If you are having a hard day....

or even if you aren't. Watch this. It pretty much covers any problem you may be having. I love this hymn so much, it just gets a bit frustrating that I can never sing it without crying.

   Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side. 
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to your God to order and provide;
in every change God faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: your God will undertake
to guide the future, as in ages past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
the Christ who ruled them while he dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord,
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow for forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

The week in pictures

Did you know that people mock me for my ever present ever clicking camera? (As you can tell this bothers me terribly). However along with the fact that I have never regretted taking photos, and capturing those memories, I find that it can also be a very effective means of journaling when life gets too hectic to keep a traditional one, and your brain needs to make space for current events. My photos download by date and I can keep track of where the week went by seeing one of the many snapshots that I take on most days. I feel blessed that God saw fit to put me in a time where digital photography exists. I am amazed at how quickly I forget and how much of my life would just be lost in the past if it weren't for my many, many photos.

So the last week is a blur, as are most weeks, but by downloading my camera I am able to bring it all back! Hooray! I must note that on Monday my sister Thalia had a birthday. Since my sister Thalia is in South Africa I did not manage to take any photos of her but this is one I took

when I was in her general vicinity in January
I also failed to mention the birthdays of my sister Shona on the 30th of March

and my brother (aka shrink) Seth on the 16th of April

They are all quite lovely are they not? I wrote them each birthday sonnets too (Thalia, yours is still a work in progress), but they are too replete with inside family jokes to be fully appreciated for the genius that they are on in a public forum.

Also, and only since she brought it up ......on Monday there was a traumatic event. Much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued.

On Tuesday, Finny had a bike parade at school. They rode around the college campus. The students thought this was very cute. Finny was rather excited. It was very, very sweet. You must click on the pictures so that you can see his expressions. They are too good to miss. Clicking on the pictures in general is always a good idea. The quality is much better. (This rule applies to any photos which do not include me)

His big brothers came to watch and lent their support on the long ride home

Then it was Whacky Wednesday which Finny marked thusly:

On Thursday I was talking to Aaron on the phone, and he somehow sensed (I have no idea how since I never whine), that I was feeling somewhat unhappy due to the lack of running, lack of flowers, subsequent lack of motivation and subsequent lack of order in the house. The PMS was the cherry on the top. As I was leaving for a TA stint with the first graders, he arrived at the front door. I asked him if he had been fired, and he replied to the negative. That was good. He said he just wanted to "fix a few things".

When I returned home about 2 hours later, I saw a walkway lined with freshly planted colourful tulips, a lovely clean house (including the disaster created by Gracie's "lesson"-yes, it had remained a disaster for all those days). I was filled with much joy and gladness. No, seriously I was. This man had managed to pull off a miracle which included going to the nursery and purchasing the tulips with the gift certificate that poor sweet Tiffany had given us as restitution. It just turned my whole state of mind from dark to light.

He really is phenomenal -the most thoughtful, least selfish person I know. And how lucky am I to be married to him? I know! Right? Also, next year (nature and neighbours willing) sorry Tiff I couldn't resist ;) I am going to have a bumper crop of tulips when the original ones return along with the new ones.

Whilst my heart was full of happiness and gratitude I thought it prudent to put on some running shoes and fulfill Aaron's one request, that I go for a run. I reaaaallllllly did not feel like it and decided that I would run a mile just to make him happy, besides this would be smart since I was just coming back after an injury and blah blah blah maybe I would just walk it, yes, I could just become a walker. They always look happy...blahblahblah...

In the end I ran a little over 6 miles (or 10 kms, which sounds better no?). And it was some of the most enjoyable distance running I have experienced in a very long time, maybe as long as I can remember. I made a concerted effort to go slowly (which is harder then you think when you are outside) and about 3 miles in, I was starting to feel some twinges in my achilles and shins, so I experimented with the horrifying 1 minute walking for every mile concept.

Except I now see you are actually supposed to take a walk break for like every 3 minutes of running- which I do not think I will embrace.

Anyway, holy cow, that minute goes fast! At first it felt like learning to walk again, it was very weird and uncomfortable but the subsequent times felt stretchy and very beneficial actually, and the pains went away. I came home feeling as if I could have easily run another 10kms and honestly, I am fairly sure I could run a marathon tomorrow using that method. I felt no soreness or ill effects, even though I expected to, having taken some time off. I am starting to quite warm to the idea of a slow and enjoyable marathon. I'm not sure what I averaged, it was slow but not you know..walking slow, probably a little under 10 min miles. I just know that I really focused on going much slower then I felt I could, which I thought would be excruciating, but it actually wasn't after I found a rhythm. I was able to just go into auto pilot, meditate and truly enjoy the pretty Spring surroundings. I ran out into the country and it was very peaceful, I could listen to really mellow music rather then the stuff I usually need to pump me up. I could even imagine *gasp* not running with music at all (I have run half marathons sans music before, now that I think about it. I believe I may go back to zen running, slowing way...way down, forgetting about my time, and just really enjoying it again. I think my body is designed for distance but not for speed and it appear to object to a combination of the two. I'll still have my adrenaline junky (relatively) "speedy "runs, but I will keep those short.

I should mention that I am working on getting control of the competitive aspects of my nature, they do not serve me well. Not even a little bit.

