Archives for December 2010

New Year, new well!

Remember the water project I talked about a few times this month? Check it out! We met our goal and then some!   Our donations will supply 310 people with clean water, many for the first time in their lives.   I’ll let you know when I find out the location of our water project.Thanks to all the kind people who contributed, and Happy New Year to everyone.

Random Plans for 2011

In thinking about the new year, here are some things I’d like to do.   How about you?   What plans do you have for the new year?


  • Do a major clean-out of my youngest girls’ room.
  • Help older girls repaint their room.
  • Clean out my closet and sort/give away clothes.
  • Clean out the laundry room and reorganize crafts.
  • Empty out the space under my bed.

  • Revamp homeschool schedule for spring semester (this week!)
  • Work on son’s high school transcript.
  • Get rid of homeschool books we aren’t using.

  • Run at least two 5K’s.
  • Run/walk 300 miles during 2011.
  • Wear out my first pair of running shoes!
  • Learn rotary breathing so I can swim without drowning.
  • Buy a pair of goggles that keep my contacts from floating away.

  • Prep to speak at 3 homeschool conferences OKC | Tulsa | Boise
  • Submit one story idea per month to various magazines.

  • Read through the Old Testament in a year.
  • Make myself a cute new camera strap.
  • Build a fire pit for marshmallow roasts at home.
  • Plan a weekend getaway with hubby for our 25th anniversary.
  • Draw up a ‘someday/big dream’ plan for a possible dining room addition to our house.
  • The no-run exercise plan

    The day after the race I felt great.   But when I ran a couple days later some mild shin pain had me suspecting the start of shin splints.  Maybe running on asphalt during the race hadn’t agreed with me.  Maybe it was running a longer distance than usual.  Or possibly I’ve been focused so much on landing on my toes that I’m not putting my heels down enough.  I wasn’t really sure what the culprit was, but I decided Christmas week was a good time for a few days off.

    The day after Christmas I ran a mile which left my shins only a little tweaky.   But two days later when I went to run again, my shins complained more loudly.  It wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t brave enough to run that day and had a nice two mile walk instead.

    After consulting with Dr. Google, I’m reasonably certain it is shin splints, which supposedly you can run through.   But I’m going to be cautious and take 10 days off running.  In the meantime I plan to walk or bike 3 times a week.  And next week I have an appointment with a trainer at the rec center to see what’s up and make a plan to hopefully avoid more injury.

    Today I did 15 minutes of weights, then 10 miles of ‘hills’ on the stationary bike at the rec center.  No shin pain, and thanks to HGTV wasn’t too terribly boring.  Also, on the recommendation of a friend (and 2000+ 5-star reviews on amazon) I bought the 30 Day Shred.  With foul winter weather it will be good to have another option for indoor workouts. I’m optimistic that a bit of a break will have me back running soon.

    A few people have asked me about weight loss.  During my first two months of running, I didn’t lose a pound. Kinda irritating, considering all the exercising. In November I got serious and started counting calories at The LiveStrong site is super easy to use.  You type in what you eat, click “I ate this”  (yikes!  🙂 ) and it totals the calories for you.

    Just knowing that I’ll be writing everything down makes me eat more carefully.    Literally within a week of counting calories, I started losing weight.  I’ve lost 8 pounds now, but because I’m also exercising, it feels like I’ve lost more.  Last week I actually bought a pair of size 8 jeans for the first time since I was in my 20’s, and they fit great.  Shocking how good something that simple can feel.

    I’ve gone back and forth about actually blogging all this…to tell the truth, it is a little out of my comfort zone.  But I know that reading about other people’s successes encourages me, so I decided to get my experience out there.  (still just in my sidebar, though!  🙂 )

    My stats for 2010:

    • Walking: 22 miles
    • Running: 74 miles
    • Biking: 13 miles
    • Weight lost: 8 pounds

    In the new year, my goal is to lose another 15 pounds, and I am hoping to run/walk 250 miles, or about 5 miles a week.  I’m thinking about some more races too.  This one in June looks like fun, doesn’t it?  We’ll see….


    Don’t let the sleepy pictures fool you.

