Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jenni misses...

Here is the first segment of Jenni misses. I figured every so often I should write something about just me. Rylend is definitely the center of my life and makes enough stories for me to write a book, but I realized that moms way more than they should end up totally forgetting themselves. Sometimes its good to at least just write about something the mommy likes or misses or did...Maybe it wont always be something I necessarily MISS...but here we go...



Ever since I was very very little I remember how much I love running. My family has two acres of property and during the nice weather I would literally just run in circles for fun. There was a grassy driveway down one side of the property and I remember racing my brother John up and down it. I couldnt wait until I was finally in middle school and got to join the track team.

My dad did track growing up. I remember him telling about the events and his memories of it and I would just sit there thinking "Wow! I cant wait!" I always ended up saying I wanted to do whatever my dad did. I wrote in first grade that when I grew up I wanted to be "an EMT, just like my dad." I know I really wanted to be a writer...but doing something like dad sounded so much cooler. Really though, even thugh the fact that he loved running helped, I truly did love it.

I joined softball in fourth grade. I really wasnt that good at it. I think it was more a competetive thing with my brother since he was a huge baseball addict. I couldnt throw right and barely ever caught the ball. But when my chance came to bat and I got to run around those bases, thats when I loved it. Other teams learned that I was the girl who would always try to steal a base. I would sprint as fast as I could. In fifth grade I quite softball and joined basketball. I wasnt as bad at that as I was at softball. I was decent at dribbling and stealing and even made a basket every so often. But my favorite thing? I bet you can guess...booking it down that court, swerving in and out of the people for that little bouncing orange ball. I would dive for it, usually ending up with bruises and bloody noses.

I remember one time a friend of mine asked me to teach her to run. Ha! We were hanging out in front of the whale museum in town and she told me I was so good at it and wanted me to teach her. I think we were about nine. So we spent the rest of the time we had there running up and down the sidewalk, me "teaching" (like I knew what I was doing right? It was like "so stretch your legs as far as you can...stay on your toes, think of your ankles like springs, etc") and she running after me.

Finally the day came that I left the elementary school and entered the long awaited middle school. I joined volleyball that fall and loved it. I was the youngest setter on the team and actually did pretty decent. But all I could wait for what that spring. As spring drew closer, I found out something horrible.

Our middle school didnt have a track team!

I dont remember everything I did, but I wasnt happy. I had always been one of those kids who would write up petitions whenever I wasnt happy with something and get everyone who could write to add their signiature. Then I would wave it in front of my teachers face...it rarely changed anything but I always had to get my point across. I remember writing one, saying that we needed our own track team. Then bringing it to the principal. Within a few weeks our science teacher had agreed to be the coach and we started our first practices. I was in heaven!

I couldnt get enough of it. I wanted to do every event and run run run. Yeah, I would complain sometimes. It was hard! But inside I loved every second of it. Through out middle school I looked forward to volleyball in the fall, theatre in the winter, and then the long awaited for spring and Track season. We were a small school with a new track team, so we only had about two meets a year. It mostly was a bunch of kids getting together and running. I slowly came to find some of my favorite events: Hurtles. 4x1 Relay. 400m dash. 1600m. Long jump. It was hard because we could only do four events. I would have to bounce back and fourth, the only one I constantly doing was 4x1.

Middle school ended. I entered high school. I quite volleyball, mostly out of fear that I wouldnt be good enough. I sike myself out alot and even ignored the fact that the high school volleyball coach had come to me asking that I join the team. I just chickened out. Sadly. But Theatre and Track...they never left me. My first year I qualified for Tri-Districts (one away from State) with three events: Long jump, 400m, and 4x1 relay. I was so nervous! I kept messing up my footing on long jump and ended up not placing high enough. I took off too fast for 400m and placed one spot below the qualifying spot for State. Then 4x1. We were doing amazing. Ahead of the pack. I ran third leg (hated that leg) and as I sprinted to the last hand-off, she took off her mark too late and I ran into her. We placed two spots too low. That year I also had my first break-up. I remember during PE the next day asking my teacher if I could just run. Of course he let me. I probably ran about nine or ten miles that class. I was burning and aching but I had just discovered what else running can do: heal.

