ABCs of Me

(A) Age: I turned 33 last week, and I'm officially at the point where the continuous joke is that I turned "29 again!" Sadly, my gray hairs and laughter wrinkles give me away. Happily, I can run 13 miles, play with my kids, and I'll take a wrinkle for a laugh any day (and I do)!
(B) Bed Size: Queen - but if you'll forgive the pillow talk - I wish every night between 1:30 and 3:00 that we'd bought a bigger bed. As newlyweds - even though we agreed that we wanted four kids - a bigger bed just seemed so BIG. I remember moving from the full to the Queen and thinking Kevin was so FAR away. Now, four pregnant bellies (which took up a lot of space) and four kids later - each one wanting to sneak in for snuggles on any given night - I would rather we had the bigger bed and found other opportunities (as we have to anyway) for closeness!
(C) Chore You Hate: Scrubbing the floors AROUND the toilet bowl - and I have to do it in the upstairs bathroom nearly every day because Owen doesn't quite wake up in the middle of the night to pee. He sleep walks - most often making it to the bathroom - and has no concept of aiming in his sleep. He pees in the EXACT same spot nearly every night: directly to the left of the toilet bowl, all over the floor. *Once he stopped at the white laundry basket full of clean clothes instead. That wasn't better.
(D) Dogs? No way. Tried it once. Dog lasted in our home 6 weeks before Kevin and I - who admittedly are mildly OCD about neatness, etc. - had to adopt him out to a new home ... of course, not before he tore up a lawn chair, raced mud tracks through our very small bad yard, and licked the heck out of our then one-ish year old son! (Collin was NOT complaining; he loved that puppy!)
(E) Essential Start Your Day Item: Coffee. Nothing fancy - just drip coffee with a touch of cream. Mmmm. (drinking a cup right now!) I'm a morning person, but I don't really perk up until I've drank that first full cup!
(F) Favorite Color: Blue. It's always been my fave, but it's even more so now that I have four blue-eyed babes! Their eyes just sparkle with mischief and laughter, and they pierce me with looks that I can not disregard: "teach me, Mom; help me, Mom; tickle me, Mom; uppie, Mom!" And the look that I'm learning more and more to better decipher as my kids get older and their needs become more sophisticated: "I'm grumpy or mad, but you have the ability to fix me --- I need a _____ (a hug, a lesson, help, attention, a friend). I'm looking at you because I need you, Mom!"
(G) Gold or Silver? Silver.
(H) Height: 5 feet + 5 1/2 inches (We celebrate 1/2s around here: half birthdays, half an inch, dividing things in half - and then in half again!)
(I) Instruments You Play: Does the keyboard count? Not a piano keyboard. A computer keyboard. I also play a mean raspberry on bare bellies! Ask, E! ; )
(J) Job Title: The IRS would tell you that I'm the President of the Tepker Law Firm, Inc. My kids would tell you I help the Judge put people in time-outs in the Jail (aka, Municipal Prosecutor) or that I help my clients to make good choices (aka, Attorney for parents involved with CPS). *Idebated putting Mom, wife, etc., on here, but I decided that those aren't really JOBS - they are privileges!
(K) Kids: Collin - 6 1/2, Owen - 5, Kate - 2 11/12; Eli - 7 months.
(L) Live: Bellingham, Washington
(M) Mom's Name: Victoria Lynn. *Kate is Katelyn Victoria.
(N) Nicknames: I'm not sure I have any nicknames now that I'm an adult -- just names. Bellingham and the legal community call me Jen. I'm currently trying to bring back Jenny, which is the name I was called as a kid and am still called by childhood friends and all of my family - except my husband and kids, who call me Jennifer when they aren't calling me Mom or Mommy. As a kid I had nicknames though: Jenny Lynn. Jen-Ren. And in 8th grade for a miserable year of very bad hair (I'd never heard of hair gel or mousse, and I have a LOT of hair): Fro-Baby.
(O) Overnight Hospital Stays? When the kids were born and twice with Collin: when he was a baby and had a very high fever and when he was a toddler and had febrile seizures twice in one day.
(P) Pet Peeve: When my kids take their shoes off and leave them in front of their cubby rather than inside of their cubby. Or when jackets are tossed on the floor under the coat hooks. Or when clothes are discarded on the floor next to the laundry basket. Get the theme here? There's one more that bugs me even more though: when things get put away WRONG. Like when you I open a DVD to watch a movie and find a different movie inside the case. Ugh!!
(Q) Quote from a Movie: I have a terrible memory - for things like that especially. There's too much else going on that I'm focused on remembering. I wish I remembered more movie quotes though; I'm often the only one left NOT-laughing at quote-jokes.
(R) Right or Left Handed? Right.
(S) Siblings: 8 -- Two older half-brothers (Richard and John), Three older step-brothers (Zac, Ben, and Evan), One younger half-sister (Christina), One younger half-brother (Jared), One younger step-brother (Kramer).
(T) Time You Wake Up? Seems like I'm always up - 24/7. But it varies -- between 5:30 a.m if I'm working out or running (haven't done that lately at that time admittedly) and 7:00 a.m. when my kids can't take it anymore. ; )
(U) Underwear: Hmmm. Black. Red. Most comfortable are boyshorts-style. Ten years ago, I would have claimed - and even did to my aunts once, who thought I was crazy by the way - that a G-string was the greatest invention ever. I don't know who I was fooling. I was crazy. (Yes, you were all right.)
(V) Vegetable You Dislike: Mushrooms.
(W) What Makes You Run Late: I think the better question is "What doesn't make me run late?"
(X) X-Rays You've Had Done: As I preschool-age kid, I had x-rays after a bike crash. Then as a ten-year-old-ish kid, I had x-rays after another bike crash. Now that I've typed that, I'm a tad nervous to get on my bike ... but, um, I love my bike. I'll be careful.
(Y) Yummy Food You Make: I married a man who loves to cook. And especially loves to cook for me. So I don't make much. But I make a great garlic-tomato-chicken pasta and a rockin' chicken kiev. For my kids, I make lots of silly foods, like colored pancakes, green eggs and ham, and April Fools Cupcakes (meatloaf cake, mashed potato frosting, and corn sprinkles). ; )
(Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal: Elephants are just amazing - so huge! Giraffes are so unique! And monkey-species are so funny! How could I ever choose?!