    This kid is as much work as any baby.

    A baby with teeth. Who can run really fast. And likes the feel of leather in her teeth.

    But like any baby, her cuteness saves her.

    Even at 3 AM when I am out in the back yard with her, shivering as my bathrobe flaps in the winter wind.

    Thankfully it’s not my turn tonight.  Yawn.

    Christmas moments

    The quiet before the chaos on Christmas morning. Coffee’s brewing, kids are just starting to wander into the living room.

    First tutu for a little niece.  Smiles all around the room at the sight of her delight.

    First phone for my handsome 16 year old. (Driver’s ed starts in 2 weeks, and involves getting up at 5 am for a month. Will we survive?)

    Kitties playing in gift wrap

    Skyping with my sister Sophie who lives in Ethiopia. (It was 4 AM her time– yawn!)

    Gloves made lovingly by an auntie

    Quilts by mom, one personalized with an Ethiopian flag, and the other with horses, per their request.

    My dad getting his favorite shirt.  Again.

    Oma (my momma) recording the moments

    Impromptu guitar lessons for 2 cousins who are new guitar owners.

    Modeling Christmas bathrobes– ain’t we swanky?

    My girl playing with her baby cousin.  In a week she’s heading off to Chile for a semester as an exchange student– what an adventure! — but for now she’s still here with us.

    Little girls playing dress-up with a great-aunt’s goodies.

    Grandma with most of her grandkids.

    John and me with all our children.  Priceless moments, precious gift.

    Here’s hoping your Christmas was as blessing-filled as ours!

    The True Tall Tale

    Sing out with joy for the brave little boy
    the God who made Himself nothing


    Look to the skies, there’s a celebration
    Lift up your heads, join the angel song
    For our Creator becomes our Savior
    As a baby born!
    Angels, amazed, bow in adoration
    ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven!’
    Send the good news out to every nation
    For our hope has come

    Worship the King – come, see His brightness
    Worship the King, His wonders tell
    Jesus our King is born today
    We welcome You, Emmanuel

    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God
    Father for ever, the Prince of Peace
    There’ll be no end to Your rule of justice
    For it shall increase
    Light of Your face, come to pierce our darkness
    Joy of Your heart come to chase our gloom
    Star of the morning, a new day dawning
    Make our hearts Your home

    Quietly He came as a helpless baby
    One day in power He will come again
    Swift through the skies He will burst with splendour
    On the earth to reign
    Jesus, I bow at Your manger lowly
    Now in my life let Your will be done
    Live in my flesh by Your Spirit holy
    Till Your kingdom comes

    Off to celebrate!

    I’m declaring it Christmas break on the blog.   There’s lots of good stuff in the archives if you’re looking for something to read– just click on the tabs at the top of the page.  Enjoy your celebrations and all your special time with loved ones. Merry Christmas!

    PS–There’s still time to donate to the well project!   We’re up to $3457 and it’s not too late to chip in if you’d like to be a part of supplying water to a needy community.

    Keeping the good moments good

    Sometimes kids with grief issues can have a hard time enjoying the good moments in family life. This afternoon we settled in to work on a Christmas craft,  a pinecone elf project that I saw here.  Most of the kids got into the project and enjoyed it.   But one was struggling.

    After beginning the project halfheartedly, the child asked if it was OK to make elves with frowning faces.  Hm, how to answer?  Yes, I could sanction the creation of a cranky elf.  But then I’d hate looking at the thing, and the child’s negativity would be manifested in a durable way.  Nope. I didn’t think that’d do anyone any good.

    I could lecture the kid, and insist that the elf be a smiling one.  Except I lecture enough in a day, and this was supposed to be fun.  Nobody in the room needed me coming down on the kid like a ton of bricks, as tempting as that was.  No, I had to find a way to make my response fun, while still encouraging the child towards a project that reflected cheer.

    “Oh!”  I said, jumping to my feet and pulling up the child too.  “I think that you must not have gotten enough hugs today!!  When people don’t get enough hugs, they have a hard time with joy, and of course this project should be joyful.  Come here and let’s hug until you’re strong enough to make a happy craft!”

