Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Broken Button

Last fall Brad decided it would be a good idea for us to have a "Family meeting" of sorts every couple of weeks so as to create a habit and "normalcy" of open communication with the boys.  Even if it is simple and not too in depth now, considering they are still very young, Brad's thought was that it's best to start this as a habit now so that as they grow older, they feel comfortable talking to Mom and Dad about life and it's challenges.  I LOVED the idea.  This was all kind of spurred on because with our involvement in Operation 61, there's been a lot of talk about how important it is to talk to your kids about the tough stuff... sex, sexual abuse, porn, sex-trafficking, confidence/self-worth, how to treat a girl, etc etc.
Well, of course the Holidays create a crazy few months and we just never implemented the "Family Meeting."  However, come the first of the year, this was one of Brad's main goals.  This was very important to him.
We decided that every other Monday we will have the family meeting.  The meeting is a a safe place to talk about anything and everything.  You can express frustrations, appreciation, complaints, challenges, ideas, anything!  Sometimes we will go do something as a family instead of having a formal sit down.  Brad laid out some rules, etc.  The boys were totally on board!  I was so impressed and really proud of Brad in all of this.  He wrote up a whole outline for what the "Family Meeting" is.
As we had the first meeting two weeks ago, Carson brought up the idea that it would be helpful to have a "comment/suggestion" box where you can "anonymously" write down ideas, issues, complaints, suggestions, etc. to be addressed at the next meeting.  So, that night we made a cute little box with a hole in the top, put a pad of paper and a pen next to it and set it on the bookshelf in my office.  Every so often, Carson would come in and "secretively" write something down and put it in the box.
We also collectively agreed, as a family, that our main goal for the next two weeks would be NOT to yell so much.  Every one of us, mainly Mom and Carson needed to work on using calm voices if we get upset and not turn to yelling.

Last night we had our second meeting.  We talked about school, upcoming vacations, how things are going with the Nanny, etc.  Brad and I decided that Carson and Hunter's goal for the next two weeks needs to be regarding their relationship with each other.  Lately Carson has been bossing Hunter around entirely too much and subsequently, Hunter has been hitting Carson way too much.  So Carson is to stop bossing Hunter around and change the way he talks to him.  Hunter needs to work on 1. Not letting it bug him so much and 2. Not turn to hitting and fighting when he has an issue with something.

On to the box.  Brad opens the box and out comes a ton of folded up little pieces of paper.  There was probably 10 or more little notes... all but one from Carson :)
Hunter's note: "Boondocks"  Clearly his vote is for Boondocks.
Brad starts reading the other papers;
-"Hunter is being mean"
-"I want to talk about school"
... and then it starts...
-"Mom is still yelling.  It hurts my feelings"
-"Mom is yelling still"  (Ouch. OK.  I get it.  I PROMISE I am working on this.)
-"I'm the one that broke the button on Mom's pillow."

WOW.  Really?  These meetings just might work.  Here's how this would normally go.
-I find out the button on my $40 Pottery Barn pillow has been broken off.  I ask the boys if they know what happened.  Carson denies knowing or doing anything.  We then find out it was really Carson.  We get in a big argument about lying, because is he is sticking to his story of innocence.  It turns to yelling.  Gets blown up way bigger than it needs to and ends with everyone frustrated.
I say this because this has been the scenario SO many times.  However, this little "comment box" somehow solicited the idea that "it's okay to tell the truth, even if you did something that will make Mom mad."  So instead... this is how it went:
Brad reads the little piece of paper.  We look at each other a little taken back by the "confessional", turn to Carson and express how proud we are of him for telling the truth (especially since we hadn't even asked them about the pillow yet), tell him it's just a pillow and we all move on.  *sigh*  So much better. Now I'm not saying that there's never going to be a time that Carson or Hunter "confess" something in these meetings that call for punishment.  However, if this opens a line of communication where they feel safe and comfortable telling us things that are uncomfortable or hard to talk about, then I say success!  

They are 8 years old and 4.5 years old.  Our hope is that this becomes a "culture"... a "habit" in our little family.  Communication is critical... especially as they enter pre-teen and teen years.  But not only communication, just simply time together.  Time spent together as a family in this crazy busy life of ours.  There are so many scary things in this world.  So many opportunities to fall.  But also so many opportunities to grow, learn, succeed.  We want to foster an environment that allows them to grow up to be strong, confident men of God.
This is just one step...

Dare Devil

Hunter informed Auntie Monnica today that he prefers to be referred to as "Dare Devil."  Well ok then.  :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Where did my little boy go?

