Saturday, February 27, 2010


I'm sorry if my triathlon updates are boring but they are exiting to me. I like to share them with you and document my progress. Some day I will look back on this and be amazed by the story behind it all. So, without further ado (whatever that means) here is my latest update.

Today I tried something different. First of all, I'm happy to report that my form for swimming is coming right along. I think I have come a long way in the last few weeks since I started. I know I have to build some muscle and then increase my time and that takes practice. But today I went for about 8 laps without stopping and did so with decent form. I wasn't overly fast but I was still able to do it and had a good rhythm. I'm guessing I swam about 20 laps total, some focusing more on my arms and some on my legs. So I swam for 30 minutes then rinsed off in the shower, changed clothes and ran upstairs to the run track (which is about 4-5 flights of stairs so I was quite winded by the time I got to the top). Then I proceeded to run for 30 minutes. I'm guessing I was at a 11-12 minute pace (which is about average for me). So although I didn't do the full 3 miles (just shy by a few minutes/laps), I reached my goal. So what did I do that was so special? I swam 30 min. and then ran 30 min. back to back. Soon, I might incorporate some bike riding but need to check out their bikes at the RP. I'm not really excited to ride a stationary bike but I'm not quite ready to go out in 30 degree weather either (even though I did see a kid out on his bike today).

One more comment on the upcoming triathlon. If I go to the Cornman triathlon in Gladbrook then I'm looking at 500 meter swim (or about 1/3 of a mile). At RP, a mile = 52 laps so by my calculations, I need to swim 17 laps to equal the 500 meter swim. So, I have some work to do. Maybe next time I'll shoot to do 10-12 laps without stopping, then 15, then 17. I will probably only do back to back workouts on the weekends when I have more time.

And for anyone who doesn't know me well, then you should know that about 2 years ago, Phil (my sweet honey bee) and I went on a major life change expedition and we lost A LOT of weight. Maybe not Biggest Loser weight but enough to to consider it significant (I lost about 50-60 lbs). So anyways, 2 years ago we lost weight, last year I had a baby (gained weight), this fall/winter I lost my baby weight and am officially down to pre-preggo weight (yeah!). In fact, I'm excited to say that I'm losing weight again. I'm already met my original goal (squeezing into a size 12 pair of jeans) and now I need to dream again. Technically I'm still considered overweight for my height so I'm going to shoot to loose another 20-30 lbs. I remember the first time I was weighted in junior high for my 7th grade physical. I weight 140 and I was HORRIFIED. Now of course I dream of weighing that again. I plan to go to the doc. soon to get my blood checked out (iron and cholesterol) so hopefully she can give me an idea of a healthy weight for me and appropriate goal.

One last thing.. I'm thinking about becoming a personal trainer. I never dreamed I'd ever go down this path but it just so happens that I know someone who recently became one and he gave me the general details of what it entails and I'm super excited to learn more. I know this would be a long term goal (right now I'm more focused on my family) but I still would love to learn about all the aspects of it - physical exercise, eating right, etc. I think now that I've lost weight, I want to help others do it too.

We'll see where God sends me!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

inside fun

Wendell found the umbrella this morning. I worried he would break it, but he was gentle and even enjoyed twirling it a little.

I'm guessing this is some of Wendell's fine photography. On a side note, he picked out Harlie's outfit this day.

And this outfit he picked out on his own. The pants accidentally got put in his dresser and they are plain grey 12 month size sweatpants. And then the pink 'princess' sweatshirt was his addition as well. Did he not pose perfectly for this picture? (We'll save this for his high school graduation : )

And some more Wendell photography.

Check out the hair .... that's some serious bed head there. And the smile indicates good sleep as well : )

And our little bath lover. She has recently been given the luxury of toys and I think she could hang out in the tub all day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

tracking my progress

Just want to give an update to my progress with my huge goal of a triathlon, the swim portion being the main challenge.

First off, I am officially up and 'running' or should I say swimming with River Plaza and have been going to swim about twice a week. Every time I go, I try to focus on adding a new skill or technique to my routine while maintaining what I already knew.

Here is what I could do before:
  • use my arms and legs to propel myself, attempting the front crawl but with my head out of the water; and looking very unskilled, usually doing 2 laps and then taking a break
Here were my first goals:
  • stick my head underwater and feel comfortable (x)
  • be able to breath, keeping most of my head in the water and not get winded after two laps - basically figure out how to swim and breath properly at the same time (x)

Here was the next phase:

  • be able to do all the motion above for at least 6-8 laps, which I would compare to what I'd call a one mile jog (x)

The last few times I went:

  • kick using my whole leg, not really bending the knee too much (tip from SC) - in this I have learned that I have a lot of muscle to build as I could only do this a few laps before my legs were back to the old way of kicking
  • use my arms to scoop the water past me, which uses the forearm and bicep (tip from SC) - this I also learned I could do for a few laps and then my arms felt like jello

Goal for the next few weeks:

  • continue my breathing - head in water, move up to 10 laps (no stopping), keep my legs straight and scoop with my hands (build some muscle!)