    Grinning ruefully, the child gave me a noodle-armed hug.

    “Oh, no!” I said.  “We’re going to need to hug until your arms are strong enough for a good hug.  We’d better practice kissing too while we’re at it.”

    I smooched the child’s cheeks, alternating sides til the child began smiling in spite of efforts to be stone-faced, and actually gave me a decent hug.  “OK, now you kiss me!” I said, offering a cheek.  Kisses were given, still with a rueful grin.

    “Now, are you strong enough to make a happy craft, or do we need more hugs and kisses?”

    The child hurriedly assured me that enough strength now existed to create a smiling elf, escaped my hug, settled back at the table, and proceeded to work on a happy face.

    During the next hour, a few more hugs were needed to refresh the child’s ability to craft happily.  Yeah, I was basically threatening the child with hugs each time cooperation and good attitudes began to slip away.  In an ideal world, my child would actually seek out my hugs,  would be comfortable with happy family time.

    But that is not the current reality for this child.  And here’s the thing:  each time I engaged the child in this way, every person in the room ended up smiling.  Even the child.  We ended each interaction more connected, with the child truly more able to participate in the activity.  I felt better.  The kid felt better.  And no one else in the room was subjected to an unhappy showdown.

    I don’t always handle it this well.  When dealing with a child who is consciously or unconsciously trying to sabotage family fun, we’ve had plenty of showdowns.  But when I remember to play the humor card, while still sticking to my guns, I tend to be much more successful in redirecting the child, and also safeguard the joy of everyone else in the room.

    see how she ran

    The first wave of panic hit me Friday afternoon when I was leaving the school gym with my race packet. Why had I thought it would be fun to run a race? John assured me I’d be fine and I stuffed my fears away.  He was right– what could go wrong? Then close to bedtime I was piling up my race clothes and freaked out again. This time it was my daughters who reassured me I’d be fine, and I went off to bed not feeling too anxious.

    I’d been planning to sleep til 6:30, but around 5:30 I went to peek out the window. As the weatherman forecasted, it had snowed in the night, and was still snowing and blowing. Should make for an interesting race. Since there was no more sleep in me, I decided to eat breakfast. No good having the blood flowing to my stomach at 10 AM when I needed it in my legs. I remembered reading that protein is a good idea before a race, so I had an egg and toast along with my coffee.
    After getting dressed, I woke kids up, brought the accident-prone dog out to the bathroom, scrubbed the carpet where she’d messed, and set out cocoa and pancakes for the kids’ breakfast. John made hot tea for our big thermos, and I checked to make sure everyone had gloves and coats and hats.

    We got out the door just before 8, with everyone and enough gear on hand to stand in a snowstorm for hours.  Roads were snow-covered, but not too icy, and we got downtown to the YMCA a full hour before the race.  Parking was effortless that early.  My daughter and her inlaws (our friends the Blodgetts) got there right after we did, and my sister-in-law and her girls got there soon after that.  We picked up our ‘chips’, the thing you tie to your shoe to be timed during the race, and stood around chatting and watching people arrive.

    Watching people settled my nerves– there were over 2000 runners/walkers, many in interesting costumes.  Lots of dogs and kids.  Definitely a family-friendly event, nothing high-powered or scary.

    We brought our puppy– she cries if we leave her in the kennel alone– and the kids took turns carrying her around.  For fun we outfitted her in a miniature race number that matched mine, and she (and whoever was holding her) got lots of attention from people passing by.

    My sister Rachel got there about 20 minutes before the race was scheduled to start.  She was the one most likely to be my speed, so she and I were planning to run together for at least part of the race.  Ten minutes or so before race time, we peeled off extra layers of clothes and joined the mass beginning to congregate behind the starting line.  We ended up about halfway back in the mob.

    After all my wondering about clothing, I ended up in my normal running clothes: capris, long sleeve underarmour shirt, and pink fleece vest with gloves and hat. It was just right. I brought the YakTrax, but by race time the roads were melting and there wasn’t enough snow to warrant them, so I handed them off to John at the last minute.

