Sunday, March 27, 2011

Second Time Around

I finished my second half marathon today. It took me three minutes longer than my first, but I count that as a success considering how poorly prepared I felt. Oh my gracious, the HILLS in the last 2 miles about killed me dead. It was a down and back (we ran 6 and a half miles, then turned around and ran back along the same course), and as we ran the first mile, I turned to my friend and said, "You know, we're gonna have to run UP these hills at the END of the race". It was hard. It pushed me to my limit. As I approached the finish line, I was running amongst all these 'fit people', and it occurred to me. I am a 'fit person'... and it feels good.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I have been away from my blog for nearly two months. I've missed writing, but life has just gotten in the way lately. I've been spread thin and when something has to give... things like keeping the house (mostly) picked up and making sure my kids are fed are a little higher on the priority list than the blog, ya know? So here's what's new in my world:

After an appeal from me and conversations with our district benefits manager as well as a manager at the insurance company, my surgery has been paid for (and not by me!). Hooray! That was a huge weight off my shoulders.

My vacuum is back and working better than ever. Dyson honored my warranty (even though I never registered it) and paid for the repairs as well as shipping both ways. I am very pleased with this company's customer service! Hooray again!

My garage door ended up being jammed and took about half an hour and only $40 to fix! Hooray times three!

We had a leak in the laundry room and thought the washer was broken (it IS over 15 years old, after all), but it turns out it was a pipe that had a leak. It also took under an hour to fix and would have been about $100 bucks. However, when I called they were really busy and had an emergency (an 80 something year old widow had water leaking for several days before she realized it, and the ceiling was caving in). So, they came out and put a temporary patch on the pipe until he could come back and fix it right. No problem. Except that they charged for the labor for the first visit too. I sorta think that it's not MY fault they're busy. It seems like I shouldn't have to pay for them to do a quick fix because someone else's problem is more emergent than mine, and they don't have time to do it when I call. What do you guys think? Either way though, it ended up being MUCH cheaper than a new washer so... HOORAY AGAIN!

So things are moving along nicely, right? Life is looking up for us. Things are going our way. Well, I am warning you all that this may be a dangerous attitude to have because anytime I start to feel like things are rolling along well, a little (or sometimes BIG) wrinkle gets thrown into my plan. This time, the wrinkle came in the form of a broken husband. Yes, Zack is broken. More specifically, his right leg is broken, and all of his ligaments are torn off his ankle. You see, he was trying to play hockey. The only problem is, he can't ice skate and ice skating and hockey... they kind of go hand in hand. After having surgery to have a screw put in his ankle, and being instructed not to bear any weight on it for TWO MONTHS, I think it's safe to say that he will be strictly watching hockey from the safety of the bleachers from now on. I realize that there are far worse health issues that we could be dealing with, but it is a hassle for a large busy family. He is driving now which is helpful (but I'm not certain it's legal).

I am running my second half marathon in a few days, and I am NOT prepared (AT ALL). Training in Northern Colorado in the winter is hard, to say the least. It gets dark early, it's cold, the roads are usually covered in ice and snow, and I am busy shuttling kids around. The treadmill is only an option for short runs because the gym has a 30 minute limit on the treadmills... and there are treadmill Nazis hovering around watching your time when it's busy. So, my goal for Sunday's race is to finish. Honestly, the reason I signed up for the race was to motivate me to keep in shape through the winter, and I have stayed in my goal weight range and stayed in shape (just not in 'running thirteen miles' shape). I am looking forward to getting away with my running buddies for a couple of nights though, as well as a little 'big city' shopping.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

There is a lot of complaining in this post. Consider yourself warned.

My insurance informed me on Monday that they denied the claim for my varicose vein procedure. This, after the doctor assured me (at least three times, because that's how many times I asked him, "Are you sure I don't have to call my insurance company?") that they would get it pre-authorized. I cried (I know... so pathetic, but I couldn't help it) on the phone when she told me. Then I cried on the phone with the receptionist at the Doctor's office when she told me that neither the doctor or his nurse were in the office. Then I cried on the voice mail of the gal at the hospital's business office who the receptionist assured me could help me get this sorted out. Why cry? Well, because I got a bill from the hospital for SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! A bill, which I was assured I would not be responsible for. Because the doctor assured me they would PRE-AUTHORIZE it!

