Saturday, February 28, 2009

Valentine's Day

So I actually wrote this before Valentine's Day but it never got posted. I figure as long as it gets in while it's still February I'm good.

All my life Valentine’s Day has kind of always been about, well… me. Since it’s my birthday it has been some kind of special identity that is just mine. I’ve gone through phases when I’ve loved it and times when it was kind of annoying. Like when half my friends were out with boyfriends and the other half were depressed because they didn’t have one, or how restaurants were always way too packed, or that time when all five of my roommates got flowers on my birthday and not me. Don’t worry, it all evened out the year I told that story to some random guy in my ward a couple of weeks before my birthday and he showed up with 24 roses on V-day… yeah, that one was kind of weird considering I didn’t even really know him, but didn’t I deserve those flowers? Valentine’s Day is my day after all.

But that’s not really my purpose for writing this. I’ve written a lot about my kids and my own life, but I haven’t really said much about the most important person in my life, Jared. I guess I take a lot for granted, but I am so grateful for all that he does. There are so many reasons I love him, but here are a few.

1. He is great at fixing things and won’t give up until it’s fixed. That’s a great quality in a husband. He fixes the cars and everything around the house.
2. He is a whiz with computers. Maybe I use him as a crutch because I know he can help with any problem I have, but I just don’t have patience figuring out how to do things on the computer. I don’t know if I could have done as well in school without his computer help.
3. He is so supportive with my personal pursuits. Whenever I have felt like giving up he has encouraged me to keep going. He has taken care the kids while I’ve been in class for years and continues to carry a lot of the childcare load. Currently he gets them breakfast and dressed every day while I sleep in the mornings and puts them to bed almost every night. There’s no way I could have gone to school without his support. Oh, and he also paid for all of it too. Thanks!
4. He is always doing little things to surprise me and he won’t ever tell me what it is over the phone. Sometimes it’s just cleaning up or making banana bread, or he’ll do something on his to do list while I’m gone and wait for me to see it on my own. Recently I got home from the store and found a new cell phone for my birthday. They’re always little things but they make me realize that he is thinking about me.
5. He is the one person in this world who really understands me and accepts me for who I am. No matter what happens out in the world where all my confidence is shattered, I know I can come home and be loved unconditionally.
6. He lets me have my own identity yet I could not imagine living without him. He is truly my best friend. Some of my best memories are just sitting on the couch talking to him about our thoughts and dreams.

I love you Jared! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The gym

I've been meaning to blog about this for a while. I guess I should back up to about a year and a half ago. I began running again pretty regularly. I was signed up to do the Disney half marathon in January (2008). I had it all worked out and it was great. I would either go running really early or I would send Erin to school at 8:00 and take the stroller out with Alex. Of course all my efforts were foiled by me finding out I was 20 weeks pregnant a week before the race. Exercise ceased. I had Marissa and used the old "I'm still healing" card for a while until it was really too ridiculous to use anymore.

The thing is that I honestly love to exercise. Yes it is hard to be consistent and hard to roll myself out of bed most of the time, but I feel so much better during and after doing it. Plus it gives me an excuse to eat whatever I want, though it is becoming more clear that this strategy may not continue to work as well as I wade deeper into my 30's. So the desire was there, I just couldn't figure out how or when to do it with three kids with varying nap schedules. I began walking to Erin's school with three kids in the double stroller but that meager attempt at exercise only lasted so long (Marissa is way too big for that now).

My answer came in the form of a brand new gym opening up last October. They converted an old grocery store into a 24 Hour Fitness and it is less than half a mile from our house. I went to check it out and it looked great; they even had a kid's club to watch the kids. The only snag was that they had to be at least 6 months and Marissa was only 4. For two months I wrestled with it. Was it really worth the money? Surely I could find the time to go out running on my own. After all, I have an elliptical machine and work out videos at home. Would I start out going and then end up never using it? I have a vague recollection of a few roommates getting into a gym contract that they never used--would this happen to me?

Finally, I joined and I took the kids the day Marissa turned 6 months. I think I got a great deal (one of those Thanksgiving internet specials) and I tell you, it has been worth every penny! I love, love, LOVE the gym! When I first went, dropped off the kids and walked around without the kids in the middle of the day I felt so liberated, so free. I didn't have to arrange for a babysitter, I could just get out of my little cave and do something that made me feel really good. I think it's a common feeling for mothers of little kids to feel trapped and isolated. I recommend a gym to anyone feeling this way. I try to go as much as I can (amidst all the school craziness) and even though it takes me from the time I get up to get everyone ready until 9:30 or 10:00 when I get there, I have felt motivated to go. Trust me, it's worth it. And though my body may not look a whole lot better and my pre-pregnancy clothes still only fit until I need to breathe (err), I feel great. When mom is happy, the kids are happy.

This is a picture of the kid's club and can I say it is awesome! The kids love it and since it is new it sort of seems like things aren't broken, dirty or slobbered on already (even though they probably are by now--and probably by my baby no less). It has a climbing thing with a slide, basketball, movies, coloring, kid computer games and even that dance, dance revolution game that I am pretty bad at but it's still cool that it's there. Oh, and the best part is I only pay $9.99 extra for the babysitting a month for up to three kids and up to two hours a day. By my calculations, if I go every day for two hours that equals 5 1/2 cents per hour per kid. All right, I'm not going to use it that much, but you get the idea--it's cheap!

The rest of the gym is fabulous. They have all the cardio and weight machines you could dream of for muscles you didn't even knew you had, a pool, hot tub, sauna, basketball courts, racquetball courts and more. They have all sorts of classes that are included which I love and best of all I have rekindled my love for racquetball after years of hesitancy from breaking my nose while playing. A friend from my ward and I have been playing and it is great!

