Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Daddy's girl - take 2 {Wordless Wednesda}

Yesterday at the high school basketball games I caught this sweet moment between Carl and Megan in the bleachers... melts my heart to see Daddy's hands wrapped around hers (or actually in this case her hands wrapped around his thumb)...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Date! A Date! {Thankful Thursday}

For the first time in over a year, Carl and I are getting out tonight on our own... well, sort of on our own.  Carl headed up to the  Coeur d'Alene Resort for a meeting for the grain board that he is on last night.  I'm headed up to join him later this morning.  So while we won't be out by ourselves tonight, it will be with 20 or so other people... it will be without kids!

I am getting bags packed to drop kiddos off at Granny and Papa's house.  I'm nervous - it is my first night away from Lauren.  She just stopped nursing a couple of weeks ago and her sleep pattern has been less than stellar since then.  I'm really hoping that she doesn't give Granny to rough of a night!

Speaking of which... the part I'm almost most excited about? 


Sleeping all night.  

Sleeping without a baby monitor a foot from my ear.  


Wow... I must be getting old!

Will post some pictures tomorrow from my night out with Carl.  What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

40 years of sadness

Today is a sad day in our nation's history.  40 years ago, our great nation made legal the killing of those little ones that most needed us to be their voice, that do not yet have a voice of their own, and whose cries for help continue to go unheard by those who most need to hear them.

Abortion is not a political issue.  It is not a religious issue.  It is not about me attempting to take away a CHOICE of yours or for your body.  It IS a human rights issue.  I'm sorry (actually, I'm not) but your right to make a CHOICE ends when it effects the life and death of another human being.  Period.  No other argument.  I do not have the RIGHT to make a CHOICE that results in you being put to death.  I do not have the RIGHT to make a CHOICE that takes away your first and fundamental liberty as given to us in the bill of rights...
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life..."
So why does any person think that an individual person has the RIGHT to make a CHOICE that removes this fundamental liberty from a defenseless child.

My heart aches at the thought of 50 million (50 million!!!) babies murdered.  Ripped apart within the womb.  I dread the day of explaining this to my children.  I look at my niece who has downs syndrome and ache knowing that over 90% of her peers with downs syndrome are aborted. 

So-called women's rights advocates claim that I am trying to send us back to the dark ages with this perspective... It amazes me.  One of the elements that makes us uniquely and beautifully female is our ability to conceive, carry, and birth another living, breathing, human being!  No man, however much he desires to, can ever do this!!  But you would think from listening to my opposing counterparts that by wanting to celebrate this uniquely female ability makes me less feminine... huh?!  Sorry... I don't agree. 

I see myself equal to any man.  Equal in dignity - but oh, so very and beautifully different in creation.  The more we learn to embrace our femininity, in its true form, the more the self-evident truths spoken of by our forefathers will come back into perspective.

Life.  That's what abortion is about.  Life (or the ending of it).  Don't let any other argument fool you into thinking otherwise.
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Choose Life!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fuel for Our Spirits {Monday Meditation}

"He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on.  There is no other."
C.S. Lewis

How true this is!  I amaze myself at how many times I must discover this truth!  When I find myself restlessly searching for something to do, or something to eat, or something to read (besides the umpteen books in my house that will feed my spirit), or something to buy... I have to remind myself that I am really searching for Him.  When I remember to take the step back and invite Him back into my day, the restlessness departs and in its place is peace.

My soul rests in God alone,
from whom comes my salvation.

God alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress;
I shall never fall.
Psalm 62:2-3

Glorious Weekend

The past few weeks we have had a run of great weekend times.  This past weekend was no exception!  Saturday started with a messy morning of giving Lauren her yogurt and letting her feed herself for the first time... she loved it and I finally (for that day at least) curbed my control-freak tendencies that needs to make sure the bites get in her mouth not all over...

My Mom and sister Tina drove up on Saturday from Idaho.  It is the first time I've seen them since Thanksgiving.  I've missed my Mom!  I get to have her here with me until Wednesday or Thursday and am loving it.  I don't have any pictures yet of her, but stay tuned... I'm sure I'll have some good ones before the week is out.

Yesterday we hosted another gathering at our house.  Carl's sister and her family were visiting for the first time since October.  We all gathered for breakfast after church.  In all, there were 29 people here for most of the morning.  It was fun chaos!  We got a picture of Carl's Grandma with her 16 great-grandchildren.  It was the first time since last summer that all the grandkids were together.

The day ended with a glorious sunset that I got to experience while out on a run.  It was the first outdoor run I've gotten in two months.  It was cold but beautiful.  I only had time for four miles because it gets dark so quickly.  I made the most of the four miles averaging 8:35 miles over the first three and finishing with a 7:35.  The tendonitis in my knee is still bothering me, but it is not getting worse (just also not getting better).  But the joy of running in God's beautiful creation far outweighed any nagging pain.

