I’m a triathlete!

July 23, 2012

I’m officially a triathlete.

I’m so proud to be able to say that. When I first had an inkling to sign up for a triathlon, I thought I was a joke. I had no idea what I was capable of, but wanted to prove to myself that I can do things I didn’t think I could, and that I can’t let fear stand in my way. So, I registered for a Sprint Triathlon at UBC: 700m swim, 20km bike ride, 5km run.

Pre-race time I was a mess. I was so nervous. Driving out to UBC I thought I was going to die of nerves. I was so glad I had scoped it out the day before, because once we arrived it felt better that everything was familiar, and as I expected. I got my bike checked in, and carefully laid out my transition gear. After that we headed to the pool to check in. The line for getting my race package was so long, and before I knew it, I only had 20 minutes till race time. I rushed to change and get ready, only to find out they were running 1/2 hour behind schedule. Thankfully though, most of nerves I had left outside the pool, and I was able to chat with a few other competitors. One lady, was especially kind. She reminded me that it’s just me and the race, and no one else matters. That I just needed to focus on my effort and time, and to do my best. It was so nice hearing that from a seasoned triathlete, especially since just before another ol’ timers advice was to stay out of the way of faster people, eek!

We were able to watch the first heat go, and I was a bit nervous because several of the competitors panicked once in the water. But once the race marshal gave me the go ahead to enter the water, I was completely at peace. It felt so good to be moving, and doing something that I was completely comfortable with and had trained for, for weeks. It was amazing to climb out of the pool and feel completely ready to hop on the bike. I was calm, and focused and didn’t feel stressed or panicked.

The bike transition went smoothly as well.

Before I knew it I was out on the bike course and getting a good pace. Unfortunately, the course was made up of a lot of up-hills and down-hills, and there was a lot of wind that I was biking against. But with some self motivating talk, and cheering on from other atheletes, I made it through, and before I knew it was headed to the run.

The first part of the run was gruelling. My legs felt like they didn’t exist – yet were so heavy, and my chest was burning. The cool morning air, vs, my heavy breathing felt terrible. After getting some good deep breathes, and getting a pace on the run, within 5 minutes I felt perfectly fine, and was able to focus on just running. Part of the course took us through some beautiful trails at UBC, it was nice to be able to not focus on the long road head of concrete, but to run on a zig zagging trail through the forest. Getting from 1-2km’s seemed like the longest stretch, but before I knew it, I hit the 3k mark, and then the 4k mark. I was in the final leg of my race. I pushed hard up the last hill, and was excited to see Harold and the boys there to run me up to the final corner. I kept telling myself to keep going, to give it all I had. I entered into the final racing corridor, and heard the cheers and the announcer announcing my approach…I couldn’t believe I was here…the finish line!!

As I crossed the finish line I felt amazing, exhausted, but so so proud. I couldn’t believe I had finished. I hugged my boys, and held back tears. Who knew racing and finishing would be so emotional. My offical race time was 1:48:49 which officially completed all my goals: a)I crossed the finish line b)I didn’t come in last c) I finished in under 2 hours.

A big thank you to everyone who helped me accomplish this goal. To all my training buddies who joined me at the pool, for a bike ride, or for a run. The biggest thank you goes to my family! My boys are very accustomed to Mommy going to the gym, or heading to the pool, Caleb even runs around saying “Mommy, gym. Mommy, bike. Mommy, swim!” Thank you to my amazing supporting husband Harold, who when I first mentioned a triathlon, he was so, so supportive. He never waivered. When I felt like quitting, he reminded me of my goal and said I was doing great. When I needed to hit up the gym, he made time in our schedule, and sacrificed us time. He was the number one reason I was able to train and complete my goal. I love you, Harold. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

 

An update.

July 11, 2012

Ha- what a general title! Leaves my post to wander where’er the wind blows it I guess.

We had  a super busy month of June, being away for 14 days of it. Seriously, who does that? We do I guess. It was a whirlwind of craziness and fun.

Our first getaway was to celebrate our five-year wedding anniversary. In some ways it feels like just yesterday that we exchanged vows, and in others, I can’t imagine life pre Harold. We’ve been so blessed. We have two beautiful boys, a beautiful home, great jobs, and lots of family and friends. God has been so good.

To celebrate we left the kids with Grandpa and Grandma, and travelled south to Deception Pass for a weekend of camping with just the two of us. We had okay weather, we were thankful it was dry for the most part.
      

We were able to spend some great quality time with one another sans kiddies. We even splurged and bought ourselves some bikes. They have some super nice trails between the lake and ocean that are nice and simple, and the view is fantastic. We really enjoyed ourselves.

