Thursday, August 28, 2008

I get it already!

Alright. As much as I love the word "svelte", it will most likely never be used to describe me. Over the years I have experienced both thick and a wee bit of thin-ish. But I have never been tiny and my goal in life is not to be tiny-but to feel good in my clothes and be pro-active about my health. I actually enjoy a good round of sport (said with a British accent). And when I am comfortable with those I'm with, I don't mind leaping in all my glory to grab a ball. However, over the years, (and after being told by Chirstine Hammer that I looked like jell-o running. I will never forget Christine!), I realized that it was less embarrassing to accept my role as the chubby girl and pretend I didn't enjoy anything requiring athletic interest. So getting crazy on the field was and still is reserved for the closest of friends (or for pitch black sports arenas).

I have joined different gyms, have lost pounds and have also been re-introduced to them as well over the years. I have been dedicated and not so dedicated. But I recently found a place that offers great equipment, and challenging classes without the meat market feel of many gyms, and is not too far from home. And though I sometimes feel a little awkward because of the jiggle factor, I jump right in and push myself. What I find funny though,(and by funny I mean annoying)is that many times I am still going strong even when a handful of less jiggly women have had to stop. And yet after class the instructor will always say to me in a surprised tone, "Good for you for not giving up." or "You made it!" I know these are meant to be words of encouragement and I appreciate the intent, but sometimes I just want to say, "Yeah-well Jane Fonda called and she wants her leotard back-booyah!"

Don't get me wrong. I realize that a lack of excercise and/or healthy eating play a large role in why we gain weight -and I am not claiming to be a marathoner. But goodness! Laziness is not exclusive to those who struggle with weight. And health is not exclusive to all who don't.

Now, it doesn't happen very often but it has been my experience that there is sometimes one person who is disturbed by the fact that I can keep up. And it is also my experience that the person who feels this makes sure to inform me that they are capable of more. In these instances, I realize that her own body image is most likely fragile and I am readily empathetic. In these instances, I am also happy that I have learned not to define myself completely by the size of my jeans.

I must say that for the most part, my fellow women are fun and accepting and humble about their own physical insecurities. And there is no better way to bond as a group of women than to contort yourself over an excercise ball with a tension band wrapped like a pretzel around your legs. We are all in the same boat ladies. We all at one point in time have wondered how we measure up. We all live in a world that trivializes virtue and over-sells the importance of image. And no matter what-we all look rockin' hot in sweatbands!

Friday, August 22, 2008

From One Generation to the Next

When reading teacher comments on a report card it is important to be aware of every message the teacher is trying to send. Most teachers are polite in their approach and many underlying messages may not be uncovered at first glance. As the years went by, I began to realize there was a common statement being made in my report cards. The comments usually went something like this..."Jill is a bright girl and has many friends. Her talkative nature is appreciated... most of the time." Or one that went something like this..."Jill has many friends. She seems to do well socially, however, may have difficulty not socializing during class." And this is by far the most straightforward comment..."If Jill would just apply the same amount of effort to her school work as she does her socializing...". Clearly this teacher did not recognize my pure talent (which I realize would be a much more powerful statement had I turned out to be famous or something). The above examples, in case you are somewhat unsure, are teacher's code for "Tell you daughter to zip it!".

Anyway, all of this is funny because Maddie came home her second day of school and said, "Today was great but my teacher gave me a check on the board because I was talking during class." I replied, "Maddie it is important that you pay attention and let the other kids pay attention during class." She told me that she tried but she just haaaaad to tell her friend something. "And it was just killin' me mom", she said. So I'm thinking Maddie's report card will start something like this..."Maddie is an outgoing girl who seems to like school.....and talking."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

August 14th!

So my friend and I were locked out of our apartment when suddenly this guy in a little Honda comes flying up the streeet. He jumps out of his car, and in his best superhero voice, asks what the problem is. I recognized him as the fun and outgoing guy from our ward who had mentioned to my friend he would like to take me out. Convenient-him being there and all (little did I know he was doing a drive-by). He scaled the building looking for open windows and re-assured me he could break in. I asked him how he was sure he could break in and he told me that growing up in a small town offered many opportunities for such skills. Then he laughed. I found myself caught up in how nice I thought his hands and arms were. He discovered an open window on the second story. Naturally, we needed to go to my aunt and uncles house to get a ladder. How convenient-him meeting my relatives and all. Back at the duplex we quickly discovered the ladder was a bit short to reach the window. But this would not stop him. He jumped up and flew at the same time and scaled the rest of his way up the brick through the window. When he thought I wasn't looking, he limped. But the moment he knew I was watching he stood strong and straight. He had hurt himself during his flying leap. I made him a tuna sandwich and he smiled alot. Not once did he bring up his injury. Never before had ease and excitement combined so gracefully in any guy I had taken interest in. Now ten years into our marriage he still calls me "doll" and I still get caught up in how much I love his arms and hands. As silly as it sounds, I feel blessed my heart aches so greatly when he's away. I love you babe!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Going Home

