Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Random Acts of Kindness

Last year, the LDS church's Christmas initiative was to Light the World, the idea being to share the light of the Savior by doing kind acts for others. Sounds great, no? But I just couldn't. Could not. December is already crazy enough. Between the boys not even getting off the bus until nearly 5, their early bedtimes (thanks early wake-up times), and our own advent activities, I just couldn't add one more thing. And, of course, I couldn't help but feel guilty about it. I mean, erin, c'mon: you can't just open a door for someone one day? Give a compliment to someone? Help a lost stranger on the Metro? Well sure, I guess I could. But could I get my boys to? Could I get them to every day? No, sorry, I couldn't. So I didn't.

BUT you know when I did? February! Why February? There's nothing else going on. Weather is miserable (at least it's supposed to be). It's the shortest month. Also, Valentine's Day is in here! What a perfect opportunity to do it. So I got a big list of kindness acts kids could do, and each night at dinner we'd discuss what we're going to do the next day. (Although I will say, that after about two weeks, we just kind of went rogue and expected the boys to find their own opportunities). And of course, because they're little, there was a reward. At dinner, if they could share the kindness they did that day, they were rewarded one Hershey's Kiss from the jar (which is adorable, right?! Can you see the word "love" on it?).

Sure, sometimes we got to dinner and the boys had done nothing, so they'd run over and give me a surprise (!) hug, or decide to clear a brother's dinner dishes, but still. It was something. And something is better than nothing. It worked well enough that we think we're going to make it a forever thing.

And if I'm honest (which I hate to be, SIGH), it's been amazing for me. I've been able to look for opportunities in a way I've never made a habit of before. I don't always see them, but I'm thinking about others and keeping my eyes open for needs way more than I was before. And remember, something is better than nothing.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Chuck Broke His Trunk

Remember when I said our FHEs were going to focus more on just having fun rather than teaching our young sons deep doctrine (as if that's what we'd been doing)? I got this ridiculous idea to make a book-based movie. Why? I don't know. I think it was mostly because I knew I could stretch it out to three-five weeks' worth of FHEs and let's be honest: coming up with a different FUN activity each week is hard. But it turns out that making a movie with little boys is also hard. Oh well, they loved it...mostly. You can see that Ollie is a bit surly at times.

Now I need ideas for Monday!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

School Update

My dad recently asked about the construction on the school, so I thought I'd show you my latest picture. I always take one from the back, but the front is pretty interesting too so I'll include that as well. According to the most-recent Board of Ed meetings, the building is 66% done (although they should be at 70%). I'm guessing that opening in the fall is still a reality (the Board's meeting minutes give an anticipated completion date of 7/14/17--only five months from now). So exciting! It's going to be enormous.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I Made Stuff

Remember that update on my bed? Well, I finished the bed runner, made a curtain, and bought two throw pillows just to make that plain grey duvet cover less plain. I think it worked.

You can't see the curtain very well, but it's this funny almost-kitcheny fabric we got at Ikea. But it's yellow and grey, so I don't care what's on it. I didn't line it, so I'm afraid of the sun in the upcoming months. I may have to address that later. My boys and dog get me up early enough; I don't need the sun making it worse.

Close up of the runner. In my head I'm obsessed with gingham, so I'm glad to find a place to use it. I'd put it everywhere if I could.

This is all so much better than that grey thing all alone. Trust me: it was hideous.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


I figured it's about time for one of these, as nothing else is really going on.

Ollie: After a good stretch of tough times with this kid, I think we're on the up. Sometime last fall, his teacher got pregnant, but she ended up with twins and hyperemesis: not a good match (either one of those is enough for you to opt out of everything in your life). She decided to leave teaching for now, and Ollie got distributed to another class. He knows this new teacher and has spent time with her, so the transition was easy. And thankfully, she's aware of Ollie's behavior issues and has a good handle on things she wants to try. But I really think we're making progress (Monday's bus riot excepting). This boy. At least he's doing great academically! He's addicting to spelling. Quite often he'll spell something he wants, instead of just asking for it. It's adorable...and time-consuming. And he's reading so well! Watching kids start reading is one of the great milestones in parenthood! (I contend that reading and biking are my favorite things for my boys to have learned so far.) He loves being on the trampoline, no matter the weather. And of course, he can't stop touching/punching/spitting on his brother. Sigh.

