bowl that I mistakenly thought had extra left-over dough in it when it fact, it was the icing for them. They still taste goood, they just don't have the additional icing. So, my daughter finishes her dinner and wants an orange roll. That's perfectly fine.

She asks: "Is this a treat?" I answer: "Yes."
She thinks, and then nods, alright. She goes over to the cooling racks upon which the rolls are resting and picks which one she wants. Then she notices something is amiss.

"Where is the good stuff?"

"What good stuff?" I answer.

"The good stuff that makes it taste good. The icing?"

"I don't know," I reply, with a sinking feeling in my stomach that I put the icing down the sink by mistake.

"Then I don't want it," she puts the roll back. Not worth it. Delicious orange roll + icing = treat. Delicious orange roll - icing = not worth it. I'd rather have a measly small piece of Halloween candy.

It's amusing and a little awesome watching her value different treats.

Monday, November 13, 2017


A few weeks ago we decided the babes were ready for additional responsibility. Now, in addition to cleaning their room, they are responsible for clearing and setting the table in preparation for dinner everyday. Despite explaining that I do my job in making dinner and Matthew does his job of cleaning the dishes afterwards, there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth at the change. I wouldn't say the allowance is a bribe for these new jobs, but it may have been the impetus for the institution. That and I want to teach my children about tithing and savings.

Last week I put 10 dimes in a jar for each child. I explained that at the end of the week they would get those dimes, but if they complained about any of their jobs they would lose dimes. Boy Howdy still complained about his new job but with the threat of losing money he begrudgingly held his tongue. Cheeks was good until Saturday when she was supposed to clean her room. She lost $0.30 in the course of an hour. It was a sad morning.

Tonight for family home evening we reviewed how many dimes they had left and the concept of thanking Heavenly Father by paying tithe. We also discussed the merits of savings. To induce them to learn to save, we have opted to pay $0.01 per dime they save per week. Free money, is how we labeled it. With the promise of that "free money" at the end of the week they opted to put all their remaining money into the savings jar. Color me a proud mama. I'm not sure how long we'll be able to keep up with our current interest rate of 40%, but for right now, I'm just happy to start teaching my children the concept of saving and tithing.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Mama has a Birthday

Be still my mother's heart. At bedtime Boy Howdy asked for art supplies so he could make cards for my birthday. When I came to bed I found these two cards on my bedside table. Seeing Boy Howdy's writing "mom" melted my heart (he's just learned how to spell it) and Cheeks' portrait of me makes me so happy.

The next morning the kids were so excited to show me the rest of their creations they made me. Boy Howdy made some adorable cards with hearts and his own portrait of me complete with crazy hair and crown.

At one point after bedtime, Boy Howdy called down the stairs to ask about my favorite animal. I answered that it was the elephant. The drawing is Boy Howdy's rendition, the other is Cheeks'. Both make me so happy.

And here are my sweet girls' creations. She is such an abstract thinker that it makes sense that her artwork takes on the same form. I might not keep any of this but I love my jewels and smiley face with random bits of tape thrown in for good measure.

Boy Howdy put all of his "cards" in a suitcase. Cheeks' couldn't remember where she put hers. She was so very distraught. I tried consoling her that we would find them eventually but she was so eager to give them to me right then (first thing in the morning) she got back in bed crying. Hero mom to the rescue finally found them and boy was she so excited to show me each individual item she had created for me.

I felt so loved. For sure the best way to start my birthday. The rest of the day was just as lovely. Rain poured the night before leaving beautiful blue sky and a rainbow in the morning. Melissa, Jared and Charlotte met me for brunch while Cheeks was in preschool. My friend Danielle took Cheeks in the afternoon. I made a super yummy dinner with an even better cheesecake for dessert and had Danielle and her family over to help enjoy it with us.

