Tag Archives: parents

Five Randos

13 Jan

1. I had my second physical therapy appointment this morning. I was dreading it because I thought I was going to be get poked with needles (I even had a blog post title of “Pins and Needles” thought up). But luckily, since I told the therapist that my lower back felt fine still, he said he would leave it alone. Woohoo!

But I still had plenty of unpleasantness to deal with. I told him that my upper back between my shoulder blades was still sore/tight so he cracked that area again, along with my neck, and then proceeded to massage/poke/pull my shoulder and upper back tendons as I turned my head to one side, then the other. That hurt. A lot. Not like the sharp pain of a needle but a deep muscle-y pain – like how your tight IT band feels when you massage when it with a foam roller. My shoulders are sore now, which he said might happen.

He also showed me some exercises I could do to strengthen my lower back and hips. I’ll demonstrate and post them soon, since they’re beneficial for all runners/athletes.

What I’ll demonstrate now is how to lower your keyboard:

With a keyboard tray! It took me until this morning to realize I could push the tray in (I just had it installed yesterday). Before, it was sticking out from the desk by about 8 inches. At that rate, I was going to need glasses from squinting.

Anyway, lowering my keyboard will prevent me from shrugging my shoulders so much – your upper arms should be perpendicular to the floor when sitting at your desk.

2. Lots of TV time this weekend. Tomorrow is the Olympic Marathon Trials coverage (2-4 pm MST – we’re the same as central) and the Broncos game. Go Tebow! I might have to go buy a Broncos shirt tonight…

Sunday, I will be watching My Fair Wedding because fellow blogger Danica’s wedding will be on. It’ll be cool to finally see everything she hasn’t been able to show on her blog.

But I’ll balance that TV time out with two runs – my long run of 7 miles on Saturday and my tempo run of 4 miles on Sunday (moved from yesterday because I ate too much for dinner and would have puked if I tried to run…one of those days).

3. I seem to be a running anomaly. I’ve input several times into the McMillan Running Calculator: my half marathon PR back in 2007, my most recent 5K time, and my most-likely-never-to-be-duplicated 5 mile run in the Denver RnR Half Mary Relay. Those times are all over the board and produce quite the varied results.

With the 3 different times, my predicted marathon finish time could be (respectively):

5:17:58

5:20:24

4:54:08

I’ll take the last one, thankyouverymuch.

Also according to the calculator, my long runs should be run at a pace around 12:45 to 13:15 per mile. Lately, I’ve been comfortably running, without challenge, an easy pace of 11:15/mile for my long runs. But apparently, that should be the pace for my tempo intervals, which I’ve been running at a 9:55 or 10:00 pace (those paces aren’t even on the chart).

So I’ve concluded that while the running calculators may give me a ballpark of +/- 30 minutes for my marathon time, I should just use my long runs as a judge for my goals (and obviously the runs that are closer to the marathon distance, not the 8 miler I just did last Saturday). I’m also planning on doing Yasso 800s for my speedwork during Weeks 10-16 of my marathon training plan. It’d be cool if it really works to predict your marathon time (click the link to read more details).

4. I’ve been waiting for Friday all week long. Regardless, when I woke up this morning, I was surprised that it was already Friday. Which means I have to clean my house because we’re having people over for the game tomorrow.

5a. My favorite lunch as of late has been big salads, thanks to my friends leafy romaine lettuce and Caesar croutons. If it weren’t for those two, I wouldn’t be eating salads. They have changed my life. (For some reason, I get sick of spinach every now and again and won’t eat it to save my life…unless it’s in a smoothie.)

Yeah, I scrimped a little too much on the lettuce for that salad… but I also eat the lettuce first and this was halfway through the salad.

5b. We got new dinnerware for Christmas from my parents. The dishes we got for our wedding were really cute ones from Target but since I am a dish-breaker by trade, we only had 4 big plates left and all of our bowls (minus 2) had giant chips out of them. We are really enjoying our new dishes. Thanks Mom and Dad!

