Saturday, September 15, 2012

A post. With thoughts (not deep ones) and news.

Well, it's been awhile.  It's funny, cuz I started this blog as a way to keep my friends and family updates on our lives, mostly our growing children and the things we do with them... you know, scrapbook worthy activities.  But, it's those kinds of things that are just so not fun to blog about.  No one really cares about them but me, and I really only want to document for our benefit, and they are always such tedious posts to write, what with all the pictures I have to upload, etc.  So it is the very reason that I started this blog, that keeps me from blogging.  Does that even make sense?  But I love to write blog posts where I just blabber on about whatever is on my mind, or things that are actually fun and exciting in our lives. I need to do that more.  Just cuz it's fun, and not necessarily because people actually like to read these posts. ;)

So here we go.

First off, I'm pregnant. Olson baby number four is on it's way and will arrive in early/mid March.  Yep, there it is.  We will have four kids in NYC.  At least this time around, we have several large closets and even an office to choose from for it's sleeping arrangements.  This, is fabulous news!  The other good news is that we are one of 5 families in our ward expecting their 4th child, and there are already three families that currently have four children in the ward, so it helps me feel less crazy.  Although, I'm sure I will still be made to feel insane plenty... I can just see myself juggling the three crazies on the subway, me large with child, and people thinking, "lady, what do you think you are doing?!  You can't even keep these kids under control, how are you going to manage another one?!!!"  They will think I am a menace to society.  It will either be that scenario, or I will get the occasional, "God bless you!!" comments, which totally make my day.  I've even gotten a few, "I think you are amazing" comments, which make me feel just that.  Those are the good people.  The other ones are just cranky New Yorkers who think they are the only ones that have the right to ride the subway.  Kids, to them are the scum of society.

Anyway, we're very excited, if not a little bit nervous.  We're excited to find out what gender the little munchkin will be.  Probably in the beginning of October.  Everyone keeps asking if I am hoping for a girl.  It's a tough question actually.  A girl would be fun.  Different.  It would take some time to wrap my brain around having a girl.  I think I might be too mean to mother a sweet, innocent little girl.  I'm a boy mom, and part of me kinda wants to keep it that way.  I don't know why.  Boys are fun.  I know I make cute ones, as well as crazy ones, but mostly they are adorable and hilarious.  I think it would be great to have four boys.  But, there is that part of me that will always want a little girl.  So whether it's this time, or next time (which will probably be the last), I would ultimately love that.  But, I am completely fine having all boys.  I have resigned myself to that possibility.  So to sum it up, I'm fine with either.  Asher really wants a little sister.  He says we have enough brothers and is already calling it a her.  So, we shall see.

Moving on.

I have been reading a lot of Pioneer Woman these days, and it is her that has made me want to write a blog post.  Partly because she kind of has the same, talk about random things-and just keep rambling on like I would-writing style, only she is funnier and wittier than I am.  I like her.  And I love her food.  I have been scouring over her recipes and have tried several this week alone.  They're good.  Real good.  This morning I found myself browsing her Christmas section.  The sudden onset of cooler weather in NYC has made me feel like it's already fall.  Time to bust out the pumpkin recipes and practice my pie crusts (because they need some serious, serious help).  Time to make plans to visit an apple orchard and pumpkin patch.  Time to start thinking about Thanksgiving dinner plans (mmmmm, gravy!!!).  And best of all... time to start thinking about Christmas goodies, which scented candles I need, where I should put the Christmas tree and hang twinkly lights, how many times I will be able to get away with using my Christmas dishes and goblets, what I should make for Christmas dinner...?  These are the kinds of important question I'm asking myself this morning.  Too soon you say?  Possibly.  But I just love October-December, and I don't intend to waste a moment of it.  And now that I actually have a decent sized kitchen, and since I am most definitely NOT doing a fall fitness challenge, I have grand plans to bake my little heart out this season.  And if I haven't mastered pie crusts by the end of winter... well, I don't know what.  I will be bummed.

So there you have it.  This is what I am up to these days.  Growing a baby, and dreaming of all the different things I can cook and bake this fall/winter season.  That and schlepping my kids to and from school everyday.  On the days that I take the kids to school, I walk about a mile from our house, to Asher's school, and then to Sayer's.  Yesterday Sayer whined and cried the entire mile.  It was so great.  Sayer is in a half-day pre-k program from 8:00 to 10:45am.  So on the weeks that I pick him, along with two other boys up (carpool baby! just without the car), I end up walking around 2-3 miles, depending on what I do with myself in-between.  It's good, since I need the exercise and the weather is so nice.  But it's kind of exhausting.  I find myself needing a nap every afternoon, which makes me feel lame and out of shape and old.  I try to remind myself that I'm pregnant, but still...  Oh well, I'll get over it. 

