Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lana Explains it All: The Best Summer Ever!

Hi! I'm Lana and I want to tell you about how I'm having the best summer EVER!

First, over Memorial Day Weekend we went to my Grandpa Cy and Grandma Janet's cabin. It was a super fun time and I got to do lots of neat things.
I saw some awesome animal exhibits on a tour:
I spent lots of time playing with Grandpa's doggie, Grizz:
While Mommy and Daddy went fishing, I went to 'Camp Grandma' where I got to paint rocks and bird houses and go on hikes in the woods. Mommy and Daddy said they had fun fishing, but I know I had an even better time with Grandma Janet.
Next up, was Mommy's race. I think Mommy did a good job and I had so much fun playing in the park during the race and I made her a sign too.
The next weekend was my 4th birthday party. I had so much fun with friends and family at the park.
My favorite cousin/uncle, Cody, even came to my party and later he played with me and we danced in the living room together.
Grammy Carol came too and we read lots of books together.
I've also been super excited to tell everyone about the new baby that's coming to our house after Christmas. (Mommy and Daddy tell me this is a picture of the baby in Mommy's tummy, but I don't think it really looks like one. I guess I'll have to believe what they tell me because I really, REALLY want to be a big sister.)
I've also been taking swimming lessons and I absolutely love them.
Teacher Ashley was super nice and I learned a lot while swimming in the big pool with the older kids.
Mommy took me to the doctor for my 4-year check up. She could hardly believe I grew 6 inches in one year. It wasn't a surprise to me, because I know I'm getting bigger. Four-year olds are big girls, and of course I'm a big girl now!
Summer is great and I love dancing outside in the sunshine!
Last weekend some Lynden cousins came for a visit. We had the best time playing and swimming together.
Whew! I've been having the best summer ever. Mommy and Daddy said there are still more fun times to come. We'll see friends and family for Fireworks Day, and later I'll get to see my Utah cousins. I think I should probably do some more swimming and maybe camping too!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Memory: Puking

This first trimester of pregnancy has knocked me down a few times. I've been throwing up about 2-3 times per week, but I am grateful it's not as bad as when I was expecting Lana. She had me throwing up at least 5 days per week for about 4 weeks. At the time, I thought it was a scrapbook-worthy event:
We scrappers aren't strange, we're just really accurate family historians, right?
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rocks-Deer-Dinosaurs-Don't Fall (My Race Recap)

This year's Palouse River Duathlon was definitely more challenging than races in the past. See, physically, I was in a different spot that I'd been in other years. I'd still been training and getting out on my bike, but this year I was carrying something extra:
Because of that wee Sprout, this Mama had to take some extra precautions and take advantage of training on days when I didn't succumb to morning ahem, ALL DAY sickness. I've been pleased that I haven't felt like crap the entire 11 weeks, but on days when the nausea and exhaustion hit, and I feel like I've thrown up everything I've eaten in the past decade, well, those days don't see a lot of activity.

(Side note: I was in contact with my doctor (an avid runner herself) about training and racing. She encouraged me to be active as long as I felt good, to not push myself to the point of fatigue, and to carefully monitor my hydration and absolutely NOT get dehydrated. I followed these instructions faithfully and never felt I was harming myself or Sprout. Dan-the good-husband's rule for the race was simple; If I threw up, I was out. It's good to be loved and well cared for.)

All that being said, I really, really wanted to complete this race. I wanted to be out on a beautiful summer day enjoying the sunshine with friends and being grateful for my growing baby and grateful for my health and ability to run and bike. I wanted to show myself that although pregnancy is limiting in some ways, it is also freeing and strength-building as well. Fortunately, Saturday morning came and I felt fine, so the race was a GO.

My good friend, April, was my running partner/sounding board and we had a great time getting ready for this race together. She and her 13-year old son competed in the co-ed team division and placed. They rocked!

Lana, my sweet, almost 4-year old cheerleader offered more than just encouragement and a cute sign, she also gave me some very specific race-morning advice.
Over our breakfast cereal, she got really serious and told me she wanted to tell me some important things about the race. I could tell she wanted my full attention and I gave it to her, because she'd clearly been thinking a lot about what she wanted to tell me.  

Here's a transcript:
Lana: Mommy, there are four things you should know at the race. You should watch out for rocks when you're riding your bike because you could crash into them and crash your bike. You should also watch out for deer when you're running because they're really fast and can bam into you on the trail. Also, dinosaurs can be really big and mean and you should try not to run into them.  And when you're running, be careful and don't fall.
Me: Okay, I think I got it. Watch out for rocks, deer, dinosaurs, and don't fall. Is that right?
Lana: Yes, that's all. Run fast Mommy.
I kissed that dear girl and sincerely hoped I could follow her advice.