They are the Platzgraff Java pattern.

It’s even prettier in person. They’re still on sale at Shopko if you need new dishes!

What’s your favorite thing for lunch? Do the running calculators predict your speeds correctly?

The love of family

17 Jun

Tonight, I finished the book I was reading called The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond. It was a very good novel about a little girl who goes missing and the ensuing panicked search for her. The book was a little slow moving in the drama at times but it was nonetheless very insight and interesting. It said a lot about the nature of memories and human desire to preserve moments that are, by definition, passing by.

Which led me to look through old picture albums – first, the one with pictures of Travis’ and my engagement, wedding and honeymoon. Then, my study abroad trip in Venezuela. And finally, pictures of my childhood.

And it was in looking at pictures of my childhood that I realized what a blessed childhood I had. I was surrounded by loving adults – my parents, of course but also aunts, uncles, grandparents. I didn’t realize how good I had it – of course, children never do.

My mom’s mom is who I get my middle name from – Ruth. Grandma Ruth. She lived in Hendrum with my Grandpa Ralph, in a small house on the corner. I can remember exactly what the house looked like inside – you entered into a small mud room, where you could either go down into the cellar (which I never did) or into the main part of the house. Through that door, you came into the kitchen. Straight across the kitchen, there was a cold, mysterious room. The door was always shut because that the kids were not allowed in. Once, we went in and discovered the entrance to the attic but were so nervous about getting caught that we ventured no further.

To the left of the kitchen was the dining room. The right hand wall was lined with windows and the wall to the right of that was lined with cabinets. In the middle of the floor stood a giant table – so big that it took up most of the room. On the left wall, there was first the door to a small bathroom. Then there was an armoire that took up what little wall space there was. Then, the door leading out to a landing that led to the next floor.

Straight ahead through the dining room was the living room. In my memories, the furniture was never quite arranged the same when I came over. But I do remember a TV, a couch, some lamps, a bed perhaps (for when my cousins slept over) and a card sorting machine that my Grandpa liked to use when playing cards.

On the way to the upstairs, you passed by another room, one step down from the stair landing. That was the den – I’m not sure I ever went in that room. It was Grandpa’s room.

There were two flights of stairs – halfway up the second, there was this opening in the wall. It had a door and a single bulb hanging from the ceiling. I think we called it the Fort. It was big enough for 3 of us kids to fit in there at the same time, 4 if you really squeezed. Whenever we went over to Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Ralph’s house, we would race each other to that little room. There was a latch on the inside, so you could allow others to enter (or not allow) at your own discretion.

At the top of the stairs, there were 2 bedrooms – 1 had several beds in it and the other just 1. The room with just 1 bed was Grandpa’s room. We hardly ever went in there either. The other room was fun because there was a hole in the floor that looked down into the living room below. It was entertaining to listen to the adults down there, talking, when all the kids were upstairs.

But I digress. All these memories came flooding back into my head as I looked through my photo album tonight. My Grandma Ruth died when I was only 12 or 13 – I was old enough to understand what had happened but not old enough to really understand. Growing up, I had thought of her as a little bit weird – she had a back condition that made her slightly hunched over. The pictures in my album don’t disclose any animosity toward her but I can’t help but think… how did I act toward her? Did I love her? Did I thank her for the gifts she gave me, as they were sacrifices on her behalf? Or did I act like a stupid child, ungrateful, only focused on superficial details?

These thoughts so overwhelmed me as I looked at those pictures tonight that I started crying. I wish I had known her. I wish I could have told her that her love and generosity mean the world. I wish I could’ve gotten past the outward appearance and seen her for the amazing person I hear she was. Even if I had been older, if I had known her better and been more mature, I don’t know if I could have put into words that kind of emotion.

The same kind of emotion that I feel for my mom. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by how much I love her that I can’t bear the thought of this world existing without her in it. How does one go on without your beloved parent? And I know that I fail to express how much I love her, that I fail to show her how much she means to me. I don’t call her all that often, I don’t say in words how much she means. And I realize that I’m losing precious moments – they’re floating away on the winds of time – but I get too engrossed in the minute details of life to remember these truths. WHY?!?!?

