Tuesday, October 10, 2017

First week of Oct: visit from Becca and Bella, St George Marathon, my first marathon!

As we neared the end of term, the kids got busy finishing off or correcting assignments to try to get their grades as high as possible. It was a long week, and they worked hard, but sweet notes likes this (which I found on my bed) make it all worth it! I love being a mama! Hard? Yes, but oh so worth it! 
 I love this quote and picture that I found on Instagram because it's SO true!
 And my sister came to visit us again!!! Yay! I am LOVING that Becca and her family live only one state away now, in Idaho because a 5 hour drive we can totally manage multiple times a year, and if both Bec and I are doing that, we basically get together every other month which is a dream come true!
 Bella had her Fall break during this time which is why they were able to come out, so once Nora got out of half day kindergarten we decided to have a little fun and we went across the street from her school to the Aquarium (which I've never been too; it's expensive and we have 5 kids...even just for Nora and I it was $35)! It is huge and we had a blast! The girls loved the touch pools (they have 2), where you can touch the sting rays and star fish. They also enjoyed the 4D imax theater where we watched a 10 minute Halloween film and the chairs would shake, we got a little water sprayed in our face multiple times and wind was often blowing through our hair!

I did not like that you have to exit through the gift shop. You end up with things you never intended to buy, or with crying children who refuse to leave the premises. Well played Aquarium owners! 

They had some small sharks and some huge stingray and we watched them as they fed the sharks...watched but actually didn't really see anything. They fed them way up high at the top of the pool and you really could not see a thing, but that's okay, it was still fun to see all the big fish and listen to an employee speak in a microphone and tell us all sorts of facts about the creatures swimming around. 

 Whoo, I liked this rope bridge. I like anything active I think, as long as it's perfectly safe. Though Nora dear did not feel like this was perfectly safe so as soon as we started on our way, she turned right around and clung to me until I picked her up and carried her across the rest of the way :). Silly Nora.
 Becca's trip out was also perfect timing because it just so happened that Scott and I were planning a night away in St George that Friday so that I could run my first ever marathon Saturday morning! So Becca stayed the night with the kids Friday and then she planned to take off in the morning so I had arranged rides for Charles and Annabelle to their sports games that morning and then Stacey Haggin our sweet dear friend, agreed to come over in the afternoon and check in on the kids and hang out for a bit since I figured we wouldn't be home til around 7 or 8 that night and I was right. And Stacey, the little gem, ended up staying with them pretty much the entire day until we came in at 8pm that night! She bought them dinner at Costa Vida, they painted nails, watched a movie, washed and walked the dogs, made cookies and ice cream and Halloween crafts...when we arrived she said she'd felt like she'd just run a marathon!!! :) Love her! But yeah, for sure I would have too if 1) I wasn't used to having 5 kids around and 2) I did all those fun things in one day! I'm not that fun so when they're home all day Saturday they do chores until around lunch, then they can go out and play with friends for a few hours, then it's dinner, showers, and sometimes a movie or a game. Thank you a million and a half Becca and Stacey! You're amazing and we love you both!

Here we are the day before the race at the expo center where I had to pick up my bib and I also bought a kangaroo pouch thing to hold my Glukos liquid gels. The expo center was pretty awesome and they had so many different running stores and other vendors from around the area selling and giving free samples of running foods and drinks, there were clothes and lights and shoes and water bottles and all sorts of fun things. I could've stayed for hours!
 While at the expo center we also attended a 'first timers' clinic where a presentation was given by a woman who has run every single St George marathon (41 total) and she told us what to expect and gave us some good advice on things to do and not to do etc.

