Thursday, August 30, 2012

Being Real

This blog I am about to write has been a long time in the making.  I have been tortured and haunted by it for months, so I am going to just write it down and put it out there.  It is not meant to offend anyone, but it may.  This comes from my heart.
I looked yesterday on Facebook and saw that I had reached a staggering count of 505 "friends". Wow!  Amazing, right?  Wrong.  I have been burdened by this for a long time and I only now just started to realize what I have been doing to myself.  Yes, I used the word burdened.

 It has been a burden.

I have an addictive personality when it comes to some things, and Facebook just happens to be one of those things.  I can't stop looking at it. I read everything on it, multiple times a day. It is really kind of voyeuristic.  I can peep into other peoples lives with very little effort on my part. It is a fraud.  There have been good parts that have been uplifting (like pictures of kids and stuff), but on the most part it frankly disturbs me. 

I have learned things about people whom I thought I knew, things that I realized I didn't want to know.  This mainly would concern "friends" positions on politics and social issues. I am the kind of person who cares deeply about these things and I can get stressed out about things that I know I have absolutely no control over in any way.  But that does not stop me from masticating on it for months on end until I can to come to some "happy" place.

I don't say anything, or at least I try very, very hard to restrain myself and not say anything so as not to be contentious.  Contrary to what some people might think, I do not have a desire to be contentious with anyone. I have worked very hard in my adulthood to come to this place, as it has definitely been one of those weaknesses to overcome.  I am not there yet, but believe me, I have come a long way. You can ask anyone who went to high school with me, and they can attest to this fact.

But I look on Facebook, and I am bombarded with bull crap. I don't fight back. I don't say anything. It makes me angry, and then it just makes me sad.

I don't want to be a person with two personalities, the church Kelly who puts on the church face and then when I am online, the claws come out.  I want to be me, all the time, 100%.

I don't want to have secret animosity towards people, because in public we put on a good face because we are not allowed to talk about these things face to face, but then online it is all out war.  I can't take it anymore.

I want to clearly tell everyone exactly who I am.

1. I am a Mormon.

     - I love my religion. I have a deep and abiding testimony of it. It is everything to me, the most important thing that I have. It is more important to me than my marriage, than my children, than my social standing.  God comes first. Period. Fortunately for me, my husband feels EXACTLY the same way.

2. I am a Conservative.

     - I have a deep and abiding love for freedom. I will not apologize for this or feel bad about it. Government is not the solution to our problems. Government IS the problem.  Any political belief that I have will fall consistently within this framework.

3.  I am a Homeschooler.

     - I take responsibility for my children and their education. Yes it is hard and I wish there was an easier way, but there is not. I don't want any sort of government program to help me in this journey I have embarked on, so don't even bother suggesting it. I will politely smile and nod my head and continue on my road less traveled. But please feel free to send your kid anywhere you want to because I could care less.

So yesterday, I did the most liberating thing I am capable of doing at this juncture in my life... I went through my friends list and started a great purge. I knew every single person on there and consequently, I really like pretty much all 505. But as I looked at each person individually, I evaluated what my true relationship was with them. Was it meaningful? Was it helpful? Was it uplifting? Did it have some kind of purpose?

When I was in high school, I had no close friends at all. I was quite isolated because of the choices that I made and  because of who I am.  I was the only active Mormon at my school in a very Southern Baptist North Carolina.  This probably had a lot to do with it, plus the fact that I was pretty obnoxious.  I have always had an insecurity about friends.  Because I never had any, I have tried to overcompensate in my adulthood. My priorities have been a bit skewed.

Facebook has only exposed my insecurities. I was desperate to have as many friends as possible in as many spheres as I could conjure.  What surprised me was when I reconnected with people from high school on Facebook, how many would actually be my friend when they didn't say two words to me in my school years.

It dawned on me that people are just as insecure as I am when it comes to this issue. How many friends can I get? Do I have more than this guy or that schmuck over there?

A voice kept whispering to me that it just didn't matter, but I was feeding on my insecurities. 

But I did it yesterday and I feel so much lighter.  As it stands right now, I am at 164.

This is probably still too many people. And if there are "friends" that I took off, it doesn't mean that I don't like them or that I am mad at them. It just means that I am saving my space for people who add something to my life right now.

