Sunday, October 31, 2010

This and That

Since I always enjoy reading about real-life things on other blogs, I try to do the same for my readers. Here's a little catch-up of what's going on in my life; nothing blogworthy in and of itself, but noteworthy nonetheless.

* I am still running. My latest was 5 miles (well, 4.76, right Kristen?) on Saturday, in the rain. Not much to say about it, except it was 5 miles, in the rain, and it felt great. When you start your day with 5 miles, you can do anything (or so it seems.) I did finally take my training schedule off the refrigerator. I missed a couple of runs last week which was enough to make me feel like I was "off the program." Also, the training schedule started calling for 8, 10 and 12 mile runs on Saturday, and I capped mine off at 6. The half-marathon will have to wait until next year (November, maybe...?)

*Thanks to my running, I have started this pregnancy off with weight loss. Six pounds to be exact. With my body nurturing two babies at once, I committed myself to optimum nutrition. Also, a few months ago I made some changes in our diet to cut out refined sugars, which really helped me to get control of my eating habits. Now they are just that- habits. No dieting, no depriving, it's just a lifestyle change.

*Speaking of pregnancy, it seems I am being spared on the morning sickness. I'll be 9 weeks on Wednesday- the peak of the first trimester in all its glory- and I've had a total of two sick days (which passed by the evening.) I am very grateful needles to say , and feeling pretty optimistic with only a few weeks to go (but not letting my breath out yet.) As a kind friend said, "You'll get your trial after the baby's born." Yes, I thank you for pointing that out. : )

*Yesterday was a day of great change in our house in regards to sleeping arrangements: we took down the kids' beds and moved Rachel's crib into the girls' room. At first I was a little worried about her waking up Kaitlyn or vice versa, but she slept 8 1/2 hours! This was literally an answer to a prayer- or rather a plea. Sleep has been in short supply and I was desperate. For now, the older kids are on mattresses on the floor until we can find some new bunk beds. I figure if we are going to stay in this house I'm going to make it as livable (and likable) as possible. In the mean time, I am going to enjoy an empty bedroom for at least a few months.

*To all those who were in attendance at my Clutter Clearing class, I feel I owe you a confession. My upstairs is littered with laundry, and it is driving me crazy. This is not me. I love a clean house, I really do, but I can honestly say that in the year that we have lived here, I've struggled. Every day I wake up I have a choice to make: take care of my kids and their immediate needs, focus my efforts on homeschooling them, or catch up on the laundry. The latter has gone by the wayside. Like I once heard it said: "I can do one of two things really well: teach the kids or clean the house." Seriously, it's a constant battle in my life. The days that I do get my house clean to my standards, I feel like I don't spend an ounce of time with the kids. I do want a clean house, and I want happy kids. Why does it have to be a choice? Not to mention the fact that this mama needs rest, and sometimes I just have to ignore it all and lie down on the couch to heed my body's call for sleep. And I hate lugging loads of laundry down the stairs into the stinky garage where we keep the litter box. I can't fathom it when I'm feeling even the slightest bit nauseous. It was so much easier to keep up with laundry when we had the washer and dryer in the house. But honestly, it really, really bothers me. Any advice?

* I dream... no, I anticipate... no, I fantasize about an empty house... all the time. That's my other confession. Everything I see/hear/read about, I equate to, "Oh I can do that when my kids are gone." I know I have years to go, but seriously, I am excited. I told Forrest that this is a good thing. It's my way of preparing for this last baby. Every trial I will go through in the next year or so will be taken in light of, "But this will be the last time I will ever go through (fill-in-the-blank.)" There was a time when I feared I would mourn the loss of my childbearing years, but nope, no mourning going on over here. Only the happy dance folks.

*... one last thing. My mom still doesn't know I'm pregnant.

A Smidgen of Our Halloween

1) Dinner-in-a-pumpkin. check.
2) Carve jack-o-lanterns and toast seeds. check.
3) Trunk-or-Treat at church. check.
4)... and yes, we will be taking our kids out tonight. (Hey, we don't watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, or the World Series for that matter... what?)

