I often say when it's time to leave a place: "I need to corral all of my kids!" I looked at the definition; of the multiple meanings, one is "to gather up."

Lately, I've been dreaming regularly of this beautiful brown horse. The horse is always on the loose, having always wondered from its stall. And in my dream, my task is always to get near to the horse and encourage it to return. Almost as if there's a magnetic draw, something "clicks" the moment the horse and I meet eyes, and the horse follows me back to its home.

Is this a message? A reminder of my role as mom? Certainly has been giving me pause.


Funny Faces of my Family

We spent Saturday playing on the Ranch and had a blast. I have lots of "good" photos, but these ones crack me up! So here's one of each kiddo!


Excellent Night

We shared a family night tonight, and it was absolutely fantastic! Kevin and I picked up the kids together tonight, and we went out to eat at a new mexican restaurant in town (won't last long; especially since there's such a good taco truck across the street!). Then we all went to Lake Padden for an eve of big fun! The big boys played catch and practiced hitting the baseball, while Kate, E and I enjoyed the swings, the playstructures, and simply relaxing in the sunshine! It was the perfect evening!!

He loves you berry much!

Pic: Feb 27, 2011

Today: Kate was causing Eli to laugh hysterically at her as she made silly faces and noises. In turn, she was tickled pink! She exclaimed: "Look, Mom! He's laughing! Eli berry likes it! He loves me, Mom! I'm a good big sissy!"

Tree Topper

Collin has recently renewed his interest in tree climbing, and he's scaling up, up, up! When he was about 2, he climbed up everything! He was on top of every fire hydrant, every play structure, scaling rock walls and fences. Time to check out REI's rock wall!! (He's so cautious and capable, it'd be perfect!)


Happy Trails

Owen, Rebecca, Issac, Collin, Kai, Eli S., Kate, Me, Eli T on Arroyo Park Bridge
We were so happy to see the sun shining tonight! Wednesdays are typically "Daddy Bike Night" so the kids and I try to sneak in "While Dad's Away, the Kids Will Play" fun. After the rain over the weekend (and the week before that, and the week before that), we'd planned a night of bowling, but we quickly made new plans with the return of the spring sun!! We packed in the van and hit Arroyo Park, where we hiked the canyon trails and remarked at how fortunate we are to live in a city with such amazing outdoor opportunities! The kids literally raced the trails until we moms had to call it quits (afterall, bed and bath still beckon, even on a sunny (school/work) nights). Happy Trails!


Hitting My Goals: Fitness and Fun!

The past six weeks I've challenged myself and developed new perspective on my athletic opportunity! I've always been "a runner." I ran to relax, to think, to let off steam, to lose weight, to get in shape. Afterall, I love running! But I always ran at a pretty steady pace, and I was comfortable with an idea that I would never run any faster. Longer, sure. But not faster. And not necessarily "better." Then I ran the Birch Bay 1/2 with very little "training" (remember I was just 7 months post c-section). I realized that with some training and pace work, I could make some serious improvements. I didn't really start training then though. I focused on building my base, finding time to squeeze in workouts again, and losing the rest of my pregnancy weight.

Then I ran in the Mt Si Relay, and my perspective changed completely! I ran 8 miles at an 8:38 pace -- something I had never done before, nor contemplated before! I realized that not only could I improve form and increase distance, I was not challenging myself to run any faster. And I could go faster!! Here I am taking off on my second leg:

So I identified two goals:
(1) Fitness and Fun (*Run, Ride, and get to a point where I am really able to really get out and play with my kids!) and
(2) Run Faster!

... and I jumped into a training routine (fashioned together from a few online tips, a great friend who has coached runners, and mostly by "what worked in my schedule and seemed like the most challenging fun").

I'm super happy to say that conquered Goal #1! I've been working hard but more importantly, I'm having a LOT of fun! I've been running and riding and sprinting and climbing! And I am reaping the rewards! I am down to a size 2/4, and I can play games like "Monkey in the Middle" with my kids and give them a run for their money - without running out of breath! I am absolutely able to play! And play we do! I love every minute!