The next night I got to go out for a yummy dinner and shopping date with my sweetheart. The weekend before I got to go to Time Out for Women with my sister, niece and their sister-in-law and had a completely wonderful experience. From beginning to end of my week of birthday was so fantastic. Yay good birthdays!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017

Halloween definitely ranks very high in the hearts of my children. All year they make lists of what they want to be for the holiday. Boy Howdy finally landed on Blood Monster. He even drew me a picture of him trick or treating in his costume.
I had no idea how I was going to recreate his vision. It honestly kind of stressed me out. Eventually I asked and he agreed to let me make his costume like his ghost from last year. I made it for him, thinking I would alter it to better fit his idea. Nope. No more fuss. He liked it the way it was, but decided he would be a blood bat instead. Not quite sure what a blood bat is but as long as my boy is happy I am happy. Win-win.

Cheeks eventually settled on cotton candy. I found some inspiration on Pinterest. It mostly made it through the trunk or treat at church. She even won a medal (for her pink puffy mystery costume - they were unsure if she was a loofah or a cloud). She wore the medal proudly for the next several days. Sadly I didn't take a picture of her in it because it didn't really make it past that evening. The fluff kept falling off the shirt and I had to diligently follow her around the church with a can of spray glue to put her back together. By Tuesday she had reconsidered her cotton candy costume and decided instead on being a butterfly. I tried getting her to put on some makeup to add credence to her costume but she was against anything of the sort. So my children may look as though their mother doesn't care about them at all; but I promise I really did try.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pumpkin Carving - 2017

Every year the kids get more involved in pumpkin carving. Boy Howdy actually cleaned out his pumpkin very well. And Matthew interpreted his vision to extreme satisfaction (his is on the right). Cheeks, while excited for the overall activity, was not very interested in the particulars apart from taking the seeds outside and burying them in the yard. She didn't even care to have a say in what face he had. Matthew was left to use his own judgement (hers is on the right). Mine (in the middle) was carved using a drill. My absolute new favorite way to carve a pumpkin. Such nice neat circles and made so fast too. 

Matthew decided to put some undies on his "bumpkin" and call it good. Another successful pumpkin carving family home evening.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cheeks has an Owie

Poor Cheeks has been suffering from a cold sore for the last week or so. It hasn't really healed because . . . well, she is a small child. Last night it started bleeding and she asked to have a bandaid put on it. I couldn't help but giggle at her mustache. She was adamant that it is NOT a mustache but I can't look at her and not laugh. I just can't take her seriously. She tried to take it off this morning so as not to draw laughter from people at church but the pain in taking it off was more of a deterrent than having people ask after her mustache. Oh how I love this little chica.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Boy Howdy Loses a Tooth

Boy Howdy lost his first tooth at school today. They were so prepared. They sent him to the office to get his protective tooth necklace to make sure it made it home safely.

A few days ago when it first became loose the kids told me all about the tooth fairy and how she brings money to children who lose their teeth. I'm pretty sure I have never told my babes about the tooth fairy and yet somehow they became educated on her exploits all the same. That's fine. Whatever. When I asked how much money she paid for teeth, Boy Howdy put up both hands and proudly answered, "Ten!"
"Ten whole cents?" I asked incredulously.

I was amazed at his excessively low expectations. Wahoo!!

On the day the tooth in the necklace came home, Boy Howdy had started to express his doubt in the reality of the tooth fairy. Was she real or just a fairy tale? He even expressed his concern in his prayer that night. I was touched at his sincerity. Though I couldn't decide if I was impressed with his reasoning skills or the lack of magic I have provided my boy.

Without mentioning the tooth fairy (because I just couldn't bring myself to do it, I have similar issues with Santa and the Easter Bunny) I left him 10 dimes (get it?!?) certain he would be so excited that his expectations were most definitely exeeded. He wasn't initially very interested the next morning (being sleepy will do that for you) but once awake he was over the moon with his good fortune. Ten whole dimes. In addition to the money he received for his jogathon, he was pretty sure he was now a rich boy. His enthusiasm for school has finally started to wane, but this excitement had him running to the bus stop to share with anyone who would listen.