Every year the church has a Trunk-or-Treat in the stake center parking lot where families come and pass candy out of their spookily decorated trunks. This usually falls on the same night as Halloween, in which case we spend only a short time there before venturing on to other neighborhoods for trick-or-treating. However, since the Trunk-or-Treat was on a Friday night this year, we decided to stay and pass out candy. It was So. Much. Fun. Forrest and I decided we will be doing this every year from now on until we are grandparents. : )

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes

As I was looking through my Mothering magazine this morning, I came across this recipe for Salmon Sweet Potato Cakes. They looked so delicious and tempting, and I couldn't stop craving them. Being as sick as I was feeling at the time, I couldn't muster the energy to get to the store and buy the ingredients, but I fantasized. Well, as the day progressed and I gradually began to feel better, I was able to whip some up. They were everything I had dreamed of and more (don't act like I'm the only one who fantasizes about food during pregnancy.)
I love the combination of healthy ingredients, and the sweet potato really gives them a moist texture and helps them to stick together. I halved the recipe and it still made a ton (about 16 small ones.)

Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes
(compliments of Mothering Magazine)

2 large sweet potatoes with skins, cubed
2 6-oz. cans wild Alaskan salmon
1/2 c. cornmeal
dash salt
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/3 c. fresh parsley, chopped
dash dried or fresh rosemary
1 scallion, chopped
3 Tbs. ground flaxseed
3 eggs
clarified butter or olive oil for frying
lemon wedges for serving

Boil sweet potatoes 15 minutes or until tender; drain and mash.
Add drained salmon and remaining ingredients, minus butter and lemon.
Mix well and shape into 2" patties.
Fry in hot oil or butter until golden brown on both sides.
Serve over a bed of greens with a lemon wedge.

I had these alongside a mug of hot lemon water with honey and it was just what the doctor ordered; soothed my stomach instantly.
I will definitely be making them again.

8 Weeks

Today seems to be "the day." You know when you're fine one day and sick the next? It sneaks up on you overnight. I could feel it coming on last night, and knew something was different when I woke up this morning and didn't want to go running (it's the first run I've missed in over 6 weeks on my training program.) It feels like having the flu, only no relief. However, being that this is my last pregnancy, I have committed to not complaining. Instead, I have curled up with a soft blanket and a good book. This is not getting my laundry done, but that can wait. It is chilly outside, and I have no intentions of leaving the warmth of the pellet stove. At least I have obtained a tiny success in holding off for this long, for in past pregnancies my nausea has begun at six weeks. I did come across some tasty ginger candy at the health food store, which seems to help, if only momentarily. Above all, I know that this, too, shall pass. In the mean time, I fantasize of having someone in the kitchen cooking up all the healthy food I dream of on a whim, and doing my laundry. : )

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Keeping the Sabbath and My Awesome Daughter

Keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest is something I have always struggled with. Let's be honest; if there were 8 days in a week I'd work all of them, so I think a day of rest is something we must force ourselves to take. We know the Sabbath is for our own benefit, so why do we find it so hard to set aside our worldly cares and retreat to that quiet place?

Like I said, it takes a deliberate effort to make it happen, otherwise I'd just come home from church and function on auto pilot like I do every other day of the week- dishes, laundry, cleaning, organizing, pacing- and feel just like I do all the other days of the week- busy, distracted, irritable at times, and just plain exasperated, only to find myself wishing, at the end of the day, that I would've taken the time to listen to my kids, sit on the couch and watch them play, or on days like today, watch the rain out my window. Well, with another pregnancy underway, five kids to maintain, and a house I've decided will never be clean to my satisfaction, I've decided that now is as good a time as any to start taking my Sabbath.

Last Sunday it was sitting down in my favorite chair in the living room, watching Forrest play a board game with the kids, and reading an entire issue of Martha Stewart Living from cover to cover without getting up, fantasizing about all the things I can do once my kids are out of the house (Martha's good for inspiration like that.)

Today it was a nap, well, more of an in-and-out state of consciousness for two hours on the couch, listening to Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Pandora Radio and my kids playing outside in the rain while Rachel and Kaitlyn slept (you can only get so much of a nap with five kids in the house, but I take what I can.)