Friday, January 18, 2013

2013 Fitness "Goals"

What is the start to a new year if you don't at least think about some goals that you would like to work towards, right?  I realize I'm a little late to the game - but hey, it's still January!
  1. Half-marathon.  I want to race one. Period.  I need to get and keep my legs healthy.  My running speed has seen the benefit of my cross-training and I really feel that an 8:30 - 8:15 HMP  is achievable.  I would LOVE to accomplish that this spring!  The Windermere Half is May 19th.  I may look to see if I can find out in April or even late March though
  2. Bloomsday.  Another goal that I am starting to feel is reachable is a 1 hour or sub-1 hour 12K.  Bloomsday is a tough course with some hills, but it would be a great warm-up to the Windermere Half.
  3. Continue cross-training and building strength.  I've been doing a variety of programs most based on either high intensity intervals or cross-training or both.  I love how my body has changed and gotten stronger by adding this to my running.  This needs to be a consistent part of my fitness routine!
  4. Maintain. Maintain. Maintain.  I am finally back to pre-pregnancy weight.  Maybe not quite to pre-pregnancy size, but that's ok.  I've had three babies - it's not going to be the same!  I want to continue to be DISCIPLINED and build healthy habits so that maintaining my weight, fitness, and health is a part of my every day routine!
There you have it... short and sweet for 2013.  Now to work on my training plans to set myself up for success with #1 and #2!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Daddy's girls!

Our bedtime routine involves the usual.... baths, books, prayers, and kisses.  The great thing is that Carl is a willing participant in every step.  I know that a lot of Dads leave most of the routine up to Mom, but not Carl.  And for this I am so, so grateful!  Evenings are usually when I am the most tapped out and having another hand around, and a more patient head, helps immensely.  The girls are pretty attached to our routine too.  They don't like it during the busy farming season when Daddy isn't there to help.  I get lots of "I want Daddy"... especially during baths.  I guess I'm not nearly as much fun! LOL!

Carl usually is the one to read them books at night.  I finish straightening up the bathroom after baths and picking up the odd toys that lay around.  We got the kids new beds and comforters at Christmas.  They all look so cute perched on the bed reading - so much pink, purple and turquoise around Carl! :)

I came back to find that Lauren decided she needed a better view of the book and had perched herself on top of Carl...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2013 - the Year of "Discipline"

Have you noticed a theme to my last few posts?  Over the last few months, one idea has been on my mind more and more.  Discipline... exercising my will for the choices I should make instead of the ones I want to make in the immediate moment.
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I realize how much our days are influenced by my choices.  I also realize how easy it is to give in to procrastinating - it can always be done tomorrow, right?  The many bad patterns I am still working through after months of struggling with post-partum depression.  (which is infinitely better by the way, it's just time to kick the remnants that have taken up residence in my every day living to the curb!).
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But besides working on eradicating bad patterns, I am finding more and more the harmony that is present in my house when I exercise self-discipline and work to form good habits.  From something as simple as picking up little kids shoes and coats into the closet after we walk through the door instead of kicking the shoes onto the mat by the door and piling the coats on the washer/dryer.  Both actions take roughly the same amount of effort but the latter used to be my modus operandi.  The former leaves my room looking clean and neat and me feeling like my house (at least this small part) is in the correct order.  A small thing, yes, but so powerful!  To something less simple, like choosing to prioritize morning prayers and scripture reading ahead of computer time or housework.  It is easy to fool myself into thinking that time is too busy to sit down for 10 or 20 minutes... but I find the time to catch up on computer!  Again, harmony comes when I choose to make time in my day for God... everything seems to fall into place better.  It becomes a matter of making choices Self-discipline.
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I want to set an example for my kids that acts of the will, choices we make, choices we DON'T make... are the things in this world that we can control.  That ultimately it is up to us how we choose to live and whether those choices will be for our good or not.  That the more care we take to be disciplined in our thoughts, in our actions, and in our deeds - the stronger we become!
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Don't Think - Just Do! {Tackle It Tuesday}

So I've been intending to start "Tackle It Tuesday" posts again.  These posts will be about, well... anything I've chosen to tackle.  From house projects to recipes.  It might be a new workout I'm trying or a new learning approach I'm using with the kids.

My purpose is to motivate myself to do something outside of the normal routine.  Blogging about it here will make me accountable to someone!