Brad shaved Hunter's head last August right before family pictures.  I wasn't too happy about it at the time, but once the pictures came back, I actually liked it.
The one thing I didn't like about it though is how much older it made him look.
Well, once again... my little boy seems to have grown up with just one hair cut :(
This was an unwelcome reminder that time is passing by and my little boy is not such a little boy anymore.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

this is one stubborn kid!

I honestly don't know what to think about Hunter.  Seriously, I don't get him :)  Whenever he gets in trouble, he doesn't argue or whine, or try to get out of the punishment, he simply adheres to the punishment and moves on.  What kid does that?  Once again, last night he was refusing to eat dinner (we were having spaghetti) so I told him he had the choice of eating what was on his plate without complaint or he could go to bed.  Mind you, it was 6:00 pm (2 1/2 hrs before bedtime.)  He kept saying "Neither.  I don't want to do either one!"  So Brad picked him up and put him on his bed "If you decide you want to eat your spaghetti, you can come out and join us."
And that was it... no crying, no fighting...that was it.  15 minutes later he was sound asleep.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012


We're only one week into the new year... one week after setting my 2012 goals and I'm finding myself already completely overwhelmed with the tasks I have decided to take on... specifically with my Fitness goals.
I guess I should rewind a little further.  Last Sunday we talked about and wrote down our 2012 goals.  I had really been thinking about the process for more than a month.  Right around Thanksgiving time, I started writing down little notes here and there about different things I needed to work on/change/improve or wanted to accomplish in 2012 (i.e. "I WILL do a Triathlon!"  "STOP YELLING! :("  "Love Dare"  "Ugh, back to basics... Zero-Based budget is coming back." etc.) So, going into January 1st, 2012, I was feeling extremely prepared and confident that I knew what I wanted to accomplish.  2012 Fitness Goals

Feeling really good (and oddly confident) about my goals, I handed Brad the computer and asked him to look over them as he is dubbed my accountability partner for many of them.  His response?  "Babe, this is a LOT!"  My reaction; "What!?  A lot?  No it's not!!"  So, in typical Brad fashion, he handed it back to me and said "Well good job.  These are aggressive goals.  Are you ready to commit?"  Of course, this sparked a fairly one-sided conversation (me speaking to Brad) about how it's all very do-able and I just have to commit, I have a plan, blah blah blah.  Brad is one of the most supportive people I know.  He may not always be the one who will push me to dream bigger, but he is always there to tell me to suck it up and keep going, remind me how strong I am, ask me what I need from him in order to do said task, etc.  I am extremely thankful for his level-head and commit to support me.

I could go on for pages about the challenges, thoughts, victories, etc that I've felt this week so I am going to narrow it down to 3 goals.  If I had to rank the top three goals that I set for 2012 in order of importance to me, they would be;
1. Having patience with my boys, using a calm voice as I discipline (I yell entirely too much.)  Picking my battles wisely and following through with consequences.
2.  Getting back to the basics with our budget with the zero-based budget.
3.  Train for and complete my first triathlon. Woman of Steel Triathlon 2012

Good news is I can say I've taken steps in the right direction in all of these areas.   
-Brad and I spent a couple hours Friday evening re-visiting our budget, and moved forward on the same page and with a plan.  We even got through the "budget meeting" with no yelling and no fighting :)  Of course the conversation got heated a few times, but I can say we didn't yell, point fingers or even really "argue."  SUCCESS :)
-Though a daily challenge, I feel that every day I have little victories with how I speak to/with and discipline the boys.  I already see a difference in Carson.  He yells back WAY too much.  Unfortunately I know this is a direct response and learned behavior from his mother (ugh, that's me!)  So I know that as I improve in this area, he will also.  
-I got back in the pool on Thursday for the first time in 3 weeks.  While I was rudely reminded how difficult swimming is, I was actually a little surprised at how much I hadn't forgotten.  
-I ran outside for the first time since August (when I injured my back.)  It was also the longest run since the injury.  5 miles and I felt great!  No pain!

HOWEVER in all of these areas, I have already seen (what feels like) many challenges... and that is really what this blog post is all about.  Not the challenges themselves, but what I've learned (and been reminded of) through them.  I've been telling myself for at least 6 months now, that I have to stop racing to some supposed destination and start enjoying and learning from the journey.  This picture is currently my profile picture on facebook and the wallpaper on my iPhone.  
When I saw this picture I felt like it was made just for me.  I have a deep-rooted desire to be my absolute best in every area of life.  And yet I seem to fail so often (many times, epically.)  I am a complete perfectionist and am extremely hard on myself.  A weakness I struggle with is being able to break down the overall objective in to bite sized pieces instead of looking at the end goal and wanting to just be there... NOW.  This therefore typically results in either;
a. Starting strong but not finishing
b. Getting overwhelmed and doing things "half ass"
c. Losing focus
So... the key words in this picture are ONE. STEP. AT. A. TIME.  It's ok to desire and strive to be your best.  However I am learning that my "best" is not and never will be "perfection."  More importantly, I'm learning to be ok with that.  