We usually go by way of Alberta when traveling to and from Canada. However, I decided that it would be fun to take the kids through Vancouver B.C. and then to Seattle on the way home. Vancouver has a hip and artsy -yet sometimes sophisticated vibe to it and is made even cooler because of its location near the water. For me, the bridges alone make the trip worth it. My favorite is the Lion's gate Bridge. It is such a thrill for me to drive with water on either side and such an architectually beautiful structure making it possible. I was even more excited when the kids found as much of a thrill in it and asked to cross back and forth a few times. So we did.

After Vancouver it was time to head back toward the U.S. and to Seattle. The wait at the border was an hour and a half. Let's just say they were being very thorough with us all. We got into the city in the late afternoon and I took the kids right to Pike Place Market. There is nothing like a good fish toss to brighten your day. I loved watching the kids explore. They are so easily amused. I was quite easily amused by the man selling trinkets in a safari hat and bright purple spandex. We went to the harbor to watch boats come and go and then turned in to get some much needed rest. It's not easy to travel such long roads with kids but it is well worth the bond that is formed over Slugbug, I Spy, and being able to sing every word to Disney's Camp Rock CD together.

Fort St. James

Fort St. James is a town not too far from Vanderhoof where a fur trading post was built back in 1806. Two men from the North West Company founded it and it eventually merged with Hudson's Bay Company (which many of you may know for their famous wool blankets). We got the V.I.P. tour because our niece Shay works for Canada's National Parks. It was great to see the different structures at the fort and imagine a lifestyle of travel and trapping. O.K. -so the travel part was more fun to imagine than the trapping part. The girls were able to actually play out a trade at the mercantile with one of the guides. They learned quickly that winter coats are more valuable than summer coats as well as the importance of skinning without holes and which animals were considered a rare find. Maddie drove a hard bargain with her werewolf coat (hey -at least she didn't insist on it being a unicorn coat) and refused to accept one candy as a trade. She insisted on two mints and a Werther's and would take no less. I also learned what the markings on a Hudson's bay blanket meant. Each animal pelt had a point equivalent and the very nicest blankets were 6 points. They would follow the point system to determine the value of their trade and the 6 point blankets were coveted for their warmth and durability. They were even used as sails during times of emergency. Anyway, the kids were able to play popular childrens games from that time period and really liked trying their hand at piece-on-piece construction.
Abi enjoyed the recliner in the mens house.

Friday, August 8, 2008


The kids and I recently returned from three weeks of fun and adventure. We went to B.C. to visit with some of our family. The drive is about 26 hours and yes I am just that crazy to have done it alone with the kids. Our family there lives in a small town named Vanderhoof. I think the first stop light was actually installed not too long ago......Anyway, it is the country and by country, I mean country. To illustrate my point here is a picture of my Mother-in-law's driveway.. And this is my sister-in-law's backyard.

Needless to say it was a nice getaway to quiet. After such a long trip it was nice to finally arrive and see everyone. Each time we visit I am amazed at how truly great each of our nieces and nephews are becoming. The kids were so excited for this trip and seemed to pick up where we left off. We usually visit in the winter so it was nice this time to go during the summer. There were more outdoor things to do without freezing off any limbs. We stayed with my Mother-in-law and did fun things like pick strawberries, ride the quad (no less than a million times), and took fun little walks. Over at Auntie Cindy's house, the pool was a big hit. The girls worked hard to earn swimming badges which helped refine their swimming skills. Maddie jumped right in to help herd cattle and the girls both enjoyed "farm chores". Seth pretty much called any mobile piece of farm equipment (including the quad), a tractor.
Five minutes up the road from the house there is a beautiful and surprisingly un -crowded lake. The kids had such a fun time and got to try Kayaking. Abi took to it very quickly. The fishing poles were brought out at one point and I am still surprised no one's finger fell prey to the hook. It was such a hit for the kids. And I had a great time too just daydreaming about the Hemmingway-esque lakehouse I would love to build there one day.

Maddie with some of her cousins. Workin' it!

The kids were definitley spoiled by everyone. They were even given a birthday party since their birthdays will happen while we are not together. They each were given their own cake to decorate. Abi was actually excited despite the picture.