On Thursday, Gabe got his Wolf badge/certification Scout thingie-Yay Gabe! Benj got a few badges too, go Benj! At this juncture I must intercept by asking if there is anyone outside of this area who pronounces WOLF as WOOF. And if so, Why? Why? Why do they do this? I find it deeply disturbing. Even my kids, poor young impressionable souls that they are, started pulling the WOOF thing, but I nipped it in the bud, oh yes I did, never you fear. It was that or move immediately.

There's sweet Gabe receiving his badge (I found photos of him attaching a little wolf pin to my lapel-which I totally do not deserve as I have no input on the scout thing whatsoever, anyway it is a sweet concept, but those pictures make me look even more drunk and/or senile then ever so you will just have to imagine. ) And there is Benj providing some entertainment in the form of card tricks which I did not understand. (In other words, they were quite clever).
His interesting ensemble is due to having come straight from soccer practise.

Ah and I see that afterwards, Gracie (dressed in Daisy regalia) climbed a tall piece of playground equipment. I am relieved to have chronicled that for posterity. But really, the matching of her pinafore to the bars..I found it pleasing.

Speaking of Gracie, on Friday she had her kindergarten concert. Oh so so SO adorable it was! She was a greeter and passer outer of programs

She was so super focused on the task at hand. Serious, serious business. It was extremely funny and sweet.

And then there was Saturday and I am off to see what happened then as I was an absentee mother all day. Ah! What a surprise! Soccer for all. And it appears that my children are destined to soccer greatness. That there pointy blue headed young-un is the Finnster, scoring a goal. I sure wish his coach was not such a low reactor.

The blonde bombshell scored a couple too I heard

Gabe the babe showing Beckham how it is done

Benj going in for the kill

Ah the treasury of pictures I found in the this week's archives...there are photos of me vacuuming a light fixture and steam mopping the floor simultaneously, the coordination of which leaves me in awe, yet I will spare you as this is already a rather a long post. Also many pictures of spring marvels, blossoms and blooms and green, green, green. Happy happy! Joy Joy!

While my family were ensconced in soccer yesterday I was at a women's conference at church. It was really quite fabulous. The speaker really motivated and moved me, got me all raring to be a much better mother, wife and person with big albeit vague, plans to fulfill various life's missions and then, last night I had a really jarring, rug pulled out from under me moment which I will have to figure out a way to recount obliquely enough for public consumption. So I am going into the next week, reeling a little from that, but with a sense that this is one of those learning moments which I can use to grow closer to God and improve myself over...or not. I believe I will try the former approach. In my advancing years I am gaining a testimony that in the end, it all makes you stronger. Crazier first perhaps, but eventually..stronger. Life is so completely unpredictable and just when you think you are getting it a little bit down, you get a new test to shake things up and keep you awake and praying. It is a good thing I think. I don't love it, but I can see the value in it.
And then there was Sunday. On the way home from church, Benj and Gabe and Gracie recounted some of the articles of faith they have memorized (all on their own I might add). Benj has actually memorized them all. They have so much to teach their mother. I think that is why they were sent to me. I believe that if we could see each of our spirits, I would be a toddler and they would be quite venerable.

Also, on Sunday, I had a nap. I'm not going to lie, it was awesome. It is also the reason I am typing this now.

And so that is my week. A pretty ordinary week but with some extraordinary moments, which were it not for my trusty pet camera, I may have lost...dun dun duuuun...FOREVER. So there. Smile! Click.

Also, FYI. I am the Meanest Mom EVER...

Today, the perfect storm of a seriously crappy prior few days, raging raging PMS, lack of exercise , Finny sitting naked and crying over literally nothing (he claims it was ill-fitting underpants, I say it was nothing since those underpants were in good favour just last week), for a solid hour and the Apocalyptic state of Gracie's room came together.

And guess where I snapped? Ah yes gentle reader, you know me well. 'Twas the little princesses' cesspit that did it.

One moment I was picking up 15 random bits of paper that had clearly been cut with scissors which are very much banned in the bedroom, and the next, I was packaging up all toys and books in my path as I have threatened to do, lo these many years.

I spend a lot of time on that kid's bedroom "helping" her to tidy it, and each time she promises me with everything short of a blood oath that she will not mess it up to the same extent again. And each time I tell her that if she does, I will have to help her by minimizing the items she has at her disposal to create chaos with. Oh, she assures me soberly, there will never be need for that as she will never never destroy her room in a matter of minutes again.

But then she does, and oooohhhh how she does, and then doth the drama commence whereupon there is no way she can possibly clean it all up herself (and she is probably correct on that). This is where I enter, a whirling dervish of wrath, and spend precious hours of my life picking up the same crap (or reasonable facsimiles thereof) , as I picked up the last time, hissing and spitting away as she assures me it will be the last time ever, ever, and that it will never happen again. Never. It's the classic abuse cycle really. Not an optimal situation.

So today, amidst tremendous weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, truly, the most gut-wrenching, blood-chilling screams of "Mommy....NOOOO...Mommy! PLEASE! DON'T! NO MOMMY NOOOOOOOOO!!!! PLEASE!!!! I WILL DO ANYTHING" repeat ad nauseum increasing the volume each time (on the day that every single window and door of the house has been opened for airing of course), filled the air as I followed through. Now I await the arrival of CPS.