Brad and I were sitting in the hot tub at the gym Thursday night, he was nursing a hip/psoas injury and I was procrastinating getting in to the lap pool.  The conversation turned toward the Buffalo Run 25K that is on both of our list of goals for 2012.  25K = 15.6 miles = the furthest either of us has ever run.  The longest race I have ever run is a half marathon (13.1 miles) and the longest Brad has ever run was a very tough 8 mile Ragnar leg.  14 months ago, when Brad was having his check up after his 4th (yes, I said 4th) knee surgery, his Doctor told him he should really consider biking or swimming in place of running and football.  Brad quickly told him that wasn't going to happen so his Dr. said he should limit his running to 9 miles per week then.  He suggested 3 miles, 3 times per week.  Last year, the year after his last surgery, Brad ran his first 5K, a very difficult Draper Trail Challenge and 3 Ragnars.  Getting tired of feeling like "the one that had bad knees and always had the easy Ragnar legs", he decided to choose a really challenging leg for the Napa Valley Ragnar and OWNED it.  He learned very quickly that he can't train like most people.  His knees simply would not last if he followed the intensity of a traditional training schedule.  So he has had to figure out the balance of training enough but not too much.  Last Saturday, we went out for a run (5 miles) and Brad found himself having to stop a few times.  We were talking about this in the hot tub and Brad said something that will always stick with me.  He said "When I feel like I want to stop, I run through a checklist in my head.  Do I want to stop because my knees hurt?  Do I want to stop because my hip hurts?  Yes?  Then stop.  It's ok to stop and walk for a moment.  No?  Then keep going.  Do I want to stop because I am sucking wind and I'm tired?  Yes?  Then keep going!"  As athletes, we all have those moments we have to stop listening to our whining body and start listening to our hearts so we can dig down deep and push past barriers.  This is how we accomplish great things.  However, as we have been learning together this past year, you also have to learn how to listen to your body and know when it is saying STOP, you are going to injure something rather than just STOP, I'm tired.  I personally really had to learn this with my back.  I have a bulging L5 disc and the only real way to know when the bulge has subsided is to go back and get another MRI.  Well, that's not going to happen.  So I have to learn to listen to my body and decipher what it is telling me.
After our conversation, I got in the pool and swam 12 laps (25 meters each = 300 meters total = a sprint triathlon distance for the swim).  I was again, faced with what feels like an unbreakable brick wall... 50 meters.  I have yet to go longer than 50 meters (2 laps) with out having to stop for several seconds.  I am completely out of breath after 50 meters.  I can physically swim 300 meters.  The question is how long is it going to take me?  I can't stop every lap while competing a triathlon!  I must commit more time to training in the pool!  So this brought up the real question; how do I make time for everything?  I refuse to give up lifting as I believe it is so important in maintaining my weight and staying strong.  I also have to devote time to running and cycling.  Currently, I work out 6 days/week - 3 cardio days and 3 strength days.  In talking with a few triathletes, they all suggest you swim at minimum 3 days/wk.  How do I break up the cardio between the swimming, cycling and running and still get my strength days in?  I feel confident enough in my ability to run a 5K with out devoting a lot of training time in running.  However, if I want to do the Buffalo run, I will have to ramp up my miles each week significantly.  These thoughts were filling my head as I was swimming my laps.  I just found myself feeling overwhelmed with the task ahead.  The next day, Brad and I wrote out our training schedule.  Planned out which days we would run or go to the gym together, etc.  I found a Masters swim class to do with a friend.  I had to take a step back and ask myself what I wanted more; the Buffalo Run or the Triathlon?  Well, it's a no brainer, really.  I am extremely excited to do a triathlon.  I can not wait for the feeling of accomplishment I will have after facing this challenge.  The only reason I want to do the Buffalo Run is because I think it would be such a great experience for Brad and I to do it together.  Don't get me wrong, it will be a great challenge to, but it's just not as important or exciting to me as the task of training for and completely my first triathlon.

I feel like through this week and the challenges that are in front of me, I have been reminded of two very important lessons;

1. You must have a plan... a written plan!
2.  It's better to do one thing really well than many things with mediocrity.

Though nothing had actually changed, I suddenly felt much better about the tasks at hand once I had a plan of attack.  I wasn't stressing about how to get my works outs in.
I also had to decide to be ok with taking the Buffalo run off my goal list to make room for the Triathlon, which for me is the higher priority.  This will allow me to devote more time to swimming and less time to running with out sacrificing performance on race day.

