Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Growing Pains

Growing older *can* be a lot of fun.
1. I am finally feeling more comfortable with who I am.
2. I don't mind being silly even if people are watching.
3. I have fun embarrassing my kids. Thankfully #2 and # 3 often go hand in hand.

But what isn't fun about growing older is the change in my physical condition!
A few weeks back when the weather finally turned sunny here in the Pacific Northwest, I was wearing flip-flops all day, which sent my right foot into hysterics. The tendons were so sore I couldn't put any pressure on my foot; I couldn't move it in any direction; I had to use crutches for the evening, and it was just incredibly painful to even touch. By the next morning, the pain was gone. My foot was basically fine - a little tiny tender, but fully functional.
Fast forward to Monday morning, I woke up to a sore right arm. It hurt to turn it certain ways; I couldn't pick up my full water bottle even. Once again, the tendons were so sore it just hurt hanging at my side. All I can figure is that I have been driving so much that I strained my arm. And if that isn't a sad commentary on my arm-strength!! I have driven more in the past 3 days than I have probably in the past month. Two days of driving to and around Portland, and another trip to Eugene and back, all have taken a toll on the arm.
So, the lesson learned from this? Time to add weight training to the running.
Or else just milk it for as long as possible while I watch the kids do all the things I can't around the house.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Cousin Adventures

The Mr's niece came to visit us this past holiday weekend. What a great excuse to get out and explore! For some reason when I think of places to go, the beach is always the first to come to mind. For my husband, the mountains are first on his mind. This time we compromised. We went to a sort-of mountain on the coast.
Cascade Head is a wonderful hike through the forest and then up - way up - over a beach. You can see the ocean for miles.
The Beginning
So the 8 of us headed out with plenty of food, water, and energy. Within the first half hour I realized how out of shape I am. It has been 2 years (!) since I ran a marathon, and now I can run only 3 miles; but the stair-climbing hiking was what terrorized my legs. Ouch. Thankfully the path leveled out now and then, with breathtaking vistas where we could rest for a minute.
Our Little K did wonderfully, most of the time. Towards the end she was pretty tired and hungry, but we were able to cajole her onward. At one of the rest stops she found wild strawberries! As they were right off the trail we decided it would not be a wise choice to sample them, but we let her get a picture with them.
A warning to those who want to try this for the first time. There is a sort of false summit. Just when you think you have made it to the 'top' you see that you could go further on, but then as you go further, there really isn't any stopping point until you make one. The trail just continues on back towards a different trailhead. So I stayed down below, and watched the others head up and over and then return happily.
The hike down was beautiful because we got to look out over the ocean a bit more as we went down. Of course the old-lady knees didn't like the steep downhill so much, but it didn't last long, and by the time we got back to the car I didn't feel any pain.
The kids were tired. And hungry. And the top of the car seemed like a good place to rest.
As the Mr called around to find a certain restaurant and menu, I took a couple of the girls out to the dock near the parking lot. A man and his little girl were crabbing out there so we went to see. They had just landed 4 cute tiny little crabs that were scurrying over the dock.
We loaded up our troupe, struck out to Lincoln City and enjoyed a lovely dinner at Mo's. Even though it was a late night getting back home, it was worth every minute.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Adventures Begin

Our summer time adventures have already begun, even though it is still technically spring. This is the one thing we don't procrastinate about!
In May I took the two younger girls to a nearby park. Since everyone else was in school we had the place to ourselves. After a special treat of lunch from fast-food, we headed to the playground.
We had to throw rocks in the river:
 And there were new toys to play on:
 And then the tunnel - it's always a hit
 And then off to the slides and climbing structures.
 Some of the favorite things about this park - they have the old time play toys still - a merry-go-round, and teeter-totters! The kids love to play on these.

Our next adventure was this past week; we went to an Heirloom Rose Garden with my newly-retired sister. We spent quite a long time stopping and smelling the roses. There were so many varities and so many good smelling roses!
 I could have spent longer there, but the girls were ready for lunch. We headed over to another park to eat our picnic, and then visit my mom.
 But I definitely want to go back. We must have come at just the right time of the month too - there were thousands of blooms, very few 'overdone' ones, and strangely enough, no bees!
Another adventure for another time ...

The Month of May

This month went by in a flash. The running season is over now, but wow, what a great one it was!
My 7th grader finished her track season the first week of May, giving her more time to focus on her 4-H work, and school work.
The high schoolers kept going for another few weeks. The District Meet was quite exciting, ending the meet with lightning and thunder storm. The Boy ran the 4x400 pretty quickly carrying a metal baton in his hand as he ran the track, seeing lightning in the distance. The boys' team placed 2nd and were on to State. His 4x100 relay team also placed to go to the State Meet! The weather was extremely hot for our region that day, and the individual races for both The Boy, and his sister, did not go as well as we had hoped. The Boy ran the 800 but placed 4th (>). Our Girl Who Swims (and Runs) placed in the 1500 at 4th (?) and in the 800 at 6th (?)

We have another runner in the family - the 10 year old signed up for the local annual 3k for children. All of the kids, except our youngest, have run this race occasionally throughout the years. This year just she signed up. It was a beautiful morning and she ran great, no side cramps this time!

Mother's Day was a bit anti-climatic compared to all the track meets! I had a nice relaxing afternoon, and we went for a walk in the park, and then out to eat. I didn't have to cook at all, and that is always a Win in my book.