Oh!  I am also getting super pumped for all of my shows to start back up.  I won't tell you which ones, because you might judge me, but it is all very exciting!

That is all.  Next time I'll post a bunch of pictures to make up for the lack of them this time.  Until then...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

While Nate was away...

Nate was a way in Michigan last week presenting at a conference, because he's awesome and smart like that.  While he was gone, I made the most of my alone time in the evening and worked on a project that I have been so excited about for quite some time.

Let me start by saying that I have pretty much come to terms with the fact that I am not a creative person.  I basically have zero original ideas.  I don't have that gift of being able to look at something and see beyond it to what it could be.  But... I am pretty good at looking at other people's creative ideas and saying "yeah, I like that".  I am also pretty good at following step-by-step instructions on how to recreate that idea.

A while back while browsing Pinterest, I came across this photo wall and fell in love.

With everything from the scalloped frames to the yellow painted table.  I started to think, "I could totally do that with a cute dresser and use it for art storage, and then use the frames to display the kids' art"  So I started browsing the web for images of yellow dressers to copy and came across this one:
I. Fell. In. Love.  It just spoke to me and I knew I had to have it.  I thought about just buying it from the Etsy shop that was selling it.  It wasn't that expensive, but it was in Chicago and shipping was way too steep for me.  So I started to think, well, maybe I could do this myself.  But space was an issue, and I didn't know if I could do something like this in my apartment, or if I would have to go to a friend's in Westchester to do it.  I worked it out with a friend to do it at her house just in case.  I started searching the web for tutorials, and found so many different options, it was overwhelming.  How was I supposed to know which one was the best method?  The most fool proof?  If it was going to give me the look I wanted?  I had been convo-ing the shop owner and decided to be brave and ask her how she did it, knowing that this was her creation and thinking she probably didn't want tons of people just copying her ideas.  Thankfully, she was generous enough to suggest a link for a tutorial and she even gave me the exact brand and color of paint she used (Solar Fusion by Behr).   So nice.  Then I started scouring Craigslist and E-bay to find the perfect dresser at the perfect price.  I was pretty picky, (I really just wanted something that looked exactly like the one in the picture, was this too much to ask?!?) so it took a while to find one.

But find one I did.  It was exactly what I wanted, but I still really liked it.  I found it on Craigslist, for $20!  Hard to beat that.  It took us forever to coordinate a time to go and pick it up all the way over on the upper east side, and when we finally did, I was a little disheartened by the shape it was in... the drawers were falling apart, and there were quite a few chipped areas that were going to need to be patched.  But for $20, I figured I could make it work.  I took it home (after deciding that since I wasn't using spray paint, I could make it work in our new apartment) and got to work wood gluing and nailing the drawers together, sanding and cleaning it and patching up all the bad areas with wood filler, and sanding some more.  Fixing the drawers ended up being the easiest and fastest part of the whole thing.  All of this was over the course of a couple weeks.  Finally it was ready to paint.


Notice the huge ugly gouge on the top left had corner?

Pieces of veneer that were missing and needed to be filled.

The huge gouge, nice and smooth!

I waited until the kids were in bed and got to it.  Of course it took me way longer than I thought it would, and my back was killing by the time I was done, and I wasn't even "done" yet.  I let it dry overnight and in the morning I got to work on sanding and distressing it, which was the part I was most nervous about... I had no idea what to expect.  It  actually ended up being the funnest part.  I loved sanding it and having the paint come off where it naturally would, and then on the areas that I wanted a little more wear, I went back and put a little more elbow grease into it.   I was surprised by how much the sanding changed the paint color, but in a good way.  It made it look less "crafty" and homemade, and it made the paint look less thick.  After a few texts to my mom and sisters to make sure the sanding looked just right, I did the stain, which I was a little nervous about too.  But I decided to trust the tutorial lady, who said that this is the step that most people miss, that really makes it look amazing.  So I painted it on, wiped it off, and voila!  It did look amazing!  I couldn't believe what a difference it made, especially on the sanded edges, it really made them pop.  It does change the color of the paint a little bit, but again, in a good way.  It gives it more character and depth and really makes is look like it's been worn over a long period of time.  I seriously love it.  I still can't get over how good it looks.  I feel like a total professional! ;)


After a little distressing.  I actually did quite a bit more after this before I put the final stain on.

View from the family room area.  I love the brightness it adds to the room.  This was before I stained it.

The night I finished.  Terrible lighting, but I couldn't wait to see what it looked like with stuff on it. :)

Still not the best light, and the right side is kind of blurry, (sorry these are all iphone pics) and Barty messed with the handles before I tightened them... But this is closer to the true color.

It just makes me so happy!  And all for about $60.  Not bad at all!!