Eli and I at the Mt Si Relay

Goal #2 I also know that I've hit. I can tell in my training runs. But the real test is in just two and a half weeks! I'm aiming to finish the San Juan 1/2 Marathon June 5 in 1:51 (an 8:30 pace). [*My best prior time at that distance was 1:58, a 9:02 pace.]

San Juan, here I come!

Here's my training log the last 6 weeks if you're interested:

4/6 - 2 miles flat, sprint up Taylor Hill (walk the flats), run the stairs, run down, 2 miles flat (Boulevard)
4/9 - 2.6 @ 10 min/mile (Padden)
4/10 - 8.3 @ 8:38 and 7.1 @ 10 (Mt. Si Relay)
4/13 - 1200 @ 8:34 (400), 400 @ 7:30, 400 @ 8:00 (200), 800 @ 8:00 (200), 200 @ 7:30 x 3 (200 after each), 200 @ 8:00 (Treadmill) (Recovery Run @ 5.0 mi/hr)
4/19 - 2.6 @ 8:32 (Padden)
4/20 - P90X Abs + P90X Chest and Back
4/21 - 800 warm-up, 1200 @ 8:13 (600), 800 @ 8:13 (400), 400 @ 7:47 (200), 800 @ 8:00 (400), 400 @ 8:00 (400), 400 @ 7:47 (1 mile) (Recovery Run @ 6.0 mi/hr)
4/22 - 4 mile flat; later rode the trails with Kerena
4/23 - Rode the trails 2.5 hrs with Kevin
4/26 - Rode the trails 1.5 hrs
4/27 - Ran 5 miles ~9 min/miles
4/28 - Rode the trails 1.5 hrs
4/29 - Ran 8.5 miles (1/2 road, 1/2 trail) at 9:40 pretty steady. Able to chat the whole time
4/30 - Rode the trails 1.5 hrs + P90X Abs
5/2 - P90X Chest and Back
5/3 - Ran 5 miles with hills, slow (Yew Street) (10ish min/miles)
5/3 - P90X Yoga
5/4 - Rode the trails 1.25 hrs with Kevin
5/5 - Ran 10.5 miles (1/2 road, 1/2 trail). Hills in the first 4 miles. First two miles warm-up 9:30 pace, then 3 miles 9ish, then varied 10-10:30 for the next 2 miles (felt like I'd hit a wall and especially sluggish mile 6+7; also had headwind at this time b/c along the water for most of it), then last 3 miles at 9:30ish.
5/6 - P90X Arms and Shoulders
5/7 - Rode the trails 1.5 hrs + P90X Abs (with Owen)
5/8 - Ran 5 miles (Padden x 2). Aimed at first and last at 9:00 min pace, middle 3 at 8:30 pace.
5/9 - Rode the trails 1 hr
5/10 - P90X Chest and Back
5/11 - Insanity Pure Cardio (40 mins)
5/12 - Ran 6 miles at 9-9:15 pace. Flat, road (office to Zuanich and back).
5/13 - Rode the trails 1 hr with Rebecca
5/14 - Ran 12.8 miles. Hills up first 1/2 mile, down next 3 miles, then relatively flat next 9ish, then hills up 3 miles, down last 1/2 mile. Aimed at 10 min/mile pace and hit it pretty dead on, finishing in just under 2:08. (had a fast mile or two going down and a slow mile going up, but averaged out)
5/15 - REST (a little sore, but not bad; had a hard time sleeping Saturday night b/c legs were jittery)
5/16 - No soreness! But resting.
5/17 - Easy 3-4 miles planned.

Race: June 5 - San Juan 1/2 Marathon
Goal: Sub 8:30 min/mile pace


Howdy Ho!

Wow! Things have been bogged in our world the past month. April 7, Kate stayed home from school with a fever (yes, on her birthday). Every day for the next month (ending May 6), at least one child was ill. Of the work days, there were three in the whole month that all four kids went to school (well, four, but the teachers called us to get kids halfway through the day, so that day doesn't count). Owen had ear infections in both ears, his eardrums burst, he went to the ER, he ran through three rounds of antibiotics. Kate had fevers. Eli ran fevers, also had double ear infections and two rounds of antibiotics, and threw up. Collin was wiped by headaches and fevers and over a week of ridiculous fatigue.