The same goes for when I’m looking at pictures of my dad and me growing up – all the memories we created together. That man has a heart of gold. I know that I am precious to him and that he loves me more than words. Knowing that makes me love him even more. How do I communicate that kind of love back to him? How are words adequate for that kind of love?  The truth is, they just aren’t. And they never will be.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t try to communicate those feelings and that is where, I fear, I fall very short. I have found myself looking at gifts lately and wondering, “Did I thank that person for this?” Remembering that Travis’ parents paid for the groom’s dinner, I wondered “Did I ever tell them what a huge blessing that was?” I think I did, but I can’t remember. And what if I didn’t? I can barely stand that thought!

Every time I feel like this, so overwhelmed at how much I love my parents, I wonder why I live so far away from them. Why did I choose to move, so that I only see them 2-3 times a year? But I have to remind myself that Travis and I chose to follow the Lord and no matter how much human love consumes one’s heart, devotion to and love for the Lord always have to come first. He is ultimately the one Person who matters. And I have to entrust my heart, and all the love therein, to Him.

But I do pray that it is in the Lord’s will to let Travis and I move back to Minnesota to be near our parents when we start having kids (in a couple of years). I want my kids to know their grandparents, because they are the coolest people ever.

I love you Mom and Dad!

Playing in the dirt

5 May

It’s time to lighten things up with a fun post, don’t you think?

My parents were here this past weekend and we had a blast. They got here Friday night around 8:45. We pretty much got home from the airport, talked a bit, and then went to bed.

Saturday morning, we slept in and then ate breakfast at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant a block from our house called Joe’s Cafe. It was great food – a very down-home feel. We would definitely go back. It’s fun finding restaurants like that near our house!

After breakfast, we went shopping for shrubs and flowers to do some landscaping in our backyard. I wasn’t too excited about it at first because there are so many choices and decisions and my brain felt like it was going to explode. But after several hours at Echter’s (the garden store near us), 25 holes and 8 bags of compost, I definitely felt like our labor had paid off.

We planted barberries, feather grasses (the ones on the end get to be 6-8' tall!), Firewitch, Goldfinger Potentilla, and one Polka Weigela.

They look pretty puny right now, but they’ll grow and get lots bigger over the course of the summer! We also installed a timed sprinkler system, so we don’t have to worry about watering the plants in addition to the lawn (Travis is thankful).

Saturday night, we grilled some elk steaks and burgers, along with some zucchini and yellow squash and then went out for ice cream at Good Times. We also rented the movie Up In the Air. It wasn’t as good as I had expected it to be. It was kind of depressing, actually.

Sunday, it was cold, windy and cloudy. So we went to church (great sermon about seeing the gospel in the life of Abraham!) and then checked out a French restaurant in Denver called Le Central: The Affordable French Restaurant. I had never had French food before and was determined to be daring. So I ordered crepes with chicken pieces, onion, carrots and green peppers in a creamy curry sauce. I thought “Crepes with meat?” but it was actually delicious. I would totally go back there. It was such a cute place and very popular. I love going to new restaurants!

After lunch, we went to the BodyWorlds exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It was very interesting – a lot to learn about the body and how it works together and I doubt I will remember even 30% of what I read but very cool nonetheless. How anyone can go through an exhibit like that and still not believe in a divine creator is beyond me. It is written all over the place (not literally). We also saw the IMAX movie, Hubble, which actually was even cooler and was even more evidence for God as the creator of the world. Totally awesome. It’s amazing to me to think about us discovering stuff like that and not even totally understanding it, yet God created it all and literally put it all in its place (Psalm 8:3). God is so much bigger than us. I’m so glad that He is for me!

Sunday night, my parents and I watched It’s Complicated (great movie, cute story line if you overlook the fact that it’s about a marital affair) while Travis went and worked on a presentation and paper for one of his classes (poor guy).