I asked Asher if he liked my new dresser and he said "no, I don't like how it's all old, I only like it new", as in before I distressed it.  Well I like it, and that's all that matters. ;)  I actually did go back and forth on whether or not to distress it, because I really do love the nice clean look as well, but I really had my heart set on having a weathered look for this piece, and I am so happy with how it turned out.  

The frames are coming along, but I keep changing my mind about how I want it to look and what I want to put on the dresser, but it's almost there.  I will post a picture when it's all done. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Some thoughts on mothering...

**I started writing this post on Mother's Day, and am just now finishing it, but I still really wanted to share it.**

I have had a wonderful Mother's Day today.  Not because I had breakfast in bed (because I didn't), or because I had the day off to relax and do nothing (because I didn't), or because I got flowers (because, again, I didn't), but because I mothered, and I enjoyed it.  Loved it, actually.  I always love being a mother, but in all honesty, sometimes it's hard to find joy in the everyday ins and outs of mothering, but today I felt it.  A lot.  And it made me happy.

I read books, got on the floor and played with and tickled my boys, I talked to my boys, I hugged and kissed them, and sang with them, and laughed with them.  It wasn't a perfect day behavior-wise, but I didn't mind, because these boys I have are amazing, they're mine, I love them, and guess what?  They love me!!!!  They really do, and today I felt it.

Lately, I've been feeling inadequate as a mother.  Shocking, I know.  I am pretty sure that every single mother in the world feels this way at one point or another.  Well, lately, I've been feeling it all. of. the. time.  Like, every single day I feel bad about myself.  The other day I saw my friend on the subway when I was out by myself for a couple hours, and I said something like: "I feel like I am never doing enough as a mother.  Am I just going to feel like this forever?"  I can't really remember what she said in response, but I remember that it gave me the impression that she didn't feel this way all of the time, which instead of making me feel jealous, made me feel hopeful, and made me think about what I could do to not feel this way.

One of the things that I think about a lot in regards to my children, is what I do with them every day.  The activities we do, or rather don't do, especially when we are at home.  I beat myself up so much about not home-schooling them, or not doing lots of crafts or creative activities with them, when in reality, none of those things really appeal to me, and when I do them with my kids, it's not usually fun for any of us.  They last about 5 minutes with a craft and while home-schooling sounds so great in theory, when it comes down to it, it actually just sounds really horrible.

I think part of it is that I feel like if I'm not busy busy busy, all day long, then it means I'm not doing a good job as a mom.  But I am starting to realize that that is just not true at all.  That it's often in those calm moments, that we experience the most joy and fulfillment with our children.  I tried it out a little bit this last week, where I tried to "just be" as a mom... snuggling and talking with my kids more,  listening to music with them, saying "yes" to reading a book with them more often, giving them {real} hugs when they ask for them, pausing to give them a kiss and say "I love you"... they're all really natural and simple things.  I'm not forcing it, I'm really just following my kids' leads, doing the kinds of things that they want to do.  And you know what I realized?  Pretty much all they want to do is be near me.  Sometimes they want me to do something with or for them, but a lot of times they just want to sit next to me or be in the same room with me.  It's a simple thing, but it clearly means a lot to them.  I have found that Sayer becomes quickly agitated and upset when I don't answer him right away, or do the thing that he has asked me to do 5 times already, because he has learned that that is what he has to do, to get me to do the thing he has asked me to do.  Often because I'm distracted doing something unimportant.  They just need attention and acknowledgment, and not even constantly, if we give it to them consistently.  This week, while I was trying to "just be", Sayer was so much more calm and happy, because he felt loved.  We did fun things spontaneously, because I wanted to do them.  And you know what?  It was fun!  For both of us!  Then it clicked (after only 5 and a half years of being a mom)... that the things I do a lot of with my kids, should be things that we enjoy! (duh)  It doesn't have to be what everyone else is doing.  It doesn't have to be crafts (thank goodness--I think I genuinely used to enjoy crafts, but living in NYC has changed that. It's because of the domino-effect that happens whenever we have to get to something that is tucked away in a cupboard or drawer... you move one thing and it makes everything else fall... this is what happens with my craft supplies)!  It doesn't have to take a lot of preparation or require a lot of supplies.  For me and my kids, it means saying "yes" more to the things they ask to do with me, like pouring and stirring ingredients into a bowl, even if it means that it will take a little bit longer, and require a little bit more clean up.  I know it sounds simple and silly, but I can't tell you how much peace I felt when I finally had this realization... that we each, as mothers, need to find the things that we are good at, that we enjoy doing, and that they enjoy doing, and do those things with our kids.

