Friday, May 30, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memories



One year ago tonight, we took a looooooooong walk around the neighborhood, in an effort to coax Preston into the world. Our strategy worked. I went into labor... I'm so glad I don't have to deliver a baby tonight. But I can't wait to celebrate a birthday tomorrow!

A Loose Tooth


Our home has yet to be visited by the tooth fairy. Last Saturday Porter joyously announced that after biting into an apple he realized that his bottom tooth is a teensy, tiny bit loose.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Foam Roller Magic



I feel like I've just been let in on a well kept secret.

The magic of foam rollers.

Apparently my knee problems were caused by IT band problems. The IT band runs along the outer leg down past the knee. Everything is connected. So muscle knots and tightness in the muscles in my upper leg were manifesting themselves in my knee.

The massage I got really helped set me on the right track towards healing.

The foam roller is helping take me the rest of the way. It's a deep tissue massage, and it hurts like crazy! As I roll the roller along my leg, I can feel the knots. I pause on the knot, and the pressure helps release the knot, and then I move onto the next one. I did the foam roller cold a few times and then I tried it right after running. I noticed an 80% decrease in the pain in my knee. A miracle!

It really is an answer to prayer and a testimony builder of the power of priesthood blessings. I was so discouraged a month ago, and Doug gave me a blessing. In that blessing he blessed me with wisdom to know what to do. Shortly after that I heard about massage and foam rollers. And voila... I am on the road to recovery!

I hate to say I'm totally healed, because I am still working about knots. But I can run, and I can run far. I no longer have knee pain after a day of house cleaning. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gym Report Card



So... my take on the gym so far... Love it!

I am especially enjoying the classes. Body Pump is my favorite. Body Pump is helping me achieve the goal I have of doing more strength training. It's low weight, high repetition weight training class to music. So fun! I've been getting up at 4:40 to make the 5:10 class, and it's so worth it.

I enjoyed the spin class too. My true love and best work out comes from running, but I know that I need to do some cross training. Spin helps me get a really good, high intensity workout. I think I'll try and do one spin class a week, and run for my other cardio workouts.

I've been running on the treadmill a couple of mornings a week, and I absolutely hate it. But it's good for a hill workout and I think it's good for my knees. I'm still running outside too, and use the treadmill for variety.

Body Flow is a combination of Pilates and yoga. I feel like it's a little luxury during the week. The first class I did, I didn't think it did much for me, but I felt long and lean and relaxed for the rest of the day. It's not a cardio class, so I have trouble giving it a whole hour, but I think I'll try and do it once a week, or once every other week.

I tried the Step class, I don't think I'll go back. And the Body Combat class just made me laugh all of that punching and kicking. I don't feel like I need to make it a part of my regular workout either. However I was surprisingly sore the next day.

I don't love the childcare. It's not terrible, but it just doesn't have the feel of a place that I want to leave my children in frequently. Preston's already picked up a cold from there. So that's why I try to go in the morning if the class is offered early enough. Doug has started running a few mornings a week, so I can't go every morning, we have to take turns. But sleep is good too.

My clothes aren't fitting any differently, so I don't think I look any different, but I feel different. I feel stronger. When I eat a treat, I enjoy it, because I feel like I can afford to eat it. Mentally I feel happier too. Exercise releases the same feel good hormones that you get when you take anti-depressants. I have to say, I'm a believer. Here's to hoping I can keep up it up!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mothers


Mother's Day really got me thinking about the mother's in my life... My life has been touched by so many wonderful women, I can't list them all today, but I want to highlight a few...

* My own mother, of course... From her I have learned so much. I feel like because of her, I am who I am today. She has shaped me with her examples of kindness and charity. She has taught me, by example, how to strive to be a better person through setting goals and working to accomplish them.

She is a deep thinker and so well educated. She reads a lot, and she doesn't just read for pleasure. She reads to grow her mind and expand her understanding of other cultures and other people. She is so talented at drawing the life lessons from the things she reads, and she knows how to eloquently put her thoughts into words. She has an amazing memory, one that I can only wish for.

She has set the example of how to make the best out of the situation we're given. She has shown me endurance through hard times, how to put one foot in front of the other. Oh yeah, and she loves to laugh. How lucky I am to be blessed with her as my mother.