33 ~ Off and Running

Over the last month and a half, many people have asked if I was planning to get back into running distance again. Until last Tuesday, my answer was always "not yet." I was contemplating distance and even dreaming of a marathon, but my dreams were always of the future ~ like 2012.

With the turn of the year ~ to 2011 ~ I started working out and running regularly. I found a few running partners (Rebecca and Kristen), and I was up to running 5 mile routes 2-3 times a week, adding in hill climbs at least once a week.

Then last Tuesday, I had rented the tv series "Vampire Diaries" on DVD, and I was totally into the show. I was on the treadmill, and I ran through two episodes. Then I raced outside to run down our hill and back up -- total distance 9 miles, including some speed drill and elevation work. I was proud and felt great!

So fast forward to Friday's run with Kristen on the back trails of Lake Padden: K: "What are you doing for your birthday Sunday?" M: "Not really sure yet." K: "Well, you ran 9 miles Tuesday. Up for a half marathon Sunday?" M: "Uh - not sure if I could do it. Well, I suppose I could do it ... if I just looked at it as a fun run and follow the advice I gave my boys: just try to finish it." K: "Yes, you should run! Great! This will be so fun!"

I got home and told Kevin about the crazy idea. He said: "Well of course you can do it. When you're motivated about something, you always accomplish it." So I signed up.

The night before the race, Owen said to me: "Mom, just remember - you're only trying to finish the race. It's just for fun!" (We're prepping for the Running O' the Green 3.12.11, and he's been listening!) But then Collin said: "Just don't come in last. At least beat one person." Uh huh.

