Friday, February 22, 2008

My Life Story (Part 2)

My sophmore year of school found me with alot of spare time on my hands, which I decided to fill up with rowing (or crew). I don't think I've ever worked as hard in my life as I did those 3 years (excepting natural childbirth, of course!) There were 5am practices, weight workouts, 5-mile runs, erg races and lots and lots of circuit training. While there were many times that I thought that all of this was for the birds, another part of me absolutely thrived on the physical challenge.

While I would hate to make you think that all of my rowing success stemed from me being a large or "corn-fed" girl, it did have a little something to do with it. And when I was working out all of the time, I was even larger (but sculpted; not like I am now... Jell-O anyone?) The mechanics of rowing simply makes it impossible for a girl of 4'5" to compete with my impressive 5'9". It's all about the leg drive, and when your legs just aren't that long, then there's not much drive.

So I had found my new passion. Never had I been involved physically in something so entirely dependent on the performance of others. There are no words to describe what its like to push off and glide through the water before the sun has even come up. The rythmic sounds as the oars catch and the smooth release before you do it all over again. The feeling of dread that comes over you when you realize that you're only 500 meters into the 2000 meter race and, already, you feel like you're going to die. The complete and utter exhaustion that envelopes your body when you reach the finish line. And, can I just say... LACTIC ACID! One of my coaches favorite sayings was "Push through the burn!" Easy for him to say while he was gliding along in his little motor boat while we were rowing our guts out with everything we had.

Very quickly, it became apparant to me that this was something that I was good at. All I had to do was breathe and push... I could do that. My coach placed me in the battery of the boat (comprising of the 4 middle seats of an 8-boat and the 2 middle seats of a 4-boat.) The job of the battery was to push as hard as possible, since it was hardest to move the middle of the boat than any other part. The battery is where you put your "thugs"... that's what I was; a thug. Two of the other members of the battery and I were always competing for the top erg (short for ergometer, an indoor rowing machine) scores, and often the top score was juggled around between the three of us.

I can still remember one erg race that we, the novice team, had with the varsity team. There was a girl on the varsity team that was a real iron woman, Rachel, and I was always trying to at least match her erg scores, if not beat her. But she was awesome! I had to settle for the novice victory. My next year of crew (Junior year of college), I was made the varsity team captain and remained so until I stopped rowing and left NSU.

I included these videos because not many people know what rowing is or what it looks like. I chose this first video in particular because its to the music of a drum corp, which if you've read "My Life Story (Part 1)", you know is perfect for me. The second one is a little slower and gives you a better idea of what rowing looks like. They're both really short, so check them out!

My sophmore year also brought another major change, only this time it was with my degree. I can't remember what class I was sitting in, but I remember thinking that everything that I was learning in my degree was basically training me to be a high school band teacher, which was NOT what I wanted to do with my life. I had a passion for teaching music to young children, which was why I had signed up for Music Ed, but my degree wasn't taking me in that direction. Having looked at all of my options, I decided to switch my major to Early Childhood Ed, which focused on Pre-K through 3rd grade.

As many of you can guess, my homework assignments were now filled with teaching observations, coloring, big projects, coloring, gluing, coloring, and pasting. Oh, did I mention coloring. Fortunately, I had some really great friends and one awesome roommate who would often help me with my projects when I was falling behind. It was so much more fun to design a classroom for a group of toddlers than to write a 10-page paper on organum (Sophmore music history.) Although I did change my major, I continued to play bass in the orchestra, which will always remain one of my great loves. I was happy with my major, I was happy with crew, I was happy in orchestra... life was good. But it still wasn't enough. (I know, I know... over-achiever!)

One of my best friends, Tammy, whom I met through rowing also happened to be a 2nd degree blackbelt in Tang Soo Do (a martial art very similar to Tae Kwon Do.) I found out that she was giving her boyfriend one-on-one karate lessons and asked her if I could come and watch. After only a few lessons, I decided that I had to be a part of this. I begged her to start teaching me as well, which she thought was a great idea. Now Justin could spar someone else besides herself. Yes, I signed up to be a punching bag but I loved every minute of it!

Here was a sport that was everything the opposite to rowing! My successes and failures depended solely on me and my performance. It was about mastering myself and my body to do things that I would never (nor will ever) require of it otherwise. It was hard, it was "stretching" but it was wonderful. I'll be honest and say that it felt really good to kick the crap out of that target. Sure, I didn't kick it very well in the beginning, but I got much better with time.

After a short while of Tammy teaching Justin and I, a few other of our friends expressed interest in taking karate, too. So Tammy decided to start a Natchitoches (the city where NSU is located, pronounced NAK-O-DISH) branch of Pak's Karate (her karate school in Slidell, LA.) We set up practice to meet in the lobby of our dorm, which was a huge, carpeted room, and went to work. I began learning the different forms and kicks required for my yellow-belt testing (which I think was a back kick.) Over time, I continued to progress and test until I now hold a brown belt in Tang Soo Do and have a large storage bin full of all of the boards that I ever broke. Every once in awhile, I pretend to do a roundhouse kick or an ax kick on John and, inevitably, I end up pulling something or being in pain for many days. It's definitely much easier to do that stuff when my body is used to stretching (very thoroughly) and working out multiple times a day. But, alas, this is the plight of a mom with two kids under 3, who works from home and has challenges just trying to use the restroom in peace, much less work out for 30 minutes. Just so you know, however, I think that I could probably pull off a little karate if I were really in danger and I needed it. :)