* My mother in law ... is the epitome of compassion and thinking of others. As her mother' s health declined, Barbara cared for her daily until the end. She visits and calls the sick and the weary. She puts others first, all of the time. She would send my brother's cards on their missions. She taught me the art of a short phone call, just calling to check on... She did an amazing job raising a kind, and compassionate son. How lucky I am to be able to regularly associate with her!

* My grandma... has left a legacy of hard work and faith. She has had a hard life, yet she still keeps going. Even though I have over 40 cousins, she always made me feel like I was her favorite. I think we all felt that way.

* Jenni T*... has shown me how to keep a friendship going despite distance. She is a near and dear friend. As she was moving, I assumed she would fall into the category of friends in my life whom I love dearly, and of whom I have fond memories, and with whom I wish I could stay in better contact... Fortunately for me, when Jenni moved she called me several times after her move, so I called her back... and she kept calling... now four years later we have spoken on the phone almost every week, and we've arranged our summer trips to be able to see each other every summer.

Jenni has taught me, by example, how to not sweat the small stuff. When I have the urge to get offended at something someone says of does, I think... "Would Jenni worry about this? Then I won't either!" She also has such a good marriage, and she is the epitome of a perfect, supportive wife. Her husband is just now finishing residency, after getting a PhD first... and she's still smiling!

I am a better mother because of what I have learned by watching her example.

*Audra... has taught me that it's okay to pace myself. She showed me that it's okay to save my strength, and that while I can try to do it all, I don't have to do it all right now. She also taught me the fine art and joy of accessories.

*Lindy, Jennifer S. and Tara B.... taught me to listen to the inner mom voice, dare to follow my instinct, even if it means being different.

I could keep going and going, for my life is filled and has been touched by wonderful examples... but I'm going to stop here... for now.

Mother's Day Recap...



It's amazing how such small things can melt your heart. As Sophia and Porter presented their Mother's Day presents to me, I felt like my day was already complete. They both made presents at school, and with much excitement and anticipation hid them in secret places and presented them to me first thing in the morning on Mother's Day.

Porter's class made a cookbook. He submitted a recipe for "Concoction." The recipe was in his own words and detailied the mixing of different juices to create a delightful special drink.

Sophia made a magnet with her picture to put on the fridge and a set of paper mittens connected by a ribbon so I could remember her hug length.

Porter tried to keep his present a secret, but after letting on it was a book, dropped hints (again and again during the week) such as... It's a book that you use to make things... what is it mom? It's a book that starts with a c... I'm not going to tell you, but can you guess what it is?

Doug and the kids treated me to breakfast and dinner. And Doug spoiled me with some surprised. They really tried hard to make it a nice Mother's Day, and to show me that my love me.

swim cap

I was starting to worry about Sophia's blond hair and the chlorine. So we purchased a swim cap to protect her hair.

Her head is so small it doesn't keep all of the water out, but I really like it, because now I can easily spot her anywhere in the pool. While she is an amazing swimmer, she's so little I keep a close watch on her as she practices.

She always swims in the lane right next to the wall. Usually she grabs onto the rope when she needs a little break, but once in a while she grabs onto the wall. It's so cute I see little splashing water then a tiny hand creep up and grab the wall, then a little more splash splashing (her feet kicking the water), and then I see her hand again.

One drill they do is to swim across the deep end (11 ft) of water. It's not as long as the lanes, but there's nothing to grab onto. Both Porter and Sophia can do it time and time again. It's so fun to watch them cross successfully. I have to admit I was really nervous the first time Sophia swam it. But she crossed with no fear and no hesitation and no problems.

When the water seeps into her goggles, she tells me the water's dripping.

splash days



The Primary Quarterly Activity consisted of a water play party in uncharacteristically beautiful spring weather... great for the adults chaperoning, sad for the blue lipped freezing cold children... They still managed to have a nice time. I gave a message/lesson on Christ and the Living Water of the gospel.

snake skin

The snake that lost this skin in our backyard has taken up permanent residence. We've seen his living slinking self twice, but we can't seem to catch him. Doug assures me it's not a poisonous snake. I don't really care, I just want him evicted... the sooner the better...