Oh the pressure! ; )

Kristen and I showed up in Birch Bay to find a beautiful course, clear blue skies, bright sunshine ... and a whole lot of Brrrr! It was 23 degrees outside at the start! So I may have taken off a little quick to warm up ... my Garmin told me I ran 6:39 min/mi at one point during the first mile (but I averaged 8:35 that mile).

The rest of the race was more steady each mile, but I realized - as I had after the Rock n Roll in 2009 - that I need to do some serious pace work. Although more consistent each mile (b/w 9:00 and 9:30 generally), I still varied quite a bit within each mile (jumping up and down b/w 8 to 10 min/mi pace). *I love having the Garmin tracking!! This will be so fun now that I'm training!

Did I just say that? Training?! In 2011? Yep!

A few weeks ago I posted some ideas about events. Here's the tentative plans: *=Kid Event

*Running O' the Green - 2 miles with Collin, Owen, and my Dad Steve (Kevin will join us if he can - shoulder injury; Kate and E may ride in the stroller!) - March 12 (Bellingham)
Mt. Si Relay - 2 Legs, approx. 12 miles total - April 10 (Snoqualmie)
San Juan 10K or Half Marathon - June 5 (San Juan Island) or
Discovery Half Marathon - June 5 (Sequim to Port Angeles)
Warrior Dash - 3.55 miles + obstacles! - July 16 (North Bend)
Waterfront 15K - September 10 (Bellingham)
Portland Marathon - October 9 (Portland, OR)

In the end Sunday, I ran 13.1 unexpected and unanticipated miles in 2:02 hours, an average of 9:18 min/mile, just 7 months after a c-section, just 7 weeks after resuming regular exercise, and just minutes after I turned 33 years old! It was an excellent run, and I had SO much fun! I am so glad Kristen, Kevin and my kids encouraged me to run the Birch Bay 1/2 Marathon!

Hello, Distance? It's me - Jenny. I'm Back!


Reading, reading, reading ~ Go, Collin!

Remember one month ago when Collin finished his first chapter book? Since then, he's averaged one book every two days (he's on Book 17 right now). He loves the Magic Tree House series, and I can't keep them stocked in our house! It's been a double-neat experience because one of his good friends at school (the only other kid reading chapter books in his class) is reading the same series and at the same pace, and they are reading them together, sharing stories, swapping theories, quizzing one another. It's awesome!! Go Collin!


Happy Valentine's Day!

This was my FB post today, and it's so fitting, I thought I should repeat it here:

Owen, 5, is VIP this week! Highlights of his VIP poster include his favorites: color = green, food = ribs, school activity = field trips, and home activity = playing Madden NFL Football with Collin and the Schillingers! He said he shows others he cares "by loving them!" What a great reminder that it takes more than just words ... loving is an act! Today and always, I'm loving my family! Happy Valentine's Day!

Taking in One Day at a Time

It's been another successful Monday in the Tepker Home. By that I mean - we made it to school and work on time, turned in Owen's VIP poster and the boys' homework, stocked cubbies with clean extra clothes, blankets, and pillow pets. We battled illness (Eli is still congested after over a week and has diarrhea and a rough rash), and talked to the pediatrician (all's good for now). Kevin went to the doctor for his arm --> physical therapy is definitely in his future, possibly still surgery. In the eve, we got the chores done that NEEDED to get done (I folded two loads of laundry and swept the floors), we spent quality family time laughing and sharing stories, we showed each other love, we read together (Eli was captivated; definitely need to do more reading aloud with him!), and we left the stuff that didn't NEED to get done to sit for another day (my sink is full of rinsed dishes, my washer full of clean ones).

That's the way we roll. And I love it. It works ~ fantastically. Some days we sneak in a run, ride, or workout or a bit of time reading or a phone call with a friend (those are the things I wish there was more time for), but the majority of our days revolve around our family and making it work, day by day.