But my heart was hard, oh how hard it was! And with calm, yet grim and steely determination I continued to swath a path through the morass, tossing it all out the door as I went, to be relegated to the attic. I explained to her (although I'm not sure if bellowing to be heard over the mind-blowing decibel level she was emitting counts as effective explaining), that she would need to earn back items in exchange for showing that she could manage to keep the stuff she did have under control. Oh the unfairness! The inhumanity! The cruelty! She thought she might die (she really did say these words) I don't know where she gets the dramatic bent from. Must be a recessive gene in Aaron's line somewhere.

She threatened through her tears to tell all her friends of this and they would surely cease to like me. This did not move me as much as she seemed to think it would. Also, that she would tell her teacher. I thought that this was a super idea. She then wept for the grace of Daddy. I informed her that were Daddy here, he would be holding the boxes for me.

At one point I told her that if I were her, I would probably be spending my energy on picking up her treasured items and putting them away before I was able to dispense with them. She shrieked through her tears, "I am TRYING to, but you are just too fast! I wish that you would stop getting so healthy!" (I frequently stretch the truth by informing my children that I do not run to be skinny, I run only to be healthy).

Now her room looks delightful to me, very uncluttered and serene. To her it resembles a prison cell and she tells me she will be too afraid to sleep in there all alone with a mere 20 stuffed animals, bookshelf full of books and 3 boxes of toys under her bed. My landing on the other hand is completely stuffed with items that someone will have to box up and carry up to the attic. (Poor Aaron).
This is still waiting to be accomplished.

Gracie on the other hand is quite recovered from the traumatic incident, and no doubt will have zero recollection regarding which of her priceless treasures were ripped from her bosom in a day or too. I may as well just donate it all now.

Once again, I have managed to find a punishment to punish the parents rather then the child. Score one for the genius masochistic mama! Yeah me!

You are all officially off the hook....

Demean away people! Demean away!

White people will train for months, telling everyone who will listen about how they get up early in the morning, they run when it rains, how it makes them feels so great and gives them energy.

When they finish the marathon, they will generally take a photo of themselves in a pair of New Balance sneakers, running shorts, and their marathon number with both hands over their head in triumph (seriously, look it up, this is universal).

They will then set goals like running in the Boston Marathon or the New York Marathon.

If you find yourself in a situation where a white person is talking about a marathon, you must be impressed or you will lose favor with them immediately. Running for a certain length of time on a specific day is a very important thing to a white person and should not be demeaned.

So this is where I'm at on the training

I don't know if I have mentioned it before but if I do not exercise for more then 2 day in a row, I completely lose all desire to exercise ever again. Ever. If I miss day I'm all raring to go, 2 days, I'm still kinda into it. 3 days...it's over. I hurt myself last Wednesday so you do the maths.

However, it is rather crucial for my health that I do exercise since a few days of my spastic adrenaline gland not getting a flushing makes me begin to resemble a Parkinson's patient. I also get irritable and depressed. Which makes me less inclined to want to exercise. It's a very special time. Fortunately I am obliged to exercise with other people so I cannot remain in my state of inertia forever even if I may want to and that is my saving grace.

I'm thinking I will take Carolyn's advice and "quit". That would probably make it fun again.

One of those time wasters you can feel good about....

we waste time as a family with this. It's good stuff. Highly, highly addictive though. We have donated like a gajillion grains of rice and we now know what antediluvian means. Now that is a relief I'll tell ya.

Help end world hunger

In other news, the training is going well. Not. I am having OCD issues. (Now there's an unexpected development!) It's not good.

Here are the issues of the day:

1. I cannot miss a day on the training schedule because omigosh! there will be a blank day on the training schedule and I will never make it up! And I will obsess over it until the day that I die or my family and all the friends who haven't already, move away and enter a OCD-protection program so that I can never find them. I can just imagine them, living in Arizona somewhere, they'll change Gracie's name to Bobbi-Jo or Suzi-Lee, I just know they will, and Aaron will have to start a new career as a used car salesman. But it will be worth it to them.

2.I have an injury and the Internet says it must must MUST be rested or I will become one of those people who speak wistfully with misty eyes of running in the past tense, after I have hobbled in pain for several years, experienced painful leg surgery, had a lobotomy and finally admitted defeat. So I missed a day. I wasn't loving the idea of getting out there to run 8 miles whilst still sore, I'll be honest, but still, a day has been missed and I just don't even know what to do with that. I suppose I will have to start over and erase all former entries in my training data base.

3. I have been reading about the concept of walking breaks improving ones marathon time, all but eliminating the chance of injury and making running a marathon a generally non-horrific experience.

It sounds like a good thing, but the OCD is fah-reaking about this. How can I run a marathon if I am taking walking breaks (right from the beginning !!!!! it only works if you start when you are still feeling brave and strong and have in your mind that running a marathon is an awesome idea and your body does not yet hate you with every fiber of its being).

I am used to walking, well not at all. I will not allow it because that would mess up the fact that I am running. And I would have to start over. (I am still tortured over the time I slowed to a shuffle during a drink break at mile 13 or so of a 15 miler). In my copious reading on this subject during my missed run today, I have been most heartened to read of other OCD runners (even those who run marathons in like 25 mins who had the same anguish over this issue, did it anyway to prove the theory wrong and improved their time by 15 mins, thus running a 5 minute marathon). I may be exaggerating a tiny bit, but this is a comfort to me as I ponder the possibility.