Kids in Action














Sophia's pre-school took a little field trip to the open gym time at Kids in Action. Sophia did so well on the gym equiptment and Preston loved being free to explore.

kindergarten program

Porter's music teacher has to be in her late sixties. She's a sweet lady and she taught the kids such sweet songs to sing for the Kindergarten program. Each song was accompanied by actions. Porter still walks around singing "Each of us a flower, growing each new day." They sang a song about rainbows and about how kids are cool. I love programs, they're like little mom paydays for me.

Porter and his kindergarten teacher.

eating utensils



The other day Preston grabbed the utensil out of my hand, scooted some food on it, tried to maneuver it to his mouth, and smiled in sweet satisfaction as he accomplished his goal.
Funny, I don't remember my other kids wanting to each with a spoon or a fork. Preston must really be watching and wanting to be like his brother and sister.

Getting Around...





Baseball End of Season Party







Sound Familiar?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Granny Annie's Famous Cookies

My mom is well known for her awesome baking. She raised 5 boys on her bread and her cookies. Angie has been asking for her recipes for a while... Thanks for being patient! Here you go!

Oatmeal Cookies:

1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. margarine
1/4 c. shortening
1 egg
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp cloves
1 c. raisens
3 c. oatmeal

Bake @ 350-375 for 10 minutes

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 c. flour
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. margarine
2/3 c. shortening
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking solda
1 tsp salt
1 package chocolate chips

Bake @ 350 for 10 minutes

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thoughts to remember...

our mistakes are not us... they're not our spirituality either

we have to strengthen our marriage so that when the storms come it can survive it

bad things happen to good people...we can't think we're exempt

things happen for a reason... we have to learn from them and look for the lessons

(found these thoughts in a draft... wish I could remember what inspired them)

Enchantment



I recently finished Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. I don't know why, but I've read a lot of fantasy lately.

This book is a twist on the Sleeping Beauty story. It combines Russian folklore with a modern day twist. LOVED IT! The plot grabbed me... okay, let me be more specific, the love story grabbed me.

Orson Scott Card writes with a kind of raw honesty and I enjoyed the dynamics he created between the two main characters. They didn't fall in love at first and the journey that brought them together was filled with subtle comedy and danger and sweet romance.

I also enjoyed some of the supporting characters, such as the ever omniscient mother... how I would love to have the same kind of connection or sixth sense with my children as she had with her son. I read this book for book club and I enjoyed discussing with my group the characters and their strengths and their weaknesses.

I know that because the author is LDS, some people question the language and some subject matter he chooses to put in his books. Frankly, I think he just helps show the spectrum of people who are LDS. Despite how play group may feel sometimes, we are not a church full of cookie cutter people. The Lord made us all so different, he created a whole spectrum of members with likes and dislikes and sensitivities, and senses of humor. Orson Scott Card captures some of this in his writing.

At 400 pages it's not a sit down and read it one night book, but because it's longer it definitely has more depth than your standard fairy tale!

Rookie Camp







awards for completing rookie camp







warning: this entry may come across as containing some bragging... forgive me, but I want to preserve the memories of my kids first swim team experiences!

When in Rome, do as the Romans do... When in Texas, swim as the Texans do... It seems like most kids down here swim for several seasons of swim team... we're taking our turn, and loving it!

We started with Rookie Camp, a week long preview to swim team, filled with lessons and lots of laps for beginning kiddos. I didn't commit to more, nor did I tell my kids there could be more to come. Because they both enjoyed it so much and seemed to be learning so much, I told them we could keep going.

Sophia was so excited and didn't think twice about devotion and commitment to her favorite sport.

Porter, on the other hand, had second thoughts. He has really good days and really bad days. We had a little chat about attitude, and how if we think it's going to be a terrible day, it will be, and if we think it's going to be an awesome day, it will... I think it kicked in. The next day when I asked him what kind of day he was going to have he yelled... an awesome one

But when Porter heard Sophia was going to keep swimming after rookie camp, he decided that he ought to too... Phew, If we're going to be there, I'd much rather have both of them swim.

Porter learned the backstroke the other day. He looked like he was drowning out there, but he kept trying (we have the "you can do hard things" talk often) and all of the sudden in his own words "it just clicked mom!" and he swim half the length in the backstroke. Go Porter!