Here's where my awesome daughter comes in: right at the most meditative part of my rest, the boys come jostling through the back door, wet and covered in dirt. Just as I think I'm going to have to get up off of the couch and face real life, I hear Ashlee quietly telling them to leave their clothes at the back door and head upstairs, where she starts them a bath. I let out my breath, thankful to have earned a few more moments of sleep. No sooner had I thought so than I heard Rachel begin to fuss (probably from the boys going upstairs.) No fear, Ashlee is on top of that one, too. She quietly retrieves her from her crib, brings her downstairs, and feeds her a warm bowl of baby oatmeal. Mid-feeding, I hear her go upstairs and give the boys a two-minute warning for their bath. This is when I'm thinking how important our example is to our children, as I feel I am witnessing a mini-version of me managing the household... and she's doing a fine job. The boys get out of the bath, dress, and come downstairs, where Ashlee has smoothies waiting for them at the table. Wow, this is awesome. I'm almost starting to feel guilty for staying on the couch... but not really. After all, it is the sabbath, and she's doing it all so willingly. So there I stay for a while longer, listening to the "tink-tink" sound of pellets feeding into the pellet stove and the beautiful piano music coming softly from the computer, reverbrating to my very soul.

It is now that I begin to think that Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he commanded us to take a Sabbath, for I know that, for myself, it truly takes this relaxed, restful state to fully feel the spirit and meditate upon the deeper meaning of life. A state that we would not often find ourselves in throughout the week. A place that we inwardly long for, but find hard to obtain. As far as the dishes and laundry, I haven't quite figured them out, or how they're going to get done on Sundays. But I do know what I have felt from taking these last couple of Sundays for what they are intended to be- a day of rest- I have found a place that is healing to mind, body and soul.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Run / Walk

I fell asleep at 8:00 last night. I woke up some time during the wee hours, anticipating my Saturday run. I looked over at my flashing alarm clock (the power went out for a brief second last night and I forgot to reset it.) Feeling rested, I thought I'd get up and suit up for my run. I walked into the kitchen and discovered it was 2:08 a.m. Hmmm, better go back to bed. I wrestled with sleep for the next 4 hours, then got up again. I got dressed in my running attire, ate a pear, then went out to the driveway.

My partner was AWOL, so I began alone. I also decided to leave my walkman behind, so it was a quiet run. At about mile 2, it began to rain (hmmm, partner must've checked the forecast.) I was at a place where there was no shortcut back home, and it wouldn't really do me any good to turn back, so I kept on. Just me and my footsteps, and the rain on my face. Good thing I wore long sleeves this time.

At about mile 4 I started feeling tired, and without any real desire to go on, I stopped and walked the last mile home. It wasn't the six miles I set out for, but it was something. To be almost 8 weeks pregnant and still running makes me happy. Now Jacob's soccer game is cancelled and Forrest is at work, so I get to enjoy a restful Saturday with just my kiddos. But first, it's a hot bath...

Friday, October 22, 2010

She's Got the Bug

When it comes to Ashlee, she's always got something going on at any given time. She tends to take whatever talent or hobby she's into at the moment and run with it. She's been like this with piano, crochet, reading, and now it's bows. If school work is done, this is how you'll find her:
Ribbon, clips, buttons, and hot glue gun sprawled across the table, her nose in her work.
I must say she comes out with some cute products though. It's almost enough to make me not mind the mess. : )

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Why's it so hard to come by? Seems a cruel trick to play when we're expected to function at our peak all day long.

Fruits of our Labor

Well, I was pretty happy with the output of our garden this year. We had a variety which included two kinds of tomatoes, bell peppers, mint, basil, green onions, and wildflowers. It was kind of nice to not have to go to the store every time I needed produce. I used a lot of the green onions in my homemade ranch, and on an occasional Sunday I would have the kids gather a handful of cherry tomatoes for our salad (in lieu of running to the store.) Noah has had this watermelon on his plant for quite some time, and truth be told it was almost forgotten about. With the incoming of fall I have been somewhat negligent of our garden (to say the least) and this trusty little guy has been diligently hanging out on the vine, waiting to be picked. My poor garden is still trying to produce despite my lack of watering. Noah has been talking about "selling" his watermelon all summer long. (I think he's been inspired by the Farmer's Market.)
I was a little unsure of what we'd be cutting in to, but the flesh was a beautiful red.
The fruit was quite tasty and, between the kids and I, was gone in a matter of minutes.
You were good to us little melon!

