Saturday, April 28, 2012

36 and Five Pounds

After #2 was born, Kent and I decided we wanted to be fit and healthy, so we put ourselves on the Body-for-Life program  Yes, it's the program where people send in before-and-after photos of themselves in bikinis.  (No bikini shots for this post, just a logo.  You're welcome.)  BFL is quite inspiring and I recommend the program. We stuck with it pretty well for probably six weeks, but eventually I couldn't keep up with the constant meal prep, and we didn't have money to spend on meal-replacement shakes. However, I did stick with the exercise part of the program and I've continued it pretty steadily over the past 12 years. I found that alternating aerobic workouts with weight-lifting workouts fit into my schedule quite well, and the workouts let me maintain my body size while still eating pretty much whatever I wanted.
Until 36.

I turned 36 this winter, and my body has decided to react differently to food and exercise. Maybe it's more accurate to say it reacts to food, but not to exercise. I rarely weigh myself, but when I noticed some clothes fitting a little more tightly recently, I hopped on the scale to discover that I've gained five pounds over the winter. I know, five pounds doesn't sound like much; but you must remember that fat doesn't weigh much, and I'm pretty sure I've added a good layer of fat to most of my body in the past four months. Yuck. I guess the 25-minute exercise routines didn't stave off all the butter and cream and cookies and--well, you get the idea--that I've been indulging in.

When we were in Mexico in December, I got to know the sister, C, of my friend K. C and her family were part of the trip. K had told me that C enters triathlons and somehow motivates her friends to join her. I think C is at least seven years older than me, but I have to say she looks younger than me, and it's probably because of how well she takes care of herself. During the trip, though, she told me she was rethinking her training in an effort to relax and be more like K.  I'd like to be more like K too, so  I took C's expert opinion as evidence for adding more yoga and no running to my workout routine.

But I couldn't stop thinking about how awesome it would be to look as good as C when I'm in my forties.

I don't trust my knees enough to start running or training for any races, but the mailers from the local gym starting tempting me.

Then, last week when I saw an announcement about an aerobics group that meets at the church across from my house, I figured that would be a lot more convenient to my schedule--and my wallet--than joining a gym. So I gave it a try. Honestly, I think a gym would have been easier! For two hours we pumped weights, did lunges across the floor, killed our abs, danced Zumba, and stretched into yoga poses.
See the cute Zumba instructor in the front who is having tons of fun?  That's not me.
I'm more like the person behind her who can't figure out any of the steps, but I figure there is still some  aerobic benefit to shaking my hips and wildly waving my arms around.

 I'm pretty sure the ladies who lead the group are professionals, because they had music and microphones to keep us all motivated. It was a lot of fun...until the next morning. I could barely move! Who knew there were muscles in the front of my throat and covering my ribs?!  In fact, my abdominals were still complaining five days later! Did I go back for more this week? You bet! You see, when the class started at 9:00 a.m. that first Friday, I was thinking, "This will be a good way to get back to my maintain-the-weight-while-still-eating-cookies-and-ice-cream routine." Two hours later when I left at 11:00 a.m. my approach had changed to, "If I'm going to work this hard, there is no way that I'm counteracting my efforts with cookies and ice cream!" So am I on a diet now? No. But I am watching what I eat a little more. This past week we had a lot of low-fat dinners, more salads and protein, and green smoothies twice. Yes, cookies did make an appearance, but now I'm satisfied with just one instead of sneaking an extra two or three or..let's be honest...five more. 

Okay, so one BFL-type bikini shot.  But it's not of me!
(Why can't the lady on the left be holding an apple and the chocolate?!)

Here's to good health and pants that fit by the end of the summer!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

How to Scare the C**p Out of Your Kids--Literally

I'll start this post with a couple of my usual disclaimers:

1) Yes, you can thank me for not including any photos in this post.

2) When her sisters laughed hysterically about this, #4 emphatically requested that I not share this via email. I promised that I wouldn't...but that I would publish it on the blog. I figure we need to save this childhood story for their posterity.

First, I'll set up the scene. The bathtub in the kids' bathroom is up against a window. The glass is mottled so you can't see into the room, but you can make out shadows of people if they are right against the window.

#4 and #5 were taking a bath this evening at dusk. I was working in the backyard garden. I thought it would be cute to tap on the glass and see if they would tap back. I gave a soft series of taps, which #4 later admitted to hearing. They ignored the sound because they thought it someone was knocking on the bathroom door, and that whoever it was would just come in.

Time for a side note. I realize that in most households, if no one answers your knock on the bathroom, you would probably double check whether anyone was in there. However, we have a pretty open policy about nudity in our home. No one freaks out if someone walks in on someone else to find them showering or dressing. When one of us wants privacy, we lock the door. If it's closed and unlocked, you knock first and then may proceed in.

When I got no reaction from the bathers, I drummed my fingers in a much louder, arpeggiated manner. This time I got a reaction, but not the one I was expecting!

