Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day! (by Hans)

In honor of Mother's Day I am going to try to make a blog post capturing a little of the wonderful world of having Michelle as the mother of my children. I can honestly say that as a love struck 23 year old I wasn't really thinking about what type of mother Michelle would make. I knew she was amazingly smart, really funny, crazy beautiful, and I knew she had great values and was a good girl. I think I probably thought "yeah, she'll be a good mom", but that was probably all I really thought about her as a mother. I wasn't really thinking about kids. They seemed so far away. Kind of something "old people" have. I guess the kids and I lucked out completely because she is one amazing mother. Michelle has all the traits you could want in the person bringing up the next generation. She is kind and compassionate. She sets boundaries that are reasonable and she works to teach responsibility and hard work. She knows how to play with the kids and how to help them grow and direct themselves. She gives hugs and kisses when needed and makes our home a happy, secure, wonderful place. She is a great example of gospel living and sets the bar high for all of us in the family. She is drop dead gorgeous, a super hottie (not that important in motherhood but its nice to have eye-candy around). I would like to continue this list of her virtues but Justin is whining on one side of me that I should play with him and Mia keeps burping up disgusting smelling spaghetti stench. I just sent her to brush her teeth but it doesn't seem to have helped.
I am going to post a bunch of pictures in here if I can. Some of Michelle at the hospital bringing each child into the world. I know these may not be the most flattering shots but they capture the most important beginnings of her as a mother. You will also see some shots of the kids at each of these times to show a bit of how successful she's been as a mother keeping them alive and thriving for these past almost 10 years. There are more shots than I should put on here but as I got looking back I was sucked into how cute our family is. I could and sometimes do sit for hours looking at the growth of the kids and how cute they are and have been.

 Ashley born
 Not sure why we have a picture of this nurse. It made me smile to see it though.

 Ashley becomes a big sister.
 What a beautiful mother!

Unfortunately Michelle has often had to bring the children into the world by way of sedation.
 This is Justin. Michelle looks like a model in this one.
 Ashley is going to be a great mother too. She's already practicing here.
 Katelyn appears to be confused about this one. "What IS it?"

 Love these close shots of Michelle's handy-work.
 Ashley when Mia was born.
 Katelyn around Mia's birth.
 Justin too.
 Look how tiny Mia is!
 Can you believe this hottie at 39 weeks!?

 Unfortunately I failed as a photographer when Michelle ran the Boston marathon. This pretty much the only proof we have that she ran. I am so proud of her. It was a tough race and hard training.
 The family at Waveney park right by where Michelle grew up.
Michelle almost 10 years after her first was born. Even more beautiful now than she was then. I love her so much and am grateful for her motherhood. She is everything I could ever hope for.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spring Activities and Marathon Training

Springtime is fun. It's been such a beautiful spring in Colorado Springs this year. It's actually been warm and we have been able to spend a lot of time outside. Hooray for spring! I love the longer days, the school activities, the outside exercise, kids playing out back with friends, and green grass. 
 TCA has a lot of theme days where the kids can dress up. This was immigration day for Katelyn. Luckily for us, a good friend loaned us this outfit from Denmark. Sometimes she has to go in her uniform, like for India day. And next week is Greece day. Not sure what to do for that one.
 She had a lot of fun. They spent the whole day making passports, traveling to Ellis Island, taking the Citizenship test, and doing all sorts of other things. 
 I need to get better pictures of Katelyn at the gym. She spends A LOT of time there. This is how she wakes up and goes to bed most nights. She has to ice different parts of her legs and she limps around moaning about how sore she is, which I am sure she is. The last two weeks we've had to dope her with Ibuprofen. She's getting pushed really hard. Both girls do gymnastics. I drive there 7 times a week so this is a BIG part of our spring activities. When they are not at the gym they are doing tumbling tricks on the trampoline, handstands, and whatever else they feel like. Katelyn's gym program is more rigorous, which is why she ends up like this on the floor.
 While there is always room for improvement, we read the Book of Mormon while we eat breakfast. Hans and I usually read to them in the interest of time, but Ashley has picked up some of the reading if she has gotten up early enough to be done eating. For the last several years we have been making the kids pancakes every single morning for breakfast. They are spoiled. 
My winter has been consumed with preparing for this spring race. This is the only picture we have of me at the marathon. I was so happy to be finished. I spent from January to April running at least 30 miles every week. It was an awful training for me and I vowed to never run a spring marathon ever again. I felt sluggish, tired, slow, and miserable. Some long runs I would feel tired at 1 mile in, which is never a good sign. I was lucky enough in February to find a Saturday running friend and she got me through most of the runs. We ran every portion of the Santa Fe trail. We ran from El Pomar north 10 miles and back. This was by far our scariest run. We passed dozens of homeless men sleeping under overpasses in a very remote area. We never did that again, which was fine with me since it was the most miserable 20 miles EVER. We ran from America the beautiful Park and our most frequented was from Palmer Lake to Woodmen Road or Costco on Nevada. I could force myself to stay with Kristi for an hour and then she would take off and I'd wonder why in the world I had lost my speed. I always finished though. My body survived the training pretty well. I had to do serious foam rolling on my IT bands to stay healthy and went to physical therapy with a Lifetime friend several times as well. She did dry needling on me. Dry needling was helpful, but painful. I had tendonitis in two tendons in both feet. I guess it's because my calf muscles were too tight. I limped around for awhile and didn't really run too much during my taper. Luckily it all helped and I didn't feel too much pain running the actual marathon. About 4 days before the marathon I finally got into see the doctor who did some testing and called me to tell me he didn't know how in the world I was getting out of bed in the morning, let alone marathon training. He said he was impressed, but surprised that it took me this long to see a doctor. My iron levels were beyond low. They are supposed to be well over 30 for females at our altitude and mine was 4. I was also anemic. He started me on prescription iron pills but said they wouldn't start helping for at least a month and most likely 3 months. I was so relieved to have a reason for all the crazy fatigue I'd been having for well over a year. I think I was more relieved to have a reason my running had gotten so pathetic. I always felt like I was running through mud and had to force myself out the door. I am so glad it is all over. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Boat!!!