A Runt On Our Hands

Being that Lily has 7 kitties this time around and only 6 feeding spots, it would appear that we have a runt. I noticed from the day they were born that she would take this little guy aside and feed him separately (remember the two that were fighting in the video? I'm pretty sure this was one of them.) Anyhow, tonight she brought him up from the garage. We sent him back down, and she brought him up again- only him. He was kind of wandering around the house crying, and then Ashlee walked in the kitchen to find him like this:
Poor little guy was trying to get some food. Apparently he's going to have to be a fighter.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Holiday Crafts

Every two years our ward has a big craft day. This year I volunteered to teach a class, bring soup for the potluck dinner, two dozen cookies for the cookie exchange, and make five crafts. Phew was I tired afterward! I committed to relaxing the rest of the weekend, and I did just that. Anyhow, I came home with some cute stuff:

We finally have a place to hang our Christmas stockings. Can you believe we're going to fill all six of those hooks next year??
This is what I am most excited about. It's a menu chalkboard, hanging in my kitchen already. It's the perfect compliment to my meal planning.
This picture does no justice, but this is a glass tile block with velum on the front and a vinyl sticker of the three wise men. I was disappointed to find out it didn't come with the phrase "Wise Men Still Seek Him," like I thought it would. The block has a hole in the bottom where you can put a string of white Christmas lights so it will be illuminated.

The two crafts I have yet to finish are a holiday change-out pillow and a set of homemade Christmas ornaments. I'll post pictures when I finish.

Kittens Round Two

This past week the new kitties have begun to come out and play. And I thought I was a busy mama!
Is this face not too precious?
We love to find them in different places around the house like this.
Kaitlyn takes care of them just like a little mama. She's so good with them.
And this girl can't contain her excitement. Whenever one comes near her she kicks her feet and waves her arms like she's trying to propel herself towards it. Can't say she's as gentle, but I can't blame her either...
Lily has chosen to raise her babies in the garage this time, which I am happy about. No litter box in the house! We haven't taken her in to get "fixed" yet, which I am in such distress over. The last thing I want is for her to get pregnant again (I don't think she nor I could handle it) but it's impossible to keep her from going outside to use the bathroom, and with her kittens being only 4 weeks old and nursing exclusively, I'm afraid it's too soon to take her to the clinic. Any advice? I'm so paranoid about seeing that tummy start to grow again, but cats get pregnant really easily and the gestation period is only two months. I wouldn't put it past her. What to do?

Jacob's Lego Engineering Class

Once a week, Jacob attends a Lego engineering class up in Placerville. The class is paid for by Horizon, and he absolutely loves it. It is about a ten week class and so far he's gone three times. The first week they constructed actual running Lego ferris wheels, the second week was Lego houses, and last week they built these cars that drive. I never knew you could buy motors to go in Legos? Anyhow, this is something he has going just for himself, and this gives him the opportunity to get out and mingle with other kids his age. He really looks forward to it every week.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Buddy Run

Today's run was unique in that I had a partner to do it with. Kristen and I ran the 5k together a few weeks back, and discovered that we are comparable runners. So, we met out in my driveway at 6:45 this morning, just as the sky was turning from black to gray, and we hit the street together. I will admit that the first three miles were a struggle. I didn't sleep well last night and found myself looking at the clock every hour, paranoid that I would sleep in and Kristen would be waiting in my driveway. Ironically enough, Rachel slept from midnight until six, but there always seems to be something to keep me up. If it's not the kids, it's the cats, or my own mind. Anyhow, after we peaked Woodleigh, the second half was a breeze. Perhaps the most rewarding part was watching the sun rise through the pink and orange clouds. I love catching sights like this early in the morning. Our next date is for Monday morning; same time, different route. I'm off to go scramble me some eggs with fresh basil.

Distance: 6 miles
Time: 1:07

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fake It 'Til You Feel It

To anyone who's ever been frustrated by the negative, disturbing, or inappropriate content of another's blog, you need to read this. I'm so glad I did. Kuddos to the author for addressing a subject that is long overdue.

Today's Extras

My above-and-beyond tasks for today: mopping entire downstairs (including under the couches, which seem to collect everything now that we have hardwood floors- including a dead lizard that the cat dragged in!) and scrubbing the kitchen floor on hands and knees. It feels much nicer underfoot, and the house has a clean, fresh smell. I will try not to think about how soon this will need to be done again, for that would take away from the pleasure of having it done now. Viewing my chores as circular rather than linear helps to keep me going (but I'll be honest- sometimes it drives me crazy.) However, I truly feel that we will only be as happy in our homes as we treat them, and the effort that we put out pays for itself in dividends. All of my happy childhood memories center around a clean, aesthetically pleasing home, and I want to give the same to my children. Even if it's one room a day, it will make a difference! Just don't give up. Don't ever give up.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Clutter Clearing and New Goals