My sister retired this month. Which means more time for her to go on field trips with us! Her retirement party was at my brother's house, and even though it was a cloudy drizzly day, we still partied with the far-flung relatives. Good times.
Mountain Climbing. The Mr. has started his adventures again, and I am ok with this, because that is who he is. But, we both have agreed that neither of us will go climbing solo again. That will be easy for me to do, not as easy for him. So he joined a climbing group, and in the last month has gone on 2 'training' climbs. Even though he has been climbing for nearly 40 years, he learned some new things, and more importantly, he met some like-minded people with whom he can climb those mountains. Next thing you know, our kids are going to be taking these classes and joining Dad in the fun.

The State Meet was a great day! The two teams did really well, placing 8th in the State for both relays, which means the Boy brought home medals for both races. We were there for all the races on the second day, which means we got to see other teammates run and some of them got on the podium to receive some hardware also. Our kids have been so blessed by the team, and getting to know these other kids, and their families - and in return our family has been blessed as well.

May is almost over. I've thoroughly enjoyed the busyness of it all, but I am also looking forward to school being out this week. And seeing more of my kids. Although the Boy has summer basketball in June ....

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Prayers of a mother

Midnight phone calls don't bring good news. Midnight phone calls set a parent's heart to racing. The call I got last night thankfully was not as bad as it could be. The damage to our car, or our son, could have been worse. A few more inches, and more than just a license plate could've been lost.
But it wasn't worse.
The phone call from our shaken-up son, the lost license plate (which has since been recovered), the intact car and boy, are all reminders to me of how seconds, inches, can change things - of how precious every moment is - and also reminds me of how important prayer is. It is to God's glory that all is fine here today. I may have aches and tiredness, but our family is all here and for that I am thankful. I am thankful for the unseen protection our son had, and I don't take it for granted.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

All that and more

Two more birthdays happened. Ok, actually a lot more, but in our little house, we had 2 more celebrations. April is one long party around here - so we left the decorations up all month. Even when the house appraiser came to take pictures.
We now have 3 teenagers in the house. And there are days that we feel it. The grocery bill is inching its way up, despite my attempts to keep it low. I am really looking forward to summer and the fresh fruits and veggies from the farm! I have plans to can and freeze and dehydrate a lot of goodies this year!
But back to the birthday girls. The Girl who Cooks is now 13. Hard to believe my little 9 pound baby is this old. She had school that day and track practice, but we were able to celebrate in the evening with all of us at home.
And my baby - my last born - my snuggler - is now 6. Cliche I know, but wow how time flies! For her special day, she did not do any school work (easy to do in kindergarten!) We went out for lunch at Burger King - one of her favorites. We went to the carousel and the park, and they were free to play and run. Then we walked downtown and got a special treat at a local bakery, which we munched on as we window-shopped the downtown area. She told me at the end of the day, what a great day she had.

In our corner of the world we've been working on the upstairs bathroom. Back in 2011 we started this whole remodeling project, ripping off the garage roof and adding on top a bathroom, 2 bedrooms and a playroom. Now 5 years later we are so close to being done. The Mr. spent a couple of weekends tiling the bathroom.
laying out the tiles to start

Almost done
 Track season is winding down. Seems like it just started! My 7th grader is doing great for her first year! She runs the relays and the 200m. She wants to be a sprinter but I have a feeling as time goes on she will come to see, like the rest of us, that she has the genetic make-up of a long distance runner. But as long as she is having fun, right now that is what I want to see.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Blue skies

April is a month of birthdays around here. The Mr. had his birthday this past week. It was a very busy day and evening - Wednesday's usually are pretty crazy around here. But we were able to have some time in the evening for cake and presents with my in-laws at our house.

 This past weekend the Mr. and I were able to get away to the coast for a short time. It's the first time we have left the kids home alone overnight without a sitter, or 'chaperone'. Now that The Boy is 17 we figured he and his 15 year old sister could handle things for that short time. We did ship the two youngest off to my sister's house, so that I could relax and not worry,
and so that the older kids wouldn't have to be responsible for a 5 yr old,
and so that there would be less possibility of them fighting while we were gone.
It all worked out great. I don't know why we haven't done more of this earlier!

The coast was just gorgeous. Cool of course, it IS Oregon after all, but the sun was out and the wind blew away any fog that might have tried to come in. One of the Sunday school classes at our church asked the Mr. and I to come and speak at their annual retreat. So we had the honor of sharing on Saturday morning about the mountain top adventure from last September. It was emotional, but yet so good to talk about it, first on the drive out between the two of us, and then the next morning with the large group, asking questions. It is getting a little easier to give the narrative of what happened up on the mountain, but getting through the emotional parts, and the 'where-do-we-go-from-here' parts are still a process we are churning through. So talking to others really helps. The friends this weekend said that they were blessed bu us sharing, but really, I think we were the ones blessed by them.

We also go to spend a few minutes walking on the sand. It was windy and cold, so we didn't stay out too long. But before that we visited with our friends from college days who live in that town. People used to mistake my friend M for my sister long ago; we lived together for a couple of years, and she was a mentor to me in so many ways. She was actually on my first (real) date with the Mr way back in 1996 too, which sounds odd, but if you knew the two (or three) of us back then, you can see how that works. So it was so good to see her and her husband and just sit and talk and laugh for hours with them.