Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dare To Tri

After 11 weeks of training our August date- the Dare to Tri sprint triathlon, finally arrived. We lucked out and were able to borrow two road bikes from a couple in our ward (I was ready to ride the 14 mile course with a baby seat on my mountain bike). We did 99% of our swimming at the community center with convenient black lines along the bottom of the pool and walls to hold onto every 25 yards. Running was the hardest (or least enjoyable) because of the 100+ temperatures on the heat index.

RJ decided that he would do the whole race with me even if that meant slowing down. I pushed myself hard during training to be able to keep up with his monster long stride. I felt excited the day of the race because I knew that my body was ready and that I could enjoy the race.

6:15 a.m. race day

There were between 750-1,000 athletes participating in one of three events (tri-star111, olympic triathlon, sprint triathlon). RJ is setting up at the transition station before they lock it up.

We were both in novice swim waves. I was in a wave about 6 minutes before RJ's. Beth had counseled me to stay in the back but I found that once I got in the water, I was stuck behind people slower than me (something I had not anticipated)! It took me a few minutes to beak free and I tried to get into a rhythm but found that my side stroke was faster, easier and with less variance from the path than my front stroke. It was not a pretty swim to watch, I am sure but I decided to just enjoy my swim as I looked at the clear blue sky and breathed deeply. I did rotate through strokes later and spotted the beach! Thankfully, I spotted my wardrobe malfunction first! I tucked myself back into my swimming suit before launching out of the water in a full out sprint (just to get to my bike and wait for RJ).

RJ rented a wetsuit for fear of drowning. He stopped at the first boat to catch his breath and was able to do some back floating to get himself through the rest. I began to wonder if he was struggling in the water when I saw a white tank top walking down the blacktop.

He pulled his wetsuit back up for a picture (that's how much of a hurry we were in). We decided before hand that RJ would follow me on the bike since he is a stronger/faster biker and we wanted to stay together. That lasted about 5 minutes. When he passed me, I tried to keep up but my legs were burning. Once I got over the fact that he left me in the dust, I enjoyed my ride and did my best time. RJ was waiting for me at the transition station and we ran the 3 miles together talking the whole way. We crossed the finish line holding hands. RJ contemplated carrying me across the finish line but then remembered that one of the rules states that you cannot assist another athlete or you will be disqualified. We decided to play by the rules.

Our goal was to finish in less than two hours and we did it in 1 hour and 50 minutes (.3 mile swim, 14 mile bike, 3 mile run). Hunter asked if we won! Almost. We came in 322 and 361 out of 416!

I really enjoyed this whole experience with RJ. We had so much fun, that night we signed up for a warrior run (a 5K with 17 obstacles) to take place June, 2012.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

32 Years Old!

I knew that my birthday would be uneventful seeing that RJ was not due to fly in until the evening of and Hunter's soccer party was that night.

I had a rough night with Reagan then Hunter and McKenna were in my room by 7 a.m. I asked McKenna to go play so I could go back to sleep until Reagan got up. As I spoke, Reagan woke. Hunter told me that he would watch Reagan so I could go back to sleep. I didn't hesitate to jump at the opportunity so I carried Reagan downstairs and sat her in the midst of McKenna's kitchen set stuff. When I came back an hour later, Hunter had set the table with a special birthday breakfast for me! He poured me some Sprite, made two pieces of toast with a candle, some cinnamon cheerios, berries and cherries. There was no detail that he missed. He got the "fire stick" to light my candle and had all the fixin's out (ie honey, peanut butter, jam, butter and syrup. Beside my plate was a note that said "Happy Birthday" is his best phonetic writing.

To be honest, I was looking forward to making blueberry pancakes that morning and wasn't that interested in drinking pop or eating 45 minute old tough toast but it was one of those times where you just say "thank you" and enjoy the intent of the gesture.