After we went for a drive on the race course. We started with the finish line where I got out and walked down the that last .2 or so of the course to the finish. I like to visualize so this was important for me to do. Then we drove 26 miles out to where I would begin the race:
 And then we drove it back again and as Scott drove I paid close attention to the ups and downs and noticed there were porta potties at every single mile which was nice :). Then we grabbed some dinner at a Mexican Restaurant...I know what you're thinking. You're supposed to eat pasta and carbo load. But I don't like pasta very much. And I eat mexican every day, and I know my body does well on it, so that's what I went for. I did not eat too many chips (don't want fried foods), and I ordered a meal that wasn't going to have much dairy, and that had some flour tortillas for carbs, so I ended up getting the Veggie Fajitas and it was great! After that, Scott and I ran to the store to get a few things and then went back to where we were staying and we got ready for bed and I laid all my race stuff out including my food (4 Glukos liquid gels to take every 45 minutes during the run; plus a banana and waffle stinger to eat at the start line and my rice cake with almond butter and apples to eat just before we headed over to the busses) and water (I measured out 30 oz as I knew that's about what I should take based on my training) etc. We had the lights out by 9pm. And good thing I have no problem falling asleep immediately because we wake up between 5-530 every day and I exercise every day and take care of 5 kids and we eat well and not late, so when my head hits the pillow, I'm out! I did wake up multiple times this particular night, maybe because I wasn't in my own bed, but probably because of the upcoming race. At 420 I rolled out of bed, said my prayers, then got all suited up and we were out the door by 440. We got to the busses around 450 and then I waited in line til about 510 (remember 7800 people...they started loading at 345am and had lots of prizes to give away for the first several busses to try to get people to come then) when I got on the bus and we headed up past Veyo and onto whatever is the next town. It was much colder up there than it was down in St George and much more windy. It was dark, but they did have some lights, really loud music and a couple of long rows of little bonfires to help us keep warm. I had sweats, sweatshirt, gloves and headband at this time, but I knew I'd strip them off before we started running and put them in my numbered bag and throw it onto the Uhual which they'd take down to the finish for me. There was about an hour until the race began so I sat by the fire for about 15 minutes and then I got up, ate my banana and waffle stinger, took my pepto bismal pills, used the toilet, stripped down, put on some sunscreen which they kindly had provided at a table, and got in the line up (they usually line you up about 20 minutes before start time). It was nice being sardined in the line up because it helped us stay warm now that we'd all gotten rid of our layers of warm clothing. They started the race about 10 minutes late as we were waiting on a bus. And then we were off.

Within the first couple of miles I put on my sunglasses as the sun started to come up and I was so grateful I had remembered to bring them because it really helps when you're not having to look down or squint forever. I also packed my mp3 player in my water bag I was wearing on my back, just in case, though I haven't used it in months, and I didn't end up using it for this race. A cool story: ABout 5 months ago we had a stake 5k and there were only about 20-30 people that showed up on that cold morning. During that run there was a maybe 45 year old man and his 22 year old son, both of which seemed to be pretty strong runners. The dad ran about at my 8/750 mile pace so I tried to stay with him. I loved how cheerful and encouraging he was to everyone around him. He'd continually yell out encouraging words or just shout things like, "Yeah! You go girl!"  Now fast forward again and we're back to the St George Marathon. I lined up near the 3:35 pacer (not hard to spot as they're holding balloons), and I tried to stay close, but like I said, 7800 people. Around mile 2 or so I'm in my mode and keeping a steady pace and I can hear this guy cheering on runners and saying, "you go girl!" as they pass. Then I hear this guy telling someone else that he is there runnign with his son, who is pacing him. I looked over and saw that it was them, from my stake 5k! So once he stopped talking I asked him if he was from our city and he said yes and I proceeded to explain how I knew him. His name is Thomas Portlock and his son is Hyrum and not only is he in our stake but he is in the same ward as my running friend Kim! We ended up staying together until around mile 19 (Hyrum took off around mile 13 and Thomas suggested I go with him but I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up and I felt like I needed Thomas' presence, and it's not like he was going slow, he was doing low to mid 8's and low 9's on the hills) when Thomas finally made me go ahead so I could finish a little faster. I loved having him there, and told him he was 'my own personal bottle of sunshine', as he lifted and encouraged me and others the whole run. It was so good fro me to have him there adn I knew that the Lord knew, that I need him. The Lord knew where I was, and where Thomas was and he put us together among those 7800 people and I'm so grateful! I honestly don't know what would've happened if I didn't have him there on my first marathon, but I feel like he was good for my health, mentally and physically...perhaps I would've pushed myself too far and gotten hurt was he not there to help me pace myself, especially during the first half when you're feeling so fresh and good. Thomas had run this particular marathon 13 times, he's done the Boston a couple of times (it's a qualifying time marathon) and it was nice to have an experience runner with me reminding me to slow it down on the hills and to wiggle my toes and shake out my hands and arms for better circulation etc. Later I found out that this was also an answer to Scott's prayer. He had been praying that I would find a friend on the run, as it's such a long distance and we all have heard of stories of people really suffering on these long runs. Isn't this quote below perfect?