I have gotten lazy at fostering and nurturing relationships with people. I don't want to be that way anymore.

I know I should probably just delete my account and not go on anymore, but I think I need to wean myself off of it. Plus, I feel like the 164 on there are people who know me and will be okay with me just being me. I am unfettered. I won't have to be contentious, I can just be real. And that is who I am.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Blind Adventure

As the summer is winding down, I am trying to think of things to do with the kids that capitalize on outdoor adventures. Yesterday ended up being one of those days.
After we woke up yesterday, it was time to hit the road because I think we were all going house crazy.  We headed south on the newly opened freeway to Carson City.  Then we stopped at Mill Park to play for a few minutes. After the slide and swings, Zach got everyone, including me, to play Duck Duck Goose. It was a lot of fun.
We  then stopped at Raley's to get some food and continued south through Genoa and then up the Kingsbury Grade (which has incredible views of Gardnerville) to Heavenly and Lake Tahoe.  Finally, I found a little treasure at Taylor Creek.  There was a neat walking trail that was about a mile, if that. It wound around a wetland area. At the back of the trail was a building that was half in the ground. When we went inside, it was an aquarium of sorts, where the glass exposed the pond.  We could see trout swimming around and the kids loved it.
Here they are splashing sticks in the little pond.
As we continued on the trail, a bit of it was a boardwalk where the ground was too marshy.  But Raef spotted a frog, so we stopped to take a look.  We finally started to realize that there were 3 or 4 dozen frogs right there. That was pretty cool.
At the end of the trail, we enjoyed this view.  Emerald Bay is in the background.
We continued on our journey and did stop at the vista point at Emerald Bay for a few minutes.  It is spectacular. If you are ever in this part of the world, it is a must-see stop.  Of course, I didn't take a picture, but trust me. It is incredibly beautiful.
With the help of lots of treats and crunchy things, our little surprise expedition was a success.

Gymnastics Fun

All my little kids were able to go to gymnastics this week and let me tell you...they LOVED it.
There were more kids than last time, so they split the class up into two little groups.  Harry and Julia went with the younger group and Eli was with the older kids.  They did lots of bouncing and somersaults and balance beams and stuff.
 Harry and Julia kept busy doing lots of things.  Julia didn't like the balance beam, but she loved the slide.  So when she would get to the balance beam, she would stop and backtrack to the slide.  Yes, she was a bit of a stinker.

Eli was able to do flips around the bar.  He also liked doing handstands against the wall.

But his favorite was the last activity where they swung on the rings.  The instructor had him keep his legs up as he swung back and forth.  He did a great job.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tahoe Rim Trail at Mt. Rose

One of my bucket list things to do this summer was to take my boys on a long hike.  I finally made it happen on Tuesday.  We drove to the summit at Mt. Rose and did a loop hike on the the Tahoe Rim Trail.  The boys were happy to go.  We brought a lunch and lots of water and set out on a wilderness adventure.
I made sure to wear my GPS watch so I could see how far the hike was.
At first, Raef was thrilled to be on the trail, and Zach was not so happy.  It might have been because I made them both carry the backpacks.  I didn't realize that Zach had the heavy one, as I had inadvertently put all three waters in his pack.  I kept telling him to quit whining and keep going.
Yes I really am a slave driver.
At the junction where the trail splits at 2.5 miles, there was an awesome little waterfall.

And the view was fantastic!

 For some reason, I thought the waterfall was the halfway point.  As we headed back, there was a deer in our path.  She winked and said hello and then sauntered down the steep hill after another deer came out of nowhere and shooed her off. It was really quite bizarre.

After most of the water had been consumed and the pack was lighter and cookies were in the belly, Zach was in a lot better frame of mind. He was telling jokes and saying funny things to me, as Raef was lagging behind, sulking because it was just too far. It was a complete reversal.

 I could finally see the road and realized that we probably had at least another mile to go.  I thought it was going to be a medium 5 mile hike, but I knew we were not going to be that fortunate. 

And then, kersplat!  Zach completely biffed it and did a face plant into the gravel.  Then it was just all over.  He was miserable and couldn't go on another step.  I really had to put on the mean, suck it up and quit whining face with both of them.  There was no way I was going to carry either one of them back!