Monday, my mom and I went back to Echter’s and bought flowers for the part of the backyard we hadn’t gotten to yet. It’s going to look awesome in a month or so:

The flowers we planted are all perennials: Coreopsis, Salvia, Black-eyed susans, Daisies, Day lilies, Dianthus (Fire Star), and Yarrow.

Here’s the whole setup:

Can't wait to see what happens!

After finishing the garden, we ate lunch at Jason’s Deli, re-watched our wedding video, and then I took my parents to the airport. Their vacation was over already. But so much fun! We are so blessed by my parents.

I’ll post more pics later this summer when the plants get bigger and bloom!

Weekend recap

29 Sep

It was a lot of fun having my parents out here. Friday night, we gave them “the tour” of our new house–which takes about a grand total of 2 minutes. Then we made dinner (penne with tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and carrots; salad; and garlic bread) and went to see Burn After Reading (which is a horribly depressing, disturbing movie full of nothing but adultery and cursing…I don’t recommend seeing it). Then we ate some ice cream and watched House, at which point everyone except Travis fell asleep (my parents are the king and queen of falling asleep on the couch).

Saturday morning, I got up at 7:30 and made banana bread (my first time ever). After eating breakfast, we drove up to Fort Collins and then west on Highway 14 through the mountains to Steamboat Springs. It was a LONG drive (we covered over 300 miles that day) but it was SO beautiful–the fall colors were at or near their peak. The aspens have such a vibrant yellow and when they are next to the dark green of the evergreens, they stand out so much that it looks like they’re on fire. I took a lot of pictures–but my camera isn’t the greatest so it definitely does not do the beauty of the trees justice.

me and Trav

me and Trav

My cute parents

My cute parents

The Poudre River

The Poudre River

Sun reflecting off the water

Sun reflecting off the water

Sleeping Elephant Mountain

Sleeping Elephant Mountain

The contrast between the green and the yellow

The contrast between the green and the yellow

So picturesque, it doesn't seem real

So picturesque, it doesn't seem real

These trees were especially vibrant

These trees were especially vibrant

Looking out over North Park

Looking out over North Park

A Mountain Road lined with trees

A Mountain Road lined with trees

We ate lunch at the Moose Creek Cafe in Walden–a cute little mountain town.  Then, after bumming around Steamboat looking in all the overpriced shops for about an hour, we got back in the car and drove down past Vail, to Idaho Springs. We ate a late dinner (9 PM!) at Beau Jo’s–a GREAT pizza place. They have mountain pies, which are deep dish pizzas, and you have about 5 different sauces to choose from, 15 different meats, and about 20 different toppings. SO delicious. They’re “Colorado-Style Pizzas” so whenever someone comes out to visit, Travis and I take them there. Idaho Springs is the original Beau Jo’s so it’s huge and it has a lot of character.

Sunday, we went to church at Northern Hills Christian Church, which is about 25 minutes from our house. Greg Stier, the president of the ministry I work for, was preaching there and my parents (my mom especially) wanted to hear him preach and meet him. I prepped them before the service–Greg is a very enthusiastic, ADD speaker who talks really fast and is always walking around. They were really impressed with him though–he is a dynamic, captivating speaker. They also got to meet my boss (who is leaving our ministry after Oct 10th–sad day) and some of the other people I work with.

After church, we ate lunch at our house and then went shopping for patio furniture (what Travis and I decided we wanted as our housewarming present from them). After many unsuccesful attempts (we were about a month too late for patio furniture), we found some great stuff at American Furniture Warehouse, which we bought later that night and then picked up tonight. I’ll post pictures but I have to wait until it’s light outside and we have it all set up.

We also went to Sears Grand and I bought 4 new articles of clothing for $40. I got a REALLY cute skirt for $4! Travis was very gracious because he let me buy the clothes, even though I didn’t have any blow money left (that’s how we keep track of our spending–we each get $100 a month to spend on whatever we want. I have a bad habit of blowing mine in the first few days…whoops.)