I was asked to teach a class this Friday on clearing the clutter from your life. I am basing it on principles of Feng Shui. In doing so, I have had a chance to review this, my favorite book on clutter clearing. It came into my life a few years ago and revolutionized my ideas about how we keep our living spaces. I have to be honest and say that I am not where I want to be right now in terms of my house, and I am setting some goals to get back on track. A large part is the house itself. It just hasn't been the same since we moved here, and I really struggle with missing the old house. I was the happiest I had ever been there. Nonetheless, this is where we live, and I aim to make the most of it. This house has many benefits, like two nice grassy yards, beautiful landscaping, and a large garage, but the "feng shui" energy isn't the same. I think it has a lot to do with lighting, colors, and the smaller bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets. So, I struggle. Anyhow, the goals:

*Do laundry every day. This is in an attempt to make it less overwhelming. Gone are the days of sorting the hampers once a week. After all, if I can keep up with my dishes, I should be able to keep up with my laundry.

*Give extra attention to one room or area of my house every day for as long as it takes. Yesterday while cleaning the kitchen, I took an extra few minutes to de-clutter a corner of the counter and take down some of the stuff on my refrigerator (old papers and magnets that didn't need to be there anymore.) I also tidied up the dining room / classroom area. It is amazing what a difference it makes to do little extras like this, and there are so many area of my house that could benefit from this attention.

That is all for now. I know there are only two, but I want to keep my goals attainable. If you get a chance, check out Karen Kingston's book from the library or order it on Amazon for $10. I promise you will benefit from her wisdom and insight.

Every Day Should Start with a 5 Mile Run

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 51:30

For more reasons than one, I've decided that the 5 mile run is my favorite. It is just the right distance, and I like the course (hills and all.) I always come back with energy to spare.

I usually sneak out while everyone is sleeping. However, this morning both of the boys awoke early. For the sake of keeping Rachel and Kaitlyn asleep, I put on a movie and told them if anyone else was awake when I got back, I'd take away their silly bands. It worked- the house is still quiet. You've got to have leverage.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Running Funnies

As I dozed in and out this morning just as the sky was beginning to change from black to gray, I debated whether or not to get up for my morning run. As I slipped back into sleep, I had a dream that I was leaving my house for a run. As I rounded the corner, there stood an enormous wolf. I quickly retreated, heading back for my front door. Just before I reached the handle, I heard him growling at the back of my neck. I froze... then woke up. I looked around at three of my children sprawled, sleeping, on my bed, and decided this was a safer place to stay. Between the coyote that crossed my path the other morning and the mountain lion spotting in my neighbor's backyard, maybe this was an omen.

Dialogue between Forrest and I the other day:
Forrest: "I can see a difference in you since you've been running. It looks like you are slimming down."

Me: "You notice? Thanks. See a difference in the back?"
(Spin around so back side is facing Forrest.) "See, it's barely even there!"

Forrest: (uncomfortable pause, awkward silence.)

Me: "Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration."

Hey, you can't change what genetics gave you, only work with it.

I did get out for a run today, but it wasn't until after 1:00. Here is what I learned:

*There is nothing wrong with zig-zagging across the street to catch every patch of shade you can.
*Even the slowest of runs is faster and better than a walk.
*Never turn up your earphones louder than the propane truck behind you.
*Lastly, I would almost prefer wolves and coyotes to afternoon heat.

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 30:58

Recovery drink: Raspberry-banana protein smoothie with soy milk, ground flax seed and honey.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall Foods

Fall is in the air and I am thoroughly enjoying getting a jump start on my baking. I love the taste and texture of nutrient-dense fall foods such as squash, pumpkins, and hearty grains. Here is a sampling of what we've been trying:

This is a recipe from the Cooking with JC class. It's in your recipe packet, and I highly suggest you try it! (Roxanne, this is what I'll be bringing to Thanksgiving.)

Warm Hearth Pumpkin-Pecan Cake
I start with all the goods from Trader Joe's: (where else can you find a healthier version of a boxed cake mix?)
1 lg. can pumpkin
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 12 oz. cans evaporated milk
dash salt
2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, dash cloves, dash nutmeg
(or you can substitute a good amount of pumpkin pie spice)
1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 stick butter, cut into pats
fresh whipped cream and caramel sauce
1 c. chopped pecans

Combine eggs, pumpkin, sugar, milk and spices. Spread in bottom of 9x13 greased pan. Top with cake mix and dot with butter. Bake at 350 for 45-60 mins. Serve topped with chopped pecans, caramel sauce, and whipped cream.