I read a really wonderful talk by Patricia Holland on Sunday (Mother's Day), that I gained a lot of insight from.  It basically talks about finding our "inner divinity", or what makes us individuals and unique and special in God's eyes, and moving forward with that, instead of getting down on ourselves for the things that we are maybe not as good at, or don't enjoy.  She gives a series of steps to implement in our lives to reach that "inner stillness", where we can feel confident in ourselves, and as a result of that, be able to be genuinely happy when other women accomplish things in areas where maybe we haven't.  There was really so much to it that I couldn't possibly do it justice, but it was a great article and I highly recommend it.  I have continued to think about it a lot during these 2 weeks since I have read it.

I love being a mother, and am so, SO grateful for the many ways that it has pushed me and made me take good, hard looks at myself, and has basically forced me to learn and grow.  Our children are such blessings in mine and Nate's lives and I feel incredibly blessed to be intrusted with them.  It really is such a gift that I often take for granted, which is something I am working on improving everyday. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day and were able to cherish your little loves. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Guess what?!!

 The title of this post is meant to be read in a high-pitched sing-songy voice, fyi.

I have a bad habit of waiting to post good news.  I don't know why.  I think I'm saving it up or something, like for a special day.  Well, that's stupid, and this morning I just felt like shouting it to the cyber world, because, well, it's super exciting...

We. Are. Moving!!!

Yep, moving up in the world.  We will be saying goodbye to our pathetic 500 square foot apartment that we have been squeezing into for the last {almost} 4 years and will be saying hello to a glorious 3 bedroom apartment.  I wish I knew the square footage, but don't worry, I will probably measure it when I get there, in less than 2 weeks!  Honestly I wish it were tomorrow.  I would gladly pull an all-night-er packing if it meant that I could get out of this hell hole.  Yeah, that's a little dramatic, I know, but that is honestly how I feel right now.  Our apartment looks like this
We can barely walk in our front door.  I did finally get rid of that huge box, though.]

We're grateful for all of the free boxes our friends gave us, but it is ridiculous how much space they take up!

This actually doesn't look that bad.  It usually looks worse.
It's more than a little bit ridiculous.  We can't get into the desk or closet in our bedroom and we have to move things to get into bed at night.  I want to start packing right this second, but am worried about where we are going to put all the boxes.  There is honestly not a single ounce of extra space.  Maybe once I get things a little more cleaned up it won't be so bad, but it's overwhelming to think about cleaning when there is just no where to put anything.  I think I'm going to start today though, just because I know packing always takes way longer than I think it will, and plus, I think it will help make the next week and a half go by a little quicker if I'm actually working towards my goal.  

So for those of you who don't know, Nate got a job here in the city.  He is working with the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, as kind of a project manager, I guess.  They are working on getting a text book out on the history of rock and roll.  Pretty cool.  The project is supposed to be about 2 years, so we {I} are hoping to time the ending of this job with the finishing of his dissertation perfectly. :)  We had been back and forth about leaving the city this summer to live in UT for the duration of Nate's dissertation writing, but then a few job opportunities popped up and we started to feel like leaving the city wasn't the right thing to do.  But our apartment has been just awful for awhile now, and I was feeling like I couldn't take it anymore {which was one of the reasons we were thinking about moving to UT}.  Our building is closing down next summer for renovations {which are badly needed} so we were going to move into a different apartment in the building- which would give us a change of scenery and a little more open-ness- for a year and then figure out where to go after that.  But one day a few weeks ago, I felt like I should go apply for the waiting list to a building that a few families in our ward live in.  They called me back shortly after to say that they couldn't give us a two bedroom because we had too many people and the waiting list was 2-3 years long, but, they had a 3 bedroom that they could offer us at a discounted rate, due to our income.  Um... ok?!  It all fell into place really quickly, we went and looked at it an hour later and said we wanted it right on the spot.  I couldn't believe how nice it was... real hardwood floors, lots of light, a normal layout, renovated bathrooms {1 1/2 baths!} and kitchen {with the fridge IN the kitchen!!!!}, 2 {2!!!} walk-in closets!  That is pretty hard {impossible} to come by in the city, at least when you're looking in our price range.  There are also closets in the hallway and in all the bedrooms.  We were still a little nervous about taking the apartment, as it is more expensive, and things are going to be tight, but we feel good about the decision and are hoping and praying that things will continue to work out.

Honestly, part of me still can't believe that we are going to have all these things in just a short time.  Living in a tiny, cluttered apartment with a teensy kitchen makes you a different kind of mother.  At least it has made me a different mother than I thought I would be.  I realize that subconsciously, I made a choice to let some of those things go, because it was just easier, but still, the fact remains that the space we live in makes things harder, especially when you have 3 crazy {seriously, they're crazy} boys right under your feet all the time.  I am really looking forward to having the space to be organized and uncluttered, and a kitchen that will help me be inspired to cook, instead of inducing anxiety every time I think about cooking a meal in there.  We will have space to put our nice new table along with chairs and a bench so that our entire family can sit down together for a meal at the same time.  I can count on both my hands the number of times we have had a family meal together, just because we don't have the space for it.  It makes me sad.  I know that things are not going to change over night, but I do know that it is going to help inspire me to be better.  I'm not really going to have any excuses anymore, so now is the time to start making changes and building habits that will hopefully last a long time. 