In tenth grade I discovered a new love: Triple jump. We were having a home meet and there were only two other competitors. Our coach asked if anyone wanted to try it. As long as we didnt scratch, we would place and get points for the team and our lettering. A friend and mine and I decided to give it a shot. The judge at the pit gave us a quick lesson...and I placed first! There was one other girl on our team, a grade ahead of me, who had been doing triple for a while. She wasnt too happy. But I had just fallen in love with it. It quickly became my main event that I focused on. They would have to pry me away from the pit to practice relay or 400m. I would alternated between triple and long daily, flying through the air over and over. Sprinting down the line then leaping into the air and landing into the sandy pit. I loved it! I placed first at almost every meet after that. My distance got better and better and before long I had almost pre-qualified for State.

One practice I was trying to get past a mark I had been landing for too long. I just couldnt get it. We all played in the sand while others jumped, making sand castles and such. The girl that was jumping long before me, who I was now beating every time, was digging in the sand. I saw her digging, and should have looked closer at what she was doing. I went back to my starting spot, sprinted down the lane, hop skip jump...and landed in the whole she had dug right where I had been landing all day. She had dug it down to the hard dirt below. All I remember was screaming, feeling fire go up my leg, then falling over and blacking out. I opened my eyes to the team running to me and the girl begging me not to tell. Of course I did...she never showed up for practice again. Turns out she wanted to make my shin splints worse (I suffered from those non stop). But instead I twisted my right ankle and tore the cartelidge in my right knee.

You cant do much to fix knee injuries. I was heart broken. I was about to qualify for State. I couldnt run at all now. I kept showing up for practice. And they let me come on the meets to root everyone on. Bi-Districts rolled around...and I decided I would compete. I started practicing, trying to push through the pain. My knee was always wrapped tightly and IB Profen was a good friend. I remember that meet. I can picture that runway and pit and remember the pain as I tried to shoot down it. I didnt do horrible. Better than I thought I would. And my coach was proud of me. I was trying. I remember running and jumping into the air, tears filling my eyes, and landing, trying to put as much weight as I could onto my left leg. I didnt go onto Tris that year.

My knee never got back to how it was. in 11th grade I was back in track, but I couldnt push like I once did. I hated 4x1. Basically girls 4x1 is a popularity contest fill of bickering abckstabbing girls. And Coach always put me on it even though I told him I didnt want to. I had to deal with the girls, the attacking, the snide comments. Sigh. All I wanted to do was be at my pit. I did well that year...not AS well as before...but well. My senior year I didnt start track right away. I was busy with running start, planning my wedding, etc etc. But I got pulled back in. I couldnt resist it. Its like a drug haha. I did it for the love of running, not the competition. I did well, could have gone onto tris but decided not to.

I wish they had a track team for Addicted Graduates. You leave school, get handed your diploma and move into the "real" world, and all your passions you created those 12 years become ignored gems. Unless you have been accepted into a college for one of you talents, you end up losing them. Theatre, Track, Choir...what do you do when you dont have the afterschool announcements and Meets and scheduled field trips?

I stopped running.

I have decided something though. Just because I dont have the Meets and competition, why cant I still run? Like when I was younger, running around my family's property just for the sheer joy of it. The burn of the lungs. The strain in the legs. The quick breaths and pounding heart. Watching the world whiz by as you take step after step down the path. Not to mention is kick starts your metabolism and trims in those parts of your body ruined by such things as...pregnancy...