Mommy School

The morning that we flew out to Oregon, a door to door salesperson came and sold us some books and computer games (totally unlike us). In an effort to make the most of our purchase, I have been trying to do mommy school. So far, we have learned about continents, landscapes, and rocks/gems/volcanoes.

I don't have a picture of our continent project, but we blew up blue balloons and put colored cut outs of the continents on our "globes."

We learned about mountains, rivers, lakes, hills, plains, and valleys. We made 3-D topography maps of our own islands with colored keys to navigate the landscape.

McKenna's island is called "Collowattle."

Hunter names his island "Saunum."

We talked about rocks, gems and precious stones. We all made a crown with our birthstones in them. McKenna chose several "stones" for her crown. We also made a volcano.

McKenna is painting it for me. Hunter was too busy playing outside with his friends. I won't be giving out grades. If they live through "mommy school," they pass.

Hunter is helping our volcano erupt.

At the bottom of the moutain are houses (made by the kids out of clay). The lava would have covered the houses of the poor residents living near volcano Reeve.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Big Daddy's B-Day

RJ's birthday fell on a Sunday this year so we did a little bit of celebrating on Saturday and the rest on Sunday. We went to Famous Dave's for dinner then put the kids down. I bought him a keg of rootbeer and some cheesy popcorn to enjoy while we watched "Source Code."

Sunday morning we had biscuits, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, eggs, strawberries and mangoes. I bought him some flowers (he loves the touch it gives to the house), a customized notepad (he likes to leave me and the kids notes in the morning), a single serve blender (for his protein shakes), and a yoga mat (for P90X).

I also made him this peanut butter cup cheesecake. I am not going to lie, it was pretty delicious! It should be at 1,300 calories a pop!

We invited our friends, the Hillyards over for Sante Fe soup and cake on Sunday.


Roo has been struggling with nap time since becoming more mobile. She'll fight it to the end!

Since her four month well check appointment, we have been watching her head. The pediatrician said it was looking flat and recommeded more tummy time. I did everything I could think to reduce the forces on the back of her little maleable skull but after meeting with a therapist three times and much prayer/pondering and waiting, we decided to purchase a helmet. She is already a beautiful baby but now she will have the most beautiful posterior cranium!

There are already so many things that we as females hate about ourselves, I don't want to give her any fuel for that fire.

"Before" shots

First day in a helmet

I think that she should be "the face" of the "Star Cranial Remolding Orthosis!"

Soccer Stud!

It has been a lot of fun watching Hunter play soccer this year. He has really come out of his shell and shone on the field. Here he is scoring one of his many goals. He averaged about 5 goals/ game.

Ra-Ra number 8!

His coach (Avery) was pretty hard core. He threw more than one boy out of the game, made them run laps for not paying attention, and held extra Saturday practices to give their team an edge. Fortunately, Hunter was always very focused and obedient so he never got in trouble with the coach.

At the end of the year party/awards ceremony, Avery game every boy a special certificate. He called Hunter up last and said, "I don't usually do this, single one boy out, but we would like to present Hunter with the Most Valuable Player award, what with his 75 goals and all." I was very proud of Hunter not just for scoring a lot of goals but for always playing his hardest and for improving so much since he last played.

Mom's Visit/Nauvoo

When mom realized that I was flying back with the three kids alone, she bought a ticket to help me on the plane. I told her she would have to stay and join us for our trip to Nauvoo. Thursday night, we got a babysitter and went to Biaggi's for dinner followed by an impromtu comedy show in down town Minneapolis.

The Comedy Sportz show was so much fun! We ended up bringing Reagan because she had a runny nose, a cough, and was cranky in general. She did great at the club though and was actually referred to a number of times by the comedians (we sat on the front row). They were happy to pose with her after the show. Apparently, she didn't find them very funny then!

Friday morning we departed for Nauvoo. The kids actually did really well since we loaded them with DVD's, snacks, and new "travel" toys. We stopped at a park to eat and realized that we left the diaper bag at home. Luckily there was a Wal-mart in the middle of nowhere and a park!