Sophia is so small that the coach had her doubts about how Sophia would do. But Sophia jumped in and took off swimming, surprising all who were watching her. I love to watch Sophia swim. She is the slow one, but come on, her legs aren't very long! However she is so happy, every time she come up for a breath, she has a big smile on her face. While she's kicking along on her kick board... big smile... While she's holding onto the wall... big smile. While the teacher is helping her with her technique... Big smile. It just makes me happy to watch! Today she jumped off the block and everyone marveled at her bravery. She can definatly be gutsy when she wants to be!

We practice every day after school for half an hour. Porter is better behaved for me when we get home from swimming then he has been all year coming home after school. I think it's because he's immediately expending his pent up energy and frustrations from the day during his laps. I pick him, we rush to the pool, and he changes in the car.

I decided not to do the meets, I'm feeling a little guilty about it. But we're leaving the beginning of June for my brother's wedding, and we will miss half of the meets. I told my kids next year they could swim in the meets, and they seemed to be fine with it. I hope that the daily practice will help them to become better swimmers and I hope they keep having fun with it. It's hard work they do every day, all of those laps! But, in case you can't tell, I'm so proud of them and their effort!

Happy Baseball Boy







It turned out to be such a great season, and I am so glad we signed Porter up!

Our team was the Colorado Rockies.

I was so worried at first that we were over scheduling ourselves, but we usually had two games a week, with an occasional extra practice thrown in. Porter loved it so much and never complained, so it was easy to go. (Such a different experience than our soccer days!) Sophia played with her new ball field friends. I kept one eye on the game and one eye on her and one arm around the baby. Doug would meet us there after work.

The last game was a tournament game. I thought it was funny that they were having a tournament, because the score of the games is usually in the twenties, and so close that it's really anybody's game. They play until there are three outs or until each player has had a turn to bat. It's coach pitch.

Usually during the games I don't keep track of the score, I sometimes forget which team I am there to support (the Colorado Rockies), and I cheer for the other side... I'm just excited someone hit a ball! We just play for fun. During the tournament, things were different. I'm so glad I didn't tell Porter he was in a tournament. I just told him it might be his last game. I didn't want him to feel the pressure. I mean come on, we're playing baseball for the love of the game... for the fun of it! But I surprised myself with my anxious attention to the game. I cheered louder than I'd ever cheered before (and never for the wrong team!) I was so into it, and I wanted the Rockies to win. My competitive side was kicking in, funny I didn't know I still had a competitive side!

Unfortunately there are two really good teams in our league, and we played one of them in our single elimination tournament. Our boys put up a good fight! We had such a fun season. Porter's already asking when we can sign up for the next season... I think that's a good sign!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Gym



I finally did it... I broke down and joined a gym. They were running a special I couldn't ignore.

Typically I've felt like I do not have time to go to a gym. I enjoy running and am happy running outside.

However, with my knee injury I've realized that I can not put all of my eggs in one basket. I need to have some other ways to work out.

I also think that because I am getting older I need to do some more weight bearing exersizes...ie. lifting weights. I am excited to test out the body pump class and the spin class.

Wish me luck!

Massage Therapy



I've had problems with my right knee for the past five months or so. I'm trying not to get panicked. It's not extreme pain, it's just a dull ache. But when I don't go running I'm not a very happy person... at all. I cut back my running... still didn't help. So for April I didn't run at all (yes, I've been grumpy all month).

Last night I went to a massage therapist to see if she could help. As she worked on my legs she found a couple of spots that she thinks could be causing my problems.

Let's hope she's right and that she got them worked out! Up until recently I always thought of massage as a feel good treat. I didn't realize it could have therapeutic benefits. But as I talked to other runners who've recovered from injuries they all spoke of the place massage played in their recovery.

The masseuse was trying to convince me that massage should be a part of a person's wellness plan. I can see her point, if you have money to burn. However, if her work on my legs sets me on the road to recovery, she'll be seeing me again as part of my prevention plan!

The Power of a Word



So often I hear great talks in conference or in church and feel two emotions...

one--inspiration and desire to act upon what has been taught and
two-- discouragement because there's so much to do to progress individually and to raise a righteous family

A friend shared some advise her therapist gave her in referring to all of the things my friend needs to do to climb out of her depressions. The therapist said, "Don't look at them as things you have to do... look at them as things you GET to do."

Isn't it amazing how just changing that one word makes everything sound better. It lightens the burden a little bit. It takes a negative thought and turns it into a positive thought.