So yeah.  Just wanted to share that exciting news!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

It takes a village...

I have a son, and his name is Asher.  He is a very sweet, smart, energetic, fun, happy and curious little boy.  He loves people, birds, penguins, playing outside, imagining, playing with toys, reading books, his brothers, chocolate, pasta, bread, playing in the water, watching shows about volcanoes and other natural phenomenons, potty talk, laughing, moving and jumping {a lot}, and so much more. 

I love him so much!

But he is hard.  It is a constant battle trying to figure out what to do with him, depending on what his current behavior is.  To be fair, for every rough patch, there has been a period of calm where he is thriving, being considerate and rational, and just a complete joy.  He really is a sweet and happy kid, he also just happens to have an iron will and seems to be determined to prove to me and everyone else that he is going to do what he wants, when he wants, and apparently, there is not a thing that we can do about it.  The biggest problem right now is school.  He has been giving his teachers a run for their money for 2 or 3 weeks now- being defiant about the rules and not seeming to care about any consequences that he may receive, or even caring that he is being rude and disrespectful to his teachers, whom he loves very much, I might add.  He doesn't seem to have regard for anyone's feelings but his own.  He's being purely selfish.  He's gone through phases like this at home as well, where nothing we do or say gets through to him.  At this point, he definitely understands what he is doing wrong- he knows how to behave in school, he knows what's going to happen if he doesn't, yet he doesn't care- he does it anyway.  I feel like we have tried everything... ignoring bad behavior, giving major consequences consistently, positive consequences for good behavior,  a loving and positive approach where we are working with him calmly and giving him chances to fix bad choices, talking and reasoning with him, explaining rules and why we have them, etc etc.  I've got his teachers calling me pretty much everyday, telling me his bad behavior and having me talk to him, talking to me after school...  I talk to them, brainstorm ideas, tell them a little about my experiences with this, but ultimately I look at them and tell them honestly: "I'm so sorry, but I'm not really sure what to do about this."  Because I don't.  I don't have the answer.  Do we just shrug it off, tell him we love him and tell him to work harder tomorrow and give him positive encouragement?  Should we be completely hard core and throw everything we've got at him?  Part of me thinks we should... he has got to learn that his behavior is not ok and that he is not in charge, at school or at home, and maybe consequence after consequence is the way to do that {although, it hasn't been working so far}.  But on the other hand, he's 5.  He's a boy.  An active boy who loves to run around and be silly and have fun, and both his teacher and I agree that we don't want to squash that.  And lets be honest, a 30 minute lunch/recess is not exactly cutting it for an 8 hour day.  Even I got more breaks than that when I was working full time.  It actually breaks my heart at the thought of a 5 year old little boy not being able to go to recess, participate in fun events at school, and even at home, as that is part of his consequence for being on red at school.  Should life be so tough for such a little kid?  What keeps coming to my mind as I am typing this is "moderation in all things", and balance.

We thought we had a breakthrough yesterday.  His teachers gave him lots of positive reinforcement, no negative attention, and he worked really hard and had a great day.  But then today, both his science teacher and his classroom teachers called me because he is back to being defiant and not caring at all.  He has to stay after school today and then I have to go meet with his science teacher (who in my opinion is a little too hard core) and she is going to tell me everything that he is doing and then look at me and expect me to be able to whip him into shape.  Sorry lady, wish I could.  Believe me.

To be honest, I'm starting to think that the answer might be to switch schools.  I have really loved Harlem Success for so many reasons... their method of teaching seems to be top notch and Asher has genuinely seemed to love it there, and I love, love, love his teacher.  He has learned so, so much and has had fun doing it.   But I often feel like their behavioral expectations for these little kids borders on unreasonable.  Especially considering the fact that it is such a long day and they only get one 30 minute break, which gets taken away from them if they are on red.  He has had rough patches here and there throughout the year, but for the most part he has done really well, and it's just been these last few weeks that he has really gotten out of control.  It's a tough call.  Something to think about.

I'm definitely thinking about it and praying about it, talking to people about it, and I would love to hear about your experiences with this.  Have you had a child that struggles complying with rules in school?  What have you done to remedy the situation and encourage them to work hard and do their best and to respect rules and teachers?  Please, I could use all the help I can get!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Rock N Roll DC Marathon

So, I ran another marathon... but this time I ran it with my family!  My dad, Whit, Ben, Jill, Hailey and I all ran it together, which makes this family marathon #2! (Click here for family marathon #1 memories!)  Most of us split up, but we were all running the race at the same time. :)  Ben and I were each by ourselves as we had goal times that we wanted to reach, then Whit and Jill stuck together and my dad and Hailey stuck together.