BUT we did have some big things happen this past month despite the illnesses:

- Kate turned three! Happy birthday to the sweetest, sillinest, happiest, rowdiest, loudest, most joyful three year old I know!!

- I ran in the Mt. Si Relay with Rebecca, Kristen, Teri, and Marie! On Saturday, Eli came down with a fever, par for the course, so he joined our team! His fever had completely subsided by Saturday night, and he was a happy little guy during the race Sunday! I think the other team members thought we'd faked it so he could come along! ; )

- Collin stayed home alone for his first time ever! With a month of illness, Kevin and I were in non-stop juggle-mode. One Tuesday morning Kevin had to be in Bellevue, and I had to be in the jail. Collin was the only one sick that day, and his symptoms were under control. So he perched on the couch, remote in hand, and we raced off for our day. I worried for the entire two hours I was gone, contemplating every "what if." But when I returned, our 6 and a half year old was still in the exact same spot on the couch, watching his favorite show, and wearing a proud, independent grin! "I watched some shows, ate some grapes, and drank some water, Mom!"

- Owen experienced his first big disappointment. We have had lots of rain. It's been downright dreary. And unfortunately, the soccer season took a hit. Games were cancelled and rescheduled; practices were rained out. One Sunday, while Kevin was home with sick Kate and sick Collin, Owen, Eli and I headed to the fields for a make-up game. Surprisingly the fields were bright and sunny, and we were looking forward to a great game set! But Owen, my family-centered, team-oriented kiddo, was crushed to discover that he was the only boy on his team who showed up to play that day. We had to forfeit all the games, and they had to shift the schedule to allow the other teams to play on. Everyone invited Owen to play with another team for the day, but he couldn't see past his tears of frustration. His team had let him down. "I want to play with my team!" He couldn't understand why no one else had prioritized the games. He looked forward to them every week! Didn't they? It was awful to watch his sadness. He cried for a half hour, and I ultimately had to carry him (and Eli) off the filed. I wanted to call each and every parent and demand that they get their child out there immediately. I wanted to make the world fix his pain. Of course, I couldn't. The world couldn't. It was a hard fact. A lesson in disappointment, but also an opportunity to talk about team responsibilities and commitment. In the end, Owen was sad that he didn't get to play,, but proud that he'd showed up and been ready to. *Side Note: Is that how I'll feel when Owen gets his heart broken?! Ick!

- Grandma J turned 60!! Owen, Kate, Eli and I travelled to Seattle to celebrate in style! It was especially fun to see Uncle Evan and his fiance Mallory and Uncle Ben, who travelled from Montana to watch their Mom blow out her candles! ; ) We stayed at Uncle Zac and Aunt Carolyn's for the first time. Very fun! (Of course, I thought we were all healthy when we drove down, leaving sick Collin and Kevin behind. No such luck. Eli threw up all over me in the middle of the night. Yuck!)

- Kevin and I have been mountain bike riding a lot! Kevin also got a dirt jumper and is looking forward to improving his jump skills at the Bike Park! What a blast!!

- Eli is cruising everywhere! He's pulling up and cruising along all the furniture, moving all over on all fours, and racing up steps! It's only a matter of time now! Eeek! He says "Da-Da" and signs "all done" - not necessarily when he's "all done." I think he thinks it means "I'm done ... with that bite ... and now I'll have some more!" He also waives goodbye! This looks exactly the same as when he signs "all done." AND it doesn't necessarily mean goodbye. Sometimes it means "I can tell that you're getting ready to leave so I'm going to start waiving and hugging you even tighter so you can't finish getting ready!" *BTW - Eli gives THE BEST, tightest, snuggliest hugs!!!

- We celebrated Easter in yummy style! We dyed eggs - and ate them as fast as we could, literally as soon as the dye dried! And we ate chocolate (thanks to the bunny, who brought little treat baskets in the morning)! And we had a breakfast feast with the Schillingers, followed by a lively egg hunt! Imagine 150 plastic eggs and six kids racing around, searching high and low, filling their bags and laughing! Such fun!!

Here's to enjoying life ~ in sickness and in health! But in health is better! To a healthier next month!! Cheers!