4. ALSO it wants me to run at LEAST 2 minute slower on my long runs then what I want my marathon pace to be. I don't think I can cope with that either. First, my marathon pace will be one minute slower then my regular pace, two minutes slower then my hard pace (which is respectable but hardly elite), tack 2 mins onto that and I mean, sheesh, why not just walk then?! (Oh that's right-I WILL BE WALKING.....AAAAAAAGH). So basically we are looking at a shuffle/walk hybrid marathon. I checked with the OCD and it says this does not count. I really am trying to persuade it otherwise with limited success.

So this is where I am: I can see the wisdom in all this and a part of me, is thinking, "whoohooo, I may not die doing this after all!" but the OCD within is crying and dying at the concept. Given the number of injuries and my general health issues over the last year, it seems that it would be prudent to take a moderate approach to this endeavour and do whatever the Internet says is least likely to make me crippled or dead.

However, where is the fun in that?

If it is all nice and pain free where is the high when I get done? Huh? Where?? I mean, the training process may be less painful but let's face it, any way you cut it, after 15 miles or so, it 'aint fun, I don't care who you are. It may be fun when you are actually doing the marathon, with people cheering, and music blaring, and rest stops looming. However when you are a lone, lone soul, listening to your iPod on mile 1,825 out of 1,926 of your training, and this training has taken you along more or less the same very,very bland paths for several months of alternatively humid and freezing weather, I'm thinking you are:
1) Sick of every song that was ever sung by any artist ever
2) Bored to the point of puking with every tree, stick, stone and piece of pavement in a 25 mile vicinity of your home
3) In some kind of pain in every part of your body anyway.

All this to say that you may as well be in searing, desperate pain from running the whole time, and enjoy the sensation of stopping at the end more then anything else you have ever experienced or likely ever will. Rather then in boring, moderate pain and finding the end to be a bit on the anti-climatic, ho-hum side. No?

Don't worry, in 28 weeks or so this will all be over and if I am still alive, and anyone is still reading this blog we can move onto something different. Like obsessing if I should run another marathon.


(Very) White Men Can Jump

I took these at Benj's first game of the season today. He is a springy kid isn't he? I just love to watch him play. He is so driven and determined and also so smart about how he plays. There is a combination of shame and pride when you know that your child is making strategies that you don't understand. The selective hearing comes in handy here as I shout encouraging advice from the sidelines which if taken, would surely result in him losing the game. I am slowly learning to just be quiet and let him do his thing.

I took some of the sibs on the sidelines today too. They were all fresh from practice.

Have I mentioned I am in love with this boy?

I love love love this picture. This is his absorbed expression. Here he is absolutely transfixed with a cute toddler sitting next to us. He adores babies. It makes me sad that he probably won't have a younger sibling to coddle, but then I remember that all my kids adore babies, and one has to stop somewhere. He will be a very good dad one day.

When I asked him if he liked the baby, he made this expression:

and said, "yes he is SO CUTE!" I may need to eat him.

This is my favourite girl in the world. (Basking in the glow of my favourite inanimate object)
She is an incredibly affectionate child and would be happy to be locked in continuous embrace with me. When it doesn't make me crazy (I'm a "need my spppppaaaaaace" kinda girl), it makes me feel very loved. Here we are earlier this week, all happily basking in the artificial rays of the SAD box.

And even more happily today, in the real rays. I'm not sure why my tongue is hanging out. Maybe I do this do this all the time? Maybe only when I am overheated? Only others can say. Maybe that is why I get such a dry mouth when I run? These are interesting points to ponder.

And then there is this gorgeous kid who gets more toothless all the time.
I pulled out a couple more in the last couple of weeks which was a dramatic experience to say the least. I have decided that it is most fortunate that he will never give birth. Or get cramps.

Here he is this evening, voluntarily sharing his cookie with Finny. Who had rashly eaten his own already. He is a pretty angelic child. Despite the demonic expressions he consistently pulls for the camera.

I love my kids. They are the coolest. It is seriously so much fun to be their mom, they are much cooler then me, but they are nice and let me eat lunch with them. I wish I could freeze time for a while. I can almost see them growing lately, and when I watch them, I often have to deal with an overwhelming wave of emotion which consists of amazement at how wonderful they are, an almost violent need to squeeze them, and some small sense of panic that this will not last forever and I cannot bear it to end. It's like that bitter-sweet feeling you get when you are on holiday in a beautiful (sunny) place. It is so amazing, but you know you will have to leave it soon.

The one thing that I always come back to cling to, is that I have been this way for every stage of their lives, and each one has been even better then the last. I really do my best to live in the moment and just enjoy it, but the upside to my complicated neurotic love is that I think that knowing it goes so quickly makes me take less for granted.

Signs of spring...

Gracie teaching school to two brothers and a kangaroo in the gazebo

Front path

Still no leaves on the bedroom tree. The countdown continues...

Happy Birthday Samusani!!

My little brother Seth turns 29 today. I can't believe it. We were just 3 and 6 respectively.

I wrote him quite the birthday sonnet but will refrain from posting it as Luke says that by posting his birthday tome, I was like a rapper who writes a "song" for his girlfriend to apologise for cheating on her, and then records it and makes a ton of money off it. (Somehow this rapper analogy applied to me posting his birthday poem on my blog, and dedicating it to a few dozen other people).

So I refrain from ruining the sacredness of Seth's sonnet. However I will say that he is the bomb diggity yo.

My neighbour has everything...

I have the best neighbour, she always has everything I may need and she shares nicely. Tonight she had some questions for me to answer.