The gal from the hospital called me back and was very sympathetic, and said that it stated right there in my records that the nurse called the insurance company on October 20th, and spoke with 'Angela' who told her that this procedure did not need pre-authorization! Seems like someone is giving someone the run around. Why does it have all have to be so complicated?

I am hopeful that this situation can be resolved, but I know that I am going to have to jump through a few hoops first. And, to be honest, hoop jumping makes me grumpy... but not as grumpy as paying seven thousand dollars!
There is a rumor going around our small town that we are moving to New Mexico. Who, you may wonder, is responsible for said rumor? My own sweet daughter! It unfolded like this:

Several months ago I was having a conversation with Zack about the way New Mexico chooses to use lottery revenue. {If you are a New Mexico resident and graduate high school (or obtain a GED), you qualify for a full scholarship, and must only maintain a 2.5 GPA at university to continue to qualify.}

You see, we both graduated from New Mexico State, and my oldest and dearest friend still lives in New Mexico. She will occasionally dangle this carrot over my head to tempt us to move back. She was doing just this during a phone visit back in the late fall, as I was bemoaning the enormous cost of putting all of our dear offspring through school. Later that evening I related this conversation to Zack.

Well, it so happened that a certain 13 year old girl overheard this conversation and her brain leaped to the conclusion that we were, in fact, moving to New Mexico. Instead of discussing this with us, and getting the facts straight... in her devastation over the 'impending move', she proceeded to pass this information along to her brother, as well as to several of her friends (13 year old girls are NEVER prone to drama or exaggeration, right?). Her friends told their parents who questioned us about the upcoming move. We set them straight, discussed with our daughter the importance of clarifying information like this BEFORE telling people about it, and assumed the rumor was behind us.

Wrong. Tuesday morning, my daughter texted me (several months after the original rumor started), saying that her basketball coach asked her if we were moving. Apparently, our son had told his teacher, who told the coach, who asked our daughter about it (small towns work that way, people!).

WE ARE NOT MOVING TO NEW MEXICO! I love it there (and I love, love, love! the way they use their lottery funds... think how much money that would save us!), but the summer heat would kill me dead. Besides, I love Colorado too much.
My vacuum died yesterday. It has been smelling funny lately and yesterday, it just sputtered to a stop mid-vacuum. I called Dyson, and found that while it is within the warranty (five year warranty, and my mom bought it for us in November of 2007) period, I never actually registered it with the company.

I called my mom, and she didn't keep the receipt. It appears that the internet company she ordered it from is now out of business. She thought she might be able to get the confirmation e-mail, but it was on an old broken computer. She took the computer in, only to find out it was fried, with no way to access the e-mail.

The interesting part is that registration only requires a date of purchase, and a serial number, both of which I have access to. So, theoretically, it seems like I could register it now retroactively, right? Well, I planned to call the company this morning and try to plead my case. It seems, however, that the Chicago area has been affected by some weather, and the Dyson call center is having a 'snow day', like half the fricking country (Except for US! Not HERE! Not EVER!)

I am not exaggerating when I say I use my vacuum every. single. day. I have between 5 and 12 children in my house at any given time, and children and messes kind of go hand in hand. I am at a loss as to how I will survive without a vacuum for any extended period of time.

Today, I picked my daycare kids up at school as usual. I pulled into the garage, and pressed the button to shut the garage door and... the darn thing remained stubbornly open. No matter how many times I pushed that button... NOTHING. I hope it will resolve itself, when it warms up a little (like, let's say to at least to above ZERO!!!)

So today, my garage door broke (when it happens to be 25 below ZERO outside). Yesterday, my vacuum busted! Monday, I found out that my insurance is trying to get out of paying this enormous bill, and apparently we are moving to New Mexico without my knowledge. My week is turning into a serious suck fest... and it's only Wednesday. It really doesn't give me much hope for Thursday and Friday.

Monday, January 17, 2011


A couple of weeks ago while playing Just Dance 2...
Evan: Can you pause it for a minute?
Mom: Why?
Evan: I need to take my shirt off.
Mom: Why? Are you hot?
Evan: No, this is a 'dude' song.