I love this quote as well: "Heavenly Father has many resources, but often he uses another person to assist him. Daily He gives us opportunities to lead, guid adn walk beside one in eed. We too must be about Heavenly Father's work." Joseph Brough, 2nd counselor Young Men's General Presidency

Around mile 13 I needed to make a super quick stop in the potty and as I shut my door, the door next to me slammed and I heard a guy puking, a lot. My heart went out to him as I knew we still had 13 miles to go. Scott waited for me near the finish and he said he got there around 20 minutes before I came through and that he saw this 20 year old guy collapse to the ground; an ambulance came for him...we think he was very dehydrated. It's a little tricky on these cooler runs because you don't get as thirsty so you tend to not feel like you need water, but you do. Mile 18-19 was the last hill and once I got up that hill it was mostly down for the next several miles. It was gorgeous! My legs and feet were tired, and I felt like my hips would't allow my legs to stretch out as far, but I was still keeping good time. Once we got into St George we still had about 2 miles to go and they are mostly flat which is not hard normally, but when you're on mile 25 and 26 and you've just been coming down, it feels a lot harder. My watch and auto paused when I went to use the bathroom which was not good because now I didn't know exactly how much time I had til the 3:40 time I was hoping for but I knew it was close. So those last two miles I just gave it all I had. They were my fastest two miles, in the 7's, and I felt like I was going to throw up, but I made myself think positive, and I kept reminding myself that I do this distance every day and it's no big deal. Scott ran up to me during my final mile and run next to me for maybe 1/4 or 1/2 a miles which was nice as I was exhausted and I grabbed onto his arm for a minute and let him help me move forward as he gave me words of encouragment, 'you're almost there. You've come so far. It's just this last turn and then you're home." I was grateful right then that we had driven the course the night before, walked the finish, because I knew he was right and that it was so close.  Then he was gone and I was running alone again, running fast, passing people, I passed a 20 something girl who was bent over in half, a volunteer on three sides of her, her legs stiff, she could barely move, but they were guiding her along to the finish line that was .1 of a mile away. And then I was there! I crossed the finish and slowed to a jog, and then walked through the misters they had out at the end. It was hard but it was beautiful and I'm so glad I did it. I didn't quite make the 3:40 time, I actually came in at 3:41:49, which is a 8:28 mile pace, but that's okay, I feel good about the race and how it all played out and grateful that I was able to have this positive experience. 

 I love these scriptures and quotes that related well to my experiences:
"For I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." Doctrine and Covenants 84:88

"See that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order." Mosiah 4:27
"I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom..." 2 Nephi 28:30   Yep, sounds like marathon training.

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." St John 14:18

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phillippians 4:13

Monday, October 9, 2017

Last half of September

We bought new couches when we moved back from CO to UT 2 years ago and I wasn't sure how I was going to like having so many individual pieces that can move around, but I have to say, I have loved it, mostly because I get bored of the same old every day look of things, so it's nice to be able to put various pieces together or take them apart and give the living room a new feel. This was my latest change, separating them into three pieces. 
My kids new school, American Preparatory Academy, regularly holds short assemblies for individual grades, where that grade will do a mini presentation of what they've been learning. They call them, "show what you know" and parents are invited to attend. Since we are currently sharing our school with the secondary school kids (whose school will be finished building by the end of this month!) who are using the gym and cafeteria as their classrooms until their building is done, they have been holding our assemblies outside. I've gone to a couple of the 'show what you know' assemblies now and it is so fun to see the kids recite off a long poem that the entire class has memorized, even the kindergarten classes! We've been at the school for over a month now and not only are the kids really liking it, but Scott and I are loving the academic focus and the positive and kind atmosphere at the school and with all the staff. So far, a positive experience. 

My sister, my mom and I will be traveling to Mexico this month just for 4 days, so that we can be there for my great niece Stephany who is being sealed for time and all eternity in the Mexico City temple with her fiance! Stephany is the only member of her family who has joined the LDS church, and she joined about 6 or 7 years ago when she was visiting my parents in Seattle for an extended period of time. My dad, her great grandfather, was born and raised a catholic in Mexico and moved to the USA in his late twenties and met my mom and joined the LDS church when he was 40 years old. So anyway, we're all excited for Stephany and that we'll get to be there in the temple with her. In preparation for this trip, I've bought mulitple packets of juice and dried greens that I can just add to water in my blender bottle, so that I can make sure to be getting some greens everyday no matter what else I'm eating while traveling. (And in Mexico, you're only to drink bottled water and any of the fruits and veggies with high water content, like lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes etc, you're supposed to avoid as they can also make you sick. We have a friend that travels there every other month with some traveling companions and his companions have gotten sick when they've relaxed on that a bit and eaten salads etc)
Nora and I grabbed a couple of new to us, fun, fresh foods to try while at Sprouts, one of which were these Rambutans, which is a fruit. Don't they look cool? They have all these wierd hairy looking things on them, which are not pokey, but they're also not very soft. Anyway, we looked up a video on how to open them up and then we ate a couple and really enjoyed them...they almost resembled a grape without it's skin. Charles particularly loved these, mostly because of how cool they looked, and so he ate a couple at home and then asked to bring one to school so he could tell his friends it was a dead animal :),  and then eat it right in front of them. Boys! Gotta love em'! I guess it does kinda look like a baby hedge hog. 