My only beef with the gym, you'd think with all the TV's mounted on the ceiling and on each individual cardio machine with hundreds of channels to choose from, one of them could be HGTV. I chose a gym membership over cable or satellite TV. Wouldn't life be so great if I could watch Design to Sell or House Hunters while at the gym? Yes, it would. And even though I am more of a "Drew Carey was good on Who's Line is it Anyway but not so much on Price is Right" kind of girl, I guess it will have to do until they come to their senses. We can't have everything.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Quick warning: I just finished my midterm project and a long awaited and much needed spring break is next week. I have been composing blog entries in my head for weeks but they haven't made it to the blog yet, so you might be seeing a lot. I always feel weird writing so much at once, but whatever. We all know how to skim and scan, right? Do what you like with it. All I know is I've got time and my blog (and hopefully my house) will reap the benefits.

First, I guess I will mention that my midterm went very well. As I predicted, there were a lot of late nights and far too many all nighters to count to get everything done. People may wonder why architorture takes so much time, and I sometimes I wonder that myself. But believe me, it is not just me, it is the area of study. If anyone is thinking about studying architecture just keep in mind that you must absolutely LOVE it or you might die. I wish I could just be a slacker and not care so much about it. Why do I HAVE to be the best in the class anyway? I don't know. For me, time seems to fly when I am working and I am always surprised (and maybe a little frustrated) when birds start chirping and my kids begin asking me for breakfast (seriously, it was just 2:00 am, how is that possible?).

Take Sunday. I left for school at 5:30 pm hoping to meet with my partner, finish everything and leave "early". We were completely focused for hours hunched over our laptops, making changes, printing out layouts that would be changed and hour later, etc. And then we finally realized that we were starving... and that the sun was up... that other normal people were already going to class and work... and that we would have to move our cars out of the lot that doesn't allow student parking after 8:00 am! Don't get me wrong, I know this is insane, I will admit it. People shouldn't stay up all night and try to take care of their kids the next day. I know that it is crazy to feel so refreshed after going to bed "early" at 2:30am. I realize I'm warped when I look at the clock at 3:00 am and congratulate myself for getting so much done so early yet still stay up till 6:00am. One night I was getting so tired but had so much to do. I told myself to just make it till 5:00 am... but somehow I just couldn't. The next day I realized the clock had run out of batteries at 4:45! Who knows what time I actually went to bed? So, this is Design 9, what I had put off and dreaded for so long--and with good reason.

So why do it? I actually ask myself that a lot. Well, I suppose it's because I have a passion for it! It is so incredibly fulfilling in the end. Being able to stand in front of people and present everything I have agonized over for countless hours and then get good reviews is priceless. It makes all the well, torture worth it. I guess it's not just the end, but the process too. Sometimes in the middle of the night when things seem to be working or looking really good I literally think to myself "this is really fun!"

And just so you don't think I am making this up, here is a picture of my amazing partner and me after presenting our scheme to the City of Oakland Park and community members.

Our project is on display on these boards and is an urban redevelopment of a section of one of the main streets in the city. I do have to mention how lucky I have felt to have worked with Johanna. Group work can be really great or absolutely horrible (I've had both), so when we had a chance to pick partners we both looked at each other from our previous less than perfect groups and nodded simultaneously as if we were meant to work together. Anyway, she is a hard worker, very smart, extremely creative and I think our skills and talents really complimented each other.

Nonetheless, I am glad that is over. It has felt like a midterm every week for the past month with pin-ups every Tuesday. I don't know who it is hardest on, me or Jared. Honestly, there is no way I could do any of this without his support. He takes care of the kids every morning so I can sleep a little and then several nights a week while I am gone. I know it is not easy for him, but he does such a great job and is so understanding of my situation, but more about him in another post. And FYI, Monday was a really crappy day after such a long weekend. I haven't felt that bad in a long time. I'm pretty sure the kids got fed and even dressed, and I know Erin went to school and got home, but the details of all this are a bit sketchy. I do remember waking up to a child screaming and being on the floor or couch and wondering how I got there several times that day. Is that what it's like to have a hangover? Not important, I feel much better now!

Oh, one great side benefits of this is a little added home security. This is how my house looked one night as I was working on the model (yes, this is the entry of our house). We figure anyone that breaks into our house is going to have a harder time getting around than they will stealing anything. Come to think of it, it's not really baby proof either... (hey, I try to keep the saws and razors up high, but a little glue never hurt anyone, right?).

Friday, February 6, 2009

25 Random Things about...

ERIN!!! Since everyone and their dog has done this on Facebook, I figured it would be interesting to see what Erin said about herself at this age.

1. I remember that we went to Utah
2. I love my parents
3. I got stitches on my chin when I was three after swinging on the couch, landing on the tile and splitting it open.
4. My favorite food is water
5. My favorite TV show is Super Why
6. I like all the princesses but Cinderella is my favorite
7. I remember we went skiing and daddy helped me because I was afraid (I think she means skating)
8. My favorite color is pink
9. My favorite book is Pinkalicious
10. My favorite holiday is Valentine's Day because I love making cards for everyone and I love my Valentine stuff
11. I like to give myself haircuts (though I have promised not to do it again)
12. I like to play Legos
13. I like to run around and ride bikes and swing on the swings
14. I like to go around the block
15. I love eating dinner, just certain dinners
16. I like pink outfits the best and pink dresses
17. I don't like Alex doing anything wrong to me
18. I don't like things that smell bad, like cat food and cinnamon and the smell when I got out of the car today "they are too disgusting!"
19. I don't like friends that do things that are not nice
20. I like doing art at school
21. My favorite center at school is housekeeping
22. I am four
23. I know I am beautiful
24. I like Elmo's world
25. I'm good at school