Instead of saying, "Look at all of the things I have to do to try to raise a righteous family." I can say, "Look at all of the things I get to do to try to raise a righteous family." It feels so much more hopeful and doable. It's less of a burden and more of wonderful opportunity.

Along the same line ... My mom shared a conversation she had with a neighbor who is virtually raising her two grandchildren. When commended for her noble efforts and sacrifice, my neighbor said, "It is our honor and our privilege to be such a large part of our grandchildren's lives."

Do we look at things we have to do as an honor and a privilege? It is an honor and a privilege to raise children. It is an honor and privilege to have callings in the church. It is an honor and a privilege to be married and to have the chance to treat out spouses with love and respect. I could go on and on.

It's given me a lot to think about.

The Pre-Trial Hearing



The State of Texas VS Angela R*. Sounds official, doesn't it? When I saw it in writing it made my heart sink.

Seriously, I feel like a criminal. And I've lost some faith and trust in the judicial system.

However, according to Doug I don't have a right to say that because I opted to bypass a trial and settle the case of The State of Texas vs. Angela R* peaceably, without a fight... In other word I took the cowards way out and accepted a plea bargain. But I told Doug before we went my goal was to leave with this thing resolved. A trial would have prolonged my misery.

While we had a very good case, I wasn't up for the emotional stress it was going to cause me to prepare for, wait for and be cross-examined at a trial by jury.

And I'm not sure that I'm completely innocent. I think I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. I was probably the only one the cop could catch, because I wasn't speeding, and voila... Reasonable doubt isn't applicable in traffic court, only preponderance of the something... so the prosecution only has to prove that there's a 51% chance you're guilty.

All I wanted to do was talk to the judge or the prosecuting attorney, tell my story, have them lower the sentence significantly, and send me on my merry way. It didn't quite turn out that way...

As Doug tried to talk to the prosecuting attorney he kept saying, I don't care... I don't care... I don't care... My job is to tell you what you options are... You can go to trial if you want. You have a strong case. You have a client who will make for a very sympathetic witness... yada yada yada yada... The judge was so busy he didn't really have time to chat. But we got him to reduce the fine a little bit... Neither guy was a huge jerk, but they weren't very flexible either. That courthouse was a busy, hoping place.

My sentence includes:

Probation for 4 months (I can't have any moving violations in that time... um, yeah, now I'm terrified to drive!)

It doesn't go on my record

Pay in court costs and a very espensive special expense fee

So Doug and I had to decide what to do... Fight it and risk paying over $1000 and lost wages for a day as he defends me and risk having it go on my record, or just have it be done with....Now I understand why doctors will settle even if they're innocent. Doug was excited to fight it and would have eagerly gone to trial, I just wasn't up for it. I wanted it to be over.

It didn't sink in until later, it's kind of not over... I mean if I get another ticket before August 26th all of this plea bargaining will be null and void and I will have forfeited my chance to fight it...

I just hope that I never have any big run ins with the law. Because while our legal system is better than those in other countries, it's still flawed. I don't think it should be so hard to get a chance to negotiate a deal. If the judge gets to set the special expense fee, I should have a right to tell him what happened, and he should have right to hear what happened so he can make an educated and fair decision regarding the consequence. What I did compared to what someone else might have done could be vastly different, but the consequence is the same because there's no way to differentiate between the two instances. It's frustrating to not be heard. But as Doug said, I could have been heard, but the path there was not one I wanted to travel.

While it would be easy to focus on being frustrated with the situation. I'm just trying to put it behind me, which is much easier to do now that my court appearance is over.

I could say why me, but why not me? We all have weird random things that happen to us, and I guess it was my turn. I feel blessed that I haven't had a ticket in over ten years. The risk of driving is having things like this happen. A deductible on a damaged car is the same amount. It seems like every year we have some random expense, I'm just starting to plan on it. It's like the song, Let it Be, Let it Be...

I am just trying to learn what ever it is I'm supposed to learn from this. I'm resisting the temptation to dwell on what I can't change. I'm grateful that Doug's not mad at me. I've used the opportunity to chat with my kids about how we all have to face the consequences of our actions, intentional or otherwise. I'm trying to have peace... and it will make for a good story in the future. Now let's just hope I can stay invisible for the next four months, but if I can't... I guess I'll just have to grin and bear it.