Luckily, when the GPS clocked in at 6.08 miles, we were at the car. 

Now, if I want to strike fear into the hearts of my dear boys, all I have to do is say the H word, and they are begging for mercy.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thoughts on Running

For the past few months, I have once again been training for a marathon.  I have always wanted to do the St. George Marathon and on a whim, I put my name into the lottery.  I got a little nudge from Bart, who was visiting from Utah with his family for the weekend.  He was like, "Just put your name in."  So like an idiot, I did.

I ran 16 miles this morning. I got up at 4:40am to get it done, because Rinar is running the marathon as well and has to run the same long run as me.

 I never actually thought my name would get selected.

What I would like to know is...

Where was the other person sitting next to me when I foolishly put my name in to slap me across the head and say, "What the h--- are you thinking? Have you lost your freakin' mind?"

Where was that person?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

An Almost Naked Parade

We had to get out of the house today.  A week of being sick totally sucks!  After a quick trip to Costco, we headed over to the Discovery Children's Museum.  It was a good place to go for an hour or so. 

When we went downstairs, the kids started playing in the water. Of course, all of the clothes started to get really wet.  So, I pulled Harry's shirt off to avoid unnecessary soakage.  Right after, Julia came up to me and asked me to take her clothes off.  I pulled her shirt off and then turned my back to help Harry with something.  When I turned back around, her skirt and underwear were around her ankles.  Whoa, girl.

Luckily, I caught it before she made a naked parade through the gallery.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Harry the Gymnast

Last week I signed up all three of my little kids for a gymnastics class. Unfortunately, today Julia and Eli were too sick to attend.  So Harry got to go all by himself.  And boy oh boy, did he have a good time.  Raef and Zach went with us and really enjoyed watching him as much as I did.

I took him out there onto the mat, and after getting him going with the warm-up running routine, he didn't need me anymore.  He did a great job following directions and standing in line.  Harry was just plain adorable.  Of course, any chance he go,t he was looking over at us, so we made sure to send him a copious amount of waves and thumbs-up.

The gymnastics instructor had them do a circuit with a large trampoline that ended at a foam pit.  They would bounce down the trampoline and then jump into the pit.  After that, they climbed out and then did a somersault down a slanted mat, then through a little tunnel and a little trampoline, and back to the end of the line. After Harry's first run, he decided he liked it so much, he just went to the front of the line again. The other kids looked concerned and he just gave his little stinker smile, the one where he knows he is being naughty but he is pretty sure he will get away with it.  Of course, it didn't last long and once the teacher saw where he was, she put him back in his proper spot.

At the end, he had to walk on balance beams.  The first one was pretty darn scary for him and when she got him going and turned her back, he just lunged for her and held on for dear life. My boy is a trip.

I can't wait to see my other two in action. It should be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Virginia City Educational Tour

Last year I was poking around the thrift store and found a book published by some professors at UNR. It was a geologic and historic tour book of the Reno area.  You go to their starting point and set the odometer to zero and takeoff.  I have been wanting to do this with my kids for ages, and this was the week to make it happen.  We needed a break from math and stuff.  So we took the classroom on the road.
Yesterday, we did a quick geologic tour of Lake Tahoe. We saw fault lines and volcanic rock, different types of flora and lava flows.  I really learned quite a bit myself. 

But today was the big day. We took a four hour tour around Virginia City and the Comstock Lode. It was a lot of fun. We learned about the different types of rocks and pine trees and pinyon junipers that grow on the slopes.  We talked about wagon toll roads, bandits, mining, monoliths. It just went on and on. Oodles and oodles of stuff. When we got to Virginia City we got some lunch and then went on a quick trip on the V&T Railroad to Gold Hill. 

On the way home we went through Washoe Valley and saw where there were huge rock slides and such.  It is eye opening to realize how much history has happened in my own backyard.

I thought it has been a productive couple of days, doing some untraditional schooling with my boys. It makes me realize how important it is to get out and see the world with my kids more often. I don't do that enough.  I hope I can find more awesome books that give driving tours of local areas in the future.