Kaitlyn loves to help in the kitchen.
Here is my homemade caramel sauce. You can use any version you'd like.
I had this every day until it was gone. So good and comforting!
Next up: Buttermilk Quinoa Pancakes. This is a recipe from my friend Nikki, who is a "vegetarian health nut," as she refers to herself. I call her gifted. She is the one who introduced me to the wonderful grain quinoa, and we have been loving it ever since. Who knew it could be so versatile?

1.5 c. flour (white, wheat, or any combination- I used 100% whole wheat)
1-3 T. sugar
salt, 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. baking powder
dash nutmeg or cinnamon
2 eggs
3 T. melted butter
1.5 c. buttermilk (the secret ingredient)
splash vanilla (I used Mexican)
1 to 1.5 c. cooked quinoa

*Cook quinoa by rinsing 1 c. dry grain in cold water and boiling in 2c. water. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 15 mins. or until all liquid is absorbed.
*For pancakes: combine dry ingredients. In second bowl, mix wet ingredients. Fold wet into dry and mix in cooked quinoa.
*Drop 1/4 c. batter onto hot skillet and turn when bubbles appear.

Serve with real maple syrup!

Another favorite as of late has been creamy butternut squash soup, also from the cooking class. There is no recipe per se, and I don't have any pictures, but I can share the basic impromptu cooking method:

Butternut Squash Soup
*Peel and dice 1/2 of an onion and sautee in butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
*Peel and cube 1/2 of a butternut squash and 4-6 small red potatoes. Add to pot.
*Cover with chicken or vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
*Simmer, uncovered, 20-30 minutes or until all veggies are soft.
*Using a hand blender (or a VitaMix if you have one) puree all broth and vegetables.
*Return to pan and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
*Stir in 1/2-1 c. of heavy whipping cream. Heat thoroughly.

This soup is so, so good. I've already made it three times this week, and my kids absolutely love it. In fact, I'm off to make another batch right now!

Happy Fall

Ashlee's Birthday Week

Ashlee's birthday began with a shopping trip and lunch with Grandma Nancy. We always like to celebrate with our kids ON their actual birthday, so that night we took Ashlee and a friend out to dinner at Fat's in Folsom (Ashlee has requested this on more than one occassion- it's one of our favorites.) Afterward, we came home and had birthday cake. Last night was her birthday party, which we celebrated with a group of friends at Sunrise Rollerland.

Dear Pandora

Why, oh why, did you fail to open on my run this morning? I've always esteemed you to be a far more trusty source of Internet radio than that. Today you really let me down. It is you I blame for making me stop and walk three times. You left me to my own devices, which were listening to my own breathing and the rhythmic sound of my footsteps on the pavement. I would've much preferred Colbie Caillat or Miley Cyrus. Today's run left me more frustrated than high.

Distance: 6 miles
Time: 1:07

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Best Mile Time

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 39:12

Average mile: 9:48

This probably means more to me than it does to most of you, but I ran my best average mile time today. Since the beginning of my running career (when I started training for my first 10k) my goal has always been a 10 minute mile. So, if I am training for a 10 k, I aim to do it in 60 minutes, a 5 k, 30 minutes. However, I am usually a few minutes over this goal, so my average mile time ranges anywhere from 10:15-11:00. This seems like a slow pace, but it's one thing to run an 8 minute mile, and another thing to run six of them (try it.) Anyhow, today I beat my record. I'm not sure if it's because I ran in the afternoon when I had some lunch in my stomach, or that the weather is cooling off, but what this also tells me is that my training is yielding results. I absolutely love the training program I am on and the structure it has given to my runs, and I can't wait to resume it after my pregnancy (assuming I'll stop.) I have not run this consistently or progressively for a long time, and it feels great. It makes me sad to think that any day now I could be hit with that first wave of nausea and have to stop (which I am secretly hoping won't happen) but I am going to give my body all the boost I can while I am feeling it. I always knew I'd pursue running, and I look forward to years of training after I am done having my babies. I'm going to be one of those 60-year-old ladies who's out there running marathons. Not because I'm great at it, but because I love it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Eve Ashlee

Eleven years ago on this night, we were being checked into Kaiser on Morse Ave., getting ready to bring our first baby into the world. Labor was short and intense, and I will never forget the feel of having my very first baby placed onto my chest- warm, wet, and crying- just after midnight. She was so alive, such a miracle, and Forrest and I wept tears of gratitude without restraint. It is a moment I will always vividly remember.