I run my first ever marathon this weekend in St George! I'm nervous and excited. I always get nervous before races because I want to do my best and it just makes me nervous. I think I mentioned before that I followed the Hansen's Training Plan Method which is something I found online, and then last month Scott checked this book out from the library called Run Less, Run Faster which had a similar training plan where you also run a speed workout, a tempo run and a distrance run each week, but that's the only running they have you do (so just three runs a week), where as my Hansen's method has you do those same three, plus has you running on the in between days, just more like a nice jogging pace and the miles are usually around 6-8 on those days. What I did really liked about this book is it has a section on the Boston qualifying ages/times and tells you have fast you have to run it and also how fast you should be doing each of those workouts over the 16 weeks of training in preparation for your marathon in which you hope to qualify for Boston.
Now, I'm close to where I need to be, but not all of my tempo runs and speed workouts are where I want them to be, so qualifying for Boston seems a little bit out there for me, not impossible, but it'd be pretty miraculous. We'll see how it all plays out. And this may be my first and last marathon. The training is pretty long and hard and I didn't love spending three hours on a Saturday doing long runs....but who knows, maybe I'll change my mind once some time has passed to help me forget :). 

These are my favorite running shoes and I just bought a second pair! The shoe brand is Altra and these are their Escalantes. They are super light weight and the top feels more like a sock than a shoe, it is not rubbery at all. Now these are not good trail running shoes or hiking shoes but technically you're supposed to have special shoes for activities like that anyway, but in the past I'd wear my tennis shoes for everything, but because of this sock like top which is super flexible, if you're going over rocks etc and your foot is moving to the side, it won't be very sturdy for you. But anyway, best running shoes ever(for me)!
The past two months in the basement have been slower as we were waiting on the bathtub to arrive, then it arrived with a huge crack so we sent it back and waited for the replacement to arrive, then we brought that one down (after it'd been delayed a bunch of times) only to find it was too wide which meant it was too close to the drain for the toilet so back it went and we had to wait for another tub :). During the time we cleaned things out and Scott made sure all the electrical and plumbing were done.
Here's the new electrical control panel he installed for the basement. 

At the kids new school, instead of having holiday parties, they have culminating activities which means once they finish talking/learning about a topic, they class will have this activity with food and crafts etc. Here Nora's kindergarten class just finished up a unit on Native Americans so they made these cute garbage bag vests that they colored with native american symbols, they made a little tipee with snocanes, blue and sand, they ate some finger foods like popcorn, corn, and fruit and learned about making fire. 

They also do something at the school called, "show what you know" assemblies. A grade will put on a short assembly during the week, to which parents are invited. They start with the pledge of allegiance and then sing the National Anthem, two other grades are invited to watch and applaud and they give out prizes for classes they've noticed during the week that had the most children dressed correctly in their uniforms, or where they were most helpful or on task etc, and then the one grade recites a poem from memory that they've been working on. It's pretty impressive to see what even these little ones can memorize! 
My good friend Elisa Ludwig and her husband went on a trip this week and her parents watched the kids for part, but until they got there we had a couple of days where we got to have the kiddos over to play(she paid us, the stinker). My kids loved having some younger ones around.  
And Ben was quite the puzzler fixer! He did probably ten puzzles one morning while the kids were at school and I was doing some cooking and cleaning. 

This is one of my new favorite candle warmer scents! It smells amazing and is a perfect fall flavor! But it does make me feel like baking which can be a bad thing. 

Nora and I were looking through the Lionhouse cookbook one afternoon and she asked if we could make these Mexican Wedding cookies (they were called something else in the book). They were amazingly yummy! 

Elisabeth had her Fall recital at Daynes music and she played beautifully!

Once the tub was in and we he got it plumbed, then we called the inspector and he had a couple of small things to fix which Scott did over the weekend and he asked us to finish our insulation which needed to go all the way up the wall (it went all the way up to the wall most places but there were a couple of spots where it didn't quite make it), and then Scott and I also insulated the ceiling. We did fiber glass, the pink stuff, most everywhere, but in the room under the piano we put in this soundproof insulation that's made from rock and other material. Not sure if it's really going to help much, but it's worth a try. 

