Cool Things About My Kids

We got a notice this past week that Ben and Sophie came up in the lottery for Legacy Preparatory Academy – a charter school that uses a classical education foundation based on the Well Trained Mind, complete with Latin, etc., and it’s FREE!  Yay!

BUT, we sure have loved Capitol Hill Academy and it has been perfect for Ben, so it’s hard to mess with something that is working, even though it costs money.  At the same time, we’re trying to cut back on the money thing, so it needs to be a matter of prayer.  Still, I told them to keep us enrolled and had to take the kids for testing over at the new school.  Ben will be going into 5th grade and just finished Saxon 5/4 last year–he tested into 7/6!  That means he just skipped a whole year of math in one test!  He also tested firmly into 6th grade level for everything else.  Sophie also tested at the top of where she would be expected to be, with reading and math at about a 3rd grade level.  With Saxon Math, many schools, including this one, want to have the kids doing one year ahead (grumpy homeschoolers say that Saxon sold out and was trying to dumb down the program for public schools), so the second graders at LPA do Saxon 3 anyway. 

So, I was proud of them.  I’m always happily surprised when things point to the fact my kids are turning out, because heaven knows I do very little to bring that about.

David’s out of town working in GA and FL.  I’m taking the kids camping with my mom up at Tony Grove.  So, I think I’ll bail out on work now and go.

My quote for the day from today’s NYT:

“Napping, writes James B. Maas, a Cornell University sleep expert, ‘should have the status of daily exercise.’

“Mammals that divide their day between two distinct periods — sleep and wakefulness — are in the minority, according to the National Sleep Foundation, which pointed out on its Web site: ‘While naps do not necessarily make up for inadequate or poor quality nighttime sleep, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.’”

Hooray naps!  May I get one someday!

I’m finally recovering from the big weekend last weekend and starting to feel normal and not so wiped out.  I did do the gym three days this week and was made to feel like a slacker by the diehards I work with.  Well, time to start training again.  This time I’ll be sensible and do a sprint tri.  I’m trying to eat by asking myself “Does my inner triathlete need this for fuel?  If not, we don’t need to eat it.”  But, my eating does not come from a lack of knowledge, up-to-date scientific information or good gimmicks to keep myself on track.  I have yet to really understand where it comes from.  So when I asked myself today, “Does my inner athlete need these Cheetos for fuel?”  I thought, “No, she needs them because they are yummy and full of MSG.” 

The chasm between knowledge and action is so, so wide.  All I can do anymore is try to bridge it with heavy duty exercise.

Thanks also to you all for your sweet, supportive comments.

Xoxoxo

Valerie

 

Evidence

Here is evidence that I did a triathlon.

 

Here is also evidence that I have surrendered all dignity, self-consciousness and natural shame in the name of the TRI.

 

I have mentioned before that I have not lost an ounce training.  I did lose three pounds from the event itself, although it is likely water.  This could be that my body refuses to give up any of it’s precious storage under any circumstances and will even allow me to go brain dead before it will release any stored calorie (yep, it’s pretty much happened). Or, it could be that I only started seriously reigning in my eating a week or so ago.  Probably a combination of both. 

 

So, here is the cold, hard reality in photo form.  Even as a triathlete who trains 6+ hours a week, I have a very long way to go to feel good about being around cameras.  But I’m not going to let this bum out my high—because apparently with this, as in so many other areas of my life, the only way is the hard way.  And I chose the tri over the lap band because I wanted to really earn it, so I need to consider these my “before” pictures. 

 

Since I don’t know what order they’ll come in to this (I’m email posting), I’ll just list what I’m attaching:  Me setting up my bike at transition 1 (T1), me in a wetsuit that David said makes me look like a claymation doll (thanks, dear) complete with neon orange race cap, me with coworker and fellow tri-virgin Gary in wetsuits, our wave (7) at the start of the swim, Steve and Jesse, my caretakers, mentors and also coworkers, and me at the end of the “run” with both of them.

 

 

 

Athena TRIumphant!

I did it!  It was great!  I feel great! 

 

There were all sorts of adventures, mishaps, comical goings-on and plenty of peak experiences.  I’m working on my race report which will have everything in excruciating detail.  But the basic thing to report is that I was prepared. I met my goal of finishing in under four hours and not last (that’s walking the run and with a tire blowout).

