^ Great message on marriage! I would recommend for singles, newly weds, middle & end packers. Because marriage constantly needs to be worked on. If there is no movement, stagnation. And we all know the saying about the devil and idleness!
I am really thankful I'm married to a good man. Not in the perfect, sinless way Jesus is good, but in the way he cares about his wife and kids kind of good. My love burns for him.
Moving on. Still working on 4 Seasons, a chapter every now and then. I really enjoy reading "advice" books on marriage and parenting and life in general. Sometimes I get really into them and read a lot at once and then feel like I promptly forget a lot, and then other times I read slowly and feel like I forget a lot too.
Life is busy at this stage in our family life, what can I say. I keep plugging away.
I do retain some of what I read, and think about it. That message link above, I listened to for a second time this evening; very convicting yet comforting at the same time. That is the beauty of his messages--plenty to work on, but God can do anything.
I want to be a good wife to Jeremy. I am thankful God doesn't give up on this work in progress!
Notes on family life--the baby is a crack up, we're working on the middles with deception, and the oldest is a good organizer. I believe that lines up with The Birth Order Book. Typical family life!
We do greatly enjoy all of them.
Hayley has been baking a good amount lately, it has been fun giving her lessons in the kitchen. She is enjoying 4th grade, and is looking forward to an extra curricular art class coming up next year. Running is still her #1 sport.
Ada recently finished her first season of soccer and loved it; it was fun to watch her play, having a love for the sport myself. She is such a great all-around athlete + people person, that she has potential in any sport she chooses. First grade schoolwork is harder than K, but she is putting in good effort.
Seth. That kid has an infectious laugh; he loves to be tickled and has a typical boy sense of humor. He loves water and also enjoys seeing how things work. If I'm using a machine in the kitchen, he's usually right there to watch; he also enjoys helping me in the kitchen from time to time. Building is a favorite activity with him and toys. Likes to snuggle up for a story.
Blake-- where to begin! The kid is trying to keep up with three older siblings. Actually, make that three older siblings and two parents. He's a character, but also enjoys being taken seriously like he knows what he's talking about. Sometime this year he passed Seth in weight; he's a big kid, with a very tender and loving heart.
This afternoon as I held the boys' hands in the warm sunshine of the crisp, cool day, as we crossed the street on our way to pick up the girls, I thought about how I am going to miss these days. Feeling their little hands in mine. Seeing the boys race and Blake's occasional kiss on a tree*; telling them for what feels like the hundredth time to put the stick down while on school grounds so they don't accidently hit someone.
* One day this school year, we were walking along, the boys and I, on our usual route to school. Seth randomly decided to kick every tree on the way. Blake started copying him. I advised them not to do that, because we should take care of them. So Blake started hugging the trees, and asked if that was nice to do. I told him he could be a tree hugger if he wanted. I think Seth figured out on his own that tree kicking doesn't lead to happy feet. Next day the boys were hugging every. tree. on. the. way. I don't remember when Blake added in the kissing part. Anyways, that's why Blake will sometimes randomly do that. Life with little boys is interesting, that's for sure.
Earlier this week, I called the three year old by his first and last name. No trouble (as evidenced by lack of middle name usage), just for fun.
He responded with, "That's not my name! I have three names."
Surprised, I asked him what they were.
"Sweetie. Son. Blake."
Have I mentioned he has the softest cheeks to kiss? I adore that kid.
Three year olds will exasperate you at times when they test the boundaries (i.e. last weekend at a park visit when he decided to race us down the block to the van when it was time to go... without telling us. Then, THEN, after searching the park, Jeremy & Ada went down the block while us other 3 continued looking, J&A spotted him at the corner--and he took off. They rounded the corner and he was no where in sight; they asked people up and down the block if they had seen a little boy... meanwhile at the park we were having zero luck finding the kid, so we decided to see if the other team found him yet. Hayley ran ahead and found him hiding in the bushes behind a short concrete garden wall at the corner, which after getting the story from team J&A, we realized instead of darting down the block, he had dashed through rose bushes to hide behind that little wall; she came running back to tell me, then S&I followed H to the corner, and sure enough, there he was out of hiding and standing on the corner, but where were J&A? Then we saw them talking to a dog walker down the block. Hey look, here's the kid! And yes, he received a spanking at home, and two restrictions.),
but, they are also incredibly smart, funny, lovable, and will melt your heart at times.