Key factor: Remind myself repeatedly that at this point it's not about speed but technique and endurance. Hopefully by May I won't have to focus so much on the basic technique/skills and can then try to increase my speed and feel solid in my ability to swim the 400-500 meters (about 1/4 mile). Once I feel comfortable knowing I can do the distance then I'll try and pick up speed.

On a side note, since I have a membership to RP, I went and ran 4 miles on the run track and was so excited to

1. not run in snow/ice

2. not run in several layers of clothes

3. run at my best ability/fastest times

4. be willing and excited to push for 4 miles instead of the normal 3

On Sunday, I also had a lot of fun having SC join me at the pool to give me some tips on swimming (and to see just how good she can swim : ) and we also had a little fun in the racquet ball court. I think we did more laughing at our fairy looking jumps swinging at the ball than actually hitting it. It was a great stress reliever and break from my normal routine.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In memory of Buster...

Here are some of my favorite pictures of Buster.

We sure do miss Buster as he was a great companion around the house. I can't believe it's almost been a week and life is going back to normal. We're still sad but we are healing. So in honor of our cherished friend, here are some of our favorite memories of Buster.

  • Buster, Wendell and I were all popcorn lovers. One of our favorite night snacks was to pop up some popcorn and toss some to Buster. He always jumped up to snatch it out of the air and then chomp it down. Sometimes if I wasn't quick enough, he'd even start drooling in anticipation of me tossing him some pops.
  • Buster was a great snuggler. He would always want to jump on the couch or in bed to lay next to us. Wendell got to enjoy this the last few months but in the beginning I got this joy. The best was when I was pregnant and Buster and I would lay back to back and he kept me nice and warm yet gave me some back support.
  • Buster would bark when someone was near our house (but not usually annoyingly), often giving me a warning that someone was outside. Usually it was the mailman or neighbor but it was just nice to have an awareness that someone was near the house.
  • Buster was also pretty good at keeping me company. Although in the last few months it did get annoying, when I cooked supper he would sit in the door way just hanging out. He used to be good about just sitting and the last few months he's been leaning towards begging for food with those sad puppy dog eyes. But either way, his company was nice.
  • Buster was a a great vacuum. He cleaned up after us after we ate, getting the little morsels off the floor. Of course, occasionally Wendell fed him food too but that is to be expected from a three year old. This is kind of gross but he was also a big fan of Harlie's spit up, often licking up the spot after I wiped it up so in a way, he did a double clean up on those spots on the floor.
  • Buster was a great playmate for Wendell. The last few months, they have played a lot of tug of war and fetch. Wendell usually ended up falling or getting scratched but he knew that was part of the game. And it was usually his (Wendell's) fault for teasing Buster
  • Before Phil and I had kids we took a road trip to see my mom in Florida. We took Buster along and he was the best dog ever. He loved hanging out in the car on the ride down, he loved being at the beach but wasn't so much a fan of the water. But he was a great travel companion and was very well behaved on the trip.

Some funny memories...

  • Buster was a great snorer. When we used to have a big chair for him, he'd curl up upside down and next thing we know he was sawing logs. He was really loud sometimes and occasionally he would twitch and you knew he was dreaming of chasing a rabbit or something.
  • Buster loved car rides and one time when Phil had is truck he went to take Buster for a ride and Buster tried to jump in before the tailgate was down. He was so excited and apparently Phil was too slow and Buster jumped right into the tail gate. He (Buster) was a little leery of jumping in the truck after that.
  • Once when Wendell was about 6 months old, I took him outside on a nice summer day and layed him on a blanket. I also took a book and big glass of ice water out. Of course, Buster went out with us. I had to run back in for a minute and when I came back out my glass was empty. Apparently Buster had gotten thirsty because he drank all my water.
  • We used to call Buster 'Dog Man Cabbit' because he was a mix of a dog, man, cat and rabbit. He barked like a dog, acted like a king (man) and ate food like a man, was scared like a cat and could jump like a rabbit.
  • Which reminds me, the first time we took Buster to Phil's parents house he met his first cat. And normally this cat is pretty quiet and keeps to itself but somehow it ended up nose to nose with Buster. It took one swipe at Buster and he ran like a scared mouse. But I am happy to report the last few times we took Buster to Phil's parents that they all got along just fine.

Of course, Buster had his share of messes too and his whining and begging could get annoying sometimes but that just meant he was part of the family. Overall, he was very good dog.

