Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Can Do Hard Things!

A couple of years ago, I was still pregnant with Zoey. It was January and I was serving in the Young Womens. They were making a time capsule and writing down their goals for that year. I had put down that I wanted to do a triathlon. It was something that I was interested in, yet had no idea how I was ever going to accomplish it.

First, I did not know how to swim. Let me clarify. I never had lessons as a kid, yet somehow I learned how to tread water and recreational swim (float, do flips etc.). But to be able to swim consistently for a distance, I would not be able to do. Plus, I have trouble breathing on land because of my asthma, how in the heck would I be able to breathe in the water?

Second, I had no bike. While living in Alameda, my bike along with Ben and CJ's were stolen. I had not yet replaced them and kinda didn't want to while I was living in Alameda. I had no place to store it and was afraid, it would be stolen again.

So you can see how easy it was to forget about ever trying to achieve this goal. It was always in the back of my mind, but I never had enough motivation to make it happen.

When we moved to Concord, we moved into a house with a garage! Oh what happiness it did bring! Slowly, I began replacing our bikes. I got CJ one first and in the meantime was looking around for bikes for me. I had a Diamondback bike before and have always loved mountain bikes. They are my type of bike.

I have a few friends who were very active and were doing triathlons. It got me very excited and I started to think, "What would it take for me to do that?"

Thank goodness for the money I was making in my Photography because there is no way I would have spent what I did otherwise on myself. I have trouble buying myself socks!

Slowly I began to get what I needed. Aquiring new hobbies is expensive. Once you get one thing, it always leads to another thing that you need to buy. For instance, I bought myself a bike for my birthday and of course, what I needed/wanted next were bike shorts and then a shirt and then some gloves and so on. . .

The next big thing I needed to do was to learn how to swim! My friend Jane took me the community pool one morning so I could see what I could do. I was pathetic! I couldn't even swim 25 meters (that's the short lanes in the pool). It was so hard!

A recent highschool graduate from my ward was doing swim lessons during the summer. I think she had only taught children before, but I asked her if she would teach me.

So I took swim lessons-which were fantastic! She taught me swimming techniques how to breathe, the breaststroke, and form. After the lessons, I went to the pool 3'xs a week. I always felt a little embarrassed because out here everyone and their grandmother are awesome swimmers. I thought that if I didn't look or talk to anyone they would do the same. They wouldn't look at me!!

By the end of the summer, I graduated myself from the 25 m to the 50m and I even talked and smiled to a few of the people there.

Race day arrived and I went with a couple of my friends which is always nice.


We met up with some other friends and racked our things up by them.


I was nervous about the swimming up to the time I had to actually do it. I didn't know if I could swim continously. Jane told me to stay towards the back and off to the side so I wouldn't get clobbered by the rush of bodies. I started off that way chatting to the other ladies who were in my shoes before the race started.

When they sounded the horn, the competitive side of me, rushed off with the other ladies.

"What was I doing?" I was supposed to hang back, right?

I kept to the side and swam with everything that was in me. I wasn't the last one out of the water, but I was definitely towards the end, I think.

Transitioning from one event to the next wasn't hard at all, especially in a tri outfit. Biking was next and was surprisingly my favorite event that day.

I don't know if the women weren't trying hard or if I am really pretty good on the bike. I booked it like it was nobody's business because I knew I was behind on the swim.

I passed so many people, maybe about 30? I only had 2 women pass me and I could tell they were serious bikers.

It was exhilarating! I almost fell off when I dismounted because my legs were like jelly.

Running was hard. Running never feels easy for me. By the 1 mile marker I was thinking, "I only ran a mile so far?" It felt like I had ran more than just a mile.

I started to pick up the pace in the last mile and crossed the finish line feeling like a champ!

I looked down after a man just snapped a photo of me,to see that my shirt had risen and I was showing a good deal of my tummy-what a great picture I'm going to have!


I came home to find the kids had made this sign on the garage for me!


I'm so lucky to have such a great family and a cute bunch of kids!


Ben was also so supportive. I was working out almost every day and he encouraged me and would always ask me how my workout was.


This was a very hard thing for me to do, but I loved the challenge. I love pushing myself because it always makes me a better person. I'm already looking forward to next year and seeing if I can improve on my swimming.



**A side note. Sharpie marker makes you feel tough when you write on your body with it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ben is 35. . .I mean 36

The kids and I could not get it right. We thought that Ben was turning 35. I don't think Ben minded at all. In fact, he declared from this time forth he will be 35 forever.

I worked all week making cake pops that he requested. I surprised him with Pixar themed ones. You can check my other blog for a tutorial.


I delivered them to work and ate lunch with him. I only had Zoey with me. It was so weird to not have as many kids attached to me. I felt a little lighter even.


We had pizza, of course, for dinner and we sang "Happy Birthday" to Ben as Zoey blew out the first batch of his candles.


After dinner, I took Ben out for a game of lazer tag. We dominated the game and won!

Well. . .we dominated an 8 year old and his dad and won.

We decided to celebrate a little longer and went to see "Cowboys and Aliens". Ben loved it.
As for me, it had aliens in it, which I am not a big fan of aliens. Aliens and real animals that talk are probably the only two things about movies that bug me.

All in all, a great day! Happy Birthday Ben!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

One Stinkin' Good Summer!


It's true, we've had one stinkin' good summer! We squeezed quite a bit into a few months. Our favorite part was definitely having family visit us, but here is what else we did. . .


The kids each took swim lessons this year, even Zoey! She cried and screamed the first 3 days but finally decided that she liked it. She is such a water baby! Mia, Xander, and CJ continued to improve their skills. Xander and Mia were challenged and kinda scared to do some of the things that they wanted them to do, but they did their best. This is probably CJ's last time taking lessons. She told me she felt too old.