Right now I'm reading The 4 Seasons of Marriage, by Gary Chapman. I'm not done yet, but I recommend. I've read through the seasons, and it was so easy for me to know which one I feel like we're in right now.
Not going to discuss that here, but I am going to discuss the first part of the second half--strategies.
Last night I read Strategy 1, Deal with Past Failures.
Wow. Yes. And, this will be painful.
Today I realized, not only does this need to be done within marriages, but also within friendships as well.
Glossing over hurts and pretending they are not there does no one any favors. It makes things worse.
So, if there is any family member or friend of mine out there that wishes to enter the pain zone with me, by the love of the Lord let's do it.
Here are the steps of dealing with past failures: identifying past failures, confession and repentance, and forgiveness.
Identifying past failures: Each person makes two lists.
List one: listing all the ways you can think of that you might have hurt/let down the other person. Asking close family members/friends who know both of you well and have seen you interact for additional info is recommended.
List two: listing all the ways you feel the other person has hurt you. Start everything in this list with "I felt" or "I feel".
Then, compare lists.
Confess, repent, forgive.
Sounds so easy, doesn't it. That's cute, let's make lists and be all better again. But bringing up old wounds that haven't healed is messy business. Not to be done by the faint hearted.
May God give us wisdom to deal with our sin! And to be broken before Him.
I'll admit, I'm prideful and selfish, and the thought of knowing how I've hurt other people isn't that appealing to me, but I think I need that pain to grow.
Just saw Inside Out last night with the kids--I liked how Sadness was needed to deal with the pain and bring back Joy.
Good movie, we all really liked it. I even cried when the imaginary friend gave his life.
How God loves it when we turn in our pain of sin and repent, and restore our fellowship with Him.
I know you know this, but wow, it always amazes me when I realize how patient God is with us. How much He puts up with in dealing with us. And wow, He gave His life for us. That kind of love is overwhelming and so undeserved.
God, please help me be broken in my failings, and not let the evil one take hold in my life, saying that my feelings/thoughts/actions are justified because of how someone else is acting.
Please help me be like You. Patient, loving, kind, merciful, full of grace, truth, and self control!
A week ago I ran my second trail half. Just under 2,500 ft of climbing; took me almost 4 hours to complete.
At the 5k point, I had already taken a sharp little rock to my right heal, and I was thinking, I could be done now. And that was during the pretty part of the race.
This was definitely the hardest race I have done, the longest distance I have gone.
At the start, the RD announced that the course was different than what was listed on line, that we'd be started the other direction. I promptly threw my map in the trash.
Though honestly, that was the first time I ever printed off a map for a race, I always trusted that the course would be well marked. And this one was, so it was fine.
As we started off into the trees, I kept myself almost all the way towards the back. I did pass a couple of women on a downhill, and thought they were the last.
As people spaced out, I found myself alone in the most beautiful part of the race. Single track winding up and down through various views and forests, it was really nice.
And then passing the 5k mark, the mind battle began. I hadn't been running as much before this race, so I knew it was going to be extra tough than the one I did last year and had trained better for.
Rolled into the first aid station at 6 miles, had some salty chips, YUM. Oh, before that aid station, a woman had passed me in the woods--she was there at the aid station. We talked with the two guys running it a bit, then I hit up the porta potty across the way, and was off.
She passed me not too long after while on the fire road of death. And then later, the two women passed me. And then, the sweepers caught up to me.
I said, "I knew I was going to be that person!" But it did help moral, to run with them. My feet were so done with this race--Vibrams were not a good choice, as this course was terribly rocky.
(Having only run in Vibrams for the past... 4 or 5 years? I am now searching for a suitable minimalist trail shoe. Right now, the New Balance Minimus may be it, we'll see.)
I knew both of the sweepers, so we talked some. We ended up at the second aid station at like 10.48 miles I think? Something like that; I grabbed some water and left, I just wanted to be DONE.