In the middle of June we made a trip to Edmonton to celebrate Harold’s 10 year grad reunion. We took the boys on their “first” (that they’ll remember!) plane trip. After some weather delays out of Abbotsford, (seriously!?), we finally arrived in Edmonton at 5AM, and crashed in the hotel for a few hours before embracing the day. Our first stop was, of course, West Edmonton Mall. We took advantage of tot time at the  Water park, and had a blast playing in the waves, and sliding!

Then, while the boys napped in the car, Harold drove around his ol’ stompin’ grounds. I’m not super familiar with Edmonton, all I know is that we covered quite a bit of ground, driving for more than 2 hours. Our last site of the day was Harold’s old home on Lombard Crescent. The boys were awake and thought it was neat to see where Daddy used to live. After this stop we were off to our hosts, Gord and Jenny Campbell. My stomach was churning, I was so nervous. I wanted our family to make a good first impression, but I also wanted to be comfortable to be myself and enjoy the weekend. Within minutes of walking through the door, and re-meeting this wonderful family, I think we were all in love. We all shared hugs, even though, technically we hardly knew one another. The kids shared shy glances while hiding behind our legs. Gord and Jenny were the most at ease, welcoming couple. Any nerves that were there, disappeared in an instant. Within 10 minutes the kids were happily playing outside, checking out the different toys, Jenny and I were chatting up a storm, Gord had steaks on the BBQ. We felt at home, it was like our families were life long friends. That evening we enjoyed a fabulous at home steak dinner, and chatted late into the evening over wine and drinks.

The next morning, after Gord amazingly tackled making pancakes with 3 kids all with their own spoons and bowls (can you say patience!) we headed to the Edmonton Science Center. The kids walked around holding hands, and were all fast friends. The kids’ favorite part was definitely the interactive play center at the end. Lucas LOVED the big play airplane, baggage security check station, etc. He was so focused and serious at his play.

That evening was the “formal” grad reunion. (Sadly, I have ZERO pictures) The class rented a side room to a nice restaurant in Edmonton. I had to chuckle when almost everything on the menu included Bison. I never even knew people ate bison. Harold was brave and tried the Bison lasagna and said it tasted just like beef. I think Harold had a nice time reconnecting with his classmates, and a good time was had by all. Saturday was a big family BBQ, which was nice too. For the most part all the kids played well together, and enjoyed the BBQ lunch. My kids’ favorite part followed the BBQ when we headed to the Glendale pool to cool off. Lucas had a hoot playing with his new friends. And Caleb was happy to sit by and watch with his new little girlfriend Ava.

   

Before we knew it, it was time to say good-bye to our new friends. I know the feeling is mutual, but this is only the beginning. Jenny and I have spent time chatting on the phone, messaging on Facebook, and are already making plans for a skiing trip in the winter. I thank God that he blessed us with such amazing hosts. Jenny and I were on the same page for so many things, and it was so easy to talk to one another. Jenny (and Gord!)- thank you thank you thank you, for opening your home and lives for our family to join you for a weekend. We had an amazing time!! Looking forward to the next time we connect!

Our flight home went great. The kids were so excited to be flying during the day! They got to see take off, and landing, and of course everything in between. Once we were home, it was almost straight to bed – the kids were EXHAUSTED! They behaved so so well during our weekend away. Heading into it I was nervous how they would respond to all the new places and people, and they did GREAT! Ask Mrs. Noot, after only a few minutes she was “Oma” to Lucas 🙂

Once home, it was clean up time, and straight back to planning for Vacation #3, camping at Cultas. At first the forecast was so so, high teens, cloudy. Then it was AMAZING, high 20’s, and lots of sunshine. However, in the end we had rain, rain, rain. Despite the terrible weather we still had a blast. A big thank you to Aunty Taylor for joining us for most of the weekend. The boys adore you and loved having you around 🙂 We also really enjoyed the couple of nights that Grandpa and Grandma joined us. The boys love QT with Grandpa and Grandma.

            

And now, we’re HOME, for an extended period of time. We have nowhere to go, and nowhere to be. It feels great. Along with the plan to stay put, we’ve been blessed with some AMAZING sunshine. We’ve been catching up with friends, and spending time at Grandpa and Grandma’s pool. It’s been nice to have some down time!

That’s a wrap for now…but check back soon, I hope to show you pictures of our refinished dining room table it went from this…

to this…dah dah dah…

STAY TUNED 🙂

Anyone else feeling the daylight savings slump??

At first when I saw people saying they hated Daylight savings time, I was confused. Who wouldn’t want an extra hour of daylight? I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait for the change. Now that the change has come though, I seem to be slipping into a bit of a slump. When 6AM rolls around and Caleb is jumping in his crib, again, I’m exhausted still. Before, I was tired, but still ready to face the day. Now I just want to put the pillow over my head and go back to sleep.