My babies are getting older. In some ways it is sad, but I'm pretty in love with this stage too!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

10 More Miles

After my first 10 miles, I said, never, no never again, will I try doing that again. But then after a month I thought, huh, maybe it would be good to run annually. I made the mistake of telling this to my running partners, one of whom, I'm pretty sure would run 10 miles every Saturday morning, most likely at 6 am. With my acquiescence she won me over to run sooner than later. That sooner would be just 2 and a half months after our first jaunt. And you know what? I didn't die! Again! I still keep praying to enjoy running. Some days are better than others. And I'm pretty sure I will never find my happy place in the exercise, but I am happy to say that I haven't given up my progress I've made. Small joys.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Jogathon 2017

Boy Howdy, and by extension our whole family, had our first jogathon. The day started cold and super rainy but by the end of the day when they had the kindergartners running, the weather was mild and sunny. Perfect weather for small children to run laps. Boy Howdy had a great time, and Matthew and I had a wonderful time cheering for him! Boy Howdy especially enjoyed the money we paid him -  $0.25 for each of his 17 laps. Yay Jogathon!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pumpkin Patch 2017

For family home evening tonight we went to the pumpkin patch. I think it was Matthew's first year in since 2013 to accompany us since we have always gone during the day. But with Boy Howdy in school, we had to adjust. Matthew's leg has been bothering him for a while now so I don't think he was super into the experience, but the children were so excited to be there and to find pumpkins almost as big as them. I was excited that it was such a gorgeous day to share this fun fall family moment. Despite his pain, Matthew was excited to find a pumpkin that looked mysteriously like a human tushie.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Boy Howdy Loves School

It's been a month since Boy Howdy started Kindergarten. Oh happy day, he LOVES it. For the better part of the last two years I have fought him with getting out of his PJs or having him cling to me as I dropped him off telling me he didn't want to stay. It was a bad place, he told me. He didn't want to miss me. They weren't nice. They were weird. It was boring. These are the excuses I heard more often than not. I was so worried that after the initial excitement wore off from Kindergarten and riding the bus we would be back to the fighting that plagued us before.

Yet a month into it, knock on wood, he still gets excited to go every day. He's nicer to his sister when he gets off the bus in the afternoon, he isn't cranky, he doesn't even seem to mind me waking him up in the morning. I am supremely happily surprised. I feel so crazy lucky that so far so good. I am almost worried I am living in a dream that will come crashing down very soon. But right now the biggest drama is not passing some level at school. I'm not even sure what it means or how to fix it, but it hasn't killed his spirit yet so we are still good.

Cheeks is also thriving in her second year of preschool. Last year she struggled with wanting to listen to her teachers. I have every indication that she acted at school much the way she acts at home. Very pleasant and happy until asked to stop playing or clean up. Then she can get feisty and blatantly disobedient. I'm not sure she had more than a small handful of great days last year. But this year, apart from one pretty bad day, she has been really good. It may have something to do with my incentive of earning a show if she can be a super duper good listener. Even still I am happy to see progress.

What's also amazing is her sudden interest in learning her letters and numbers. I thought for sure this girl was going to make it to Kindergarten only knowing A. But she knows more than she lets on and actually initiates pulling out our fabric letters and numbers to work on them. I am again, shocked and delighted.

Hallelujah!!! Here's hoping it lasts!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Family Pictures - 2017

My darling friend and I had a brilliant plan that we would exchange services in what could be the most brilliant bartering ever. I quilted a blanket for her and she took our family pictures. Awesome. Definitely mutually beneficial. Love it. Here's what I got out of the deal. Definitely the better end. 

This is a good family. I'm so glad I get to call them mine for all eternity!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Commissioned Quilt

I haven't been very good about posting my quilting projects, but I'm pretty proud of this one. What I love most about this piece is that a few months ago I happened to be looking at fabric and absolutely fell in love with this collection. I don't need any new quilts (especially when I have four quilts made almost entirely out of scraps) but I really wanted to use this material somehow.

