Friday, July 22, 2011

Hey there!

I can't believe a whole month has passed since my last post!  So here I am, with what I'm afraid will end up being a rather lengthy update.  Ready?

I think I just might be enjoying summer this year more than any summer before.  It has been super-hot, but we have been having so much fun that I (almost) haven't noticed!

One of the things that I have found the greatest satisfaction in has been all of the training that I have been doing for the two remaining triathlons that I have signed up for this summer.  It has been extra-fun since Jacob (17) is very interested in competing in triathlons as well and is almost always game to go for a bike ride with me and, more recently has even begun to attend the "master's swim class" that I subject my sinking self to two (very early!) mornings each week!  If you are not familiar with the term "master's swim class," this does not refer to the swimming ability of its participants, but rather to their (ahem) age.  smile.  I assure you, I am close to the slowest participant in the class, but I do persevere and have made tremendous strides (or should I say, "strokes"?) in my swimming ability!

One of the highlights for me of the past few weeks was a 1.5 mile open water swim that I completed for a womens' triathlon class that I attend! Please don't be *too* impressed~ I was *very* slow and I stopped and treaded water quite a few times, but I did it!  I never, never thought I could do such a thing! When I finished I was so excited that I called Tom and my parents right away to tell them!  Woo Hoo!  I felt like I had just finished a marathon (not that I have done that~ yet~ just guessing what it might feel like!)

In the area of cycling, Jake and I decided to take part in a local group ride called "Tour de Lakes."  I snapped this pic with my iPhone just before we left on the ride with some friends from my womens' triathlon class.  Can you see the line of people headed up the street?  Several hundred riders participated in this event. I was so worried about getting bumped and wrecking in such a large group, but the riders spread out once everyone got going and was really lots of fun!

It could have been pretty hot that day, but it ended up being cloudy and even rained pretty hard on us at one point.  The rain kept us cool and we ended up riding 42 miles!  Here's Jake and I after the ride~ we had fun, and I loved that I could do this ride with him.  We have really made some good memories together this summer.

Since that ride we have gone even further!  This was the sunrise that Jake and I saw as we headed out early, early to conquer a 50 mile ride.  We wanted to avoid the heat as much as possible, so we were ready to go by 6:20.

And the view of the sun rising over the lake where we rode:

On other fronts, next week I'll be participating in Ali Edwards' "Week in the Life" project.  Basically I'll just be taking lots of photos to document our days here, plus keeping track of the stories that I want to tell so we can remember what our ordinary life is like right now.  If you think you might like to do this project in some shape or form (and it's *all* good!), be sure to download her free PDF files here.  I think they should be super-helpful!

It will be an especially fun week to document because our oldest son Nate is home for two weeks from his assignment as a chaplain's assistant in the Army at Ft. Benning, GA.  He just arrived home at 4am this morning and already we have had *so* much fun!

If you would like to see what I have done in past years with the "Week in the Life," you can check out those posts here.

Mixed in with all of our other activities, we have been working on conquering the weedy mess that was attempting to overtake my gardens!  Yikes!  So, so glad that I have so many helpers~ they really do make quick work of weeding jobs!

I have still been having a blast with my iPhone~ *love* the fact that I have it with me almost all of the time!  I captured the lake photo below just before my triathlon class.

I debated whether to include this or not, but in the spirit of "keepin' it real" I thought I would.  Remember my femoral neck stress fracture that I ended up with last summer?  The stress fracture that caused me to need surgery when it wouldn't heal up, even after weeks on crutches?  (Well, I *tried* to be good for weeks on crutches, but I digress...)  Yep, you guessed it: I'm battling the same problem in my other hip now!  So frustrating!

But there are two positive things this time: First, I realized what was happening early and stopped running immediately and second, I only have two hips!  Once I get his hip healed I should be good to go!

So the following photo was the result of having to spend way too much time waiting to see my orthopedic doctor~ fortunately I could, you guessed it (!!), play with my iPhone!

I thought that the shiny chrome on the chair and plumbing were interesting~ see, I'm being way too honest and "real" here, aren't I?

The good news is that I was given the ok to continue to swim and bike and try to maintain my running fitness by "deep-water running" or using an elliptical.  So I am doing that and really looking forward to the day that I can go for my little running dates with Tom and the boys again!  My plan (ok'd by my doctor) is to go ahead and compete in the two triathlons that I have signed up for and I am praying that the Lord will intervene and heal my hip so that I won't have to have it pinned like I did my right hip last fall.

As I mentioned, we have been in the midst of a rather intense heat wave here~ 102 today!  Pretty much every day we are able to take the children to the pool to swim~ it's been so fun to play with them there and see them progress in their swimming skills too.

When we can't go to the pool the boys like to improvise on the hill behind our house.  Check out their water slide made with some tarps and a sprinkler!  What fun!

And in spite of the heat they have had so much fun camping in our backyard.  I love that they can have these adventures together.  Can you see our Great Dane, "Dude" peeking out?  He simply *has* to get in on the fun, still considering himself to be a little lap dog!

And then there's Timmy.  Still cute as ever... I can't believe that he'll be 5 this December!

Another iPhone photo... grainy, but I love this pic~ his smile, his hair, he is such a sweetie!

So many other things going on here... I'm in the thick of planning for our next school year~ learning how to use a new homeschool record-keeping program called Homeschool Tracker.  So far I am very happy with it.  I think all of the pre-planning that I am doing should save me a bunch of time this coming year.

 A few random pic from our 4th of July celebration... Jake and Abbie,

A little group corn-husking...

Hannah, Abbie and Joshua,

A yummy 4th of July plate...

And of course a few fireworks photos. I decided not to bring my big camera along this year, but instead see what I could capture with my iPhone.  

So there you have it, a not-so-brief summary of the past month or so around here.

How's your summer going?

Rejoicing in God's goodness here~

 in everyday life,