Since I know the suspense is killing you, I'll tell you, I didn't reach my goal time. :(  I was going for my sub-four hour time, and was on course to get it until about mile 16 when I had to stop due to something I couldn't control.  Without going into too much detail, I will say that around mile 5 or 6 I started having some 'girl troubles'.  Just imagine the worst thing you can imagine happening and that is what happened. Yeah, it wasn't pretty.  I tried really hard not to care and just keep on moving because I really wanted that time.  I would stop here and there at the water stations to try and keep things under control, but it never really made a difference, just started eating away at my time.  I made it to about mile 16 'not caring', but then I just had to stop and take care of things.  I was in the bathroom for about 5 minutes, and kept looking at my watch and seeing my average pace climb and climb and climb.  I kept thinking, 'it's ok, I can make it up, I'll just book it when I get out of here', and when I got out I was feeling so good and refreshed that I really thought I could.  But then after a little bit, I noticed that my stop didn't really do much to solve the problem. :/ About a mile later I saw a Med Station so I stopped again for some necessities- this may or may not have involved hiding behind an ambulance- which cut another few minutes off my time.  I finally got back out on the course and was feeling great- for about a mile.  This was around mile 18 and 19, and I was trying to speed up, but it just so happened that there were, not only some pretty good hills, but we were also completely out in the open, with not a cloud in the sky, and the temp was getting close to 80, which after training through the winter, was really killing me.  I was pretty much dying at this point.  I reached the top of a particularly brutal hill around mile 19 and I turned a corner and there was Nate and the boys!  He said they had just made it there minutes before and thought they had missed me.  Well, if I had been on pace, they would have. I just stopped for a few seconds to give hugs and tell them that I was "dying" and then kept on moving, but it was so wonderful to see them.  It's what kept me moving up to that point, as I knew they were going to try and come around mile 20.

Oh yeah, the other really annoying thing about this course was that they had these turn-around/out and back points, so you would be going one direction, and then on the other side of the road you would see all these runners that had already turned around, heading towards us.  I saw Whit and Jill on these things twice, after I had already turned around.  Once around mile 18, then again around mile 22 or 23 (that was a particularly bad one- you couldn't even see where it turned around it was so far away).  That's how I knew that I was too far behind to catch up.  Whit and Jill were hoping for under 4:30 I think, so since they were probably only about a mile or so behind me, things weren't looking good for me.  But I just kept going and tried to go as fast as I could, which wasn't fast- my legs were done, my left hip had been bothering me since about mile 3, and it was so so hot- I poured water on my head every chance I got (I did not look pretty!), stopped at med stations for ice or water or whatever I could get.  I was even carrying my handheld water bottle, but warm gatorade was just not cutting it.   

The other really awful thing about the race, was that there wasn't a water station after mile 24!!  We were on a highway ramp or overpass thing, so totally exposed to the sun, it was SO hot and we had NO water!  I was counting on that last water stop at mile 25, so I just kept going and going and going thinking it was going to be there any second, until I realized that it wasn't there.  By this point I figured I needed to just power through and get to the finish line as fast as I could, so I wouldn't let myself stop at all.  It never ceases to amaze me how hard and long that final half mile is.  It was so brutal, especially when you can SEE the finish line but it is still so far away and it just feels like you are never going to get there.  But get there I did, and I was simply elated.  It's like this- you cross the finish line and you think: 'wait, you mean I can actually stop?!  Like, for reals?!'  It'd be hard to find a better feeling.  Except for the ending of childbirth, as I've mentioned before.  Except at the end of childbirth you have a baby, and after a marathon, all you get is a medal! ;)

I came in at 4 hours, 23 minutes and 27 seconds.  I was pretty bummed, but seeing as how there wasn't much I could do about, like, 10 minutes of that time, I decided that I was just happy that I finished at all. I kinda don't think I would've gotten my time anyway, because the heat was just killing me, but who knows, if I was closer and thought I had a chance, maybe I could've kicked it into gear those last few miles. Oh well, we will never know, and that is just fine.  Ben was there when I crossed the finish line, and he missed his time as well because of the heat, even though he still did pretty amazing.  I think he finished in 3:42.  We waited around for Whit and Jill to finish and I think they came in around 4:39.  We all chatted and headed to find the fam.  We waited awhile for Hailey and my dad to come in, and during that time I got to go really clean up and change which felt so wonderful!!!