So I posted it on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to commission a quilt. Matthew's aunt Tracy, wonderful woman she is, decided to patronize me once again (I already made her grandson a quilt). I'm so glad she did. Not only is she incredibly generous in her payment, but she makes me feel amazing in her lavish praise.

I will most likely never make a living sewing quilts for others, and I'm okay with that, but I am grateful when I can work and sew at the same time.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Primary Sunday - 2017

Oh heavens. Before children, and while my own were too little to participate, I remember looking forward to Primary Sunday as the best of the year. Full of both entertainment and a very sweet Spirit. Last year, Boy Howdy only went up because some sweet leader came and coaxed him and made him her personal friend. He didn't really participate, but neither was he the focus of disruption. Cheeks, on the other hand, cried because she was stuck on the pew with us. This year it all changed.

This year my children stole the show for being naughty. Boy Howdy WOULD not sit down but insisted on standing at the front all by himself, or walking aimlessly around the podium, in spite of very stern looks by his parents, and multiple requests of various leaders. He wasn't singing or participating in really any way, just standing at the front looking supremely unhappy.

Cheeks, would not stay in any particular seat, frequently stood by her brother or incited others to follow her bad example. This was also in spite of more stern parental stares and invitations from leaders.

Matthew and I were mortified. I found it slightly amusing but Matthew was ready to do bodily harm as soon as they were home, if not right there and then. Finally, I made my way up to them (they were on the opposite side of the chapel from us) and made them aware of our joint disappointment. They were to sit down NOW. Boy Howdy ended up sitting or standing mutely by the wall for the remainder of the program. Cheeks had to be taken out because she hurt herself while trying to hide from her father's wrath.

I apologized for my children's behavior to any and all primary leaders and commiserated with the other parents of children who also behaved less than admirably. Oh heavens. Maybe next year will be better.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

First Day of School - 2017

 As you may know, I have been nervous about school starting, mostly for Boy Howdy. Would he like it? Would he bemoan his fate Every Day the way he did with preschool. Would he cry? Would I cry? Would he be wasted by the end of each day? Those fears were laid to rest this week. The first day of school was all smiles all the way around. No one cried. I was actually surprised at how non-emotional I was given my tears at his kindergarten orientation at the beginning of the summer.

He did great the entire week. I brought him to school Tuesday, but the rest of the week he rode the bus. He was nervous not to have a seat belt (despite my assurances that the driver would surely be safe) but giddy at the very big kid idea of riding the big yellow school bus he has been eyeing for the last few years.

Thursday night he asked when he could get lunch at school. I told him we would get it sorted out so he could eat lunch the next day. I honestly don't think he was expecting his request to be so readily granted. I'm pretty sure I rendered him speechless with joy when I told him he could have lunch at school once a week.

The only emotions that came up were Tuesday as I went and picked him up from school and carried him all the way to the car wrapped in my arms as I smothered him with kisses. His emotion came later at bedtime when he could not stop inexplicably crying. He couldn't identify a reason but neither could he be consoled and kept promising me he wasn't tired. I disagreed.

But after that first day, he has woken up happy and on his own, practically ran to the bus stop each day and been more pleasant than usual to his sister. I won't kid myself that this will last forever but I will take it for as long as I can.

Cheeks was equally as excited to start her second year of preschool. I don't think she is remotely jealous that she doesn't get to go to kindergarten with Boy Howdy. She is excited to have her friend Q in her class this year with her and eager to have something to do with her time. The only problem with her was a bout of naughtiness on Thursday. She has not always been the most obedient of preschoolers, but Thursday was worse than normal, her teachers told me. I'm hoping it was due to a mixture of not getting as much sleep as she's used to now that Boy Howdy wakes up a bit earlier than usual, and she had my mother and father here this past week giving in to her every whim. Hopefully next week we can get into a good rhythm.

 A few joint pictures of the babes. The bottom two are them showing me their silliest of faces.