    We started off slow, shuffling in the mob of people, then walking, then finally having enough space to run slowly.  We were behind lots of walkers, so Rachel and I took turns looking for holes and passing single file.  It was nice to have checked out the course beforehand, and made it easier to pace myself.  We weren’t breaking any speed records, with dodging walkers, but it was fun to be in the middle of a big group.  In each race bag, there had been a jingle bell, so if you listened, you could hear quiet little jingles as we ran.

    The first mile felt easy and took 13 minutes, just what I was hoping.  I can run a little faster than that, but not for long, so I wanted my first mile to be my slowest. After the first mile, my sister started taking some short walk breaks, but was able to catch back up to me since she runs faster. During all my training I’ve alternated walking and running too, which has worked well.  My longest unbroken run was 1.5 miles, so I expected to walk some during this race.  But the pace here felt so easy to me that I started wondering about the possibility of running the entire 2.5 miles.  At the 1.5 mile mark, my sister fell back a bit. We’d agreed to split up when we needed to.  So I decided to keep my pace steady and see if I could make it to the 2 mile mark.   If needed, I could walk a block then, and finish the last half mile strong.

    All this time I was steadily passing walkers, and now and then even a runner, usually an adult with a child in tow.  Little kids would dart past me, run a block or two, then fall back to walk awhile. For a few minutes I did valiant battle with a fit-looking young couple running with a pair of jogging strollers.   But then their three year old begged to get out and run, and they fell back.  Whew.  🙂

    Getting close to the two mile mark I was getting pretty tired and the thought of a walk-break was sounding appealing.  But my breathing wasn’t ragged, and my legs still had enough oomph for brief accelerations as I moved around slower racers.  Plus I could see the corner of the dog-leg that marked the last three blocks of the race, which meant that my family was almost in sight.  No way was I going to walk then.

    I spotted my family before they spotted me, and waved hugely to get their attention.  They were on the steps of a church waiting for me.  My 16 year old son saw me first (he’s tallest) and alerted everyone.  My hubby snapped a few pictures and they all waved and cheered.  I waved back, grinning.  I felt good, really strong still.  My 6 year old ran a block with me, and I kinda wanted her to finish the race with me, but big sis corralled her in and I went on.  All that was left at that point was two blocks, a turn, and a chute of about 400 feet to the finish line.

    At the corner, runners with chips were directed to the left, so they could cross where the chip-reader was, and I went over that way.  Looking forward to the finish, my heart sank for a second.   I was tired, and all of a sudden it looked far away.   But I pulled myself together and plowed forward, trying to lengthen my stride and accelerate just a little at the end.  As I finished, the official clock read 33 minutes and change, but my stopwatch that I’d started when I actually crossed the starting line read 32:14.   That gave me an average speed of 12:53 per mile. Certainly not blindingly fast, and looking back I think I could have pushed myself harder that last half mile.   But four months ago, I couldn’t run the distance between two telephone poles without sucking wind and stopping.  Now I can run two and a half miles and still be smiling at the end.  I was really happy with how I’d done.

    At the end of the chute after the finish, they clipped off my chip and tore the race tag off the bottom of my number.  Then I went past the water station to grab a water bottle and wait for my sister to come through.  In a minute or two she did, then we went looking for my family and for the others who’d finished before we did.  Here are all us gals together, including Natalie on the far right who rocked the race by finishing first of all the women, and Laura who finished 10 minutes ahead of me.  Yehaw!

    I spent about 5 minutes feeling hot, then started shivering and needed to find my fleece pants. There was soup and bagels and coffee and chocolate milk.  My sister and I snagged chocolate milk for the kids. We all hung around together for awhile, chatting and listening to the music and watching more runners come in.  Good fun. By that point it was mostly people who’d run the 6.1 mile course- they came in fast and strong.  It was an exhilarating feeling to see them finish and to know I’d run my race and done well in my own way.

    The puppy, exhausted, was sleeping in Joshua’s arms. After a bit it started to rain.  I decided I’d kept my family out in the cold for long enough.   We gathered everyone up and headed off for an early lunch of pizza on our way home.  I grinned all the way home, and found myself wondering when I could run another race.