In other words, she tagged me and provided the following rules:

1) Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog
2) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4) Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Soooo off the top of my uninspired head:

1.I cannot sleep if I have not removed my contact lenses, washed my face and moisturized, brushed my teeth and flossed. Even if it is 4am and I can hardly stand and I run the risk of putting toothpaste into my contact lens case, I must do these things or there will be no sleep for me.

2. Ironically I used to keep my contact lenses in for weeks at a time and they never bothered me. My mother was appalled by this. They bother me pretty much all the time now that I am diligent about removing them.

3.On my second official day of marathon training I appear to have injured my achilles tendon. I did not run further or faster then usual. It was just the act of announcing a marathon training schedule that did me in. I have never had any issue with my achilles tendon until I decided to do a marathon. (My bum knee is just great though).

4.My favourite perfume is Beautiful by Estee Lauder and I wear it all the time because it reminds me of my mommy.

5. I ordered this yesterday. I can't wait to get it because try as I might, I can't keep all the lines and times straight. I am increasingly motivated to figure it all out though because the Book of Mormon is a really exciting read. More so each time I re-read it. Weird but true (and cool).

6. There are few things more delicious to me then freshly bathed, dried and baby-lotioned kiddies. I love to dry their hair, and comb it so they look like a beautiful princess or a handsome devil, trim all their nails, dress them in cute PJ's and then just cuddle their warm, soft, sweet smelling selves. (The older two are too big for most of this routine, but the little ones enjoy it as much as I do I think. And the older two indulge me in the cuddling part pretty well).

7. I really think I would choose to be alone in a room with a bear over alone in a room with a rat.

I nominate anyone who has ever commented on my blog. (I actually don't think there are 7 people.....sniff...HINT..sniff. I would love to tag you personally if I knew who you were!)

One thousand nine hundred and twenty seven miles.....

I have taken to singing it to the tune of Seasons of Love from Rent to reduce my mild horror over the fact that I have officially begun training for a marathon, and that is the number of miles I will have to ambulate in training, before I have the pleasure of running 26 miles 386 yards or to put it in a measurement that makes sense to the rest of the world: 42.195 kilometers in one day (or around 4 hours). Four hours of running without stopping. Wheeeeeeee! But let's focus on the end shall we? Being done will feel incredible, there are few feelings more fantastic then the mixture of relief and elation and relief you experience upon completing a race (or natural childbirth except there's a t-shirt in place of the baby at the end of a race).

Funny the things we will endure for that sort of high. I have not ever run much more then 15 miles (which is a little over a half marathon) at a time, so I'm not sure if one is coherent enough at the end of a marathon to feel what one feels at the end of a half. I'm just hoping the high is twice as good and that I'm not incapable of feeling at all (or wishing I was).
At least I have great socks eh?
I apologise in advance for all the whining.

Like budder....

Last week my legs really started to whinge and then openly scream their objections regarding my cheapness and failure to provide them with new running shoes at the recommended 400 mile mark which seems to be one thing that you cannot seem to get away with fudging on and being cheap about. Your legs, they KNOW when your shoes are running on borrowed time, and they don't care whether or not your bank account is running on borrowed money (on account of it all being stolen for cigarettes and such). They want new shoes and they want them NOW or somebody(part) is going to get hurt man! There is no negotiating with the legs when they get like that.

It had been close to a year and many thudding miles since I got my last pair, and since the legs had made it so very clear that I was risking major injury by not giving in to their demands, we decided to make the pilgrimage to the awesome running store with all the smart wirey looking people who tell the dumb wannabes what to do in order not to kill or maim themselves in their athletic efforts. Said store is far, far away (because we like to live in places which are far, far away from anything cool) so we generally make a family outing of it and go out for a high calorie meal after getting all geared up for running.

Aaron and the kids remained in the car as I "dashed" in with the intention of just grabbing the same pair as I had been running in (as they rock, when they are not millions of miles old). I made eye contact with a wiry but compassionate looking young fellow named Ryan (actually he is probably quite a bit older then me and saying "young fellow" makes you seem very geriatric doesn't it? ) who rushed over to assist me. No doubt having visions of hefty commissions dancing in his head as he saw me reaching out involuntarily to touch all the pr-etty, preeeeteeeeee shiny running clothes. (I think I have previously established here that I am compelled to touch all fabrics in all stores..no? Well I am. I'm like, 2 years old that way)

Incidentally, why is it that technical running clothing (which is generally quite ugly) is so insanely expensive? I saw something that actually made me recoil at its hideousness, for like $85, and it was a t-shirt. I did not see wings or a turbo pack sewn into it anywhere either.

Anyway, back to Ryan. So Ryan was happy at that moment I am sure. He whipped off my worn down running shoes and started checking out my arches and finding out how fast (not terribly) and far (reasonably) I run, and finding me the appropriate shoe.

So I was laced into various shoes, and running through the store, out on the sidewalk, happily waving to the family in the car, as Ryan's eyes got increasingly glazed over, and he realized that he was losing the sales of an entire track team, while I deliberated in an OCD like manner over two different pairs of mid-priced shoes. Of course in the end, I found that the most deliciously comfortable and cushy shoe was.... the exact shoe I had been running in prior to this outing. Which also happened to be the one Ryan himself runs in. It may be psychological, but I ran a faster 5K then I have run in a while today in those little orange cushy pretties, and legs sent messages of their appeasement too.

Since this is a question I am asked a lot (as if I am the world authority on running shoes), if you are in the market for a shoe and like me, have a pretty normal foot, stable arch and do not pronate, you may want to check out this one.