Oh, before the two women passed me and the sweepers caught up, I had eaten a date and some mango I had stashed in my carry on water bottle.
They stopped at the aid station, and then caught up to me again. I couldn't even run uphills; honestly though, only ever on fresh legs.
They stopped to talk to a friend, I kept chugging along. Then the RD pulled up in his truck (third time) and told me I had an incomprehensible amount of mileage left--because my watch was telling me I was almost done.
Then, the downhill from an evil place. Didn't think I could ever hate a downhill. Ha! 16% grade on a tired body.
A welcome sight after that--my family! And the sweepers were back, and we all jogged it in.
And then I was done, and it was glorious, and I was so thankful.
Thanks to everyone putting on the race, and being patient for me to finish, and for Pierre & Kent, and for Jeremy & the kids! A good community feeling.
My right heel had hit a few more rocks along the way, and it was bruised for days after, and I walked funny. Now it's still there, just slightly. Body was feeling totally beat up until Sunday after church, then I could think about wanting to run again.
Then... Tuesday morning. Woke up with a terrible tight pain in between my shoulder blades/base of neck, high back. Much worse than a kinked neck. Thought I might have slept weird though.
When I woke up Weds. morning with the same, knew it was something else. Jeremy worked on me a few times that day. Thursday I resorted to Thermacare. Friday Jeremy gave me another rub.
Not sure if it was a result of the race, or storing stress, or both; rough week for sure. Thankful to be getting better!
Made me think of those with chronic pain--wow. That's a rough go, because it is depressing to be in pain.
This post kind of depresses me. All about bodily pain, chosen and unchosen.
Thankful for my family, here and in another state! Love them all. Missing them. This has been somewhat of a homesick year for me, I'll admit.
Pinnacles 1.0 and Pinnacles 2.0 for your reading pleasure. Pinnacles 1.0 was also in the fall, but Pinnacles 2.0 was in the spring. Interesting to see how the reservoir looks different each time. On looking back at 1.0--Blake's hair! Seth looks so tiny! Ada still falls asleep in the car like that! Hayley doesn't even need a car seat anymore!
Pinnacles is one of the kids' favorite places to hike, if not THE fav. Can't think of any other place they get more excited about. So yep, the fav.
Last month I was thinking about how I wanted to take them here sometime in October. This day on the calendar looked to be the most open for the kids and I, but I wanted to wait and see how busy September affected us before I mentioned my idea. (I still need to blog about Idaho! Jeremy did a cool post though.) I think I ended up giving them something like a week's notice; they were pretty stoked.
Some new gear purchased for this trip: 2 different youth water vests for the girls, and 2 same hats for the boys, different colors. Spray sunscreen applied--going for some new territory.
I was worried with it being a holiday weekend that it would be packed, so I aimed to leave early to snag a parking spot; this ended up being the least crowded time we've gone. Score!
(They do have a shuttle service from the campground, although we have not had to use it yet.)
After pouring over the maps and realizing hitting up both caves in one day was not an achievable goal with my crew, I decided on Bear Gulch as it is "more fun". Balconies cave is fun too, but BG seems to be a bit more engaging, as well as the hike up to it. Plus I was really curious what was beyond the reservoir on the Rim Trail.
Got our spot, hit the pot, and we were off.
Chipper and ready to go!
Boys lead the way. Cuteness!
Didn't waste time climbing the first sizable rock on the trail. This was to repeat itself over, and over. It's cool though, that's their version of fun!
Getting very close to the entrance of BG cave.
Kids found frogs.
*Cave was awesome, AND, we got to explore the upper part of BG cave which we have not gotten to before--kids were super stoked about that!*
Out of the cave, and going up to the reservoir.
Spontaneous idea to get selfie with each kid. Missed Seth, bummersauce.
Looking down at the stairs.
First of many, many snack/water/rest breaks. With kids, they need a lot of interesting and frequent snackage. The younger, the more this applies.
Photo credit: Ada
Selfie with Ada. :)
I like how Blake's just chillin in the background.
Sisters! H looked more high in the next one I took, so I used this one. She was making all kinds of faces and I told her to relax. See, some people don't even need the weed!