We hit more beaches this year than we have in past years. The "Year of the Beach" has been a great motivater. We've visited Capitola, Point Reyes, Stinson, Pacifica, and Oceanside. Pacifica beach was our last one before school began. The kids love the beach no matter what the weather is like. I tried for the first time, baby powder to get the sand off of the kids. Works pretty well. Can't wait to hit the beach again!



I was pretty depressed about my leg and ankle injuries this summer. I couldn't go swimming and had to take it easy on the physical activities. It was killing me! This was a spontaneous visit and Mia got to bring a friend, Emma along. Friends always makes things more fun!



This summer we've gone cherry, strawberry, peach, and plum picking. So much fun! This was a first for me and the kids. I had to keep an eye on Zoey. All she wanted to do was pick up the fruit and chuck it. Thanks to Erin for inviting us and for canning some peaches with me. If you want to feel domestic for a day. . .can something.



During the summer, I try to keep the kids' brain somewhat functional and ready to return to school. I do little activities here and there with the kids. I had CJ working on vocabulary words and their meaning. Mia was working on telling time and reading chapter books. Xander was working on letter recognition, sounds and handwriting.

We also participated in the summer reading program at the library. The kids got prizes for reading a certain amount of minutes. Even Zoey got rewarded. She, by the way, loves to read and be read to.

Speaking of reading, we finished our first book together as a family, Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. After going to Disneyland with Sarah and her family, I was so impressed with her family of readers and how they read chapter books together as a family. I got excited and wanted to do the same. I read picture books to my kids but never thought of doing a chapter book together because they are all at different reading levels. This turned out to be a great and successful family activity!



Xander and Ben went on a Father/Son Camp Out to Borges Ranch which is just in Walnut Creek. There are alot of advantages to camping close by especially since it was for only one night. This is Xander's first campout with Ben. In Alameda, they did a Father/Daughter one, which Ben thought was weird. Xander had a great time and I can't wait for them to do it again next year! I heard from a friend that she and her daughter do a Mother/Daughter outing when the boys go to the Father/Son campout. Sounds like fun! I may try this next year!


Thanks to Hannah for sharing her art lessons from Pineapple Paintbrush! I got some friends together and we each took turns teaching a concept of art. The kids loved it and got to make so many pieces of art. My favorite is the flower painting that they did. I framed them and they are in my office.


Ben also took time to give the kids an art lesson. I love that he can teach our children how to use their artistic ability. I also love that he thought of this idea himself. The kids adore their Dad!



This was CJ's first year at camp and mine as a leader. I am so impressed with Girl's Camp in this stake. They don't stay in cabins, they sleep outside underneath the stars. From Level 2-4, the girls actually hike in the mountains and sleep overnight or for several nights making their own latrines, food, and so on. Real camping. Tough girls.

I helped out with the Crafts. To be honest with you, I had a hard time being excited about going to camp. First of all, I was in crafts and I prefer to be with the girls. And second, I wanted camp to be CJ's thing.


Turns out, Girl's Camp was perfect. I still got to chat and get to know the girls as they trickled through the craft area. And. . .CJ and I grew closer. That was the best part for me! It was a perfect situation. She got to be with her friends and leaders but I still saw her a ton! I got to share in the spiritual experiences with her and just watch her have fun! I also didn't embarrass her with my wild craziness that tends to comes out. In fact CJ gave me a huge hug one day and thanked me for making her popular! YES! I haven't ruined her life. . .yet!


Both of our cars needed to be replaced within 2 months of each other. Uggh! Kinda frustrating, but in the end everything worked out and we got ourselves a Chrysler Town and Country and a Mercedes (old, of course). What a coindience that all of our vehicles or mode of transportation this year turned out to be white. Not planned at all, just what we ended up with.

Remember my bike?

We bought Ben a bike off of Craigslist. Check out the color.


And both of our cars are white!





Most of all, we have had some very fun times this summer! We finally have bikes for everyone and we bought a bike trailer for Zoey and Xander. I love going on bike rides with the kids. We are teaching Xander how to ride his bike without training wheels. He is getting really close!

We also have fun hanging out with each other. In the picture above, we were playing a card game for family home evening and afterwards we decided to have a contest to see who could keep their card on their forehead the longest.

We danced with them on and even did cartwheels. Guess who won? ME! Everyone else's cards stayed on, but I was the only one who didn't cheat. While I wasn't looking everyone taped theirs on.

Come on people, don't you know that "Cheaters Never Prosper"?!
I guess I have a super greasy forehead!

We had one stinkin' good summer!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back to School Stats


FAVORITE OUTFIT: Grey shirt with black lace on top with skinny jeans
HOW WAS YOUR FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL: "I think things went really well. I know all my teachers and I thought Mrs. Ohno was going to be mean, but she's not. Only when someone does something they shouldn't."




TEACHER: Mrs. Tang
FAVORITE THING TO DO AT SCHOOL: "Write in the morning because I write the whole page."
NEW FRIENDS: Allison, Jayda and that's all.
HOW WAS YOUR FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL: "Good. I was a little shy but it went well. My favorite thing that we did on the first day was watch a movie."




TEACHER: Mrs. Reams
FAVORITE PART OF SCHOOL: "Um, we play in the playground."
FRIENDS: "Mia, what's his name again? Emron. Claire and Alexandra too."
YOU HAVE A FRIEND NAMED MIA AT SCHOOL?: "Mia sits right here and I sit right here. We sit by each other while we eat."
HOW DID YOUR FIRST WEEK GO: "Good, because the teacher didn't talk to me and she picks me sometimes."




AGE: 2
FAVORITE MOM: "I gully."
FAVORITE THING TO DO AT HOME: "Circle. Icecream. Andy. Joe. "