So I am running again. I mapped out an area in a neighborhood near us. It is about a mile there and a mile back, so a good two miles. Some hills, lots of sidewalk...quiet streets. I went running yesterday in the first time in who KNOWS how long. It was about 6 at night and had been hot all day. But a breeze kicked in right when I started. I couldnt run the entire time. Thats what you get for being out of shape. But I ran most of the way. I loved the fact that my legs throbbed and felt like Jell-o. I loved the sharp burn in my lungs and the sweat beading on my forehead. Running is one of the best therapies out there. Life is a headache, like nothing else. I am trying my hardest to raise a kid in a good home with the right morals and lots of happiness. He has a mind of his own and I am on my feet alot chasing him. We have bills and rarely enough money to pay them. In all senses we are poor. Friends are far and few between and family is far away. Its easy to feel alone and depressed and worn out. But putting on my running clothes (which I found out I need new ones. Especially shoes sigh) and letting the pavement take away my thoughts...I had forgotten how good it feels. I miss getting the metals of first place. The kudos and the slaps on the back and the news articles...you dont get those in real life.

But I feel good. Thats worth it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Our trip to the Rock

So the other weekend we made it up to good old San Juan for a visit. Shane took of monday and we were able to visit for three days. It was nice. The island is one of those places that no matter how long you are gone, as soon as you step foot there it feels like you never left. We werent able to make it to see everyone we wanted to. Its kind of hard when you only have about 2 and a half days and you want to spend as much time with your fam as you can...while trying to make time too see your friends also.

On Saturday we went to the Children's fair. Its an interactive "fair" they do for the kids on the island...with classes about safety and such stuff. Rylend got to meet Officer McGruff for the first time and couldnt take his eyes off of him! He was like "WOW! Thats a BIG puppy!" We wandered around, saw some people, then found a cute mermaid booth and took his pic in that too. The hair tickled his face and he couldnt stop laughing! It was wayyy cute...

Saturday night we were able to get together with some of our friends. It was sooo nice seeing them again. I really wish they could visit us more too...but money is very tight I know. Still, we had fun chatting and remembering fun memories.

My dad babysat Rylend later and we were able to all go see Wolverine. It was a pretty good movie! I think I am biased though just because I think Hugh Jackman is very yummy...haha!
And look! A nice pic of just Shane and I (in line for the movie) I know...its rare. Mostly because I am usually in my pj messy hair getup and pics of Rylend are WAY cuter. But I do like this one.

Sunday was nice and relaxing. We just spent time with my family, went out to see my grandma, then relaxed. Its easy to forget exactly HOW cute my little nieces and nephew are...but as soon as I see them I remember VERY easy. Aly was all over me all weekend, giving me hugs and wanting to play with Rylend who is her "best buddy." After being shy at first, Breken was all about playing "BOO!" with "nenni nenni nenni" and shelby finally gave me a hug without me having to steal it.

On monday we tried to squeeze in a few more visits while spending time with my mom too (it was her day off yay!) It was sad to have to leave. I really do miss my family and friends on the Rock, alot. If I had the money (and patience for that car ride) I would be visiting WAY more often...but for now I guess blogging will have to do. Sigh...

The car ride home was LOOOONG. Traffic was bad and Rylend didnt like his seat anymore. He finally passed out for about an hour...but that was it. He basically didnt sleep all weekend and ended up getting a cold. We had an angry tired sick baby on our hands and he is still suffering from that dang runny nose! At a rest stop (we had to stop for a VERY stinky diaper) Rylend decided HE wanted to drive the car...it was cute.

Overall it was a nice visit. I was VERY tired by the time we got home, but I had a ton of fun seeing everyone again. Till next time!! LOve you all!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

IHeartFaces - Laughter

It was so hard to pick a pic of laughter for Rylend! I have wayyy too many. If there is one things he is good at, it is laughing!! This one is one of my favorites, out of the hundreds I do have. And since I have to pic only one...here it is! Rylend playing with one of his favorite things: his Blankie!

I took this pic a while back. We were goofing off with some friends at the park at night and taking random pics. Those are the memories I love. In this one we were all cracking up because I just got kicked in the face...oh yes good times! I miss them though. :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

He is a PIRANA!

Rylend and his teeth...