First day. And so it begins!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Summer 2017 - As it Comes to a Close

As this summer starts to close around us and we prepare for school and schedules to start and life to change forever, I am happy with the memories of the summer. Apart from my trip to Michigan with Matthew, we haven't had any big plans to break up the months and yet, they have passed very pleasantly. So what have we done?

We picked strawberries, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches and cucumbers.
We went to the beach.
We did crafts and had friends over to play.
We played at my sister's house and stayed home.
We went to parks and rivers and splash pads and pools.
We went to OMSI, the Portland Children's Museum, the Zoo and the Gilbert House.

At the beginning of the summer I made a calendar scheduling out the summer. I was certain, that without it, the summer threatened to overwhelm me with days to somehow fill. With the exception of craft days on Mondays we have not kept to my plan at all, and yet, I have enjoyed this summer with my babies.

Cheeks Celebrates Her Birthday

This sweet little flibberty-gibbet is now a 4-year old. She is still so happy so much of the day. She is constantly walking on her toes and flitting around the house. The only time she is cross is when she has been asked to do something she doesn't want to do, which is generally cleaning or getting her hair brushed. 

She eats, walks, dresses, and loves in a way that is so particular to her own unique and quirky personality. I was thinking the other day about the love languages of my children. Cheeks' is most definitely touch. She is all kisses and hugs. And if she doesn't get her nightly tuck in complete with an extra hug and kiss (despite hopping out of bed as soon as I leave the room) she is totally undone until I come back and remedy the situation. 

I love this little girl. I am excited to have this year to have time with just her. I have no doubt we will use our time well.

 The morning of her birthday we made mini cupcakes, chocolate with peanut butter frosting, with her own cute style of decorating. Boy Howdy was systematic and consistent, Cheeks wanted variety and fun. The cupcakes we took to Buell County Park to share with her friends, but the cake was saved for after presents and dinner later. It was yummy.

Buell County Park is an out of the way park set on a little stream just 20 miles from our house. This was only our second time there, but I think we are hooked. 

Cheeks, I don't think, would have been so eager to leave the park had we not presents to open with daddy as soon as we got home. When I asked her the day before whether she wanted to open her presents in the morning or later on after Matthew got home, she opted to wait. She was perfectly serene about the whole matter, but Boy Howdy was BESIDE himself with anxiety about knowing what was in those boxes - his own gift to her was presented as soon as they woke up.

Still in her bathing suit as soon as we got home, she (along with unsolicited help from her brother) opened her presents. The scooter was a hit. I, myself, am also quite taken with it.

So there we have it. One boy ready to start kindergarten and eager to grow up and one little girl desperate to stay little for as long as possible. I am so thankful for them both.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Cheeks' Birthday Interview

What is your name? Cheeks Marler
How old are you? 4
What is your favorite thing to do? Play legos.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A mermaid. Aack child!!
What is your favorite food? Soup. This is true. Whenever I ask what we should have for dinner, Boy Howdy will say Mac and Cheese, but Cheeks will more than likely say soup.
Who do you like to spend time with? Ginny
What do you do really well? Sports. When pressed, because I wouldn't say sports are really her forte, she clarified with: Climbing.
What makes you laugh? Taking pictures of bottoms. Something she and her brother have recently started. They think they are hysterical.
What is the best time of the day? Birthdays!
What are you afraid of? Monsters ghosts.
Who is your best friend? Ginny
What do you like to do with your family? Watch shows and play Hi-ho Cherrios.
What do you love to learn about? Letters. This feels reminiscent of last year's potty training answer. She should be learning about her letters, but I am a bit dubious that they are where her passion lies.
Where do you like to go? Ginny's house
What is your favorite book? Lollopy Lew the Hare. Which is actually titled Digger and Lew.
What is your favorite show? True and the Rainbow Kingdom. Like her brother, this changes regularly.
What is your favorite movie? Snow White and Finding Nemo. I forgot we own Snow White so I thought she was making Snow White up. She's not. My bad.
If you had one wish what would it be? To be a mermaid. Oh heavens.
What is your favorite thing about turning 4? Going to preschool for one more time.
Is there anything else you'd like to add? The kind of movie I don't like is Monsters versus Aliens and . . . and . . . and . . . I don't know anything else.