Sunday night was the GOSPEL Journey Maui sneak peek at Northern Hills. We had a good turnout and it was really cool to see some of the episodes of this ginormous project we’ve been working on intensely for the past 3-4 months. My parents thought it was really interesting too and they enjoyed seeing more of what I’m involved with at work. Best part about that: the presentation that I created worked!!! (Long story…)

When we got back from the Sneak Peek and from buying our patio furniture, we watched another episode of House (everyone fell asleep even faster during this one) and went to bed. The weekend went so FAST!!

This morning, we saw my parents off. It felt like they had just gotten here. They left at 8:00 this morning and they are probably just getting home right now (it’s a 13 hour drive). I really appreciate their love and willingness to drive so far to see us for just a weekend. My parents are absolutely wonderful people and I feel so blessed by them.

My parents are coming!

26 Sep

This weekend, my parents are going to be out here to visit me and Travis–for the first time at our new house! I am sooooo excited to see them. I’m not sure yet what we’re going to do but it doesn’t really matter–I know we’ll have fun regardless.

A few ideas I have though are:

1. Make dinner at our house tonight

2. Watch Season 1, Disc 4 of House

3. Go shopping for patio furniture (my parents want to buy us a housewarming present)

4. Take a drive into the mountains tomorrow to see the fall colors

5. Eat at Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs

6. See Greg Stier preach at Northern Hills Christian Church

7. Go to the GOSPEL Journey Maui Sneak Peek at NHCC on Sunday at 6 PM

That’s all I have for right now cuz they’re finally here!!

A great weekend in gold mine country

21 Apr

This past weekend, my parents were in Colorado. My mom has a School Nutrition Association leaders’ conference in Colorado Springs this next week and since Travis and I live out here, my mom and dad came out early (my dad’s flying back tomorrow night) to spend the weekend with us.

Friday evening after work, Travis and I met my parents in Edgewater and ate pizza at the Edgewater Inn. Then we drove to Colorado Springs, switching cars halfway so that my mom could ride with me in our Focus. We had a good talk about marriage and husbands. I am learning quickly that women who have been married for longer than me have lots of good advice to give–and my mom is no exception! It was good to get some girl talk in.

It took a little while to find our hotel but finally we did! After checking in, we went to our room and watched our wedding video. My parents were very impressed with the quality and shocking that the videographer only charged $300 to do it (thought it did take him about 10 months to get it to us!) We are alos very pleased with our wedding video. On May 19, we’ll have been married for a whole year already! Wow, time flies! After we watched the video, we were out.

On Saturday, Travis and I got up at 7:15 to go work out at the Country club gym. Then we ate breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant and headed to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. The website made the Cliff Dwellings sound really cool but after seeing ruins like Chichen Itza and Tulum, the Cliff Dwelling were a little disappointing.

After the cliff dwellings, we drove around Garden of the Gods and took a hike through the main area. I didn’t realize it until later, when my chest started itching at dinner, than I got majorly burnt while we were walking around. I’m so pasty white from it being winter that I don’t have a base tan at all!

After we seeing all the rock climbers and skinny, pointy rock formations at Garden of the Gods, it was off to the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine near Cripple Creek. It was a long drive there through the mountains and everyone but my dad (who was driving) ended up taking a nap.

The gold mine tour was SO COOL. All of us thought it was the highlight of our trip. Our guide had been in the mining business for 25 years and was very knowledgable about mining equipment, terminology, and history. We went down the shaft in this tiny little elevator (the 5 of us could barely fit in it). It was pitch black except for a few lights that were on different levels of the mine. The elevator kept banging against the walls of the shaft. My mom and I were just a wee bit scared. 🙂

When we reached the right level (1,000 feet underground), we got out and walked along the muddy corridors of the mine. First, our guide showed us how much light the miners had to work with: candlelight. They only had either lanterns or headlamps attached to their hard hats! When you’re climbing up to the heights that the miners did and using explosives and loud, dangerous equipment that will delimb or kill you in a matter of seconds, it gives you chills to think that these miners work with so little light. I could never, never be a miner. Never.