I remember when he first started getting them I was sad because I loved his gummy smile. But then those little pearly whites came in...and his smile only got more amazing. Now he has four on top and three on bottom and LOVES to show them off. When he smiles he clenches his teeth and pulls back his lips so you can all of them, his little cheeks balling up and if he his smiling just right you can see dimples too! Its very cheesy and goofy, but I love it!!

A few days ago I went to fish a toy out of his mouth (Rylend thinks everything is edible, I swear) and I felt something sharp in the back on his top gums. Well, I grabbed the flashlight and let him hold it (haha fool the kid!) and looked in AND...He has his back top two molars in!! Me bing mommy got super excited, insisting Shane look at his new teeth. I know know what it is, but little things like this are just so exciting! Shane thought it was cute, but I couldnt stop trying to look! My little boy now has NINE TEETH!

It kind of exlains why he has been trying to CHEW so much lately. He shoves his food into the back of his mouth then chomps away, usually gagging himself in the process. But he is like "Hey! I can CHEW this stuff!" About a week ago he was wrestling me on the ground, kissing me and huggin me. His kisses are the open mouthed, rub all over your face type kisses. and all of a sudden OUCH! He had bit my lip. And not only a small bite...He had almost pierced it and I was bleeding. I sat up and said "Ouchie Rylend!" Then his face got all concerned...and he tried to kiss my lip again. Aww...he wanted to make it better.

My kiddo...such a loving, goofy little ham.

MEGA Update #3 - First Zoo visit!

This last weekend my brother Herbie came to visit with his wife and two little kids. I was way happy to see them. I love living in Oregon, but I do miss my family a TON, especially my two nieces and nephew who are all WAY too cute. We met up with them at the zoo. Aly (my niece) saw me and came running into my arms. Man I love her. Little Breken (it was his second birthday!) was tired and shy, but as soon as we entered the zoo, you could see him getting more excited.

We had fun, even though the weather was overcast and drizzling, half the animals were hiding, and the zoo was doing construction. Sadly we weren't able to see ALL the animals because of this, but the few we saw were fun. Its amazing how much more exciting things like the zoo become when you are with little kids. Rylend LOVED it. We were sad we werent able to go see the cats, since Rylend is IN LOVE with cats right now, but he loved seeing the fish, birds, elephants and penquins.

Shane and I decided that we need to go back to the zoo OFTEN this summer. Its cheap and full of animals. Plus it was just so nice to have a day out with family, goofing off and enjoying eachother outside. Ah, the joys of warm weather...we all emerge from hibernation!

We had TONS of fun and cant wait to go back and see the rest of the animals !

MEGA Update #2 - EASTER!!

Rylend had a great first Easter. Sadly it was wet outside, but what do you expect living in the pacific northwest? So after church we did an easter egg hunt inside up at Grandma and Grandpa Merritt's. Rylend had tons of fun, but he couldnt understand why we wouldnt just let him eat the eggs right when he found them! He kept putting them in his mouth, and before we knew it his spit was colored HA!

One of the family traditions with Shane's family is they fill the living room with balloons. Rylend came in and saw it...and LOVED it. This kiddo LOVES balloons. He likes to smach his face against them and yell or chase them around...

He also got one of those chocolate eggs that has a toy inside. It was SO CUTE watching him realize it was all his to eat. He chowed it down, watching everyone to make sure no one took it away, doing his usual "mmmmmm" as he ate something that tastes gooooood

Gosh I love my little boy. I love being able to have these holidays now and experience them through the adventure of my baby. Mommyhood is the best thing ever, and my family I have makes it all worth while.

MEGA update #1 - One year old shots!!

I am SO behind!!!! So here we go...update mania!

The day after Rylend's birthday Shane, Zach and I took him to the park. We have actually never put him in a swing and it was a beautiful day...so why not! Shane and Zach slapped on their roller blades and pushed Rylend in the stroller...and since I have no coordination, I rode the bike. It was a great day and I got tons of ultra cute pics...though Rylend was so intrigued with everyone and everything, I couldnt get any of him actually smiling AT me. Here are a few of my faves, plus a slide with all the rest! (This posting would be WAY too long if I posted them all.......)