 

Yes, I am rather achy today in pretty much every muscle, but hey, it was a four hour workout—even the veterans I went with tell me it takes a week to recover.  Still, we’ll all be back at swim class on Tuesday.  I think I’m hooked!  Yay triathlon!  Long live the Athena!*

 

*Athena is a very cool sounding name for a 150+ lb female competitor

 

Big Trees, Renewal, unRenewal and Spudman in five days!

My commitment to write each Sunday has not been even remotely kept.  Outside of work, my computer time is less, I think, than it has ever been in my life, and I sense myself avoiding it.  If you are one of the many people who has invited me to join Facebook or some other social computer thing, please don’t take it personally, I just can’t do it right now without neglecting things and people that need attention. 

 

The kids seem to be having a really fun summer, and I have felt like I’ve had a little more time to just hang out with them and relax.  David and I had a supremely WONDERFUL trip last weekend (thanks SO much to my mom, who watched the kids and cleaned the house from top to bottom, and to pa/ma-in-law who helped us extend our trip).  We went up for David’s brother’s wedding in the Tillamook forest near Portland, OR.  I was asked to sing a LeeAnn Rimes song while Nikki walked down the aisle, which was a new genre for me, so that was fun.  My coworker here is from the area, and told us to check out the Tillamook Creamery and try their ice cream, which we ended up doing twice—so yummy! 

 

In the middle of the trip we decided that since we were so close, we’d take an extra two days and drive down the coast, see the Redwood forest and cut back home across scenic highways in Northern California.  We drove 5-8 hours most days from Thursday through Tuesday.  But, the drives and days were filled with gorgeousness and awe-inspiring grandeur.  I spent much time in the car on David’s iPhone surfing the net, trying to figure out how geological formations were formed, figuring out volcanoes, the history of these huge trees, etc.  The first stop we took in the Redwood forest was for a short walk, a .75 mile loop through a huge, silent forest.  The ground was soft from the composting redwood needles.  It smelled amazing.  The morning light could barely get down where we were.  We stood looking up into the bottoms of huge fallen trees, with this huge explosion of an enormous mass of roots radiating out from the center.  I kept feeling like I had to touch the trees.  I even took of my shoes for a moment to feel the soft ground on the trail. 

 

Although there have been some exceptions, I have had a very crappy five months since my surgery, and really needed the rejuvenation this trip gave me.  By the time of this trip, I had been on my new, custom compound of three different bioidentical hormones plus two other recommended supplements (DHEA and adrenal support) for about a week, and was, for the first time, feeling relatively stable and normal and sane.  Take away all of the major stresses in my life and put me with my husband, who, when all of his major stresses in life are taken away, also changes back into my best friend instead of my stress/exhaustion fueled sparring partner—and all of a sudden, we were in heaven.  We laughed so much, and got real sleep, and listened to music, and saw gorgeous stuff.  Although my daily walks/hiking didn’t even begin to make up for all the junk food, a road trip really does appear to be the panacea for all that ails you.

 

I’ll attach a pic.  I’m the one on the left.

 

So, we came home, and, long story short, it took 15 minutes and a trip to the mailbox after getting home to have me back in tears, 24 hours to have me depressed, 48 hours to be resentful toward God and starting to bicker with David and 72 hours to become solemnly broken hearted and resigned.  For good or bad, now I knew that what remains of my stress and difficulty is not related to moods, hysterectomies or hormones, but my actual life—bills, job/career stress, personal failings, the difficulty of raising kids without being present enough, the difficulty of managing a marriage when both parties are supremely stressed out, the long-term financial outlook, life management in general.  The past two days David and I have been very consciously trying to be happy and grateful and hopeful, which has helped a bit, but it is sometimes just comical how life comes together to thwart the most well-intentioned efforts. 

 

But, the kids are cute and good and I’m planning for them to go to a wonderful school in the fall and making some adjustments to be with them more.  The Gospel has been a major rock in my life, and even though I yell at God too much, I know He loves me. 

 

I got up at 4:45 a.m. today to try out my rented tri wetsuit in open water by swimming up at East Canyon Reservoir with three of my coworkers.  This tri training has also been helpful as a stress reliever, but not so much today.  The transition to open water was more difficult than I expected and although the guys all told me I’d panic, I didn’t believe them, and then in my typical delayed-emotional-response manner, I didn’t acknowledge that I was panicking until it was almost over—I was just confused why I couldn’t catch my breath, needed so many more breath strokes and had to flip to backstroke every now and then just to get air.  And my chest felt tight, so I finally realized either I was having a heart attack (very possible) or panicking (more likely).  But, I did it and got to work by 8:15. 