Before Daylight savings, I could have dinner on the table by 5PM sharp. Already by late afternoon it was getting dark, I knew I needed to get my butt in gear. Now, all of a sudden it’s 5PM and I realize I haven’t even started dinner. I’m not complaining either, as I love the ease of summer days that drag on late into the evenings. I love letting go of routine, (just a little bit) to sneak in a late evening stop at the park with the boys even though it’s bedtime. I love the sunshine, and I love the extra day light. But with that release of a tight routine, comes the slide in other areas too.

ie. THE GYM.

I can NOT get my butt to the gym. I’m not sure why, but by the end of the day, I’m wiped. I have no motivation, and no desire to hit up the gym. Tsk tsk tsk. I can come up with a million excuses why I can’t go to the gym, why I’m too busy, or too tired. I must find a way to get out of this slump. Maybe I need another TRX to kick my butt back into gear. I’m hoping writing this down and admitting that I lack the motivation will kick-start something to get back to the gym and into a regular routine.

So comes Step 1. Enlist in Harold’s help. Right now he is picking up a bottle of wine, he is letting my motivation slide…only for tonight. I get to relax and unwind with a nice glass of wine. Tomorrow, however, he promises to force me to the gym. I love my hubby.

I’d love to hear your tricks to get out of a gym/workout slump!!

 

We’ve been enjoying the humdrum of normal life these past few weeks. Thankfully, for the past month or so, we have all be relatively healthy despite all the many colds and flu’s going around.

Lucas is becoming such a big boy, so quickly. I blink and he’s learned something new. This past week, I even started looking into registering him for preschool. Seriously, how can my baby be almost ready for preschool?? What scares me even more is that in a year and a half, he’ll be head to school. Real school. On a bus. I think my heart is already breaking a tiny bit. He talks daily about when he’s older and gets to ride on a bus like Aunty Tay. Lucas loves learning and is really starting to grasp and enjoy Story hour on Tuesday mornings. Before he had very little to say about his morning there, besides how excited he was about the picture he coloured and the candy Mrs Mya and Mrs Grace gave him. Now, he is really starting to talk about what the Bible Story was, what new songs they learned, and of course, all his friends! I wish I could be a fly on the wall and see how interacts without Mommy around. He seems to really enjoy it. With his new love of his friends, comes constant requests to invite kids over, or to go to their house. I love seeing my sweet boy being so social, especially because he used to be so shy.

Caleb, oh Caleb. This kid is a serious handful. He has a zest for life that keeps me running in circles. I love love love this boy to pieces, but he sure does make me pull my hair out some days. Everyday his is learning new words, and finding was to communicate. Early this week he came running to me and said “Mama, help!” I followed him and found one of his toys stuck out of reach. I was so excited to see him communicating so well. He is also very stubborn. If he doesn’t get what he wants, how he wants, when he wants, he will throw himself on the floor and kick his legs and cry. As soon as I turn my back, he gets up and pretends like nothing had happened. Caleb loves books, especially the type of books with real life pictures of trucks, animals, objects. He loves it when we say “Where is the shark?”, his eyes quickly scan the page and he finds and points to the shark. As busy as this boy is, he is sure a softy. He still loves to cuddle on my shoulder at bedtime and gives the sweetest hugs and kisses. He is also becoming very aware of his surroundings and gets frightened quite easily. While taking a walk with Oma a few weeks ago, we stopped to watch a dump truck and digger. He LOVED it, until the dump truck starting moving. He freaked and clung to me. I think he realized how big a dump truck is, and how small he is. He is also not a fan of strangers, specifically gentleman. The other day while shopping, a sweet older gentlemen smiled at him, and he burst into tears “Mama, mama!” he cried. Poor boy!

The boys are getting really good at playing, which is freeing up some of my time to get back into the kitchen. My monthly meal plans are going great, and I have the chance to throw in a few new recipes to try. So far the results have been great. Annie’s Eats is still one of my favourite food blogs and I have yet to find a recipe on her site that we don’t LOVE. The latest one I tried was her Veggie Fried Rice with her Crispy Baked Chicken. Mmmm, so yummy!! Another huge hit was from a new blog I found through Pinterest, Lauren’s Latest. Caleb gobbled up these super easy, super yummy, No-Bake Chocolate Chip Granola Bars. I will definitely be making them again.

I also found myself with 5 very ripe avocado’s on my hands. I received a salad dressing recipe from my sister, and I hunted down a very simple guacamole recipe that we devoured by the bowl full.