We took the plunge and bought a boat. I have been dreaming about owning a boat for about my whole lifetime, so you can imagine my excitement. In fact, I can remember asking Hans to promise me that he would buy me a boat someday before we got married. As we signed over the title from the previous owner Hans said, "well babe, it took me 12 years, but I did it." Yes he did. And I am in love. We shopped all over the place for the past couple of years on ksl and craigslist and found this one only 2 hours from home. It's a tige. We test drove it in Denver and then the owner kindly drove it down to us. 
 The boat sat in front of our house for a few days while we found a storage place. It was a great toy for the kids. They love playing in it and showing it off to their friends. Everytime I saw it staring at me from the front windows, I smiled. I kind of miss having it parked in front of the house.
 We took the boat out after our Easter egg hunt. We drove to Pueblo, where it is warmer, but it was still jacket and blanket weather. It was very windy, which made for a very exciting trip. The kids loved it. It's so fun to drive. We drove around enjoying taking turns driving and then decided to sit in the middle of the lake, eat snacks, and listen to music. When we were done the engine wouldn't start. The battery was dead. The wind blew us into the rocks. The lake was very empty. Justin had a full, blown panic attack. He is my child, for sure. He was hysterical. I tried my best to talk him down, but he really was beyond reason. Luckily after 30 minutes or so we were able to flag down a fishing boat that gave us a jump and we drove back to the boat ramp. I did a laughable job of driving the boat into the trailer at low speeds with all the wind, but I was successful in the end. While a little stressful, and a lot of work, I loved it. It's just part of owning a boat. After getting the boat out of the water we discovered we had ruined the prop and dinged two places on the side of the boat. So...Happy Boat Ownership to Me. And Hans, of course. 

Easter Fun

Easter is a fun time of Year. I love Spring, Easter, Conference and all that they symbolize. I'm so grateful to be able to teach my children about Jesus Christ and the Resurrection. I'm grateful that they love Jesus and know that He is real. I have to continually remind myself that if my kids learn this then I have been successful as a parent. 
 Dyeing Easter eggs. We have had an amazingly warm winter and spring for Colorado. It's been delightful.
 Can you tell that they like this?
 I hid their Easter baskets all over the house. They had fun finding them until the first one was found. Then the others needed hints in a desperate sort of way. They got candy, seeds, and planting pots.
 I love the Christian community in Colorado Springs. They have great kids Easter egg hunts. They start with a live re-enactment of the Resurrection and a prayer. Then it's every kid for themselves finding eggs.
 This Church is called The Gathering and has the most beautiful property. It's close to Cathedral Pines, which is where I am hoping to move someday sooner then later.
 These two were all business. 
 She is so cute.
 The older kids hunt was more difficult and the girls were also all business.

 Happy kids. They got way more eggs then they needed.
 Happy Parents.
Morrills joined us. We love having them live near us.
 For Easter the kids got seeds to plant. This was a lot of fun.