Happy Birthday-Eve Ashlee! In honor, I thought I would share her birth story:

My due date was Friday, October 1st. I went to my doctor on Friday, and I was only a little over one centimeter dilated and 70% effaced. I had been walking quite often, as I hoped that would help to speed things up. My doctor stripped my membranes a little when she was checking my cervix. I wanted to do anything I could to have this baby! Later that day, I lost my mucous plug. I became very excited (and nervous), knowing that I could go into labor at any time. Saturday night I began having stronger contractions that were about seven or eight minutes apart, but then they would stop. My biggest worry was that I would go to the hospital too soon and be sent home.

Sunday rolled around, and still I felt no different. I was still having some painful contractions that were anywhere from seven to fifteen minutes apart, but they would not come regular. Around 4:30 Sunday afternoon, Forrest and I laid down to take a nap. Suddenly, my contractions became so strong that they were keeping me from falling asleep. I decided to time them. From 5:30 to about 6:00, they were six and seven minutes apart. They quickly went to being five minutes apart. That is when I decided to wake up Forrest. He, like I, didn't think it was going to be the real thing. We timed them together, and they became so strong that I was starting to cry during them. They were now four and five minutes apart. I remembered learning in class that if it were the real thing, walking would make the contractions stronger, so we decided to walk.

We walked around outside of our apartments, and they were getting stronger and closer together. I came home and called my mom. She told me to get to the hospital FAST! We called the rest of our family on the way down. By the time I got to the hospital I could no longer walk or talk through contractions. I began my deep breathing techniques I learned in class. My parents, sister, and Forrest's sister and neices showed up shortly after we had arrived. They put me in a very small room and hooked monitors up to my belly. About thirty minutes later (9:30 p.m.) the nurse came in and checked my cervix. I was six centimeters dilated. I was very happy to hear that, knowing that I was already over half way there!

We requested to have an ABC room, but they were both full. They put me into another room, where Forrest, my mom, my sister, and my dad accompanied me. Forrest's sister also sat in the room with us. I didn't want to use any medication, so I continued to take slow, deep breaths through the contractions. I found it really helped to have Forrest breathing with me. I liked listening to him the most. The doctor came in and checked my cervix again. I was now at seven centimeters. I couldn't believe how fast it was going! I wanted to walk to speed it up even more, but the doctor said she would prefer to break my water. She then left and returned shortly. She broke my water, and I felt a very warm gush. It was kind of relaxing in a way, like taking a warm bath. Then I heard her say to the nurse that she saw some meconium in the water. I knew by the way they were talking that it wasn't good. She proceeded to tell me that the baby had pooped a little, and that they would have to take extra precautions during the delivery (deep suctioning of the baby's lungs.) I got a little worried, but everyone told me it would be okay. She, however, was not qualified to perform that kind of delivery, so I got a new doctor. It turned out to be the one who had stripped my membranes just a few days earlier.

The contractions continued to get stronger, and I figured that I was probably in transition. The nurse came in and checked me, and I was eight centimeters. They had to keep telling me to slow down my breathing because the baby's heart rate had dropped a little bit and I was being monitored internally. The nurse came in and put an oxygen mask on me, and I thought that was the WORST! On top of that, I had an electric blood pressure gauge on my arm that would go off every few minutes, and since I was squirming around during the contractions, it would tighten around my arm and not deflate until I stopped moving. I really didn't like being hooked up to so much machinery. I also had an IV in the back of my hand that felt like it had been inserted incorrectly. The only thing that kept me going (without medicine) was knowing that my labor was progressing so rapidly, and that it would be all over soon. Forrest was excellent support.

The nurse came in one last time and checked me at ten centimeters. However, a little of the cervix was still remaining so I had to roll over onto my side. I went through a few more contractions in this position, when all of a sudden I felt a tremendous pressure on my whole bottom area. I KNEW it was time to push. I said that someone had better go get a doctor because I was pushing! The doctor came in, checked my cervix, and said, "It's time. Let's go to the delivery room." Those words literally brought the biggest smile to my face. I remember looking up at the person beside me and saying, "I get to push!" I was overjoyed.