Another Just Dance 2 incident...
Mom: Where are you going?
Evan: This song is pooping me.
Mom: Well, just sit down and rest for a minute.
Evan: No. This song is pooping me. I really gotta poop.

Evan explaining the food pyramid to me...
Evan: There's the milk one.
Mom: Well, it's dairy. There are other things in that group too like yogurt and cheese.
Evan: And glue.
Mom: What?
Evan: Glue comes from cows.
Mom: Huh?
Evan: They blend the milk up with sticky stuff and make it into glue.
Mom: Glue is white like milk, but there isn't
any milk in it.
Evan: Then WHY is there a COW on the bottle?
Mom: I can see how that might be confusing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


A week ago I made a list of things I want to accomplish over the course of the year. Some are things that will take some time or will have to wait for warmer weather. Some are monthly goals, and it's too soon to evaluate my progress.

But there is one thing on the list that we have been doing faithfully each day... turning off all electronics for one hour each night (in addition to the time we spend at the dinner table). You wouldn't think one hour is such a long time. You wouldn't think electronics are that big a part of our lives. But? You would be wrong. It's wild how virtually none of these things (cell phones, ipods, laptops, handheld gaming systems, etc.) existed in the average home 10 years ago, yet now we can hardly imagine life without them.

The kids fought me a bit on this one. "Why?", they wondered (particularly Riley, clutching his brand new ipod touch). Because we need to spend more time with each other, rather than just in the same room. Because we need to talk to each other more. Because we need to read and play with each other more.

I'm not gonna lie, it has been louder, but it's the sound of Evan reading Henry and Mudge to me at the same time Shayna is reading The Three Bears to Quinn. It has been crazier, but that's because Riley is chasing Quinn around the house tickling him. It has been messier, but that's because Owen and Evan have the legos dumped out in their room, and are busily building spaceships.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE the benefits of technology. I love my computer. I love the convenience of texting. I love skyping with far away family. I love my ipod... but I also love the simple things... snuggling by the fire with my husband while I listen to my children play around us.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Things To Do in 2011

In my last post I mentioned my reluctance to make New Year's resolutions. They just tend seem so BIG and intimidating.

1. Spend more time alone with my husband
2. Better manage my stress and anxiety

How will I make sure Zack and I spend more time together. What will I do to manage my stress? A little while back when I started reading Jennie's blog, I noticed this great yearly 'To Do List' that she had in her sidebar. Then yesterday, Marie Green posted a similar list. I really love this idea because it's so much more specific, and in my mind, that makes it more doable. So the 'resolutions' above might look more like this in a 'To do List' style:

1. Plan a once a month date night with my husband
2. Say no to more activities that will make our evenings crazier

I think that a 'To Do List" will help me to feel some immediate success. You cross each item off as you accomplish it. Also, you can take one resolution and make it into several items on a 'to do list'. Spend more time alone with my husband, might encompass the following: 1) Go snowshoeing alone with Zack at least twice this winter. 2) Watch a Netflix movie alone with Zack (we don't even have to leave the house for that one) at least twice a month. 3) Go out to dinner alone at least one a month. When I consider 'spending more time alone', I might have great intentions, but when it comes to putting it into action, I'll probably fall short. When I consider the more specific items though, I know these are things I can make happen. Also, the items might not be quite resolution worthy, but are still things that could make my life richer and more fun.

So here goes. The things I want to do in 2011:

  1. Run another half marathon
  2. Teach Shayna to make at least three of her favorite meals all by herself
  3. Climb another 14er with Zack
  4. Say no to more activities that will make our evenings crazier
  5. Go camping somewhere we've never been before
  6. Go out to dinner with Zack once a month
  7. Become debt free (other than the house payment)
  8. Run a full marathon
  9. Spend at least one night alone with Zack
  10. Make a new recipe twice a month
  11. Potty train Quinn
  12. Make a habit of getting up 15 minutes earlier
  13. Maintain my weight between 135-140
  14. Plant something new in the vegetable garden
  15. Run at least three times a week
  16. Go out for dinner and/or drinks with girlfriends once a month
  17. Take the family to Yellowstone
  18. Take the kids to swim in Meeker at least twice this winter
  19. Tell each of the children I love them everyday
  20. Try a new dish at 3 of my favorite restaurants
  21. Take a class for fun
  22. Move Quinn from his crib to a 'big boy' bed
  23. Hang photo arrangements of all five children in our bedroom and in the living room
  24. Paint Shayna's room
  25. Find a place that I would like to volunteer some time
  26. Work on my scrapbooks two mornings a month
  27. Try a trail run
  28. Spend time alone with each child
  29. Use my reusable grocery bags more often
  30. Read 3 novels aloud to the children (I read picture books with the younger children and listen to them read to me, but I would like to read some of my favorite YA novels aloud to them)
  31. Send a thank you note EVERY SINGLE TIME I receive a gift (and make the kids do the same)
  32. Make a habit of taking turns at the dinner table sharing something that happened that day (we have done this many times, but not everyday, and sometimes it's hard for some of us to get a word in with all the chatter at the table)
  33. Go snowshoeing alone with Zack twice this winter
  34. Make tortillas from scratch at least once
  35. Turn off ALL electronics for AT LEAST one hour every evening (TVs, ipods, cell phones, computers, video games, etc)
  36. Run a half marathon with Kara
  37. Smile more... especially at strangers
  38. Have a coffee date with friend/friends once a month
  39. Move the claw foot tub to the backyard and plant flowers in it
  40. Read at least one book a month. I know it doesn't seem like much, but I am spread pretty thin, folks.
  41. Start a 'kitchen remodel' savings account
  42. Walk away for a few minutes when I feel like I might shout at one of the children.
  43. Go for more family bike rides
  44. Learn to make at least one Indian dish (Indian food is a favorite of ours... not the kids, just the grown ups. The kids pretty much just eat the naan.)
  45. Avoid drinking soda for the entire year (I fear this may lead to more wine consumption, however :)
  46. Have a family game night once a month
  47. Drink more water
  48. Take more initiative when it comes to friendships
  49. Work toward repairing some broken relationships
  50. Feed the children healthier breakfasts (the one meal where I feel like we fall short
Well, it's a good start anyway, and I hope to add some things as the year progresses. I feel oddly energized for someone who has just made a to-do list bigger than any she has ever made before. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010: A Year in Review

I am not really a fan of New Year's resolutions as a rule, mostly because I suck at keeping them. Typically I make them, they last a little (a very little) while, and then they fall by the wayside. I can't even tell you how many January 1sts I have spent making all these lofty weight loss and fitness goals, and for various reasons, failed to follow through. I do think though, that the start of a New Year is a good time to reflect on life... to take a step back and think about where you've been and where you want to go. To kind of revise your short term 'bucket list', so to speak. I've seen quizzes like this on other blogs, and thought it might be sort of cathartic to look back over 2010 and consider some goals for 2011.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Became the parent of a teenager (our oldest turned 13 in May) I may need some help to get through the next 18 years (That's how long we'll have teenagers in our home. Really!)
Ran a 10K (maybe I should start by saying that I ran further than from the grocery store to the parked car when it's raining out, because that's probably the furthest I had run since high school PE class)

Ran a Half Marathon

As a result of the above accomplishments, I have also reached a weight that I'm happy with for the first time in my adult life.

Learned to water ski after MANY failed attempts over the years.

Hiked my first 14er (Mt.Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Like I said, I'm not in the habit of making them anymore, because I would always just end up feeling like a giant (chubby) failure. However, weight loss has been an ongoing goal of mine pretty much since I started having babies, and I did know from fairly early in the year that I would be doing a 'Biggest Loser' type contest. So, I can safely say that losing weight was a goal for me this year. I lost a total of more than 25 pounds, and am fitting into a size I've never worn in my adult life.

I think I actually will write out some goals for myself this year. Maybe if I put them in writing and share them with others, I may feel some accountability and work harder to achieve them. Or? Maybe I'll just feel like a failure again. Oh well, I guess I'll just hope for the first option.