SYFL Experience

Football season is gearing up here and we are excited.  Raef and Zach decided to play football this year.  So, not only do I have the college football season to relish, but my own boys will be out on the pitch.  They are playing on the Galena freshman team.  We are very fortunate to have an excellent coaching staff and enthusiastic and supportive parents. I have been impressed with the inner workings of our team.

The boys started official practice two weeks ago, and on Saturday they went to Fallon for the Sierra Youth Football League Experience. This thing is huge.  Apparently 10,000 people descend on this small town. All the players come and get officially weighed in and then they play a few scrimmages.

Our boys did great. They won one game and tied the second.  We are a smaller team, but well-coached, so I think we will do well this year. We shall see, I guess.

Coach DJ is giving the boys a pep talk before their first scrimmage. The boys are ready to play.

Go Galena Grizzlies!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Brother's Fishing Trip at Boca Reservoir

This year Rinar's brother flew up to Reno for a quick brother's fishing trip.  Rinar got the camp all set up and then went to pick up the bros late on Wednesday night.  If you notice that camping trailer, that is ours!  We just got it.  This is its maiden voyage. I have not had a chance to go out with the kids yet, which is a bummer.

Anyways, they stayed up really late playing games like 8-and-Back and Settlers.  Then it was fishing on Thursday. Unfortunately, the fishing was not so great. As in, I think they caught one fish.  Boo hoo. It didn't get much better on Friday. I believe they packed it in and went to see Batman.

But the camping trailer was awesome!

British Invasion

Eli did his first official athletic event this week. He went to soccer camp.  He loved it. I am quite impressed with the kid. He dribbled really well and took it all very seriously.  I think I might actually have to put him on a team next year.

Since he did the camp, we had another coach stay at our house this week. Her name was Charlotte and it was a lot of fun. The funny thing is, she did the camp last year and coached Raef and Zach. She actually wrote their names on their soccer balls. Crazy, huh?

We loved having her at the house. As she put it, she was just like part of the furniture.  Once again, I invited all of the coaches over for dinner. There were seven this time. Two of them were from Brazil. That was pretty cool. Rinar was able to use his Portuguese, and I think they really appreciated it.  Ironically, one of the coaches (Bruno) is from the first area where Rinar served his mission in Rio. Rinar got out his mission pictures to share with them. It was quite a bit of fun.

Here is one of Eli's coaches, Liam.

Eli is getting some instruction from Coach Bliss.

Reno Tahoe Open

Luckily, last Friday I was able to go for half a day to the Reno Tahoe Open.  I love going to golf tournaments. They are the best professional sporting event you can attend. Tickets are not horribly expensive and you can get so close to some of the best golfers in the world.  For example, here I am standing right next to Padraig Harrington as he is getting ready to hit a shot.

That is John Daly down there in the bunker wearing his crazy pants.

And as I was leaving, I saw Mike Weir practicing his putting before he teed off.

I walked a ton following Padraig Harrington and Stewart Cink around for several holes. Professional golfers walk really fast. And at one hole Harrington hit it on the sidewalk, so it was quite amusing to see him get out of that pickle.  And I heart his Irish accent.

The Pro-Am

Last week Rinar was able to do something really cool. He participated in the Pro-Am golf tournament for the Reno Tahoe Open.  He was pretty darn excited.  The tournament was on Wednesday, so we went Tuesday night to a casino downtown for a special dinner where they matched the participants up with a professional golfer. Rinar and his group got matched up with Tom Pernice, Jr.

Tee time was at 1:30pm.  I was able to go and watch him for a little bit. This is Rinar on the first tee shot. He missed it pretty bad in the sagebrush to the left. I think he was quite nervous.  Luckily, they played best ball so he was able to hit his second shot from a much better position.

Rinar and his caddy, Ryan, from work.  Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday, caddying on the golf course instead of sitting behind a desk.

Here is his group.  Tom Pernice is the guy in the middle. Rinar was a last minute addition, so he didn't know anyone from his group. But it is golf, and it sure was a lot of fun, regardless.

Tom Pernice is taking a shot on hole 13.

In the end, his group took 4th overall. Not too shabby, huh?  I am really quite amazed at the incredible opportunities we have both been able to have in our lives together.  It was pretty darn cool.
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