 

On Saturday I walked a 10K just to see if I felt like I was up to trying it this coming Saturday.  I know I can do the 25-mile bike, since I do the 15 miles 1-2x a week and also the Tour de Cure was 25 and I felt fine with that.  And, although I only swam a half mile this morning, I’m used to swimming a mile in practice, so, with the help of the current in the Snake River on Saturday, I think I just need to put the pieces together and will be fine.  But after this, I’m looking forward to just doing Sprint Tris for a good long while.  I realize it is insane to start with an Olympic distance, but this work thing really helped me get toward this goal, and Spudman is just what is done here.

 

Hm, I really meant for this to be just a short update.  In fact, I read this article on the NY Times and found it complicated and interesting and thought I’d quickly post it to my blog.  We don’t like war, but we do like schools, we don’t like religious extremism, but I personally like religion, but most people don’t so much anymore, which leads to a push for secularization, which in this case is important to help empower women, which we all like, but it also puts forward secular ideas like having less kids, etc., and secularization can sometimes be a slippery slope to another set of problems.  But for heaven’s sake you don’t want the Taliban’s view of women being strengthened, so we fight them and put up secular schools, but we don’t like war . . . 


Life is just complicated all around.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/opinion/19friedman.html?em

Plugging away.

I really would like to catch up on the family journal and still hope to soon.  We are enjoying our summer and things are busy as usual.  I finally (two months late) put 10 hours on Friday and Saturday into the neglected, overgrown vacant lot we once called garden and now it is lovely and hopefully will still grow, even though I had a late start.

 

I’ve learned that a hysterectomy is a very life-changing thing.  It has entirely changed me in so many ways, and it has been a little scary.  It turns out I was completely low on every major hormone and was at the levels of a woman in her 60s.  All the side effects that go with that—muscle/joint pain, exhaustion, depression, apathy, mental fog—well, that has pretty much just been my life, thus no blogging.  But just yesterday I finally started on a bio-identical hormone compound cream that hopefully will restore me to my 37-year-old youth.

 

Triathlon training has been difficult under these circumstances, but I’ve persevered as best I could—riding to work 1-2x a week and swimming a mile 1-2x a week, walking 1-2 miles 3-4x a week.  That is fine for training for a sprint tri, and I’m doing an Olympic in two weeks, but that’s just what I can do.  Since I don’t have a runner again, I’ve decided to just swim and bike and walk if I feel like it.  If I happen to meander over the finish line before midnight—hey, I’m a triathlete.  If not, I’ll just do a sprint tri in August. 

 

And, since I’ve been using all the workout time and bus time to listen to the scriptures on the iPod, hopefully I’ll become a scriptorian, too.  I finished our Relief Society’s Book of Mormon 60-day challenge and am now more than half way through the D&C.  What is completely remarkable is that all of these books speak with the same voice—the same voice also in the New Testament and much of the Old, the same voice I hear in the temple, and the same voice that answers my prayers.  There is no way such a comprehensive, consistent body of work can come from anyone but God, and it has been a real blessing to me in these hard past few months.  Together it has been a humbling experience.

 

The kids are great and I’m enjoying them.  Not a lot of major events to report there, but I’ll try to post all the pictures I’ve been stockpiling soon.

 

We had a talk in Stake Conference quoting Bednar’s recent CES address about how spending too much time in the virtual world gives us over to the adversary’s attempt to cause us to revert back to our non-corporeal existence and deny ourselves the blessings of temporal life.  This is a very powerful talk and I very highly recommend it. 

 

http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,538-1-4830-1,00.html

“If the adversary cannot entice us to misuse our physical bodies, then one of his most potent tactics is to beguile you and me as embodied spirits to disconnect gradually and physically from things as they really are. In essence, he encourages us to think and act as if we were in our premortal, unembodied state. And, if we let him, he can cunningly employ some aspects of modern technology to accomplish his purposes. Please be careful of becoming so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, ear buds, twittering, online social networking, and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body and miss the richness of person-to-person communication. Beware of digital displays and data in many forms of computer-mediated interaction that can displace the full range of physical capacity and experience.”

I do appreciate the outlet that a blog offers, and journaling is important, but I do feel that my life is richer the less I’m on the computer.  This talk was very insightful for me.

As always, I’ll try to post more for you, my beloved friends and family, especially the pictures, as soon as I can.