Today, I accomplished all that AND I received loves and hugs and homemade Valentine's and sloppy Eli kisses. Total success in my book!!!

Looking forward to tomorrow and another chance to find success!

BTW ~ Happy Valentine's Day!



First of all, DIG the shoes, the leggings pulled up, the sunglasses acting as a headband - LOVE it all!

But that's not the point of THIS post! This post is about the hour and a half BEFORE the (new favorite) jammies were on ...

I threw Kate's favorite PJs in the washer just before 7 pm. She'd worn them 4 nights in a row, and they were due a wash. I knew she wouldn't let me put them in if she saw me, so I was quick about it! But I should TOTALLY have run the load earlier. She went up, undressed, and went looking for her jammies within minutes of my covert action. And the second she realized what I'd done (the door was closed, the washer filled with water, the pjs soaked), she fell to the floor and cried and pleaded "take them out right now!" for the entire wash cycle. It was miserable. A full half hour of flailing, crying, tears, panic. I knew she'd be sad, but I never imagined how sad. I still standby my deed though; the jammies needed a cleaning.

I've never seen a little girl perk up so much and so quickly as Kate did when that buzzer sounded! Suddenly, she was happy and sweet and even - grateful?! "Mommy, they're CLEAN!!" She put them in the dryer herself and patiently waited, naked still, for the dry cycle.

Almost an hour and a half later, she was ready to play again:
*You may remember that another of our children had a "thing" for special jammies. Collin used to love his feetie jammies so much (especially a navy and green striped pair) that we'd have to literally pin him down while he screamed and wrestle him out of them and into clothes so we could leave the house. Admittedly, there were a few "jammies days" at school because it wasn't always worth the fight. He was 18 months - 2 years then and especially headstrong! (He's still headstrong. It's one of his more fantastic attributes, actually, because he's also steadfast and - now at 6 - mostly rational so his arguments and agenda are hard to combat, and his demeanor often ends up coming across as admirable ultimately.) Anyway, the jammies were a 2T. He wore them until he was 4 years old. They were SO stretched out and even had a hole or two. But I couldn't toss them; he loved them so much.



Today is Owen's first official day in Kindergarten! He is SO pumped! His favorite preschool teacher, Mr. Ron, was promoted last fall from Lead Teacher in the Preschool to Program Director at the 2-Year Kindergarten. (I may have the titles wrong, but you get the idea.) Anyway, he was once Collin's favorite teacher, and since he moved up to Collin's program in the fall, Collin had been thrilled with the change! However, at the time of Mr. Ron's move up, he was Owen's preschool teacher, and Owen was beside himself. He lost his favorite teacher. He ultimately adjusted and did well in his new teacher's class, but he harbored great dreams of moving up to the Kindergarten to see Mr. Ron again. Every once in a while he expressed his frustrations; he was the oldest in his class, he missed his friends that had moved up, he wanted to see Mr. Ron and Collin. Owen was like a ticking time bomb, waiting for his big moment!

We were concerned because the program requires that you be 5 years old before entry. We were also concerned because entry requires a full year commitment, and the slots were full. We weren't expecting he'd be in the program until the fall - 8 more months. But then, the same week that Owen turned 5, a family gave their two-week notice!! It was perfect!!!!

Owen spent the last week "transitioning" up to the class and saying goodbye to the preschool and his friends/teachers there. He brought home his first homework packet Friday and finished it while waiting for dinner Friday night! We ordered his new backpack, and he is stoked! Today marks his official first day in Kindergarten, in Mr. Ron's class again, and in the same program as Collin, where they'll be a force no doubt! (Can't you just imagine recess and soccer games during the summer?!) Owen is beyond thrilled and proud and puffed up like a big kid! Literally, for a kid who wishes every day were a stay-at-home day, Owen is in heaven! Which means that I couldn't be more psyched! Good teachers are the greatest! Thanks, Mr. Ron!