Our mine guide showed us the changes in technology of drilling over the years. At first, they just used hammers and long, thick chisels (I forget technical terminology so I’m going to describe it the best I can). The chisels can get to be a few feet long so one guy (called the shaker) holds it in the wall and turns it after every hit and another guy stands behind him with the hammer and drives it into the wall. Then they graduated to a machine that did that and they continued to make improvements on the hand machines. Some weighed about 90 pounds and were operated on compressed air. They also shot water into the wall through the machine to cut down on the dust.

The most impressive and scary thing though was when the miner found a “vein” (area with gold in it), they would drill straight up, 6 feet at a time. As they got farther and farther up, they had to put timbers across from wall to wall, set up a few planks, bring their 85 lb machine up there, and continue to drill. The miners could be hundreds of feet in the air, working with a deadly machine on a just a few planks. Scariness!!

But the majority of miners actually died from carbon monoxide poisoning. They have a special lantern that will go out if carbon monoxide is present. They also used to have donkeys down in the mines to pull the carts of ore up from below. They used to leave the donkeys down there 24/7 and they would go blind but President Roosevelt made it a law that they had to bring the donkeys up for at least an hour every day. After the law was passed, all the mine owners brought the donkeys up and let them go because it was too much of a hassle. Still today around Cripple Creek, offspring from those donkeys are wandering around through town. They’re very friendly too–one came up to our car to say hello.

Anyway, moving on, we drove around Cripple Creek and Victor for a while. We also touring a big open mine owned by DeBeers. They’re pretty much tearing down a mountain in search for precious metals. Stupid. Then we drove back to our hotel and had dinner at the bar while watching the Avs and Wild play. After dinner (at end of the second period), we headed back to our room but soon found out that we didn’t get the game. Too lazy to go back up to the main lobby, we just listened to the radio broadcast of the game via internet. Wild ended up losing anyway. 😦 After that, it was time for bed. What a long day!

Sunday, my parents and I went to the Pikes Peak Greenway so I could run. I mapped out a 5.5-mile loop but when I got to my turnaround point (after running through some sketch areas–lots of homeless people’s stuff around), I realized the loop was a little shorter than I had expected. Add to that I had to go #2 like NOW. I tried to find a place in the bushes but there wasn’t enough coverage. Lucky for me, my mom had been worried about me running in that part of town so I soon saw my parents. I sprinted over to them and we found a bathroom in the park across the river. On the way back, I had to run back and forth around my parents so that they could see me the whole time. My mom worries so much–it’s cute.

After that, we bought some groceries for breakfast and ate back at our hotel room. By then it was 10:30. When we got to the Royal Gorge Park, it was noon. We walked across the bridge, saw a short film about its history, walked back across, took the aerial tramway, then the incline railway, watched some kayakers go down some rapids, and then left. Oh and there was some Cookies ‘n’ Cream ice cream in there too.

After the Royal Gorge, we went on a scenic drive down the Phantom Canyon Road. It used to be the railroad that ran between Cripple Creek and Canon City, carrying the gold out. There were lots of turns and places where only one car could fit. Pretty cool. That road (obviously) led to Cripple Creek. Even though we bypassed the town, it was still a fairly long drive back. We ate dinner at the Stagecoach Inn in Manitou Springs. I had a Southwest Chicken salad, which was delicious and they had biscuits with cherry preserves. Yum!

After dinner, we got lost on the drive home. We drove around for about an hour and by the time we got back to the hotel room, it was PJ time, TV time, and then SLEEP time.

This morning, Trav and I had to go back to work. Boo! We slept in until 8:00, then took showers and packed up. After eating breakfast at Panera, we hit the road. It was hard to say goodbye to my parents and it’s weird knowing that they’re just 2 hours south of where I am typing this right now, instead of 13 hours to the east. Well, that’s about all I have to write about the weekend. It was eventful and fun!