I think this is so true in all areas of life.  We overcommit ourselves and end up sacrificing quality for quantity.  Don't do it.

Remember how far you have come, rather than how far you have to go!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

dinner or early bed time?

As we sat down to dinner tonight, I hear the usual rumbling of complaints (i.e. Turkey again?!  Can I just have a fruit instead of corn?!  We had this two days ago?!)  The complaints were quickly put to rest and we all started eating.  Brad and I were onto seconds and the boys were still staring at their plates.  I said, "Listen.  You can sit here and eat this yummy food or you can go to bed.  Period!"  Carson looks at the clock, sees it is only 6:30 pm, two hours before bed time, frowns and starts eating.  Hunter however, says in a calm, non-confrontational voice, "I'm tired.  I'm going to bed.  Good night."  He walks over to both Brad and I, gives us a kiss and goes to his room.
SERIOUS?!  Thinking to ourselves, "this won't last", we say "Ok, good night.  Go brush your teeth and put jammies on."  15 minutes later, Brad walks into his room and sure enough, he is in jammies, tucked in to bed and eyes closed.  

How do you make a kid eat dinner that will gladly choose to go to bed 2 hours early rather than eat something he doesn't want to eat?!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Fitness Goals

As of January 1, 2012, my fitness goals are as follows;
(I'm sure I'll add to this as the year goes on...)

Race Schedule/goals:

  • March 24: Buffalo Run 25K (15.6 miles) on Antelope Island.  I will finish this trail run in no more than 2 hours and 45 minutes, averaging a 10:35 min/mile pace.  (This time goal is subject to change after I do a practice run on this course and determine the most realistic goal)
  • April 20-21: So-Cal Ragnar.  
  • Date TBD: Draper Trail Challenge 7 miler.  I will finish this challenging trail run in no more than 1 hour and 17 minutes, averaging an 11 min/mile pace.
  • June 15-16: Wasatch Back Ragnar
  • August 24-25: Hood to Coast in Seattle, WA.
  • May 19: Woman of Steel Sprint Triathlon.  This will be my first triathlon.  The swim and bike portions of this race are entirely foreign to me.  I have a LONG way to go as I have just learned how to swim a couple months ago.   This is both exciting and scary. 
    • 300 meter swim - My goals is to simply finish the swim in the alloted time allowed.
    • 12.4 mile bike ride - 
    • 3 mile run - My goal is to finish the run in 27 minutes (avg. of 9 min/mile)
  • On May 19th I am at my goal weight of 135 lbs.  This will require that I lose an average .5 lb per week.  It feels great to have consistency and balance in my approach to weight loss.  On this day I will be competing in my first Triathlon and feel great about the shape I am in.  
  • I follow my THF nutrition plans each week.  This will require planning ahead and consistency.
  • I allow for 2 cheat meals per week, keeping balance in my diet.
  • I am consistant in my workouts each week.  I exercise 6 days/wk, incorporating 3 days of strength and 3 days of cardio each week.  
I will approach my fitness goals with passion and hard work. I will listen to my body and give myself permission to slow down or change directions in any given moment in order to keep my back healthy.

I have two accountability partners with these goals; Brad Holdaway and Suzanne Loeser.

2012 Goal Setting

Another year has passed.  Have you changed in the last 12 months or did you waste the year staying the same?!  Change requires you to step out of your comfort zone and into the unknown.  If you want to change results then change in mindset, actions and behaviors must come first.  This means the result(s) in which you are striving for must have more significance to them than that of the inevitable pain of the change to come.

As you approach 2012, be intentional in your actions, have belief in yourself, your loved ones and most importantly, the strength you have in Christ.  Be willing to forgive yourself and those around you.  Be patient, loving and accepting.  Continue to be determined and driven.  Have resolve and DON'T QUIT!

S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting.  
Time stamped
(Remember to speak in present tense and about what you do want rather than what you don't want)

As I set my goals for 2012, I will use the S.M.A.R.T. criteria and break them down in to five specific areas;

  1. Spiritual
    • Personal Relationship with God
    • Growth in giving
  2. Personal
    • Relationships
    • Parenting
    • Growth in personal weaknesses
  3. Professional
    • Operation 61
    • P.E.I.
    • Real Estate
  4. Health
    • Nutrition 
    • Physical health
    • Exercise
  5. Financial
    • Asset acquisition
    • Liability elimination
    • Cashflow control
    • Education 
One more note.  Get some accountability!  I've decided to add an "accountability partner" to each of my set of goals.