Stay tuned for Part 3 of my life story when I meet John and decide to transfer to the University of North Texas.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Playing Around

Steven, Margaret and I were playing on the floor Monday afternoon after they woke up from their naps. They were both being so funny and making me laugh, that I just had to include some videos. I love Margaret's little temper tantrum over the bike in the second video... just more of what's to come, I'm sure! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Frustrated Ramblings

Here I am, sitting at the computer at 3:00 in the morning trying to get some work done, yet again, when I thought that I would try to break up the monotony by working on my blog. Today was one of those days... we've all had them. The kids were happy (or were they), but I was trying to accomplish a few things around the house, none of which I did. (Okay, I did get the kitchen clean!) It seemed like I was cleaning all of the same messes because I would clean something in one room and then leave it to clean something in another room, only to return and find that the mess that I had just cleaned in the previous room had magically reappeared! Why do our kids have to be so great at making messes, but when it comes to cleaning up after themselves, they throw a huge tantrum. This is my life until Steven grows out of this phase. Margaret is so indecisive on whether she wants to take one or two naps a day, making everyday's schedule unpredictable and annoying. She would not let me put her down today, unless she was sitting in her highchair eating something. Even then, by 3:00 she was miserable over every little thing and I simply could not figure out what the problem was. I finally decided to put her down around 4:30 (or was it 5:00... everything's a little fuzzy) and she took a 20 minute power nap that helped immensely. Will she do that again tomorrow... probably not!

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids very much and I'm so glad to be home with them, but sometimes I just need a little "me" time. Even to just be able to use the restroom in peace without Margaret trying to rip all of the toilet paper off of the roll or Steven coming in to tell me that his train has wheels. Just for five minutes... sigh ...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

As I've been getting things ready for Valentine's Day tomorrow I've been thinking alot about my wonderful husband, John. I'm so grateful to be blessed with a spouse who loves me so completely and gives so much to me and our children. I'm blessed to be married in the temple, not only for time, but for eternity, which has so many implications on everything that we do in our marriage. I'm grateful that I can respect and stand beside my husband in the face of adversity. John is truly my bestfriend (which IS important, dear!) As the song playing in the background says, I miss you when we're apart. And most importantly, I'm so grateful for the Atonement which allows me to repent and be forgiven of all of my mistakes and shortcomings (as there are many) so that I may continually strive to be a better wife and mother. I love you, John.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Family Videos

I decided to include a few family videos on my blog today, which turned out to be a new experience for me. I learned all about web video hosting, uploading, etc. Anyway, these are two videos from just the last couple of days, and I thought they were both so cute. For anyone who doesn't know, I absolutely adore my kids!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mitt Romney Drops out of the Race

For anyone who hasn't already heard, Mitt Romney dropped out of the race today. What a blow to millions of people. However, I do agree with his reasoning, even if I don't understand all of the numbers myself. I guess it's time for me to really find out about McCain and see what kind of a man he is. To anyone who reads this and is very opposed to John McCain: please, please, please vote for him anyway. It's much more important to vote Republican, no matter who the candidate is, than to go with a Democrat. And any vote for Huckabee is a vote for a Democrat at this point. We really don't want a Democratic president while Congress and the House are both Democratic as well.

Obama talks of change, but what does change really mean? It means higher taxes to help this special group of people and that special group of people. It means a larger government. It means taking the power away from us "dumb" folks and putting it in the hands of the "wiser" people up on capital hill. Don't vote for change!

And Hillary! Don't even get me started on her! All I have to say is, for anyone who might even be slightly tempted to vote for her, please read "The Hillary Trap" by Laura Ingraham... very eye opening to say the least. Many people think that she's a fighter for women, but trust me when I say that she does nothing to help women whatsoever. Just check out the book if you want to know what I'm talking about.

Here's a link to follow if you want to watch Mitt Romney's speech at the CPAC convention, where he publicly announces that he is dropping out of the race.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Heated Discussion with Mitt Romney on Mormonism (Off the Air)

I finally watched this video that John's been trying to get me to watch forever. Man, it's good! I would hate to have to ever be in Mitt Romney's shoes as he tries to explain our religion to other people who just don't get it.

Dashboard Confessional "Stolen"

Here's another video from one of my favorite "bands", Dashboard Confessional.

Better Than Ezra "Juicy"

This video is rather silly and dumb, but this is one of my favorite BTE songs of all time! It makes me crack up that Kevin Griffin (the lead singer) sings the entire song in a high falsetto! No, he doesn't always sound like that! Enjoy!!!

Save Ferris "Come on Eileen"

I just had to include this music video on my blog today. I was just surfing around on Youtube and came across this video... man, it really brought me back to my college days. I love ska and I love Save Ferris! She doesn't always sing the right words, but the song is great, anyway! Enjoy!!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Family Pictures

John has informed me that I need to put some more family pics on my blog, so this is just for you, dear. :)

Here's a picture of Margaret, our little ham, in the bath. She's progressed to the big tub and now takes baths with Steven, and let me tell you, she is definitely a water baby!

Here's Steven on Christmas day with a very cheesy grin on his face. What did he get? Thomas trains! It's not even funny, the amount of Thomas stuff that he got for Christmas!