The race consisted of three parts - a 2 mile run, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run. Both the run course and bike course are challenging with hills and changing surfaces. It was also one of the warmest days of the year, so I knew the heat would pose another challenge as well.

When it was GO time, April and I ran the first 2 miles together. It was a pleasant run where we chatted about work and family. I told her about Lana's words of advice and she talked about her family's upcoming vacation plans. It was a pretty typical Saturday morning run for us, although I think we clipped along at a faster-than-normal-for-us pace.

(pic snapped by the on-course photographer)

At the transition area April tagged her son and got a drink. I grabbed my bike and helmet and set off, bound and determined to keep April's 13-year old son in my sights the entire course. I had two reasons for this. 1) This kid rides his bike a lot and lives at the top of an insane hill. If I could keep up with him, I'd be feeling pretty dang good about myself, and 2) He had limited experience riding on gravel and if he got in trouble, I wanted to be there to help him out.

I did keep him in my sights the entire time, passing him at mile 6, only to have him pass me right back at mile 7. He's a tough kid and I could tell he didn't want to be beaten by his mom's friend.

(another pic from the on-course photographer)

Because of my need to hydrate well, I stopped three times along to course to drink from my water bottle and take a quick breather. I also took water cups at all the aid stations, and I know all those little spots of time added up to increase my overall time, but I didn't really think about that. I just kept thinking about pushing my legs a little harder, a little farther. I also thought about Sprout and wondered if he/she would like the outdoors and might race this same course one day.

The last 1.5 miles were especially tough. I felt like my legs had given all they had and I was absolutely dreading the last 2 mile run. I knew I could walk the entire thing and there would be no shame in that, but I really wanted to finish strong and sure, not weak and tired. 

At the transition area I racked my bike, threw off my helmet and grabbed a drink. I saw Dan and Lana run over from the playground area, shouting words of encouragement. I wanted to stop and walk over to them and just be done, but instead I blew a kiss and made my jelly legs work for two more miles.

I'm not gonna lie. Those two miles SUCKED.  I searched my mind for a mantra or motto to chant to myself. I tried 'believe' and 'I can do this.' But the words seemed hollow in my head. I tried talking to Sprout, but I guess baby was napping because I got no response. I thought about my daughter and our earlier breakfast-time conversation. What was it again she warned me about? Oh yeah, rocks and deer and dinosaurs and falling. Rolling her words of wisdom around in my head, a mantra took shape that matched my plodding footfalls. Rocks-deer-dinosaurs-don't fall, rocks-deer-dinosaurs-don't fall, rocks-deer-dinosaurs-don't fall.

Silly and ridiculous? Yes.
Uplifting and necessary? Absolutely.
Coming into the finish line stretch I saw Lana and her colorful sign and was so very encouraged. I just wanted to run over and hug that blonde ball of sweetness, but instead I waved and ran all the way through the finish line.
The timer called out my time, and I was initially disappointed, but then caught myself and thought about how awesome it was to have been able to be out there at all.

I sat in the soft grass for a few minutes, resting and rehydrating and holding Lana and talking with Dan. I also stayed there because I didn't want to move again for a little while. This Mama was beat, but at the same time, this Mama felt like she accomplished something important.
Overall, I was about 9 minutes slower than my best time at the Palouse River Duathlon. And that makes sense, because in the last two months, I've felt about 9 minutes slower in most things. Another year I'll try for a PR, and another year I can beat myself up over a missed time. But not this year. This year was all about being grateful.

Oh, and it was also about the rocks, deer, dinosaurs, and not falling.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Memory: Epic Cake Smash

On Saturday we met at the park to celebrate Lana Jean's 4th birthday. It was a really fun time of partying it up and I was reminded of our first party at that same park when Lana turned one.

Yep. Best cake smash EVER.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

If You Give a Dan a Baby.....

(A Father's Day poem inspired by one of Lana's favorite stories, If You Give a Moose a Muffin.)

If you give a Dan a Baby, he will fall in love on sight.
Realizing resistance is futile, he'll give in with all his might.
And when he loves that Baby, he'll do some crazy things.
He'll wear a burp cloth, change diapers, and pretend to be a horse that sings.
If you give a Dan a Baby, one thing he surely will do,
Is gaze upon her in wonderment, so tiny and brand new.
With that little daughter he will snuggle and rock,
Play peek-a-boo,

And make her giggle around-the clock.
If you give a Dan a Baby, they'll play games and conspire together,
Scaring the Mommy with their tricks, like this balancing Baby with nary a tether.
The Dan will take his girl on tractor rides, and she'll shout "Go! Go! Go!"
He'll take her on walks through the fair,
and hikes in the snow.
At Disneyland he will be her constant companion. Toddling with her over a bridge so high,
He'll even snuggle in close when they ride an elephant that flies.
If you give a Dan a Baby, he'll turn into the best Daddy you've ever known.
As for the Mommy, she'll know she is blessed beyond what she can see, beyond what she is shown.

