Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day


Yesterday after the race we drove through Zion National Park to spend a day recovering in St. George.  We drove through the "mountain tunnel", came out to the spectacular view of natural beauty, and Max gaped, "Wow, let's get a picture!!"  A million things ran through my mind, namely: I hadn't had a real shower in a while, done my hair, I wasn't wearing make up, we were crammed in the car with camping gear up to our ears, getting out of the car would mean moving our legs after a 24 hour trail race...just for starters.

And then what my five year old was really asking for hit me.  And let's be honest, how many times would my son request a family photo?!  So we all piled out of the car.

These boys are my whole world (the big one included).  They have given me an identity I just love.

The past four Mother's Days have been bittersweet.  We've gone from wanting more children, to infertility treatments and the hopes they would help us add to our family, to the heartache, grief, and finally the quiet understanding that comes with letting go.  Through this journey, I have questioned a lot: What's wrong with me?  What did I do wrong?  Why don't I deserve it?  Why haven't my prayers been heard?  Is my faith really that small?

I am finally at a place where I feel like I have learned a lot--about motherhood--but more specifically about womanhood.  Patricia Holland's talk One Thing Needful has become my go-to balm of Gilead.  it's funny that she doesn't specifically address infertility, but every time I read her talk, I feel like she's taken my concerns and griefs into consideration.  I come away feeling more whole and connected to womanhood.  I come away feeling and knowing the griefs and sadnesses I've experienced aren't exclusively mine, and in some way my burdens aren't exclusively mine.  They belong to women I know who have experienced multiple miscarriages; women who have never married and borne children; women who have given up their infants for adoption; women who have health issues and cannot bear more children; women who have serious health issue when they are pregnant or during the labor process and have consciously made the choice to limit heir family in favor of their own life; women who wanted more children and thought they would have more, but got divorced and never had that opportunity; women who had no issues at all having their children, and simply decided they were done--because there is still a level of sadness and grief letting go of one phase and moving on to another (after, of course, the joy when you realize you are done with diapers); women who have to reconcile their life to a life different than their original expectations.  We are much more connected than we think we are.

"Surely there has not been another time in history when women have questioned their self-worth as harshly and critically as in the second half of the twentieth century.  Many women are searching, almost frantically, as never before, for a sense of personal purpose and meaning...for eternal insight and meaning to their femaleness.

If I were Satan and wanted to destroy a society, I think I would stage a full-blown blitz on women.  I would keep them so distraught and distracted that they would never find the calming strength and serenity for which their sex has always been known.  

Because of the increasing diversity of lifestyles for women today, we seem even more uncertain and less secure with each other.  We are not getting closer, but further away from that sense of community and sisterhood that has sustained us and given us strength for generations.  There seems to be an increase in our competitiveness and a decrease in our generosity with one another.

I believe we can find our steady footing and stilling of the soul by turning away from physical preoccupation, superwoman accomplishments, and endless popularity contests, and returning instead to the wholeness of our soul, that unity in our very being that balances the demanding and inevitable diversity of life.  

Obviously the Lord has created us with different personalities, as well as differing degrees of energy, interest, health, talents, and opportunity.  So long as we are committed to righteousness and living a life of faithful devotion, we should celebrate these divine differences, knowing they are a gift from God.  We must not feel so frightened, so threatened and insecure; we must not need to find exact replicas of ourselves in order to feel validated as women of worth.  There are many things over which we can be divided, but one thing is needful for our unity--the empathy and compassion of the living Son of God.

We must have the courage to be imperfect while striving for our perfection."

So thank you to all those women I have come across in this journey who have taught me compassion, grace, understanding, unity, courage, charity--all of which I am perfect in my imperfection--and especially to those who have encouraged me to "get a picture" along the way.

Happy Mother's Day.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

April

The kindergarten class made a paper garden, Pace drew a broccoli and Janeyi drew a carrot.


Ragnar training run, General Conference morning, up to the Sheeps Creek road past the hot pots.  It was really fun on the way back down to run into Chris, one of our oldest friends!  He's training for a 50k in September, so I'm sure we'll cross paths again!



General Conference snack tray.  You hear a picture, you get to eat that snack.  This has worked successfully for the past two years!  Whether that's due to the snack tray itself holding interest, or the boys' attention span improving with age is up for debate.


Aunt Robin and Uncle Christian sent the boys a cool Easter egg scripture chase.  We used these egg as our foundations the week before Easter.  The boys loved seeing what was in the eggs each morning.