My tapping on the window was followed by shrieks from #s 4 and 5 who leaped out of the raised bathtub and split from the bathroom. All of this happened in about 1.5 seconds!

I am not exaggerating. The bathtub is raised so the rim is about at my waist when I'm standing. Because of their short lets, the kids usually creep carefully over the edge to get out of the tub, or just wait for me to wrap them in a towel and lift them out. This time, I could see their hurried shadows fade rapidly away from me as I saw one and then the other vault over the tub's side and bolt from the bathroom, screaming in fear through the house!

I figured they were seeking safety with their sisters who were in the family room. So I walked over to the deck and looked through our huge picture-glass sliding doors to see #4 and #5 standing in the buff exclaiming something to #s 1-3 who looked a little surprised and worried. I raised my arms in the air and waved jazz hands to the kids, which caught #1's attention. She practically fell off the couch laughing when she realized what had happened! Then everyone else looked my way, and the little nudies started yelling and shaking fists and berating me! I shrugged to indicate that I couldn't hear anything they were yelling, so they skulked away, stomping back to the bath.

To set their fears more at ease--and yes, to be a bit playful--I tapped the "Thanks for the doughnut" rhythm on the glass, hoping they would finish it with the "Goodbye." All they did was yell at me to knock it off because it was still scaring them!

I finished in the garden and went inside to find puddles of water through the hallway and kitchen. I happily mopped it up, figuring the cleanup was worth the laugh we all got. I chuckled more when I found the bathroom floor was a small pond with the long-hanging toilet paper wicking up the moisture. The icing on the cake, for me, though, was a small ball of excrement sitting on the edge of the bathtub, right where the adrenaline-pumped children had made their exit. It was perfect! And it brought more laughs from the three oldest sisters, along with grumpy looks from the younger two!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Piece of Provo's History

Wednesday night Kent and I were with some friends who mentioned that BYU had excavated the foundation of a tabernacle that was built by the pioneers before the current (old) Provo Tabernacle. The foundation has laid underneath a park to the north of the standing tabernacle. Our friends said it was worth seeing while it was still exposed.

Today, I happened to be driving downtown around 3:00 p.m. and decided to take a detour to check out the site. Half of the excavation pit was filled in with dirt, but I could see the four-feet-thick walls of the north end of the foundation, along with the remains of two entrances that had led directly to the basement. I was strolling along the fence, reading posted signs about the history of the first tabernacle, when a bulldozer that had been running in the background drove up and dumped a load of dirt on the foundation. It probably shouldn't have shocked me, but it did. I thought, "I wish I had my camera! I should definitely bring it and the kids to see this tomorrow before it's covered back up." I was also struck by the irony that weeks of careful digging and dusting dirt away from the limestone was being unceremoniously reversed by a bulldozer.

Tonight, just six hours later, I was driving the whole family home along Univerity Avenue and decided the foundation would be just as interesting to see in the dark. So we parked at the site, unpiled from the car, and discovered that the whole pit had been filled in. I had been lucky enough to get a last-chance glimpse at a piece of history that will likely never be unearthed again. The site will be under the grounds of the new Provo City Center Temple.

Following are some articles that I found interesting about the old tabernacle. One of them states that the foundation stones were donated to Provo City, and that the pit would be filled in after the stones were removed. I'm here to tell you that if some of the stones had been removed, there is still a good, recognizable portion of foundation under there. Because I get a little sentimental about community history, I'm glad my friends mentioned it, and I'm more glad that I saw it when I did.

Provo Tabernacle Archaeological Work Almost Done

'Old Tabernacle' Excavation at Provo Temple Site Called a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

Archaeology Students Make Surprising Finds at Tabernacle Dig Site

Monday, April 2, 2012

Every Six Months

This past weekend was the 182nd annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church holds this conference each April and October. My family has found that if we are engaged in activities that don't require too much brain power, we can listen to the conference speakers and get more from their messages than if we simply sit and listen (and fall asleep). I like to also study the talks in the Church's Ensign magazine and online in between conferences.

Because General Conference occurs every six months, some people assign bi-annual chores to that weekend as a way to remember to do them. My oldest daughters, for example, rotate bed assignments in their room, which ensures they each get a turn at the top bunk, and they each have to deal with the trundle for six months. Some of my neighbors rotate their water storage on Conference weekends.

I cleaned out my fridge this weekend.

What you see is 14 plastic containers that were recently holding moldy and decomposing food. I figured that both of you who read this blog would appreciate seeing the containers rinsed and ready to sanitize, rather than with their contents. You're welcome.

Truthfully, I do clean out my refrigerator more frequently than twice per year. It's at least three times. Also truthfully, I just couldn't sit still during Conference. Staying busy kept my mind focused. As a result, I now have alphabetized spices, organized pots and pans, and a greater testimony of my role as a mother, the pattern of family, and the Atonement and mercy of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It's been a good weekend.