Things I HOPE to accomplish in 2011:
• Run 3-4 times a week
• Train for and finish another half marathon
• Run a full marathon (OMG did I really just say that?)
• Pay off our debt
• Climb another 14er
• Make more time alone with my husband (let's start small... once a month)
• Read at least a book a month
• Manage my stress and anxiety a little better

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I am caring for the little munchkin of one of my husband's colleagues while she works. She wasn't really close to me when she gave birth, but BECAUSE she gave birth we are getting closer.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes. My grandmother passed away. She had been battling dementia for a long time, and didn't recognize me the last time I visited her, but it was still hard to know that she was gone from my world completely.

5. What countries did you visit?
We have 5 kids, living on one salary (plus some daycare income), and trying to pay off our debt. I would say that traveling out of the country is pretty much beyond our means for the foreseeable future.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
I would like to have no debt (aside form our mortgage). I am hoping, at the rate we're going, we can achieve this by mid year.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 31st - First 10K (time 56:55)
August 4th - my grandma's passing
August 14th - First Half Marathon (time 2hrs 6min)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I would consider finishing a half marathon my biggest accomplishment. Crossing that finish line was the best feeling, and I will absolutely participate in more races.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I tend to let stress make me into a bona fide crazy person, and unfortunately for my family, they tend to bear witness to the craziness.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I tend to be pretty healthy, but I had a hamstring injury back in September that slowed me down for a few weeks. I also had surgery to fix a gnarly varicose vein that had been getting bigger and bulgier for the last 8+ years, but the recovery was quick and easy.

11. What was the best thing you spent money to get?
I would say the surgery to fix the gnarly vein, but we had almost met our deductible by that time. The trip Zack and I took to Leadville to go rafting and hike our first 14,000 foot mountain was money soooo well spent. Three nights alone together can do wonders for a relationship. Also, we just replaced our old, bulky, broken TV with a nice, big flat screen. We have been watching lots more movies as a family, and playing the Wii together.

12. What did you get really excited about?
My races were definitely exciting. I also get pretty darn excited when I get to see my friend of 20 years, Jamie. We managed to get down to New Mexico to see her this summer.

13. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Move Along by The All American Rejects
I ran to this song a lot this year, and it never failed to keep me strong.
Speak to me, when all you got to keep is strong
Move along, move along like I know you do
And even when your hope is gone
Move along, move along just to make it through

14. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Happier.
– thinner or fatter? Thinner.
– richer or poorer? Because our debt has been paid down so significantly, I would say richer.

15. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Scrapbooked (the further behind I get, the less motivation I have!)
Played with my kids. You know... the get down on the floor with the toddler kind of play that, for me, too often comes AFTER the cleaning.

16. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressed and worried over things that were beyond my control
Raised my voice at the kids

17. What was your favorite TV program?
I watch hardly any TV, but we always watch Survivor as a family. It's probably not the best show on TV, but there aren't a whole lot of options that are appropriate for the whole family.

18. What were your favorite books of the year?
The Hunger Games series, The Girls With the Dragon Tattoo Series, and The Help

19. What was your favorite music from this year?

I rediscovered a lot of music from my youth (particularly Depeche Mode) this year, and I love me some BEP or Pink when I'm running.

20. What were your favorite films of the year?
I didn't watch as many movies as I would have liked, and most of them were PG (a few PG-13s thrown in for good measure)
How to Train Your Dragon
The Girl Who Played With Fire (most definitely NOT PG)
(The Backup Plan was the worst movie I saw. Trust me when I say, DO NOT waste your time on that one!)

21. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
It was just yesterday, and we spent the afternoon plying the Wii, and then went out for dinner as a family. I am now 37 (even though I don't feel any different than I did when I was 29).

22. What one thing would have made your year more satisfying?
Less health problems/scares for my children. They are all fine, but we had a couple of minor surgeries and a visit to Denver Children's Hospital to see a specialist (not to mention our ER visit on Christmas Eve).

23. What kept you sane?
Exercise. My dear friend, Jamie (I swear she kept me from going over the edge more than once this year). Coffee. My husband. Writing.

24. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

I am worthy of the effort. I am worthy of the hard work. And it's totally worth it.

Wishing you all the best things in 2011!!!