Rhett: Thankfully our school problems exist in only one child. Rhett is doing great in school, so not much to say there. He recently competed in his first pinewood derby and loved every second of it. Chuck helped a lot with the sawing, but Rhett painted and helped put everything else together. He lost only one race and ended up first in his den and second overall. Not bad! Did I mentioned he fulfilled all Wolf requirements for Scouts in November? Well, he did, so we're just waiting for Bear stuff. I kind of like finishing before Christmas so that there's no rush come the beginning of the new year. Although, with a March birthday, we probably would have been okay. He also cannot keep his hands to himself at home. But what we're struggling with him is his attachment to #1. Not that he has to be the best, but he wants all of his choices to be his top choice. Dinner must be his favorite dinner, activities have to be his favorite activity, movies have to be his favorite movie. But because he doesn't really know his favorites in all of these categories, he usually just says no to everything. This is hard. And frustrating because he ends up liking most things (food excepting) that we end up forcing on him. Argh.

Chuck: He's pretty much the same. We adults don't change too much. He's been reading a lot of Game of Thrones which means we're both catching up on the series as he finishes each book. At work he's creating online math curriculum, which he enjoys.

me: I love being released from Gospel Doctrine and am trying to figure out this Stake Girls Camp thing. Work is good, busy, but good. I'm traveling to Kansas City for work in April (unless the current administration decides federal employees shouldn't travel), and I'm still a little mad about it. I mean, Kansas City, really?! We can't think of anywhere better to go? Ugh. Whatever. I'll likely spend the entire week in the hotel anyway. I'm loving the slowness of post-Christmas. Swimming is going well. I've worked up to swimming a mile, but I'm so slooooow. So now I'm working on that. I'm also considering doing a triathlon but I suck at biking!

Our Bed: After I tried and tried to make the quilt work, we were just too cold at night. So I bought a duvet cover (to replace the one I gave away) and brought back the down quilt (which, thankfully, I had not given away) and now we're toasty warm at night again. Once it warms up again, I'll bring back down the white quilt. Meanwhile, I'm making a bed runner for it because the new duvet cover is awfully plain. And I might need a new curtain in there too and possibly a throw pillow. Hmmmm....

D.C. Winter: We've made it though most of the winter without a big storm! I feel like one could come now and I wouldn't be too devastated. Obviously the boys feel differently. They could have five come through and be completely happy.

Upcoming Plans:It's really important for me to have something to look forward to. Our next big plans are a trip to the Smokies in April. I've never been there and am excited to explore a new-to-me national park. We're going to San Diego with my family in July. And I'd still like one last trip in August, especially since the boys don't go back to school until September.

I think that's it!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bottom 6 Runs

I wasn't sure how many I could get, but six it is!

1. The frog run. Seriously the worst.

2. The first two runs of my Ragnar experiences. The road one was bad because (1) it was dark, (2) it was rainy, (3) it was on the side of a highway for seven miles. Blah. The trail one was bad because it was so muddy and after what I thought was two miles turned out to be only about three-fourths? My spirits were so very low. It was the longest 3.6 miles I've ever done.

3. As much as it pains me to say it, but that half-marathon last year was pretty bad for me. Had it not been for the great everything else, I would have been really bummed. But I went out too fast, wore a jacket (which I definitely shouldn't have done--it was raining too hard), and didn't train for speed. Plus, the RAIN. Oh that rain! Not sprinkles, not mist, just RAIN for two hours.

4. The run wherein I totally fell and got scraped like a three-year-old child. It doesn't help that I was running on a sidewalk next to a busy six-lane road (Rockville Pike, for you locals). I guess in 2007 this was the worst, but the other three have since eclipsed it. (HOLY CRAP. That run is almost ten years ago. I can't believe I used to be 29.)

5. I have no idea of the date, but there was a track run last summer and the weather was the WORST. And I mean WORST. It was probably still in the 90s with equal humidity, and this was at 7 p.m. I was so grumpy. I think we girls got in only three (maybe two?) miles before we went to Safeway and got Magnum bars, a much better decision.

6. And of course, there was the time I was running and ran right past a man masturbating in the bamboo along the trail. But that's all I'll say about that.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Top 5 Runs

After running that amazing trail run in Arizona, it got me thinking about my favorite runs ever. Here they are:

1. The half-marathon I ran in 2014 where I broke the two-hour time. I trained for it, and it felt SO good to achieve it!

2. Ragnar trail's last run. Note: this applies only to the last run. The mud slowed everyone so much, Ragnar let everyone run together at the end just so that everyone could get their runners off the course. I think three of us ran together, in the day, on the drying ground, on a beautiful trail.

3. Arizona's trail run (Beardsley Trail)

4. All but the run from the 2016 St. Michael's Half (Does that count? The run itself wasn't great AT ALL. I went out way too fast, and came back weighing 20 pounds more due to all the rain I was carrying. But everything else about that 24-hour period was the BEST.)

5. Christmas Story Run. Sure, it was a slow race time, but it was such a fun race environment and doing it with my family was awesome (except for the part when Rhett was bawling about that dumb trash bag).

Next Tuesday I'll do my worst runs.