Another Ragnar training run, exploring the Dream Mine road.  There's a water access road you take up to to the Dream Mine road; it's a steep uphill climb...ie. mostly hiking, not running.  But it's a great view near the top, and once it meets up with the Dream Mine road, you head up into the canyon.  Beautiful run!






I love book order day.  


Easter weekend we tried the egg hunt rip-off at Thanksgiving point (it was incredibly windy and cold that day!).  You had to purchase tickets, and we mistakenly thought that would mean much better experience than the free egg hunt we went to last year.  They had bounce houses the kids could play in (Pace loved, Max was terrified), a cow train ride, but face painting cost extra, food trucks cost extra...they also had multiple egg hunts you could participate in every 30 minutes, but the prizes were...Anyway, we are thinking about next year hosting a neighborhood co-op egg hunt.

Max wanted to try the "little" bounce house, but once he got in, did not want to jump with all the kids.  I told him to climb out, but this one had a ladder they had to climb and then a slide on the other side.  He kept popping his head over, giving me a look and a whimper, then going back down.  He finally climbed out the entrance door.  pace on the other hand, couldn't get enough of the bounce houses, slides, and climbing.  There was a mini-slide I thought Max could maybe do, and he initially started climbing through it, and then got to another wall with a slide on the other side.  He looked at me, started crying, and climbed back out the way he went in. 





Egg hunts #1 and #2...and the loot they got...There were supposedly "prize papers" in the eggs.  They announced a couple different times that the golden tokens weren't prizes, just the "papers" in the eggs.  Pace knew better, though.  He asked if the golden tokens were extra screen time.  We thought that was such a good idea, we said they were!  The golden tokens are now 30 minute tokens I award at my discretion for a job well done, playing well together, not fighting, etc.  So not a total Easter fail.  







After the second egg hunt, the boys went back for one more bounce house, and Pace wanted to help Max be brave.  You can see on Max's face he was terrified, but he did go down the slide!



That night we did a Ragnar training night run: West mountain.  We made the summit this time around, and did 10.8 miles in the same amount of time it took for us to do 9 last time we tried to summit West Mountain!  It was a hard run, but good.








The next day, the boys found the Easter pirates had made a visit while we were at church.  This time they left their legend of how they became the Easter Pirates, and an old map.  The boys read the map like pros and did everything the map requested.











They found easter baskets full of lego sets and treats!






Max finished his 1,000 Book Before Kindergarten list for the library!  As his prizes, he picked a little rocket set (from Pace's recent book order at school), and a glow-in-the-dark globe.  At the library, he picked a book and some candy.




Ragnar training run: checking out the south end of the BST.  I started at Slate Canyon, and it was little confusing to make sure you're really on the BST because there are so many motor bike and jeep offshoots.  I followed my phone for the first 3/4 mile until I found BST trail markers, then they led right to a beautiful single track.  Beautiful run, beautiful trail.  And our t-shirts came in!






I love watching this left-handed kid write.  



During my last week of school, David had a doctor's appointment and took a sick day off work.  After his appointment he took the boys up to the aquarium so I could work on my paper for Research methods.











In celebration of completing my first semester of grad school--with two A's and glowing reviews from my professors!--we went out with a group of friend for a munchie/dessert tour along Provo Center St.  It was a great night!



Our ward had a breakfast and gameshow activity yesterday morning, Pace had fun with the bottle game!




That afternoon David took the boys out on a Mineral Day adventure, and has yet to be rock skunked!  He does a great job finding the best rocks and minerals!




Art work lineup!  Pace's kindergarten class has been writing and illustrating little stories all year long.    This one was kindergarten sayings they've learned.  
"Where there's a will, there's a way."  Pace drew a star wars lego set for ages 14+, meaning he can put it together even though he isn't 14.
"A place for everything and everything in its place."  Pace drew his hooks where he hangs his umbrella, backpack, and coat.


"Better safe than sorry."  Pace drew himself in a safe house from tornados. 
"Practice makes perfect."  Pace practicing chasing tornados in a TIV.


Not sure why Pace's volcano pictures loading sideways, they aren't that way in our photo collection...anyway, they read a story about a prince saving a princess, and Pace illustrated it with a volcano erupting, and it's holding the prince as prisoner, something like that...Today in church Max's primary class made plates to write their scriptures on.  Max told us they couldn't be gold because "gold was too inspensive."


Pace's Star Wars series.  The top left blue picture was a school project, the teacher wanted them to do an Eric Carle-esque picture by gluing cut-outs on paper.  The teacher wanted them to do animals, since they are working on an animal unit, but Pace did a star wars fight scene.