Taking this pic, I realized Seth's gas tank was starting to run low. He had really pushed himself up to this point, and I had been worried this would be the case with the kids, and had warned them not to run too much at the beginning. But they just get so excited, and they love to run!
Boys still leading at this point, but had stopped to wait for us, and Blake asked if this was a good spot to eat Cheetos. (They had discovered my orange finger surprise at the first stop.)
My right hand, on my left.
Seth's running low on the left, Blake still keeping fueled on the right.
The formation on the left, the kids referred to as the "castle", and the small one on the right, Blake dubbed "candle". I have no idea why, and the kids just copied him, so the name stuck.
H was mad at this root that tripped her.
When we took the path to the castle, Seth got a second wind and disappeared. Found him!
At this point, he decided he didn't want to go all the way up.
B found a cool spot on the other side, and was quite happy with it.
H&A in B's spot.
Well, then I was with the 3 - S on the far side of the castle, and S looped back around. When we got back around, we couldn't find him. We called for him, no answer. I fought down fears of "oh crap, he climbed something and fell somewhere", and told the 3 to stay in one place while I circled the castle again.
You remember that spot I said he didn't go all the way up? Turns out, he went back there and climbed up it, and then beyond behind it. I was calling for him and walking around, then his head pops up--he was too scared to get down. Breaking my rule of "you climb up, you can get down", I talked him through getting down a little ways so I could help him the rest. Took a bit of coaxing, but he finally was able to get over his fear; I was just so glad he was ok!
On to the candle, which we all climbed part way up. I did help Blake on the last little oomph of the climb to the ledge, as he wanted to badly to be with the big kids. He really amazes me with his accomplishments as a three year old!
Something caught my eye.
This was a good amount of the Rim Trail/High Peaks Trail--exposed, sunny, and hot.
Shady spots were a welcome reprieve.
Time for Cheetos!
Something off in the distance...
... looks to be some kind of tower? Reminds me of "the box". Cue ultrarunner husband to go find out sometime.
Energy waning, I tried to be encouraging, but also, we were making it to the top, as we were almost there!
View from the top, looking down the other side!
I noticed off to the the right below, that that was where the West Side parking was.
I had originally planned a loop above this trailhead, a loop of Juniper Canyon Trail, Tunnel Trail, and then back down High Peaks Trail to Rim Trail, but two big hurdles blocked the way--our water needs would surely exceed our supply, which would be dangerous and ill-advised, and also the hike up Rim Trail & High Peaks Trail was more strenuous than I had anticipated and the kids were done with uphill at this point and we needed to get back down ASAP.
--Insert random note, there was a bathroom at this trailhead intersection.--
We turned to go back, and Seth loves downhills and started flying--then he stopped and asked me to carry his hat as it kept flying off. I told him he should wear it backwards like Daddy and see if that worked--he was very pleased with this idea! And Blake immediately turned his around to be like Seth and Daddy, the ultimate male-copy move in his life.
Saying something philosophical?
The downhill was part running, part rationing water, part coaxing everyone except Ada that moving forward was our best option at this point, in that order. I think Ada was the best off because she had drunk the most water.
We made it back down to the reservoir, which was a welcome sight at that point. The stairs are a choke point, being so narrow. We did start by waiting for some people, but then had to start down and pass on the stairs, otherwise we'd be up there waiting all day it felt like.
The cool of the cave was welcome and the children revived; passing in the tight cave sections was interesting, but we made it through.
On the trail back down to the parking lot, Blake sang the song of the motor boat:
Post hike kids on/around starting rock; these were the best I could get. They were done, man. Then Ada says, "I think I could do that again." Kids always talk a big game, but in her case, she might have it--as long as she has lots and lots of water.
Strava says we did a 5.6 mile hike with 1,448 ft of climbing, and it took us 4 hrs. & 49 min. I think this might be the most strenuous hike I've taken the kids on!
We stopped at Sonic in Gilroy, and Blake was out the entire time we were parked there--he didn't even wake up till we pulled onto our block! But by then, Seth was out.
Definitely a fun outing with the kids, and man, they are tough! A good bonding time for sure.