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As I said, I've been intending to do this but the days keep getting away from me.  So my first "Tackle it Tuesday" post is about not thinking too hard about what I'm going to do... just doing it!  I find lately that thought of doing, and planning to do, and intending to do often get in the way of just doing.  So this post is one of many steps I'm going to take to get over the thought/planning/intending road block!

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*Note*  I'm not claiming that thought and planning is a bad thing.  I am very much a planner at heart.  But sometimes that planning gets in the way and it is finding the balance that I am looking for!

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Meditation - The Heroic First Minute

I read a great article last week about the first minute of your day.  It really, really got me pondering and I thought it was worth sharing.
Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness.  If, with the help of God, you conquer yourself in that moment, you’ll have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day.  It’s so discouraging to find yourself beaten in the first skirmish!  ... The heroic minute; here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does not weaken your body.  St. Josemaria Escriva - The Way - #191, #206
The past week, I have been laying in bed falling asleep thinking about the first minute of the day... the HEROIC first minute as St. Escriva calls it.  That moment of choosing to get out of bed has always been a weak point for me.  The call of sleep and burying my head in the pillow and covers overwhelms me every morning.  I typically get of bed when I have to, either in order to have time to make it to an appointment or because the girls are awake and needing me.  Rarely do I get up at a certain time simply to rise and start my day.

I ponder how many days have started on the wrong foot because I linger in bed and have to rush in order to make it out the door on time.  Or how many harsh words I've spoken to little ones laying in bed with me that want to be awake but I'm not ready to join the day yet.  The grumbling moods I've been in when I finally drag myself out of bed knowing that I'd be feeling better about the day if I had just made the choice to get up sooner.  Headaches I've struggled to overcome from laying in bed half-awake, half-asleep.  The list goes on.

One of my focus points for 2013 is discipline and this challenge falls right in line with that focus.  I would love to be disciplined enough to choose a time to get out of bed and just do it.  I had a (very) brief period last fall where I was out of bed by 6:30 for about a week and it really was wonderful.  Carl is typically up early and it gave us some time in the morning together before we were both tired out from a day.  It helped me start my day on my terms rather than on that half-a-step-behind feeling.  Rather - I should stay it helps me start the day on God's terms... because when I do manage to get up without dragging it out, I typically remember to say morning prayers, to offer the day up to Christ, just generally be better disposed to accept and tackle the day for what it is!

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So... how do I go about making this change?  Part of it is "simply" deciding to do it.  Not wanting to do it, or intending to do it... but just doing it.  Does that distinction make sense?

It is about conquering my will and strengthening it.  I recognize that I have three toddlers... one of which is still waking up several times at night - so no time is going to feel like the right time to start this.  I recognize that deciding to do this means that I need to start making choices at night that put me in bed before the 11 - 12:30bed time I've been on as of late.  I recognize that I also need to make sure I don't fall down the slippery slope of thinking that all sleeping in is a bad thing.  But on days that I do linger in bed, I want it to be purposeful - meaning I want to have chosen the night before that sleeping in is on the agenda.

Most importantly, this "heroic first minute" is an opportunity to bring my heart close to God.  To strengthen my will by overcoming myself.  To become a better mom, wife, and daughter of Christ by embracing the day at it's start!  I will fail, but I am strong in Christ and will continue to try and will succeed.
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Weekend fun

We had a great weekend - spent mostly with family.  I headed to Spokane on Saturday morning with the three girls to make a bunch of returns.  I stopped at six places in all to return "left-over" Christmas items, drop packages off to be shipped back, and exchanged some speakers!  Luckily, my Dad and little sister met up with me so I didn't have to take the girls in and out of car seats six plus times!

I forgot to bring a hat for Lauren and it was really cold here - my Dad stole my scarf to wrap around Lauren... she looked pretty cute!
We had a family "dance" in the basement after dinner.  Our Christmas gift to ourselves was a home theatre system and Carl was putting in the in-wall speakers I brought home. He cranked up some Alabama and all five of us danced around the family room.  The girls all had a ball and I hope it is a memory that stays with them!  Sorry, no pictures - I was dancing too! :)

Sunday was all about Mass - we always go at 8am  - and then family fun watching the Seahawks.  Talk about a roller-coaster game!  I didn't watch much of it, just popped in and out of the family room as I was cleaning the kitchen, finishing my cinnamon and orange rolls, keeping track of little girls, and getting Lauren to nap.  The mood for about 3/4 of the game was pretty sober... the fourth quarter lit up the room though!  I managed to sit down and watch the end of the fourth quarter.  It was a hard loss!  Hoping for another good run next year though.  Luckily, the cinnamon and orange rolls were done and they helped improve the mood!