On a side note, Wendell seems to be doing pretty good, he has only asked a couple of times about Buster. It seems if we don't talk about it then he doesn't really think of it, so for Wendell's sake, that is good. Wendell does know that Buster was hurt and that he's 'all gone'.

So all that's left to say is thanks to God for giving us such a great friend, and help us to remember him. We hope he's having a joyous time in heaven and that we get to see him again some day.

For anyone who doesn't know Buster. I have to share that he was the oddest cutest dog ever. He was part basset hound and part lab mix. So he had a lab face and basset body. He was very short but his torso was the size of a lab. He had the nicest brown eyes for a puppy dog. Often people asked what kind of dog he was because he was so unique. And almost any person who likes dogs, loved Buster because he was so well behaved. Phil and I adopted him from the Humane Society here in Waterloo in January of 2002, 3 months after moving into our first home (where we currently live). He was about 1 1/2 years old when we got him (we do not have an exact birth date) and we were almost positive that he had been abused by his previous owners because he often shook with nerves anytime we yelled (even if we didn't yell at him). Even towards the end of his life, he still got very nervous whenever we yelled. Overall, we like to think we were good 'parents' and that we provided a good home for Buster. We will miss him but we have comfort knowing we'll see him again some day.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's a sad day here. Buster passed away this morning around 10:30am. Buster came downstairs to Phil (I was at work) around 5am and whining so Phil would let him outside. He was outside a while and when he came back in Phil realized he was vomiting and bloated very badly. Phil called me around 6:30am and informed me of the situation and then called the vet. The vet suggested he bring him in when they open around 8am. Buster walked out to the vehicle but once Phil got to the clinic he could not walk (which we later learned was probably due to the stress of leaving home, making the situation worse and causing shock). Phil carried him in and they ended up putting a tube in his stomach to relieve the gas and he immediately was doing a little better. They said he had a twist in his stomach and when they tried to do surgery they found his stomach had stretched too much and was irreparable. They said in this situation most dogs die before they make it to the vet and they really don't know what causes the bloating.

On a good note, they also found a tumor in his intestine so now he won't have to suffer through that. I always said that when he goes I hope it's quick and there aren't hard decisions...and now that day has come. And at least he was at the vet clinic where they loved him and could take care of him.

So from here will be the hard part of helping Wendell to understand all of this. In the past few months, Buster had been his bed buddy and had slept at the foot of Wendell's bed. And the two had also become good friends, often playing together and just being boys.

Buster was almost 10 years old.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I have some happy thoughts going on here and thought I'd share them with you.

1. race - I was searching the net again last night and looking through some of my old 'favorites' with triathlon race options and I forgot about one that just might end up being the one for me. Before I go into details, I want to say I was starting to get bummed because I couldn't find a race that would fit my needs. Originally I thought about going to the one at Camp Courageous but they changed the race time to 7:30am; with a 1 1/2 hour drive that would make me leave here by 5:30am at the latest and that is just too early for me. So option two was the Pigman near Cedar Rapids but that one is in early June and I don't think I'll be ready then. The last option was then George Wyth and that one is scheduled at the end of September and that would be a cold swim and might make a wet suit necessary, which I really don't want to have to purchase. But, tonight I saw a race at Gladbrook in mid July so it would be nice and warm for swimming, only an hour drive, and starts at 9am. And the swim is outside which is a bonus. I think for the experience of it all, I really want to try and swim out in a lake/open water instead of a pool. One other perk, is the cost isn't as high as the other races (I didn't realize triathlon races can cost so much). So here's the website if you want to check out the "Cornman tri' that just might be 'the one'. So now that I have a race place that is looking good, then I can feel the excitement to get out there and start training.

2. pool - with training, we finally have our membership to River Plaza. There was a bit of a mix up last week so we didn't get to go like we thought but we're now in the system. So instead of an early morning run this morning, I went to the pool, yeah! I've had my bag packed for a week with all the items (swim gear consisting of shorts, tank top, sports bra, nose plug, swimmers cap and goggles). So it was exciting to get in the water and see what I could do. So my assessment from this morning is that the swim part is going to be a workout for the brain because I'm going to have to concentrate on breathing and timing it with my body. But it felt good to be in the water and to see where I'm at skill wise which is pretty low on the totem pole. I think it'll take a lot of work but eventually I can do it! It's funny but physically I don't think it'll be that hard, it's going to be the skill of doing it, if that makes sense. Eventually I might end up buying a water resistant watch so I can track time but for there is a clock in there that works for now. I might also have to buy ear plugs so I don't get swimmers ear. I never had problems as a kid but I can feel some drainage in there and last time I was at a waterpark I had issues with my ears so we'll see what happens. And I might also end up buying a one piece swimsuit but thought I'd try the snug tank top for now. My current swimsuit is a tankini and the top floats in the water when I get in.. kind of like the bottom of a skirt would float up to the top of the water and could reveal too much if I wasn't being careful (so whoever invented this new style doesn't actually use them in water because they really don't work very well). Anyways, excitement is here for actually doing the hard part of training.. learning to swim (the correct way). Here is a picture of me posing as I tried on my gear last week... not sure how I'll feel about orange goggles but I didn't have much to choose from. So now I just need to take it a week at a time and see what happens. Part of me would like to video tape my skills at swimming now so I can compare it to 4 months from now; hopefully there will some improvement.