The first time I had to push, I thought, oh my gosh, how am I going to do this? I ended up letting out a scream, then remembered that if I could hold my breath, I would be able to give stronger pushes. After the head crowned, I told Forrest to go down and look. After the head was out, I had to stop pushing so the doctor could suction her lungs. Not being able to push was hardest of all. I think it only took one more push, and Ashlee came sliding out. I heard her cry, and I broke down into tears. They placed her warm, slippery little body on my stomach and I felt the happiest I had ever been in my entire life. Forrest was crying just as much, and everybody came and gave me hugs. I couldn't stop crying and smiling. She was 7lbs. 11oz., and as healthy and beautiful as could be.

In the postpartum room, the nurse bathed and dressed her. I immediately began breastfeeding. She cried all night, and I only got one hour of sleep, but I was so happy to finally have my little girl. Forrest returned the next day at 10:30 a.m. We found out she had fractured her right clavicle some time during the birth. However, we were told that it wasn't too serious, so we didn't worry. We just had to be extra careful with her arm for a few weeks. We were released to go home around 4:00 that afternoon.

The first few nights were very trying, but we got through them. I couldn't have done it without Forrest and all of his support. Now Ashlee is almost two months old, and she is the joy of our lives! I wouldn't trade her, or my birth experience, for anything in the world.

Happy Birthday Eve! We love you and are so thankful to have you as our first-born.

Conference Weekend

I always look forward to General Conference every six months. It gives us the opportunity to take inventory of our lives, assess where we're headed, and hit the reset button if need be.

Ever since I have begun running in the mornings instead of the evenings, my body naturally wakes up around 5:30 or 6:00 ready to go. And, I'm actually disappointed on the days I don't get to run. But today that early-morning rising gave me the opportunity to start cinnamon rolls before anyone was awake. After all, what would conference weekend be without an ooey- gooey breakfast? It's half of what we look forward to. : )
The kids always stay engaged with a game of Conference Bingo. We use various goodies for markers, such as M&Ms or Skittles. This time it was Fruit Loops, Jacob's request. It's amazing how intent they are on the speakers when they have an incentive! After they get a Bingo, they get to eat the treat in that row.
I especially enjoyed the Prophet's talk on gratitude. Talk about powerful and humbling. Remember what we said about hitting the reset button? This talk did it for me.
We all had to huddle into the office and gather around the computer, as we do not have cable or satellite (I wouldn't have it any other way.) I do, however, love the convenience of being able to watch it live from home, and Forrest tends to listen to the talks for months after on his phone.
And when I wasn't holding Rachel or getting up to get something for the kids, I was knitting. Here is one baby leg I finished today.
To top of the night, we had the yummiest dinner: crockpot pot roast, oven roasted potatoes, butternut squash soup (an adaptation of Tiffany's recipe) and a green salad. There seemed to be a special spirit in our home, and I think we all felt it. I am grateful to have heard the words of our inspired prophet and apostles.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday Run

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 55 minutes

The hills. Ohhhh, the hills. Part of my route included a stretch from the Bass Lake end of Woodleigh all the way to the Kimberly end of Woodleigh. This equates to 1.5 miles of uphill, one after another (I know some of you can appreciate this route- Nikki, Kristen, Callie.) The surprising thing was that I was able to run the entire time, keeping in line with my goal. I think I geared myself up for it last night. I felt great when I came home, with energy to spare, and plan to continue my training until my body tells me otherwise (at which time I'll decrease the mileage, revert to walking, or just end up on my couch, who knows.) The half-marathon will have to wait until next year, but I will be ready. In reality, this is such a short duration of time in the scheme of things. There will be years, many years.

Total distance this week: 15 miles.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Who's Next?

Our big news for the day... baby #6 is on its way! I have treasured this little secret since Wednesday, but decided it was too good not to share. Forrest and I always knew we would have six kids, so this little one will complete our family (bittersweet, I know.)

We broke the news to the kids at dinner tonight, and when I came back downstairs this is what I found on the whiteboard.

Yes, I'm "pregnet!" (I do teach spelling, I swear.)

A New Sound

I stepped out to get a pizza tonight, and while I was gone Forrest caught Rachel doing this funny new sound. I love the effort she exerts in making it so deep!