The one that came in a close second was this one.

But now onto even more important business. I have found the holy grail of running socks! Wirey Ryan was quite emotionally invested in how these socks had changed his life, and I'm all like, "whatever, Ryan, dude..it's a sock, you need to get out more, fella" (Ok really, I was all big eyed and rapid nodding the way you do when you are in the presence of people who know way more about stuff that interests you then you do). But still, I was sceptical that these socks are going to be the religious experience that Wirey Ryan claims they would be, until I slipped them on...and my soles achieved nirvana. Duuuuuuuuuuuuude. I never, never wanted to take off those socks. In fact I am craving wearing them right now just thinking about them, (but alas they are sweaty and unwashed). They feel like silk, soo smooth and soft and just plain yummy (hence the "like budder" title). Sadly, like many good running socks, they are around $10 a pop so my instinct to grab as many pairs as it would take to wrap my entire body in and just roll around in ecstasy, was thwarted. I should have at least bought two pair, because now I guess I am going to be compelled to wash this pair daily as my feet can never go back to the horror I was subjecting them to before in, you know, $8 a pop running socks. Shameful and abusive I am to my poor feet really. Bless their soles (Speaking of shameful and abusive, I hearby apologise and promise that this is the last time I will ever use that very pathetic pun).

I was even more delighted by my new discovery (with the assistance of Wirey Ryan) when I saw that they are made in South Africa. Which explains everything. I expect to have no more issues with the huge blisters at the end of each of my toes and the threat of lost toenails whenever I run more then 5 miles.

These socks are edging out my steam mop for most favourite inanimate object. Well ok I get carried away, maybe not. (At least not until the muddy season is over) but they are neck on neck and creeping up quite close behind the light box and they may even outdo the shoes themselves.

So without further ado, I give you... Belega socks.
Do not let their humble appearance fool you.

So I guess all that is left to say is, Just do it and balega* baby! Happy trails.

*Balega is a Zulu word and literally translates as " TO MOVE WITH SPEED ."

What not to do when committing a felony

Upon stealing a credit card and going on a shopping spree with it:
1. Don't shop at major retailers who take security photos of every customer at the time of their purchase.
2.Don't purchase cigarettes which require you to show your ID
3.Don't purchase cigarettes which require the entry of your birth-date into the system
4.Don't live in a small town where the police have time to match up your birth date (and thus drivers license) with the several good photos they have of you in various major retailers using your stolen credit card.
5.Don't go to more then one store to use your credit card and get photographed doing so, each photo counts as an automatic felony rather then the misdemeanor you may get away with, without the snapshot.
6.Don't be signing someone else's name for your stolen purchases. Another felony (gosh they are adding up) It's called forgery.
7.Don't steal someone whose credit card is in fact a debit card, in the week before payday. Your shopping spree will be fairly short lived before the checking account runs dry, and you may as well have a really good time with a real credit card (look for Gold or Platinum) for all that time you are going to spend in jail.
8. Just so you know, it is considered bad form to shoplift with a small child in tow. (Plus small children tend to squeal with the narcs come around.)

Seriously I feel very sorry for these people, quite sick about it actually. Ugh, so sad. They have not yet been charged but they have been identified. As of tonight, they remain blissfully unaware as to their impending fate, unless they read my blog that is. Because you know, so many people do.

In case recent news stories had you wondering..

This might help to clear some things up. (thanks for the link Jen)

Btw, this guy is Mormon too. (He isn't married to anyone)

And so is she. (She is her husband's only wife.)

Green, green its green they say..

Last Sunday I woke to sunny beautiful weather, but that wasn't enough for me. I checked the tree outside our bedroom window and noticed that it remained completely barren and brown. When I calculated how long it had been since it had leaves, I came up with six months. SIX MONTHS PEOPLE. That means for half of my life in this forsaken place I exist sans signs of life on trees. No photosynthesis taking place, no green. NO GOOD. We really must move. I think it is a shameful waste of one's life, and possibly a sin, to spend half of it living in a state of greenlessness when there are so many beautiful places in the world. Three months, I can handle, 'tis the natural order of things after all. A season for all things. Alright. This is Biblical. Fine. But six? No. Wrong. Cruel. Unusual. Not Good.

To be fair, the last few days I have noticed this happening out of my kitchen window:

And there is this happening along my front path:

Which look like this when picked by children on their way in from school:

But I am still waiting for signs of spring outside my bedroom window, and the counter continues to tick until then. I have the sort of grim satisfaction that I imagine perverse people who enjoy bad news have, every time I open my bedroom curtains to see it remain leaf-less. We are in something of a stand off that tree and I. A sort of homo-sapiens/botanical staring contest.

Yesterday was a bad day and I think today needs to be a good one, so I will stop whinging (as we say in SA-a term my husband has picked up with great relish), and tell you a few things which make me happy.

Some of the things which make me happy. By Kirsty, aged 32 and quite a few days.

1.When Gracie is late for school (this may happen on occasion), Benj's class is coming in from recess. Instead of rushing inside so that she does not get a tardy, she stands at the door and waits for the long line of 4th graders to come by (since as you know Benj takes moral pride in being last) and then he breaks out of line and runs over to her and they give each other a big hug, right in front of all his tough guy friends. I think this is seriously the sweetest thing as I watch from the car like a stalker.

2.I have gone for 3 runs outside this week, and today I will be going on another.