Hailey and my dad came in around 5:25.  Hailey was really struggling on the course and around mile 17 wanted to call it quits, but after a blessing from my dad, she hung in there like a rockstar, took it one step at a time, and made it to the finish line.  I know what it feels like to be out on the course and wonder why you are doing this to yourself, and just want to quit.  It can be such an overwhelming feeling, and I am so proud of her for pushing through!  She said that it was still so, so hard, but after the blessing, she knew she had it in her.  She is truly an inspiration to me!

After the race we headed over to Jill's to shower really fast and then we hit the road right away to head back to Williamsburg, where we were having a little family vacation.  We stopped at Taco Bell of all places on the way home.  The only Taco Bells in the city are far from us, so we never get to go there, which is sad, because I love Taco Bell!   I actually felt really great post-race, aside from my hip and legs being shot.  But my stomach didn't bother me at all like it did after NY.  So weird. 

Overall, it was quite the experience.  It's definitely not how I thought my race would go down when I woke up that morning, but it does make a pretty great story. :)   It was so great to experience it with my family.  I loved talking about the race with them and seeing how different and personal each of our experiences were.  No matter what, marathons are pretty amazing experiences.    However, I think it will be 2 or 3 years before the next one! :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Christmas in Sacramento

We had a wonderful Christmas with my family in Sacramento this year.  I headed out with Bart and Sayer about a week before Nate and Asher, which was fun, but the real party started when everyone got there!  It was so great to be with all of my family in my parents new house, eating good food, playing Wii Just Dance, watching movies (I successfully converted my family to Downton Abby!), talking and laughing about who knows what, the little cousins having a blast together, heading over to the school behind my parents house with the kids, family training runs, shopping, wrapping presents, hosting parties, bowling, outings to the zoo and fairytale town, eating out, the Railroad Museum, parks, and so much more.
Asher practicing his flamingo stance, riding the carousel.  Joelie did NOT want to ride the carousel. :)
Kids coming down on Christmas morning in their new pjs, the tree on Christmas Eve, all 6 Busath girls and mom and dad in our new pjs, the boys opening their stockings.
Cousins watching movies together.  A common sight. Hot chocolate!!
California Railroad Museum!  A boy's heaven!
My mom owns these gems!

Day trip to San Fran... Aquarium, walking the pier, playing at the arcade, and ice cream at Ghirardelli Square.

Mastering the monkey bars!
Park fun!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Picture perfect Easter picnic in Central Park

It's been a long time.  I've been missing the blogging world, so I thought it was time to get back into the swing of things.  I have a lot of things to get caught up on, but I don't want to let that stop me from blogging about what's going on now.  I will start with Easter.

We had a lovely Easter weekend with practically perfect weather in NYC.  Saturday, my friend Lesley put together an amazing Easter egg hunt/picnic.  It was picture perfect, down to the last details.  I actually did manage to get some pictures in, but she did a much better job of capturing the beautiful day.  Check it out here.

The boys had an absolute blast in the open space, running around with their friends, playing around the pond, (and in Bart's case, almost walking right in... on the opposite side of the pond from where we were located.  Not my finest mothering moment), feeding the ducks, eating yummy food, finding Easter eggs, eating yummy candy, eating cake... and on and on.  While the kids were busy running from one place to the next, the adults enjoyed the perfect weather, gorgeous surroundings in Central Park, and as always, visiting with wonderful friends.  Oh, and we enjoyed the cake too.  It was seriously so delicious!!  And beautiful.

Unfortunately, I did not take a single picture on Easter Sunday, but we did have a very nice day.  After Stake Conference, we headed over to Sheep's Meadow in Central Park for a picnic with some friends.  Again, the boys loved being able to run around in the wide open space, climb rocks and play ball.  Nate's allergies started acting up, so we didn't get to enjoy the perfect day as long as I would have liked, but that's ok.  We headed home and had a relaxing afternoon which did include watching the video of the Savior's death and resurrection and a nice Easter Family Night lesson.

I am so grateful for the birth, death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that these events happened and am so glad that we have the opportunity to celebrate them and teach our children about the amazing blessing and miracle that it is the Atonement

Happy Easter everyone!

Public Transportation woes

 **I started writing this post when Nate was out of town for 11 days back in March.  It was a particularly bad part of the week, and while they don't sound that bad individually-when you put them together, and then add on the fact that I had been by myself for a week and it was just the last straw... it was just an experience I wanted to document. :)

I have never hated NYC public transportation more than I have in the last 15 hours.  I usually don't mind taking public transit, but there have been a handful of times when it is just unnecessarily difficult.