3. bridesmaid's dress - so not many of you know this but my little sister is planning to get married this summer and has asked me to be a bridesmaid (which is cool!) and with that question came the question of will I wear a strapless dress? Never in my life have I gone strapless and wasn't sure how comfortable I'd feel in that so the process started of ordering a strapless bra that will actually support me and then trying on the dress. So I got my bra in the mail last week (which it doesn't fit but good enough to try on a dress) and then tonight we drove down to Marion to try on the dress. I'm happy to report that with a bra (that fits correctly) that I think I can go strapless. My skin is a bit pasty colored and my arms are flabby but hopefully I can do something about that in the next few months (so if you see me out bike riding with a strapless top it's because I'll be working on my tan for the dress : ) So, I'm excited to be in my sisters wedding and to wear the dress that she'd prefer us to wear. (I will say, my gracious sister did offer alternatives if this dress didn't work out). For your viewing pleasure, here is the dress that I am expected to wear... and no that hot chick is NOT me.

4. moving - not a lot new except that our house is almost ready to be put on the market and Phil and I started looking online for houses. We haven't really found much that caught our eye but it was fun to see what's out there and what we like or don't like. I think for the most part Phil and I have the same idea of what we want so that's good. I just keep praying that this doesn't become too stressful. So I'm just excited to be looking and seeing what's out there.. like this might actually happen in the not so far future. I still feel like we have some tough decisions to make, like what kind of school we want the kids to go to but for now we'll just go with it and see what happens. I think if I can keep putting it in God's hands then it'll all work out (maybe my motto needs to be .. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can... let go and let God handle the hard stuff).

So that's my excitement...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cute and Adorable

Most kids in general are cute and adorable but I think we all find our own kids to rank at the top... I wonder if it just gets better with grand kids? I've always said I want grand kids but not so sure about kids... well, turns out I don't mind the kids after all.

Here is example #1 of Cute and Adorable

They probably aren't safe with 50+ lbs in the crib but they sure are cute, and it's neat seeing Wendell as a big brother. This is what I found when Harlie woke up from one of her naps today after Wendell ran up to comfort her.

Not sure this is cute and adorable but it's funny... I thought I'd take a moment and check my email. Next thing I know, I have a partner in crime. We look like we belong at a coffee house or computer lab.

Monday, February 1, 2010

quick update

Just thought I'd give a quick update on the Big T.

Today, I went to my work and signed up for a membership to River Plaza Athletic Club. There were many pro's and con's to YWCA and River Plaza but it came down to two main deciding factors - pool availability and busyness of the pool. Basically, RP has open swim almost all the time because no one uses it. YWCA has about an hour in the morning and at lunch time for lap swim and that's about it... those are good but Phil and I need as much flexibility as possible. On a side note, Phil and I used to go to RP so we're familiar with it and with the membership we belong to the whole club so that includes treadmills, elipticals, hot tubs, the gymnasium, racket ball courts, aerobics classes, etc. So although we are mainly planning to use the pool, it might be nice to do something else once in awhile, especially when the weather isn't so nice. Both locations are in downtown W'loo so either are ideal for being close to our home and close to Phil's work (so he can work out at lunchtime). One perk of YW would have been they offer adult swim lessons, which would have been nice since I'm basically learning to swim. Both places have a small pool but at least we get to do some swimming to start training. I think reality will really kick in when we attempt our first lake swim. I've heard there is a group called Cedar Valley Endurance that organizes/schedules a few group swims at George Wyth to prepare folks for a real triathlon. So for now, I'll get my body in gear then we'll look at doing the tough task of swimming across a lake.

My work says our membership should only take a few days before we can get started. I'll have to look at my schedule but hopefully I can get started this week. I'm hoping to swim at least 2-3 times a week, and also run 1-2 a week. I think I'll look for a swim cap (never worn one so that should be interesting) so that I don't have frozen hair on my drive home in this cold weather. I don't need a cold on top of all this. I already bought goggles and a nose plug; and for now I'm planning to wear my swimsuit and a sports bra. Otherwise, I think I have most of what I need, for now anyways.

So phase one of training will begin soon, I'm excited to get in the pool and start to swim! Next phase will be purchasing a bicycle trailer/stroller and get out on my bike... but I'm not going to worry about that until it warms up outside.