3. It is FRIDAY of course. I love Friday, it holds so much possibility and promise. In fact the anticipation of the weekend is very often better then the weekend itself.

4.I just discovered that we have nothing scheduled for tomorrow! Which means we have a few days reprieve from the time when we sign our lives over to soccer and nothing but soccer. Hooray!

5. Finny's absolutely perfectly beautiful baby face sleeping next to me when I wake up every morning. And his warm soft cheek to kiss when he wakes up.

I also like that my littlest kids climb in bed with me in the morning. I usually have to get up long before they do though. It is so sweet to hear them breathing in unison. (Gracie's sleeping face is absolutely perfect and angelic too, I just don't see it right next to mine as often ;) I will be sad when no-one wants to snuggle with me in the mornings anymore. Well apart from Aaron, but that's different.

6.Gabe doing the most ridiculous things to make Finny smile when he is sad. Yesterday he put a chair on his head and let me put Finny on the chair which made him laugh. I am sure Gabe was in some discomfort to say the least, but he lives to make his little brother happy.

7.When my girls at church say, "Sister Sayer we just love you!" 'Cos I love them too.

8. Shoes. Cliched, but I'm sorry but they do. I am wearing this pair today:
(and yes, I did just stick my white leg out and take a blurry picture of my shoe as I sit here typing this to you, and yes I am aware that there is something troubling about that). I have been waiting for warm weather to break these out since I bought them on clearance and I find them enjoyable. I have a friend at church who is keeping a count on the number of pairs of shoes I have. Really, it is NOT that many-did I mention my house is the size of a shoebox? ONE shoebox? And my closet is the size of a matchbox, so an Imelda Marcus-esque collection would be impossible, but she claims to never see the same pair twice. I wish ;)

9.Fresh blueberries on my cereal every morning. Ohhhh yummy. They are expensive but totally worth it because they are so good for you. (This is what I tell myself as I stand in the produce section agonizing over paying my mortgage versus buying my blueberries-have I mentioned how much it bothers me that fruit is so expensive here? Even when you live right where it is grown!)

10. My kids totally engrossed in a project or adventure together.When they get together they are oblivious to everything else. I often find a show they really wanted to see, playing to no audience, and hear them running around together upstairs or outside alternatively whispering as they plot together and then shrieking with joy and thrill. They are so lucky to have each other.

Reason #43472 not to shop at Wal Mart

When your husband is checking the online bank statement and sees a charge from That Place, he immediately knows that your credit card has been stolen, and is able to stop further charges. He calls the credit card company who say, "sir are you sure your wife didn't make these purchases?" to which he says very confidently, "my wife would NEVER shop at Walmart". Sniff..I am so touched, and proud of him.

I am disappointed with other members of humanity tonight though, because I know where it was stolen, and I made eye contact with each person that could have possibly stolen it, and they looked like nice, normal people with kids even, and they saw me, and that I looked like a nice normal person(I guess looks were deceiving for us both).

Furthermore, they saw that I was a nice normal flustered person with a poor child who looked miserable and had a mouth full of bloody gauze who just wanted a milkshake, whose mom did not have any cash, (because who carries cash?), which is all that the nice friendly small town sundae shop takes, so dizzy mom ran out to the car to gather all parking change, leaving poor bloody mouthed child and useless credit card on the counter as collateral for the milkshake he has already started to partake of. I think it was while we were counting out all the dimes and nickels together, that someone swiped my card. Then they smiled warmly again at me and my tragic looking child as we left, without realizing that we were sans credit card, and proceeded to treat themselves to lunch, (what, the ice cream wasn't enough- glutton!?) and then engage in a shopping spree at two different stores, one of of them being WalMart! GAH!! See? Criminals shop at Wal mart!!

I also had the pleasure of coming home from an endless soccer coach certification tonight (because apparently I am going to coach soccer now) to see a cop car in front of our house, and very tall official looking cop in our living room, no doubt making us good neighborhood gossip fodder It was disconcerting. (My kids were soooo excited.) It seems that they can get security photos of the exact time the purchase was made and from there they may be able to ID the perp. I like that word-perp. However, I think this is a very, very long shot in the dark and that my idea of going back to the sundae shop and waiting for the same people to show up looking to take advantage of other flustered mothers fresh from the pediatric dentist, is a much better idea.

I know this is my fault for being so irresponsible. I really do generally return my card very promptly and carefully into my wallet-truly! But it is not every day that your bloody mouthed kid has already started drinking a sundae that you may not be able to pay for, and I was off my game, man! Just my luck that this was when unscrupulous sundae eaters were lurking in wait.

I wonder if they will feel really thrilled with themselves tonight as they program their new TIVO, super chuffed at having gotten away with something, or if they were just desperate and needed diapers (lots of diapers) and are feeling empty and grossed out by what they did. These are the things that I ponder. Either way, I feel genuinely sad for them. I will be reimbursed and my life will ultimately be unaffected (although it will cause quite a bit of hassle and my innocence has been shattered, SHATTERED I tell you! What? Felonies happen in small town Ohio?? Who knew??!), but ack, it is going to take so much more to reconcile their spiritual and karmic bank statement. And now I have to worry about them. Bummer.

Sharing Time Sunday

So since I am somewhat attached to my laptop this weekend, I'm spring cleaning /purging my bookmarks folder. Here's some stuff I thought you'd might like to check out before I take it to Goodwill.

This woman is cooking in her crockpot for one full year
and not just stew and other mushy stuff! You may never have to be there while you cook again.