Exhibit A:
Last night a sweet friend invited us over for dinner since Nate is out of town.  We left our apartment right on time, with a paper plate of brownies tucked safely in the cargo basket of the Maclaren and the boys on their scooters.  It was a beautiful, warm night.  We got all the way down to the subway platform which I noticed was about 10 times more packed than normal.  About a minute after we get down there I hear a message overhead stating that all 1 trains would be running express from 145th to 96th.  What?!  There are usually tons of signs and tape blocking off the subway entrance when this happens, so obviously it wasn't a planned change.  But still, I was bugged.  So back up to the street we went to catch the bus.  At this point I was already sweating and starting to get a little frazzled amidst the hundred other people that were trying to do the exact same thing that I was, except none of them had 3 kids with them.  We stood at the bus stop for a while about 3 or 4 buses passed... either the wrong ones, or ones that were turning into express buses.  Just when I was about to get a cab, our bus finally came.  I should've gotten a cab.  I had to have Asher carry the brownies so I could fold up the stroller, which means that Bart was on the loose, which is never a good idea.  We make our way to the back of the bus (as out of the way as possible) while I am juggling a crazy almost 2 year old, a stroller and 2 scooters.  The 20-block bus ride was long and crowded and hot and Asher in Sayer were so excited about going to play with their friends, so they were in rare form.  In other words, they were super loud and annoying.  The poor brownies that Asher was in charge of were almost sat on multiple times, getting moved from seat to seat, the plate was starting to bend in the middle from over-handling.  They were just one movement away from spilling onto the floor, and there was nothing I could do about it as I was holding the stroller up, keeping the scooters in place with my legs, while also trying to keep Bart from falling/getting off the seat and sprawling himself all over the lady sitting next to him.  Thankfully he does have quite a bit of charm, so she didn't seem too upset about his pokes and kicks.  I felt like everyone around me was thinking "what is this lady who has no control of her children doing?"  I was starting to get anxious about the process of getting off the bus, as it was super packed and I was going to have to be super annoying in order to try to squeeze through all those people with all of our crap.  Thankfully, most people got off at the 96th street stop where they headed down to the subway.  By the time we got off at 93rd street, there was plenty of room for us to exit.  Huge sigh of relief.  We got off the bus and my back was soaked with sweat, the kids were going c-r-a-z-y.  Thankfully Hailey's house was just down the street.  What was supposed to be a very simple and short subway ride, turned into a 40 minute ordeal from Hell.  Good thing the dinner and company were totally worth it!!  After dinner, we took a cab home.  It was not a good cab ride.  The kids were super wired and extra crazy and Bart refused to sit still.  At least it was only about 5 minutes.

Exhibit B:
I had another experience too, that happened the very next morning while taking Asher to school and then going home with the kids, but it's not as raw anymore, so I don't think I could do it justice.  But it involved a rough morning, and then a bus driver yelling at me to make Bart sit down on the seat instead of standing on the seat to look out the window, (which my kids always do- never, ever, ever, ever, have I had a bus driver tell me to do this) then said bus driver waiting (at a green light) for me to make my kicking and screaming child sit down, then me getting off one stop early because I couldn't hold Bart still and didn't want the bus driver's eyes looking back at me in the rear-view mirror thingy anymore, and then almost breaking down in tears- because why should taking your kid to school have to be so hard?!

It's times like these when you think about living in the suburbs, and how simple it would (and should) be to just hop in the car and head over to a friend's house for dinner, or drop your kid off at school.  Sigh.  Needless to say, after the bus incident, we took a little break from the bus and the subway for a few weeks, except when we were going to church. 

Visiting the North Pole

One of my absolute favorite things to do at Christmas time.  And like always, it was a blast. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tree at Rockefeller Center and other things

One day I said to Nate... I'm taking the evening off and am going to have some alone time.  I don't do this often, so he didn't complain.  It actually ended up not being an evening of being alone, really, but it started out that way.  I had some errands to run down in Rockefeller Square, so I took the opportunity to see the tree, and walk up 5th Ave to see some of the window displays.  I also popped into GAP to buy myself a few things, something else I never do :)  I had a lovely walk up 5th Ave, and across central park south back to the subway, where I headed back uptown to meet Nate and his sister Kierstin, who had just gotten into town, for dinner at one of our favorite places.  They took a long time to get there, so I got to sit at the bar and read my book, which was awesome!  After a delicious dinner, I said goodbye and headed over to Starbucks for a birthday get together.  We didn't last too long at Starbucks because so many people came, so a friend offered her place.  I wish I had pics because it was a little comical.  But regardless of the space constraints, we had a wonderful time chatting away, as usual. 

Christmas outings...

We had a few fun Christmas outings with friends.  We went to Grand Central Terminal where we got to see the train displays at the NYC Transit Museum Store and poke around some other shops as well.  

Another day we went to Bryant Park to see the tree, watch ice skaters and of course, ride the carousel.  And then we topped the day off with a delicious stop at Dillon's Candy Bar.  Yum!