My favorite part of doing this interview is that Cheeks would pause a lot to think through how she was going to answer. (It wasn't always apparent it was well thought out given some of her more enigmatic answers.) When I Iet her watch herself she kept trying to fill in her pauses, as if she were saying, "Come on, you can do it, This is your answer!" Hahaha.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Garden Experiment - Results

I feel as though this ear of corn is representative of how our garden fared this summer. So sad. It had so much promise, but out of our 6 sugar snap pea plants, only one survived and yielded a very small handful of peas. Our cucumber plant had one hopeful that shriveled along with the rest of the plant. Our cantelope, watermelon and red bell pepper plants yielded not a thing, our other pepper plant yielded two peppers of decent size and edibility. Our pumpkin plant wended its way through our yard and into our neighbors, but with all it's greenery we have only one pumpkin that I'm pretty sure is slowly getting eaten by the mice burrowing holes in our garden. And finally we have tomatoes. Last year, these plants were by far our most productive. This year, even they are struggling. We have a few, but we are still waiting to see if they will make it to ripeness.

Sigh. We've had  plenty of sun, vegetable food, compost, raised bed soil, water. I really thought we'd see more success. I don't know where we went wrong. Thankfully we are not subsisting on our harvest. We'll try again next year.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse 2017

When I think of the total solar eclipse, this is the image that I will always remember. The dark sky with white streams radiating from behind the moon. It truly was breathtaking, totally living up to the hype. I'm 100% positive that if I didn't live within the path of totality I would not have traveled for it. Now that I know just how awe-inspiring it is, I am far more likely to travel to see it the next time. Totally worth it.

We weren't sure what the roads were going to be like since we were being asked to prepare as if it were going to be a natural disaster, so Matthew worked from home on Eclipse day (Boy Howdy kept calling it an eclipment.) I'm so glad he did. It was a fun morning to spend together. For us, the moon started covering the sky just after 9am. 

The evening before we explained to the children that they needed to wear their eclipse glasses. They were very seriously warned that they might go blind if they didn't. 

Thankfully they took this advice to heart because they were very strict about putting them on anytime we checked on the moon's positioning from the very beginning. With a daughter that constantly takes off her 3-D glasses at a movie, I was very impressed with their diligence. Boy Howdy kept asking Cheeks if she wanted to go blind.

The first thing I noticed was just how yellowy dark it was getting. So eerie and surreal. At one point I told Boy Howdy that it was almost time for bed. "Aaah Mom!! Can't we just a few more minutes??!?" Poor boy. After a few minutes laughing at my own little joke, I reassured him that we had just barely had breakfast, he didn't have to go to bed anytime soon.

Within just a few seconds it went from dusk to complete darkness and the real show began. I was blown away. The neighborhood erupted in cheers. It was as though heaven were showing off in the most wondrous of ways. And then as soon as the sun peeked out just the tiniest of amounts we were once again bathed in morning sunshine. It was actually quite astonishing just how little sun is required to light the world. Such a lovely metaphor for the Christ as the Light of the World and letting our own light shine.

Thank you Heaven for putting on such a brilliant celestial show! Definitely the best of the my life to date!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Anniversary Trip

Matthew has to travel to Michigan for work every other month for a week. This year, his trip coincided with our 11-year anniversary. But this time he needed to stay for 10 days. My darling sister, Melissa, gave us 2-weeks of babysitting for Christmas and she and her family were kind enough to let us exercise our present so I could join him for 6 of his 10. 

First off, the babes were OVERJOYED to spend (as they called it) a couple weeks at Aunt Melissa's house. I tried repeatedly to explain that a couple weeks is 14 days and they would only be there for 6, but nothing would deter them or their enthusiasm.