RJ and Hunter are building a starwars lego plane after eating some subs.

Reagan and McKenna always love the swings.

Our hotel was in Fort Madison (about 13 miles from Nauvoo). Mom stayed at a different hotel because there were no more rooms available at the Super 8. We went to dinner and swam at Grandma's hotel pool Saturday night.

Saturday morning mom and I went to a session in the Nauvoo temple. I enjoyed seeing the beautiful paintings in the rooms, some original temple clothing worn by early members of the church and Joseph Smith's saber.

Statues of Joseph and Hyrum

RJ pretty much planned this vacation (as part of my Christmas date list). He found a cute show called "Plain Anna Amanda" which was a lot of fun for the kids (especially Hunter).

Here's Anna Amanda (apparently, the actors/actresses are full time missionaries) wishing she was something special and different.

One of my favorite stops was the Family Living Center. We got to see how the saints made candles, rugs, clothing, food, rope and barrels.

McKenna is learning about wool and how they used it.

Hunter got to make his own rope by spinning fibers together with this wheel.

Another stop I enjoyed was the blacksmith shop. They made rings out of horseshoe nails and everyone got one. I liked actually seeing them pound and bend the metal.

The mansion that Emma and Joseph lived in.

We went to dinner before the Pageant. McKenna hardly ate anything and was being a monster. I'm sure the waitress hated us but just to be sure, RJ let McKenna swallow a packet of splenda after eating a bowl of soup which she promply puked up on the carpet of the hotel/restraunt.

She was immediately better so we continued with our festivities. We found the perfect spot to sit for the Pageant then RJ and I took Hunter and McKenna to participate in some carnival-like activities. They got to play pioneer games/activities to earn a beads. Once they earned 10 beads, they recieved a giant "special" bead to add to their necklace. They had a lot of fun.

Race the teddy bear up the string by "milking" the ropes.

Stilt walking

The Pageant was good but I likely romantasized how the event would look (ie. Hunter and McKenna laying in their sleeping bags, falling asleep, Reagan napping and RJ and I cuddlig). Instead, I was off in the distance trying to discretely nurse Reagan to sleep while RJ wrestled with Hunter and McKenna only resting to take them to the bathroom.

Sunday morning we went to sacrament meeting in Nauvoo which was crazy packed. The day went from bad to worse. McKenna and I had a knock down drag out that ended with a high speed, bare foot chase (on church grounds) followed by three spankings resulting in a blister and screaming child. From there we drove to Carthage and waited for a tour of the jail. We watched a video about Joseph Smith and were ready to head to the jail when an announcement was made, "Marlin K. Jensen is here and would like to tour the jail. There will be a 20 minute wait." Instead of being impressed, I was miffed. It was hotter than hot and we still had an 8 hour trip to make. The kids were starting to go crazy and I wanted to swear when I heard them say, "He is taking longer than expected, it will be another 20 minutes." Why couldn't he wait like the rest of us or simply join our tour? This was the attitude I had going into the jail which did not help prepare me for a spiritual experience. We packed into the kitchen area of the jail like sardines and I stood sweating as I bounced Reagan on my hip while the tour guide favored us with "extra information" to slow us down because of the back-up problem. Without further ado, here's the jail...

The actual door and bullet hole the mob shot through.

Chains in the dungeon room

Apparently, Willard Richards hid John Taylor under the straw beds in the dungeon after the attack. The weight helped stop the bleeding and ultimately saved his life.

The top window is the one that Joseph jumped out of.

Our trip home was an extension of the torture. Reagan screamed and I ended up nursing her while we drove (totally illegal), McKenna had to pee so bad that we pulled over and let her pee on the side of the road and we were welcomed back to Minnesota by torrential downpour and severe thunderstorms that made it impossible to even see. In the end, we survived and it was ultimately worth it.