General Conference weekend we had some friends over to watch Saturday.
Saturday evening the Hague girls came over and we made cookies, the girls watched a movie and we played games.
Sunday morning before the first session began we had cinnamon rolls and eggs for a brunch.
Nora and I worked on this puzzle during one session.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

First half of September

Elisabeth taught herself how to french braid. For years I've been french braiding her hair after she showers so that it's nice and crimpy, and last year I believe, I suggested she learn how to french braid it herself because I won't always be with her after she showers :). She would get frustrated in the beginning because it didn't look very good, but I reminded her that since she was doing it at night and wearing it to bed, it didn't really matter how it looked, and to just keep on practicing and notice how it looked after and decide on some changes she wanted to make for next time. She kept at it and I'm happy to say that she's been french braiding her hair well for the past couple of months! And now she's learning to do other fun hairstyles like dutch braids and different hairtsyles on her sisters etc. Practice makes permanent! 
We still get together with our old neighbors and good friends the Wilcox's and Hansen's about once a month. We switch off hosting and this past month we went to the Hansen's and got to try out their new court which we played pickle ball on, and tested out their new fire pit.

August was Annabelle's date night month but we didn't get to her until September 4th. We had Cafe Rio for dinner then went over to play some pickleball at the new Bluffdale park and then we grabbed dessert at Kneaders (they do half price on their baked goods after 8pm on Saturday night). Normally we don't do all of that on one date night but since we had a free meal at Cafe Rio and the treats were half price we decided it was okay for this time :).
And September is Jane's date night month. She decided to have breakfast at Cubbys. We had never eaten breakfast at Cubby's before so we looked up the menu before hand and found something that each of us would like and it was very yummy. Jane had french toast, Scott got biscuits and gravy and I had a quinoa and avocado plate.
During the last couple of weeks that our pool was still open, Nora finally learned to swim across the width of the swimming pool! Good work Nora!

About once a month, Nora and I will eat lunch at Cafe Rio. We choose to go on dates when I either get something for free through their app, or when it's double points day (also through the app; points add up til you get $10 off). I'm sure going to miss this next year when she's in school all day.
BYU football has started up again! Scott and I came home from a temple date night one Saturday night and found this! The whole group in BYU blue ready and waiting to watch the game that night. I wish they could start a little earlier than 8pm because we are an 'early to bed, early to rise' family so it's brutal staying up so late.
Elisabeth had some sort of spirit week at school, maybe blue ribbon? Can't remember exactly. But she had to dress up every day and I loved her choice of look on this 'crazy' day. I love how confident and positive this girl is all the time.
In Annabelle's fourth grade class they highlight one student a week in something called, "virtue week". I am to make a poster for Annbelle highlighting her virtues and then one day during the week I come in and share it with the class. I loved this, especially since this is our first year at this school; I felt like it was a great way to get to know Annabelle.
I am getting ready to run my first marathon next weekend in St George! Last year I ran my first half marathon and two years before that was the first time I ran my first 10k, or 6 miles. Growing up, I hated running and would try to get my dad to let me stay out of school the days we had to run the mile, so it seems funny that I do this as a regular thing now and actually kind of like it. In preparing for my marathon and running for sometimes 3 hours at a time, I started eating pickles more regularly as I read that the salt and vinegar help with endurance athletes because of all the salt you're losing through sweat, and the vinegar acts as a muscle relaxer. I've also tried a little mustard plain, but that's just gross so I haven't done that much, and it helps with the same sort of things. Nutrition is important always, and it shows up even more so when you're taxing your body like this.
"If you feed them, they will come." We had some neighbors over again for another movie night a couple weekends ago. And we always make food because I know they love it, it's fun to eat at other people's homes and it makes you feel more welcome and comfortable...or at least it did for me; it's like the parent is staying, 'stay, eat, hang around for awhile, we like you.' :)

Charles continues to love football and his 3 night a week, 2 hour practices, along with his Saturday games. Football will continue through November.

I'm so proud of Scott for completing his first sprint triathlon! I was sad I couldn't be there as it was an hour away in Syracuse and he didn't sign up til last minute and we had 2 sports games that morning, but we celebrated that night by having dinner at The Knotts on Main. He did great and got the time he was hoping/expecting to get. He said he got dizzy during the swim, which could be from not wearing ear plugs...we're not really sure. He liked using the wet suit and said it felt like he was cheating because it helps you float, but everyone wears them. I'm guessing he'll want to do another one in the future and I'm hoping he does so I can watch and cheer him on!