And if you give a Dan a Baby and he's had four wonderful years of laughter and fun, the only right and good thing the Mommy can do, is of course, give him another one.

Baby Sprout Lenssen due December 30th!
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday Memory: Birthday Parties

We're in the middle of planning Lana's 4th birthday party. It's been fun batting ideas around to come up with a plan that is short on stress and long on fun for the birthday girl. (oh, if you're in this area on Saturday, consider yourself invited. Like I said, low stress, high fun.)

I've been thinking about birthdays from when I was a kid and stumbled upon some great pictures.
The first birthday party I actually remember was my 7th birthday. My mom went above and beyond and planned a surprise party and sleepover with four friends. I will always remember turning on the light to our basement rec room and having my friends jump out and shout "SURPRISE!" It really was the coolest thing ever.
Apparently 7-year old girls are quite saucy once they get their pajamas on. I'm the one showing all the leg in the back row. Doesn't my friend, Aimee, far left, have the cutest pjs?

Because my birthday is July 7th and my sister's is July 10th, we often had combined birthday parties. I think this one was at the mini-golf course for my 9th, and Jen's 6th birthday. We're all rockin' our graphic t-shirts and drinking our fill of Hawaiian Punch.
This is also around the time it became popular to beat the birthday girl over the head with her gifts prior to opening. Anyone else remember this game?

I honestly don't remember whose birthday we're celebrating in this picture, but three kids snuggled up to Grandpa Cy and sporting party hats is too great to ignore. If anyone knows the story behind this picture, please share.

I think kid birthday parties dwindled off for us at about 10 or 12. We still got to pick out a favorite dinner and had cake (sometimes the birthday girl had to make her own cake, but hey, cake is cake), but the party tradition was pretty much over.

That is, of course, until 21 finally came around. When I turned 21 I was working an internship in Nebraska. I had a sweet co-worker who volunteered to take me out with her husband and friends, and to my surprise, my best friend, Jerrie, drove all the way from Utah to celebrate with me. We had a great time going out to dinner and having a beverage or - ahem - twelve.

(For all the pictures of bad hair that have been posted, this one picture of me with fabulous hair sort of redeems me, right?)

As an adult, birthday parties tend to be very low-key (if they happen at all). If we can get a sitter scheduled, Dan and I might got out to dinner and catch a movie, and the time together is certainly appreciated. Oh, and I always remember to walk down to Ferdinand's Ice Cream Shop at Washington State University. Free ice cream is a good reason to turn a year older.

I know my siblings have their own birthday stories. (Like I think my sister had a streak of something like 5 horrible birthdays in a row.) But I can't recall those particulars, so I'll ask them to please access those mental files and share.
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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Memorial Weekend Trip: Part 2, Being Tourists

A neat part of visiting grandparents at the cabin are all the cool tourist sites we get to see in the area. We've been to Yellowstone National Park several times previously and also visited the bear and wolf center in West Yellowstone last year. This year we decided to venture to a lesser-known gem, Mesa Falls. These waterfalls (there are two, the upper and the lower) are a short drive from the cabin and on a nice day, the short walk was quite enjoyable.
(Click to view larger) 

The falls were gorgeous and the visitor's center had some neat exhibits, especially for curious little girls. Because it was such a nice day, we decided to head into Yellowstone for the afternoon to see of we could spot some wildlife. Spot wildlife we did! It was definitely my best ever Yellowstone visit.
(Click to view larger) 
We saw lots of bison, elk, a black bear, a moose, and some mountain goats. Usually you'll see one or two of these, but certainly not as many as were were able to enjoy. If you ever have the opportunity, be a tourist in this part of the country. It's beautiful and wild and wonderful and you won't regret it!
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Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday Memory: Bad Hair Days, Part 2

I already confessed to some horrible hair choices in a previous post, but I have too many pictures to not share more.

Again, as a wee girl, my hair was not bad:
A bit of a bowl cut, yes. But if this were the extent of the damage, I'd have nothing else to write about.

When I was 5, I sported this short, pre-mullet mistake.
The crooked smile is a nice touch, don't ya think?

Not that it got a whole lot better when I was old enough to make some of my own hair decisions. I've apologized several times to the ozone layer already, but dang, how many cans of Aqua Net did I go through to get my bangs that puffy and that sticky?
How much shampoo did I have to use to wash all that crap out? I wonder if city sewer systems ever shut down due to the big hair craze of the 80's and 90's?

But the favorite/worst is this side-by-side comparison. Same hair cut, same age, just different "occasions." Look at how diverse my hair was! I could dress it up with lots of back combing, curls, and hairspray, or let it be au natuaral for a weekend outing at the park. Either way, it was perfectly awful.