Avocado Dressing
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Throw everything into your blender or magic bullet, blend until smooth. Voila, a delicious (and relatively healthy) dressing. I served this over a spinach salad with bacon, cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, and croutons. And even my spinach hating husband LOVED it. I also love the idea of making my own dressings. My kids LOVE to dip things, and this was the perfect dipping consistency and would work well with carrots or cucumbers.

Simply Guacamole
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup medium salsa
1/4 tsp garlic salt/powder
1/4-1/2 tsp minced garlic
S&P to taste

Throw everything into a blender or magic bullet and blend until everything is incorporated. Or to use less dishes and a chunkier version, mash everything together with a fork. Serve with tortilla chips. We had this for lunch today, and Caleb was licking huge amounts straight off his chip! Yum!
Enjoy the rest of your weekends!

Happy V-Day!

February 14, 2012

This year Lucas and I made Valentines for his friends. Tuesday Morning Bible Study fell on Valentine’s this year, providing a great opportunity to hand them out. He is SUPER excited and keeps adding names to the list of friends he wants to give them to.


Since, I made the card on the computer, I wanted him to involved as well which provided an awesome opportunity to practice writing his name. He is showing quite a bit of interest in letters and numbers and loves practicing his letters. At first he filled the backs of the cards with “L”,  his number (as he says). Then I started writing his name in dashes, and he copied over them. He and I were thrilled with the results!

And then, happy v-day from my sweet loveable Caleb. We didn’t make him little valentine’s cards, so a few loveable photos will have to do.

   

 

Blessings!

January 19, 2012

We have had several miserable days in a row in the Louwerse household. It seems like one thing after another keeps crashing down, and we’re gasping at the surface for air. Our days have been spent couped up inside from the snow and freezing weather, the boys are sick and cranky, and by the time the evening rolls around Harold and I are so exhausted we can hardly get off the couch.

That being said, I hate complaining and whining, especially when I hear it coming from my own mouth.

At this very moment, I realized how blessed we are as family, colds and all. I have a moment of sanity. I’m enjoying a blissful cup of Chai tea which is soothing my sore throat and calming my cough. Caleb is PLAYING (Yes! He is finally learning how to play) in Lucas’ room, and Lucas is quietly playing behind me. Harold was able to drive safely to work today. We have a home to keep us warm from the freezing temperatures,  we have food in the cupboards, and medicine to keep our cold/flu symptoms manageable.

     

I’m especially thankful that I had this “ah-ha” moment, to realize that it is so easy to let daily circumstances get the best of you and ruin what could be a perfectly beautiful day. I also realize that I am not superhuman and that feeling down in the dumps is part of the process, and it’s even okay.

Here’s to remembering the many things, big and small, that I have to be thankful for.

Must get sleep!

November 23, 2011

The first thing that comes to mind when I recall the past few weeks in regards to the kiddies is the lack of sleep they (and in turn me) are getting. We are in TRANSITION mode right now for both of the boys, which makes it doubly tough.

Lucas is 3 years old and (almost) 3 months old. And he is starting to drop his nap. I am so very thankful that up until this point he has mostly napped everyday for 2-3 hours. He generally went to bed happy, and woke up happy (well after some snuggles, a snack, and sometimes some TV). However, over the past month or so, he has started resisting naps. He’s still pretty good about heading into his bed, but once the door is closed, he quietly sneaks books/toys into his bed and plays. This I don’t mind, as long as he is quiet, and resting. The last few days though, he is getting braver and will move stuff around in his room, come out frequently because he has to pee, he needs a drink, etc. Unfortunately, this is usually the cause of short naps for Caleb. Which is a lose lose situation for Mommy.


(Despite less sleep, he’s still a happy boy!)

Caleb is transitioning from two naps down to one nap. I have vague memories of how terrible this phase was with Lucas too. Constant crankiness, not enough day time sleep (he’s gone from 3 hours of napping during the day, down to 1 hour of napping), not enough night-time sleep (several night wakings, and early rising) and lots of snacking to avoid said crankiness. Thankfully I think I maybe seeing some improvement. He is increase the length of time he is napping each day! Yay!! It’s closer to the 1 1/2 hour mark now. He is also settling a bit better in the early morning, and going back to sleep, or at very least being quiet. This morning Harold sat with him for almost 1/2 hour and he went back to sleep until 8:15AM!! This is a record in Caleb’s books.


(One of Caleb’s favorite things to do – read books!)

Things are not all bad. I’m enjoying having my mornings free and not being tied down to a 9AM nap. I also now have some free afternoons, since Lucas is often not sleeping, and Caleb is usually done napping by 2:30, that gives us a couple of hours to do things in the afternoons. Plus, Lucas not napping = Lucas going to bed before 7AM which means SUPER quiet and long evenings to ourselves.

Trying to stay positive that my quiet afternoons to myself have become quiet afternoons to myself with several interruptions and way to short!