Not sure if I'm loving it but different and quite cool
Reflections of Christ. Collaborative photographic project

Simply phenomenal.
Theo Jansen Kinetic Sculptor

A resource any animal/bug/science crazy kid or parent is going to love
Encyclopedia of Life

Photos of beautiful rooms to get your creative decorating juices flowing
Desire to Inspire

Never fails to make me laugh. My eternal love and thanks to Jen Lynn for introducing me to it one dark and dreary day, so long long ago.
Cutest youtube clip ever
And now here is one for you Jen Lynn. Watch both faces carefully. Classic. I bet Tiffany's husban loves t his one too

Trust me, you will feel it
World's best butt workout

Seriously. No lie. I even have pregnant women do these and they have better abs after baby then before. (And they push very effectively too)
Better abs without crunches

Because there are only so many ham and cheese sandwiches one can eat
Healthy packed lunch ideas

“True greatness … always requires regular, consistent, small, and sometimes ordinary and mundane steps over a long period of time.”-Howard W. Hunter
When the housework starts to get you down

Since there is this big shortage with wheat and all
The Top Secret Superfood

How to fold a shirt in 2 seconds
And all manner of other shirt and folding related information if that is what floats your boat

You are not the only one who is crazy
Since there seem to be so many of us afflicted with the OCD

And you don't even have to buy a new appliance!
When you feel the need

Because American's think they have it hard with gas prices.
Find the cheapest gas in your area

(and for some perspective on that matter)

Which is why the world is in such pristine shape of course..

Gracie: *dusting cinnamon sugar off the couch* Whoever keeps eating on the couch, should STOP!
Gabe(sagely) Benj was eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch off a plate there earlier
Benj (sheepishly) Well I didn't mean to mess!
Gabe: (defensively)And mommy always eats her cereal sitting on the couch!
Gracie:(indignantly) Yes but she does not spill!
Benj: (wistfully)What is it about grown ups that gives them the capability not to mess?!
Gabe: (wisely)It's the bigger BRAINS!

Spiritual spa

Every 6 months we have a worldwide general conference where we listen to the Prophet, Apostles and other leaders of our church speaking about the doctrines of Christ and how they pertain to us in today's circumstances. It takes place over the course of two days which is referred to as "Conference Weekend". In the last few years it has become possible to access this broadcast live on the internet so for most of this weekend, I will be close to ye olde laptoppe.

The older I get, the more I appreciate these weekends. I find them incredibly uplifting and grounding at the same time, they remind me of the importance of my roles in this world, and give me the strength and inspiration to carry them out better. They help the "noise" of every day life to fall away and help me to better identify my true values and where my focus and energies will best be used. I am reminded about how much and how unconditionally I am loved. These things make me excited to be alive and about my potential. They make me feel lighter.

I am also always astounded by the level of speaking, the articulateness and brilliance of those that do, is in itself inspiration to become more well read, better educated and to generally improve the quality of my thought processes and communication.

On the surface, these conferences are not entertaining in a flashy way. There is no rocking band or gospel choir (although one must admit that it would be hard to create a more spectacular performance then that of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), there is no shouting, dancing or healings, audience participation is limited to the sedate raising of an arm in the sustaining of votes. What there is a lot of is mostly aging men in dark suits, speaking in very moderated tones. (Although there are some more brightly dressed women to break things up from time to time.)

All in all not really the stuff one would think of as a big draw for the kiddy crowd on a beautiful, warm spring day. But this morning during the first session (2 hours) although they were not compelled to, my Benjamin (9) sat next to me listening and of his own volition took pages and pages of dense notes which were his interpretation of the things that were said and later told me that he "was really moved" not just by what was said but how he felt when they were said.

Gracie (6) sat by my side the entire time too and produced a most beautiful picture of Jesus, also of her own volition, Gabe (7) watched quietly with Aaron on his laptop (ah technology), and even Finny (3) stayed nearby, playing quietly and joining in when the choir sang, often asking me what was being talked about "Is it Jesus, mommy?". I know they feel the spirit of this event, and I think it soothes their souls or as Benj said, "moves" them, too. I think there is so little in the world that has the power to genuinely and lastingly speak to, move, and soothe our souls and I am so grateful my children have access to something that does. I believe that anyone who listened with a similarly open heart would experience the same. And I think that is pretty remarkable. If you are going to be around your computer this weekend too, I'd highly recommend the experience. :)
(Broadcasts are from 12-2, 4-6 EST)

Internet! Those were not hypothetical questions!!

Apart from the kind input from Carolyn and Judgemental Julie©, the rest of you leave me to wonder and obsess over your silence. Is it all that bad and unspeakably abnormal??! Come on now People! Work with me here! (Have you noticed how I have become less c'est la vie regarding the Silent Ones as time goes on?)

Now that the requisite who-are -you -and -why -won't- you- talk -to- me? monthly beratement is out of the way, let me show you some pictures of my 9 year old son Benjamin engaged in a lie detection test. I was able to administer part of this test and it is startlingly accurate. Quite freaky really. I think every mother should be given one of these when their children become teenagers. Not unlike how they give you those chintzy formula company diaper bags when you leave the hospital presumably as your parental "starter kit". On your child's 13th birthday, somebody official should show up with one of these for you to set up near the front door for convenient interrogation purposes as teens come and go. Dontcha think?

By the way, Benjamin was as guilty as sin, but they let him off on a technicality.