Secondly, Matthew was working during the day giving me some much needed alone time to exercise or sleep or shower or wander around the city. I LOVED my alone time. But I also loved my time with my husband. We celebrated 11 blissful years together, we went to the movies in the middle of the day (never before have I seen a movie in such comfy conditions - they may have made me sleepy!), we spent a day tooling around lake shore towns, we visited my dear college friend, enjoyed time just the two of us, and ate lots of yummy food. 

Thirdly, I left early Wednesday morning, and by Sunday night I was still not missing my babies. I was thinking, I could do this alone thing all the time. Why do I have to go home? The next day I got on a flight still not sure I was ready to be a mom yet. My sweet niece Emmalee kindly brought my children home and put them to bed so I wouldn't have to go pick them up. When they ran into my room the next morning I was overcome with excitement to see them. I DO want to be a mom. I AM grateful to spend my days with them. And coming home, I was a kinder, happier mother.

A few days later, Matthew joined us and Friday we went to the pool as a family. They were so excited to go to the pool, but to have their dad with them too was just beyond joy for them. I love my little family, and I am so grateful to my sister and her family that made me remember just how much.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

10 Miles - Check

At the beginning of the year, I made a goal, one I felt inspired of Heavenly Father to set. The goal was to run 10 miles at one time. I hate running. I ran cross country and long-distance track my freshman year, not because I enjoyed it, but because I was bored for the first one and didn't have any friends for the second (we moved half way through my freshman year). 

During Track, I did make friends, and life became a little less dismal, but I LOST every single race that season. It is not super exciting to have people in the stands watching you lose for 8 laps. There's nowhere to hide. And for 8 laps I had people futily trying to encourage me. Those kind words may have been helpful for some, but for me, it just added to the discouragement. So after that season, except when it came to workout runs for soccer practice, I gave up running.

I ran a few more times in college, including one peer pressured 5K, and a few times later, but as much as I want to enjoy running, it has NEVER been my happy place.

Fast forward a lot of years and I notice weight going on and NOT coming off. We purchased a very little treadmill so I could walk. I never had any intention of running, I enjoy walking. But slowly, I began walking a little faster. And by the end of 2016 I was running a couple of miles very slowly. I still had a few pounds I wanted to lose (especially after a Christmas holiday of eating most of the desserts all by myself - Matthew's family isn't big on them) but I really really didn't want to diet. Blegh. 

So as I was making up my list of goals for the new year I felt like a 10 mile goal was a good one. Something that would definitely stretch me, but wouldn't kill me. Also, it felt like a healthier goal to focus on than losing weight.

I found a half marathon training schedule and adapted it so that it would take the year instead of 3 months. But by July I was getting BORED. So I decided to ramp the schedule and finish early - Saturday, July 29th.

I had been running solely on my treadmill, since it was the easiest to do with young children, but for my last 10-mile run I wanted to do it outside. I didn't want to ask anyone to do it with me because I am still REALLY slow but after mentioning it to two wonderful women, they wanted to crash my party. I am so glad they did. I'm pretty sure there is no way I would have run the entire way without them. They chatted while I huffed and puffed, they never made me feel less than for being so slow, and they never tried to cheer me on like those from my high school horror days. They are my angels and I am forever grateful the Spirit suggested I bring it up to them.

So now that I am done with my goal, my new goal for the rest of the year is to run 15 miles per week. You may be asking the question, do you enjoy running now? Do you think you'll ever do a half or full marathon? No and no. But . . . I do appreciate my body in a way I never did before. It can do hard things. Things it's NEVER done before, not even in my fit teenage years. I may be twice as slow as I was in high school, but I ran 5 times farther than I ever did in high school and that is a big accomplishment for me.

The other question you might be wanting to ask - have you lost any weight? A little. But no matter what the scale says, my body image has greatly improved, even if no one else notices. So did I enjoy running 10 miles? Nope, I almost died for 2 hours. It wasn't really fun at all. But was I right in thinking it was a healthier goal than just losing weight? ABSOLUTELY!! I am so thankful for the growth I have seen in myself. And I'm thankful my children see me putting my health as a priority.