It was one of those "perfect" weekends... we were exhausted by bedtime last night but enjoyed the family time.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas 2012 Recap

I checked out for a while at the end of the year.  As everyone knows, things just got busy!  We had a wonderful Christmas though and I thought I'd share the highlights!

It kicked off with Karen performing in her first Christmas program. I laughed the entire time I watched her!

Then Carl playing in the annual Casey Lawson Memorial Alumni Game on the 22nd.  This is the eighth year alums from Tekoa and Oakesdale have gotten together to see if they "still got game"... Last year was the first year that the "young" guys beat the "old" guys... much to Carl's disgust.  So - this year was redemption year - hence Carl's sober face in the picture, he had his game face on!

The "old" guys pulled it out in resounding fashion and felt somewhat redeemed.  It started our Christmas celebration off on a positive note!

We had our tree up in early December, but had not decorated it yet.  The 23rd was spent getting the house cleaned up and then getting all of our decorations out and the girls had a great time helping decorate!

Entranced with the "dancing Santa", momentarily distracted from ornaments!
Megan's turn to put the angel on...
"It's too high Daddy! You do it!!"
Homemade stockings from Carl's Mom
The tree after Santa visited - notice the height the ornaments start, keeping them out of Lauren's reach!
Christmas morning was pretty low key, the girls didn't have enough memory from last year to drag us out of bed at some awful hour.  We actually ended up waking them up for church - we had 8am Christmas Mass.  We made it to Mass and came home and had breakfast before they discovered the surprises waiting for them under the tree.  I don't think we'll have the same "restraint" next year... :) 

We didn't manage to get any pictures taken of the present opening... but you all have kids and know what it's like! :)

After a short nap for Lauren and Megan, we headed over to Carl's folks to join two of his sisters and their families (there were eight adults and fourteen kids in total) for a couple of days of Christmas fun!  We all live in the same town so don't generally sleep over - but last year we tried all staying over and it was so much fun we ended up doing it an extra night!  This year we just planned on two nights - it is amazing to have that many people under one roof and not go absolutely crazy.  But we didn't ... it was just a ton of fun!  Some of the highlights include:
  • Never-ending nerf gun war for the Dads and boys...
  • Homemade ice cream!
  • Lots, and lot, and lots of eating!
  • Banana-grams... if you've never played it, you should try!  It adds a whole new meaning to the word "peal!"
  • Pinochle - my partner and I had no less than FOUR double pinochles over the course of the two days... my father-in-law was just about beside himself!!  It was fun being on my side of it though!!
  • Jib-Jab marathons - the little girls could not get enough of these silly videos... 

  • Lots of fun playing with cousins!
  • Down-time to snooze on the couch
  • Finally... just good, old-fashioned family time!  I feel so blessed to be a part of Carl's family.  I didn't see any of my family until after New Years but the closeness with his family made it so much more bearable!
We normally spend New Years with my family, but it ended up being a bad year for that all the way around.  My Mom is recovering from surgery and had some complications (nothing serious) and so was unable to drive up like usual.  Then, my kids got sick right after we got home from Granny & Papa's... we spent from Friday the 28th through last Friday the 4th having croup go through all three girls... we quarantined ourselves!

My Dad had to come to Spokane for work - which he did on the 2nd.  So on Sunday, my Dad and two of my sisters and my sister's family came down.  We had our family Christmas, sort of, and celebrated Karen and Carl's birthday.  We missed my Mom and other sister though!  They will be coming up in a couple of weeks and I am sooooo looking forward to it!
Lauren loves her Grandpa!  She will choose him over anyone!
That, my friends, is the recap of our Crider family Christmas and New Years!  Here's wishing you all a blessed 2013!!

Stay tuned for a recap of 2012 and looking ahead to 2013...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy 5th Karen!! and Happy Birthday to Carl too!

Yesterday was a big birthday day in our house.  In fact, the first week of January is a big birthday week for all of Carl's family.  It starts with his sister Stephanie on the 3rd.  Then his sister Heidi's is on the 6th.  The 7th is host to Carl, Karen, and cousin Holly's birthdays!  Busy week!

We ended up having a quiet night with just family. Carl had to leave to Spokane for conference for the grain board he is on.  So, we had dinner and cupcakes with "just" the five of us.  My sisters and Dad were down on Sunday, so we had a little bit of a party then.  We will probably have some of Carl's family over later this week after Carl gets back for cake (especially as we didn't manage to get Karen's presents wrapped and given to her yesterday, she still has things to open! ... I know, we get parents of the year award for that!!) Luckily, she doesn't know or care that she didn't open any presents yesterday.  When she gets them on Thursday or Friday to open... she'll be thrilled!

Until then, I get to ponder how quickly five years has gone!

Happy Birthday sweet Karen!!